The Lapay Bantigue Dance is a festival that’s culturally distinct to Masbate City.

Hold during the 30th of September of every year to commemorate the City’s Founding Anniversary, the Lapay Bantigue Dance Festival serves as one of the main highlights of the celebration.

The  great-billed Heron, with the scientific name Ardea Sumatrana or natively known as Lapay is the bird which the dance is from. Out of a graceful flapping of the Lapay’s wings, this dance was started by “Lola” Felisa Tupas who was captivated by the Lapay’s graceful movements leading her and the fisherfolks of barangay Bantigue to choreograph the dance by imitating some of the movements.

Legend has it that the Lapay dance was promised to Saint Philomena, saint of the fishermen by a native for an abundant catch of fish and by a mother, for the Saint to heal her sickly child.  So these people made this dance to fulfill their promise to the Saint. Miraculously, the child was healed and the fishermen caught a lot of fish. Since then the people have to dance the “Lapay Bantigue” to give thanks to St. Philomena and of course for a productive fishing with the blessing of their Patron Saint.

Description: An animated video showing the Origin of Lapay Bantigue Dance.

Ramon A. Obusan, a national artist was said to have been impressed by the Lapay’s ingenuity that he combined it with Bantigue, another folk dance from the island which is now perform during the Lapay Bantigue Dance Festival.

This video blog’s aim is not only to promote the Lapay dance but to  seek awareness from Filipinos and foreigners that this great-billed Heron is now critically endangered here in Masbate because of the destruction of their natural habitats.