Search engine giant, Google’s doodle for today celebrates the life and work of Francisca Reyes-Aquino, the Filipino folk dancer and cultural researcher who helped preserve the ‘tinikling’, the country’s most well-known traditional dances amongst others.
Innumerable other regional dance forms may have been lost forever if not for the efforts and intervention of Reyes-Aquino, who is often referred to as the “Mother of Philippine Dancing.”
Born this day in 1899, Reyes-Aquino became attentive in preserving the unique folk culture that thrived throughout the over 7,000 islands that form the Philippines’ archipelago. Earning a degree in education at the University of the Philippines, she traveled to far-flung communities with a small team of researchers to study the Filipino people’s unique songs, games, and dances. Transcribing everything in detail, Reyes-Aquino collectively gave her findings at recitals of the university’s folk-dance troupe, managing to popularize and preserve dozens of dance forms through classes lectured by the university’s department of physical education.
This day’s animated Doodle portrays various Philippine traditional dances including the cariñosa, singkil, pandanggo sa ilaw, and the national favorite: tinikling. Which was named after a small, native bird (called the tikling), the dance is actually inspired by the bird’s hopping movements. Tinikling performers hop and skip dexterously between bamboo poles, producing a rhythmic combination of footwork and arm movements.
Reyes-Aquino was bestowed the Republic Award of Merit for her “outstanding contribution toward the progress of Filipino culture” in 1954, and was named a National Artist of Dance in 1973.