Ilonggo Folk Song: Dandansoy

Dansansoy is a popular Ilonggo Folk Song, sung even by non-Ilonggos. In the song, the singer bids farewell to a boy named Dansoy. I remember my mother singing this song to  me when I was a kid in Iloilo. I would ask her where Payao is but unfortunately, she didn’t know. From then on, I thought Payao was a fictional place. Little did I know that it’s a barangay in the town of Binalbagan which I only learned when I moved here in Bacolod. Unfortunatlely, most people from Iloilo don’t know where Payao is.

Who wrote Dandansoy?

There’s a debate going on in the net about the actual writer of Dandansoy. This song is  popularly known to be written by Augorio Abeto who hails from Binalbagan. He was a famous Ilonggo poet in the 1930′s and also a mayor of Binalbagan in 1941-1945.  I could not find a record online as to when he actually wrote the song but there are references to his songs being popularized during the Japanese occupation. The popularity may be because the feeling of desolation that has engulfed the country during the war was reflected in the poignant lyrics and melody of Dandansoy.

The challenger to the throne as the writer of Dandansoy is Fortunata Magsipoc Ledesma from Culasi, Antique.  Supporters of this claim said “Dandansoy” is from the phrase “ang daan nga dalan gin usoy”.

I’m personally doubtful of the claim since the lyrics of Dandansoy is in Hiligaynon and not Kinaray-a. I know Antiqueños can fluently write in Hiligaynon but they are a very proud people so in my opinion, if they are going to write anything, it is going to be in their language. I may be wrong in this, so in order to dispel any doubt, we are open to anybody who can provide a proof as to who actually wrote Dandansoy.

There were also claims from Leyte that the song was originally theirs. Sometimes, Dandansoy is also confused with Condansoy of the Cebuanos. There’s never been any doubt in my mind that Dandansoy is an Ilonggo song. The lyrics are unmistakably in Hiligaynon.

Below are the Dandansoy lyrics for those who grew up with it, to reminisce and for the young ones to appreciate. Learn it by heart. Sing it with your soul. It is our heritage.

Dandansoy Lyrics

Dandansoy, bayaan ta ikaw
Pauli ako sa Payao
Ugaling kun ikaw hidlawon
Ang Payao imo lang lantawon.

Dandansoy, kun imo apason
Bisan tubig di magbalon
Ugaling kun ikaw uhawon
Sa dalan magbobonbobon.

Kumbento, diin ang kura?
Munisipyo, diin hustisya?
Yari si Dansoy makiha.
Makiha sa paghigugma

Ang panyo mo kag panyo ko
Dal-a diri kay tambihon ko
Ugaling kun magkasilo
Bana ta ikaw,asawa mo ako.

Ilonggo Folk Song: Dandansoy by


  1. cesar gregorio ramales jr says

    “Dandansoy, bayaan ta ikaw,
    Pauli ako sa Payao…
    Ugaling kun ikaw hidlawon,
    Ang Payao imo lang lantawon…

    Dandansoy, kun imo apason
    Bisan tubig di ka magbalon
    Ugaling kun ikaw uhawon
    Sa dalan magbubon-bubon…

    Kumbento, sa diin ang kura
    Munisipyo sa diin hustisya
    Yari si Dansoy makiha,
    Makiha sa paghigugma…

    Panyo mo kag ining panyo ko
    gisi-gisi-a kay tambihon ko
    Ugaling kug magkasilo
    Bana ta ikaw, asawa mo ako…”
    Music: Fortunata (Dioso) Magsipoc – Ledesma of Culasi
    [her thesis in a music course at Philippine Normal School way back 1930s]

    DANDANSOY… Singing My Roots
    written by
    Butch Ledesma Ferrer

    Bidding goodbye to a husband in times when one needed him most is painful. More so if the husband would cross the seas to look for greener pasture in a faraway island of Mindanao in 1939. This pain had been kept a secret in Fortunata Magsipoc Ledesma’s heart for almost 26 years…until her longing was published nationwide…. as a song Dandansoy in 1965, in a book “Philippine Progressive Music Series Book III!

    My grandmother, Fortunata, Lola Forting to us, was a teacher at Culasi Elementary School in Antique when the National Land Settlement Administration under the management of General Paulino Santos opened the gates of Mindanao, then touted as the Land of Promise, to settlers from Luzon and Visayas. Back in the 1930s, Mindanao was opened for settlement for the landless by the Commonwealth Government under President Manuel Luis Quezon.

    Invited to explore the promises of the South were Antiqueño educators, one of whom was Lolo Ernesto Arriola Ledesma or Lolo Nesto, her husband and an Industrial Arts-Carpentry teacher, He would belong to the first wave of educators who were tasked to build and run a school in Marbel, then an established settlement area in Koronadal Valley next to Buayan (now General Santos City) and Tupi.

