Since time immemorial, dancing has been the soulful way of human being’s expression of emotions, stories, and culture. Philippines, with its 7, 641 islands, was able to preserve its traditional dances thanks to an extraordinary Filipina who recorded and pushed the preservation of these cultural dances – Francisca Reyes-Aquino.
On her 120th birth anniversary, Google chose to feature her on the daily doodles of their portal – showcasing Philippine’s beloved folk dances tinikling, carinosa, pandanggosailaw, and singkil.Among all other individuals around the world, why did Google choose to pay tribute to her?
- She braved to travel the remote barrios of Central and Northern Luzon in 1920’s to learn and record the different dances, songs, and games of the Filipinos that show the rich culture of the people.
- Her thesis on, “Philippine Folk Dances and Games”, became the foundations of the teaching of folk dances in the Philippines which was then adapted as an instructional material for teachers in both public and private schools.
- She shared the findings of her studies to the University of the Philippine’s Folk Dance Troupe to encourage and popularize these dances during recitals and PE classes in order to preserve them.
- She became a supervisor of Physical Education under the Department of Education and really pushed that folk dancing must to taught to the young Filipinos to instill in them the real identity and culture of the Philippines.
- Because of her, a number of traditional dances in the Philippines was preserved and up until now remains alive – like tinikling and singkil.
- From her researches, she came up with books that became references in knowing the different dances, music, and games in the Philippines – Philippine National Dances and Philippine Folk DancesVolumes 1 to VI, Gymnastics for Girls, Fundamental Dance Steps and Music, Foreign Folk Dances, and Playground Demonstration.
- She popularized theTinikling – a dance that imitates the hopping of the small, native bird which is the primary nemesis of farmers.
- In 1954, she was given by President Ramon Magsaysay the Republic Award of Merit for her outstanding contribution towards the advancement of Filipino Culture.
- In 1973, she was awarded as the National Artist for Dance.
Like Josefa LlanesEscoda and Dr. Fe del Mundo who were recently featured in Google as well, she created a massive impact in the lives of every Filipino by allowing them to get to know themselves as citizens of the Philippines through dancing – the primary reason why she was called as the “Mother of Philippine Dancing”.