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Pangalay (also known as Daling-Daling or Mengalai in Sabah) is the traditional “fingernail” dance of the Tausūg people of the Sulu Archipelago and Sabah.[1]

The dance is the most distinctively Asian of all the southern Philippine dances because dancers must have dexterity and flexibility of the shoulders, elbows, and wrists[2] – movements that strongly resemble those of “kontaw silat,” a martial art common in Maritime Southeast Asia. The Pangalay is predominantly performed during weddings or other festive events.[1] The male equivalent of the Pangalay is the Pangasik and features more martial movements, while a pangalay that features both a male and female dancer is called Pangiluk.[citation needed]

The original concept of the Pangalay is based on the pre-Islamic Buddhist concept of male and female celestial angels (Sanskrit: Vidhyadhari, Bahasa Sūg: Biddadari) common as characters in other Southeast Asian dances.[citation needed]

Neighboring Samal and Bajau peoples call this type of dance, Umaral or Igal, and they sometimes use bamboo castanets as substitutes for long fingernails.[2]


A variant of the dance called Pakiring is popular among the people of Mindanao, Sulu and Sabah. The dance emphasizes the movement of the hips (kiring-kiring).[citation needed]

In the Philippines, a traditional song called Kiriring Pakiriring is often accompanied with the dance. The lyrics of the song are in the Sinama language and are thought to have originated from Simunul where the language is often spoken. The song was later popularized when it was re-recorded by an unknown artist under the title, Dayang Dayang, however some of the lyrics have been changed and is considered by many to be largely gibberish since the altered words had no meaning behind them and were not related to any dialect or language.[citation needed] The meaning of its name is believed to be referring to Hadji Dayang Dayang Piandao, the first lady of Sulu, since the word dalay-dalay was a title given only to the daughters of the Sultan.[3][4][5] Today, the version is widely known across the Philippines rather than the original but its origin and the artist who recorded it remains a mystery.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Severino, Howie G.; Caroline Cabading, Rolando "Bobby" Barlaan (2001). "Pangalay". Pangalay. Pusod. Retrieved 15 February 2007. 
  2. ^ a b Mercurio, Philip Dominguez (2007). "Traditional Music of the Southern Philippines". PnoyAndTheCity: A center for Kulintang - A home for Pasikings. Retrieved 15 February 2007. 
  3. ^ Orosa, Dr. Sixto Y. (1917). The First Lady of Sulu. Manila, The Philippines: The Philippine Review (Volume II, No I). 
  4. ^ Orosa M.D., Dr. Sixto Y. (1931). The Sulu Archipelago and its People. New York: World Book Company. 
  5. ^ The First Lady of Sulu. XXXIV. Manila: The Philippine Magazine. 1937. 

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