    “Hordes of Visayans from Panay and Negros Occidental sailed to Mindanao on board S/S Tablas in the late 1930s, disembarking at Parang, Cotabato, followed by a three-day exodus southward, camping on the sides of the road at night to rest and sleep. Mostly sacadas (sugarcane farmhands) from Antique and Bacolod, the trekkers walked from Dulawan to Buluan in three days, crossed Buluan Lake by wooden boats to the shores of Lutayan to settle finally in Marbel,” my late Aunt Nora, their eldest daughter, would narrate to us, nieces and nephews. She was the historian of the family and from her I was able to trace roots.

    Driven by a long and lingering understanding that Lolo Nesto’s family belonged to the landless, I believed that there was a strong motive for him to seek for fortune in Mindanao and that he had to leave his own family in Culasi, Antique to look for greener pastures. My belief had proven me wrong when, after thirty years, I had the occasion to visit Culasi in July of this year.

    The journey to my Mom’s birthplace was enriching yet nostalgic. Embarking on a trip with the sole purpose of reestablishing and patching distance-severed ties with relatives because of migration resulted to more realizations than what I had expected. My last mental picture of Culasi was still vivid as how I saw it when I was eighteen years old attending school at UP in Iloilo City in 1978. My summer vacation that year was spent in that quaint little town where everyone seemed to be a relative. Culasi was a picture of simple living, laid back, yes, but happy!

    My earliest recall of Culasi was through my mother’s story when, at eight months old, I was brought there for a vacation with my older siblings for the first time. It became very significant for me because I was pursued by a local “aswang” named Carnay. My mom told me that I was wailing that night after Carnay saw me earlier that day and commented how robust I was as a baby. Well. my grandfather’s house, for one, was a corner away from the kamposanto or sementeryo that made the setting ghoulish and Carnay’s house was just in front of Lolo’s house across the street.

    Believed to be a neighborly “aswang”, Carnay who was transformed into a winged tik-tik had received invectives from my Lolo Nesto as he brandished his shining bolo pointing it to the roof directly over where I slept. “I know you,” he would say, “ try harming my grandson and you’ll get what you were looking for!” As soon as the scratching on the roof dissipated and flaps of imaginably big wings were heard shooing away, I was told I just stopped wailing and went on to sleep soundly, as if nothing happened! That particular story would prop me to travel back to Culasi and investigate on the veracity of the incident, True to what I’ve discovered, my older relatives confirmed that my mom’s story was never an urban legend! Carnay had long been dead and whoever inherited “that stone” to continue the aswang legacy became immaterial as the story was obliterated by the fast growth of the municipality as it adapted to modernization brought by the changing times.

    Culasi has since then grown into an urbanized municipality being one of the major stops for airconditioned buses plying the Manila-Iloilo City route. Gone were the Bukaw wood-bodied buses with horizontal seating arrangement that could accommodate eight passengers per row, passing through the wall-less right side. Imagine how could a passenger taking the leftmost-side seat disembark at his destination with seven passengers blocking his way through? Gone were the days when the bus would negotiate rugged terrain and strong currents of widest rivers, sometimes nervously staying still in the middle of the onrush because the engine was wet and went dead? Gone too were the ambulant vendors of boiled eggs, peanuts, balulo, bande, bukayo, bulad, kalamay-hati, moscovado and sineguwelas, whose chattering would wake you up from a hypnotic trance due to the whirring of the engine and the constant bodyshake at a certain stop? Gone too was the panoramic view of Malalison Island from the backyard of my grandfather’s property as it stretched to the shores or the baybay, as present-day squatters, mostly Maguindanao muslims had swept away the memories of us children basking on the waves of the sea by building their shanties blocking the view? These images were just fragments of fleeting moments now and the shanties never ceased to grow in number.

    The old Hispanic St. Michael’s simbahan and parokya then full of life-sized santos gave way to the modern architecture church and had been enclosed inside a perimeter wall, within the St. Michael’s Academy campus. The old plaza is now well-manicured and the town hall had undergone a major face-lift. It maintained the façade; however, the original Capiz-shell windows were painted, coating Culasi’s history with obscurity. Only the second floor lobby that transforms into a trial court and a public conference venue, if need be, housed a parcel of history that gave me the feel that a part of me was at home, at last!

    There, hanged along the aged wooden walls were framed portraits of the past leaders called cabo publico del municipio in the 1800’s, municipal presidents in the early 1900’s and municipal mayors in the present. Among the frames were that of Municipal Presidents Fortunato Villaflor Ledesma, 1926-1928 and Guillermo Magsipoc, 1910-1912, my apoy Nato and apoy Imo. Then, an overwhelming realization crept over me. My grandparents’ families would not have been landless! Truth to the matter, I was shown the vast properties both families have – from the Ledesma’s hiraya properties to the Magsipoc’s baybay properties, still kumon! The expanse of properties was insignificant, though – what became a very vital discovery was that, my grandparents Fortunata and Ernesto were not landless. They belonged to the illustrados of Culasi, to prominent political clans that had served the municipality since the early 1900’s. Then what was it that drove my lolo Nesto to explore and to look for greener pastures in Mindanao? In Koronadal Valley per se?

