Ambahanon*: Ilonggo’s Courier of Culture

By Jester Paul R. Bacabac


One of the essential components of Ilonggo culture is its plenteous collection of enthralling folk songs. It entails the people’s penchant for music. It is for this reason that few of the most seasoned singers are Ilonggos namely: Jose Marie Chan, Nina, Young JV, among others.

Here are some of the most sang Ilonggo folk songs.



The lyrics of this song was written by former Iloilo Congressman Augurio Abeto (also a noted Ilonggo essayist during the Golden Age of Hiligaynon literature 1920-1940) while the music was composed by Maestro Restituto P. Ratilla.



This folk song was originally composed in Ilonggo. Now, it has versions in other languages in the country. The title is the name of the boy to whom the singer is saying goodbye.


Lumalabay nga Daw Aso

“Lumalabay Nga Daw Aso” is an Ilonggo Folk Song from Iloilo Province. In 1935 the late National Artist for Dance, Francisca Reyes Tolentino choreographed the beautiful steps of an improvised Folk Dance for the University of the Philippines’ “Play Day” which features the “Salakot“, a wide brimmed native Filipino hat, using the traditional melody of this Ilonggo folk song. This is how the Tagalog song-dance “Salakot” came about. The poet Levi Celerio wrote its Tagalog lyrics which was later popularized by Pilita Corales during the early 1970’s.


Ili-Ili (Hush-hush)

This is a folk song which is literally a lullaby. This is usually sang by mothers when they let their babies fall asleep. This folk song is still perpetuated by moms even today.


Ohoy Alibangbang

One of the Christianized pre-Hispanic dances of the lowland Visayan people is this “Ohoy Alibangbang“. There are many pre-Hispanic dances throughout the archipelago which mimics animals, plants and even insects. Alibangbang could be translated in the Filipino language as butterfly or dragonfly.


These fascinating folk songs are the living testaments of Ilonggo coolturerific!


*Note: Ambahanon is a Hiligaynon (language spoken in the region) word meaning a song esp.folk songs.


Source of Videos:

References: Francisca Reyes Tolentino, Philippine National Dances (Silver Burdett Company, 1946)

PhilClassic Filipiniana Music Archive


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