Itik Itik Festival
Surigao del Norte
The Itik-Itik dance is popular among the Visayan settlers of the province of Surigao del Norte. It has many variations of steps from which the dancers choose and combine. Its steps are similar to the movements of a duck (itik, in Filipino), as it walks with short, choppy steps and splashes water on its back while attracting its mate.
The dance is believed to have originated from the dance Sibay danced to the Dejado music. The Sibay is a bird dance that came from neighboring Visayan Islands. Philippine dance authority Reynaldo Gamboa Alejandro identified that Visayan Island to be Samar. True enough, since a 1668 book written by Fr. Ignacio Alzina (a Jesuit missionary to Samar) described a 'bird imitating dance' popular in Samar then, the Sabay. According to Fr. Alcina the dance imitates flying birds. An illustration in that same book had a caption: "su danza para hombre y mujer" (dance for man and woman); very appropriate for the characteristic Waray amenudo dances.
The present form of the Itik-itik is from Carmen, Lanuza, Cantillan, and Carrascal towns of the present-day Surigao del Norte province in the Caraga Region. A tale says that a lady named Kanang came up with the popular version. Dancing in one baptismal party, Kanang grew so spirited that when ducks from nearby pond caught her eye, she imitated their movements. The spectators found her dance so interesting that they themselves imitated her. The rest is history.
Despite the popularity of the Itik-itik Surigaonon, there are also other versions of the dance found mainly in Visayas. One version from Samar is danced to the same music. Two other versions came from Sibonga, Cebu, and Tibiao, Antique.