Alcamfor

Alcamfor dance features a girl's handkerchief that is supposedly scented with alkampor or naphtalene balls. The dance is also called Pandanggo han Panyo. Pieces of clothing (dainty handkerchiefs or scarves included) were kept inside wooden boxes in the olden days. Often, two to three balls of alkampor were placed inside these boxes to keep rats away or to prevent the clothings from smelling like tuum, with the pungent-aromatic smell it leaves on the clothing. Wearing clothes with strong alkampor smell is thought to be a "head turner", especially with the "romance inducing" powers of the alkampor, according to superstition.

The Alkampor dance is believed to be from Tanauan, Leyte. The dance is a little 'flirty' with the ladies swaying their supposed to be alkampor-scented scarves in front of their partners' face. The first figure is a slow and stately movement like very formal French court dances such as the minuet. The third figure is a lively Spanish- influenced movement, probably from the bolero, the fandango or the jota. The Polish mazurka also appears in one its figures.

There are different variations on this dance. For instance, in one version, the kalo nga de faja (hat with hatband) is not used, unlike in the very popular Aquino version.

The alternating fast and slow music is very similar to that which accompanies another folk dance from the Eastern Visayas--the Gozos of Borongan, Eastern Samar.

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Its name is derived from the plant of the same name having a peculiar hot and aromatic smell. Female dancers hold handkerchiefs scented with the "alcamfor" (naphtalene balls).
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