San Francisco Tinikling cotillion dance
Mireya Paulos choreographed the Tinikling dance for the 18th Cotillion of Olivia Mendoza. Screengrab from Mireya Paulos video.

Tinikling for an 18th debutante cotillion? Why not, says this group of young dancers in San Francisco’s Bay Area and their homage to their Filipino lineage and creativity has paid off. The video has gone viral on social media and was acknowledged by popular Fil-Am rapper Saweetie aka DiamontĂ© Harper.

The nearly 4-minute video of the performance at Olivia Mendoza’s birthday party was uploaded on social media by her cousin Mireya Paulos who choreographed the dance routine.

The Tinikling is a traditional Philippine folk dance where a pair of dancers taps bamboo poles together on the floor as another pair skillfully dances to the beat over and in between the poles. The cousins’ version of the dance started off traditionally and then surprisingly turned into a dance to the beat of hip-hop song, “My Type” by rapper Saweetie.

The modern version of the folk dance got the attention of the rapper who reposted the video with the message, “Mahal ko ang kababayan kong Filipino (I love my fellow Filipinos).”

Mendoza and Paulos said in a media interview that they only wanted to pay homage to their Filipino roots as they’ve seen folk dances performed by their aunts and uncles as they were growing up.

“It’s just something super different. Not a lot of people, especially if you’re not Filipino, have seen it before,” said Mendoza to NBC Los Angeles after the video went viral on social media and garnered national headlines.

“I think it demonstrates that we know what our Filipino culture is. We recognize it, and we can share the same values as other Filipinos around the area,” added Paulos.

The cousins say the attention they received has inspired them to continue performing traditional Filipino dances.

Philippine folk dances have been showcased by Filipinos around the world with performances by the Philippine-based Bayanihan National Dance Company earning a World Dance Championship title, California-based Parangal Dance Company presenting dances in Japan, and Baguio City’s Saint Louis University Dance Troupe performing folk dances in Korea.

WATCH the dance video and SEND congratulations in the comments below to Olivia Mendoza and Mireya Paulos for showcasing Filipino heritage in dance!

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