“Magsama-sama Tayong Panoorin”: A Creative, Collaborative, and Ongoing Ethnography on What It Means for Sama Banguingui Women Dancing their Identity in the City of Manila

Regina Salvaña Bautista: University of the Philippines Diliman

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/


For the Sama-Bajau and Sama Banguingui women living in Manila, the traditional dance pansak (or igal) is a vital dimension of life. This paper focuses on Radzmina Tanjili, a Sama-Banguingui from Zamboanga, well-known in her barangay for her dancing. Her life as a dancer is filled with performance opportunities and cultural exchanges for her and the group of Sama-Bajau women and children who belong to the same NGO she volunteers for. She and the group perform for government, non-government organizations, and academic institutions. Apart from this, she also continues to dance pansak in its traditional improvised form at wedding ceremonies around Luzon. Underlying such creative and cultural pursuits, however, are the difficult realities she faces as a Muslim woman without a stable source of income living in a predominantly Catholic Christian city. This article takes a critical approach to dance studies and an engaged and collaborative approach in ethnography, which resulted in a creative project. It explores how to best articulate what it means for an indigenous Muslim minority group to be dancing their traditional dances in the predominantly Catholic and Tagalog-speaking city of Manila. The critical and engaged lenses are necessary to foreground the agency of the Sama Banguingui in their dancing, but at the same time draws attention to the complex position that they occupy and the realities they face as marginalized women belonging to the urban poor population.


dance, ethnography, pansak, Manila, Muslim, Sama Banguingui

Please login first to access subscription form of article

Read Full text in PDF

Browse By

Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)