TAGBILARAN CITY, August 25 (PIA)-- Way up in the mountain fastness of Duero, Bohol live a tribe with a quaint way of life, some old writing, queer sounding words and, an American dance?
The Eskaya, a tribe which historians claim to have a range of origins: from both old and authentic to a possible hoax reconstruction of a pre colonial society, thrives in the mountain boundaries of Biabas in Guindulman, Taytay in Duero, Lundag in Pilar, Cantaub in Sierra Bullones and Tambongan ang Cadapdapan in Candijay.
And, as to their long cherished tradition, the "sinasliston" is something that gives them off.
Established formally in the early 1920 by their leader Mariano Datahan, the Eskaya community own a unique cultural heritage, use a distinct language and literature, and perform traditional practices that date way back from Spanish to pre-Spanish times, a reason enough to baffle historians.
For this, the indigenous group has been controversial and anthropologists who see and study their ways of life and their language own different educated opinions.
Some historians claim that the group may not be as old, they could be descendants of the Francisco Dagohoy rebellion, others trace back their reckoning to the original indigenous settlers of Bohol who hailed from Sumatra in the 7th century A.D.
To those who studied Eskaya oral traditions and literature, they would put the tribe as Semitic proto-Christian, considering their writing's affinity to the Greeks or Hebrews, which even puts an older date to the tribe.
With that in mind, an ecotourism assessment team, which came to the community in Taytay Duero, had the surprise of their lives when they find a hardly seen American dance being practiced and passed on to generations of Eskayans.
"It is distinctly American," nationally acclaimed tour guide Tess Mapute commented upon seeing the dance.
While the Eskaya call it "sinarliston," dance experts would call it Charleston, a dance that originated from the docks of Charleston in South Carolina.
According to wikipedia, Charleston steps start off with a simple twisting of the feet, to rhythm in a lazy sort of way and then graduated into fast kicking step, kicking the feet, both forward and backward and later done with a tap.
The Eskaya Sinarliston however shows a bit of improvisation and the costume is never the American it is the saguran and hinabol.
As to how it came assimilated into the Eskaya culture, is still another baffling issue that will roil historians in so long a time. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)