    Culasi just ushered me a lot of why’s. Then deductions came like pouring water – was it because of political families in conflict with differing ideologies? Was it because my grandmother’s family disapproved of my grandfather due to political beliefs? Was it because their love would like to stand the test of times in another world and be free without committing the classic Shakespearean Romeo and Juliet ultimate escape? Whatever was the motive then, it had lain covered by the lyrics of Dandansoy,…that glancing, just mere glancing, would establish a pact, a commitment of love that would meet again in another time on a cherished soil!

    As I found myself on board a modern Ceres bus enroute to Iloilo for my trip back home to Koronadal, I was silently in pain, seeing the images of Culasi fleet away through the bus’ glass window. The trip had been too nurturing that I silently shed tears, in my heart I was singing, Dandansoy, the song of love, the song of my roots – and if ever I long for Culasi, all I have to do is glance at its direction, then I’ll be at peace, my mind and heart, aligned!
    ( from LEDESMA – FERRER: Dandansoy… Singing My Roots
    by }

  2. aris luistro says

    Before he got married , my late father, who hails from Batangas, was a traveling salesman,
    peddling mosquito nets (kulambo) and statues of saints (santos) in the Visayas and Mindanao
    during the 1930′s. When I was a little boy I often hear him singing this song dandansoy.

    Here is his version of the song :
    Dandansoy , I will leave you today
    For Payao is far, far away
    If you miss me then follow me there
    In Payao, be together again.

    I thought Dandansoy is one of the women in his life.

  3. Raffy Mendoza says

    I was assigned in Binalabagan town for 2 years (Magallanes street near the church. 1987-1988) this is where I heard the Ilongo version of this song from an old folk when i was invited in Paglaum. Yes, some old folks in Binalbagan claimed that the composer is from this town and I do believe that.

  4. Raffy Mendoza says

    We have visayan waray version of this song……..My late grandma from Tacloban Leyte used to sing this song to us if she is in her good mood and so my mom..My mom now in her late 80′s is still alive and well. I asked her about this song if this is really during pre-war era, she said this song is popular in Leyte during 1930′s although some lyrics she said is revised when she heard the “Asin” rendition of this song…..

  5. Joseph Locsin Apohen says

    My last name was originally spelled APUHIN which is the spelling in Negros. When my father brought us to the USA, he changed the spelling as the “Americans” mispronounced the orignal spelling.
    I have now lived in the states continuously since 1953, but I am always interested in reading of the happenings in Negros Occ. Dandansoy was the song my mother sang to me. Your discussion brought some “longings” to me. Guina hidlaw gid.

  6. Pepito C. Presquito says

    According to Augurio Abeto himself, he did not compose the song. It was a poet of Datu Sumakwil. And Dandansoy was not a boy. Dandansoy was a girl-sweetheart of that Sumakwil poet.

    Payao is where the haciendas of the Arroyos are located, referring to the family of Miguel Arroyo, husband of the former President.

    • Jose Testa says

      Gina pabugal ko gid nga ako gin bun-ag sang akon iloy sa Brgy. Payao, (Binalabagan) Binalbagan Neg. Occ. sang February 4, 1977

      About the song Dandansoy who made by late Hon. Mayor Augurio Abeto, many popular singers who sing Dandansoy but some lyrics of the song is not original. If somebody looking for the original lyrics of the song Dandansoy just visit my hometown Brgy. Payao, Binalbagan Neg.Occ.

    • jo says

      He might not composed the song but instead revived it, if this song is certainly composed originally in kinaray-a dialect.

  7. edward says

    I think this song is about Payao in Binalbagan not Banawe Rice terraces. There was a bus in 1960′s named Dandansoy going from Bacolod to Payao, the name came from the song. And I think it is really hiligaynon and I know Augorio Abeto as he is my maternal grandmother’s first cousin. That’s why I called him Lolo Goring when he visited us.
    But I know more of his song “Dalawidaw” than this.

    • jo says

      that bus named DANDANSOY was owned by the Teruel family here in Payao particularly the Late SB member Francisco Teruel. one of the prominent families living here in our place, that even until now they still known as DANDANSOY by many if you ask about the name, his wife tya Soleng (SOLEDAD),, wherein i dont know, if her name has something to do with the pre-war name of PAYAO which is SOLEDAD.

  8. Matt says

    Payao, the term the locals use for the Banaue Rice Terraces, lyrics says ” Ugaling kon ikaw hidlawon, Ang payao imo lang lantawon.

  9. says

    Wow!!! very well said…. The discussion is so informative. Indeed, It’s helps to the student who have their literature and it’s nice to heard young people I mean new generation were also interested on this song than new song or song from other contry… add mo q ha..!!! heheh,, keep it up guys,,, goooo pinoy,,. mahalin natin ang sariling atin…

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