The company was founded in 1957 by Helena Z. Benitez and debuted May 27, 1958 at Expo '58, the Brussels World Fair responding to the request of then President Ramon Magsaysay. Since then they have made at least 14 major tours to Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, US and the Middle East. It has performed in 6 continents, 66 counties and 700 cities worldwide. They perform folk dances from throughout the Philippines and from other countries. The group takes its name from the Filipino word bayanihan which means working together for a common good.
In appreciation and recognition of their pioneering efforts and international success in the realm of Filipino dance, the people of the Philippines through the 10th Congress enacted R. A. 8626 declaring the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company as The Philippines National Folk Dance Company.