Dugso (meaning 'dance') is a ceremonial dance among the Manobo people in Bukidnon, Agusan and Misamis Oriental . The Dugso (also Dugsu) is usually performed during important occasions like kaliga (feasts) or kaamulan (tribal gatherings). Other occasions that call for the performance of Dugso are festivities connected to abundant harvest, the birth of a male heir or victory in war. Brandeis however, claimed that the dugso has no specific occasion underpinning aside from that of the kaliga-on festivities. He said that it is only performed to "entertain their deities". The Dugso for a kaliga is usually performed on the third day which is usually the merriest being the culmination of the whole celebrations.
Dugso have at least twelve known versions and the most popular versions are the Dugso Songco, Dugso Kalasungay, Dugso Cabanglasan, Lagoras, Inaksyon and the Hinaklaran.
The all-female dancers is headed by a babaylan (shaman/priestess) who is responsible for keeping the fire burning. The dancers execute complex footworks moving around the dapulan- the wooden receptacle that holds the ceremonial pot of fire. The smoke from the fire is believed to carry prayers to the dwelling place of the gods. Lumad dance researchers Edgardo Marucut and Thelma Rocha also claimed that the smoke signifies the Bukidnons' intense devotion and love for their gods. The smoke is also also said to carry their messages of thansgivings to their gods. In some occasions, the bangkaso, a small table laden with fruits, palay, corns and other farm produce are used instead of the dapulan.
Dugso dance steps give us a lot of unique Lumad dance vocabulary. Popular among these are the inanud (adrift or flotsam or carried away), binadbad (untying a knot), tinaktak (waterfall), inaksyun (in action), inulang (shrimp-like), linibog (confusion), sangkululo (imitating a rooster skirting a hen in a love play), lagoras (dance step fron a Dugso version of the same name), pinispis (parrot-like), dinatag (introduction), sinayaw (dance-like) and binakbak (frog-like). The hand movement called kubay is very graceful and portrays femininity. Manobo men believe that those women dancers who can do the kubay gracefully are believed to be amiable and are not hard to court. Senaylo-saylo is a playful portrayal of a woman's fickleness or indecisions.
Most Dugso versions have no musical instrument played to accompany the dance. The sounds and rhythms are produced by the dancers' anklet saliyaw or singgil (hawk-eye or pewter bells). The Hinaklaran and Lagudas versions of the Dugso are at times danced with the accompaniment of the agong, takumbo and dayuday.
One interesting feature of this dance is the Higaonon Manobo costume of the dancers. A complete set of this costume is called a sinuyaman and has the following:
This headdress is a big metal comb decorated with sticks wrapped in yarns and colorful feathers. The sticks are fastened the to comb in an a radial arrangement that looks like an expanded peacock tail or an open folding fan. Colorful yarn threads or fringes are sometimes added at the bottom of the comb or at the sides. The male Hiagaonon sulam-sulang is simpler and consists of around four of those sticks clipped in front of the head by a headscarf. The use of the male sulam-sulang is exclusive to the elite bagani.