For the town of San Francisco in Camotes Island, they celebrate the Soli-Soli Festival on the third Sunday of March each year. The name of the festival comes from a plant found along the shores of Lake Danao, the soli-soli grass. In addition, the festival also celebrates the feast day of their patron saint, St. Joseph the Carpenter.
The choreography of the dance for the Soli-Soli festival took some time to create. The mayor of the town hired an artistic director and consultant in 2004 to perform the necessary research before the dance steps were established. The following are the basic steps in the Soli-Soli dance:
- The dancer sways the hands and arms gracefully to the side. This movement mimics the way the soli-soli grass moves with the wind. It also demonstrates the adaptability of the locals when it comes to making a living using the resources available to them.
- Movement mimicking cutting and harvesting. Dancers would gracefully mimic cutting and harvesting the soli-grass soli using a scythe or a knife.
- Movement mimicking the weaving of a mat. This dance step combines two movements to mimic the weaving of a mat. The main focus of this step is the fingers and the hands.
The plant from which the name of the festival comes from is found along the shores of Lake Danao. It is abundant in the area due to the fertile ground and good water supply. The plant has become a source of income among residents in the area. The grass is weaved into mats, decorations, handbags, pouches, and handicrafts, among others. To make these products, the residents would have to harvest the grass and dry them under the heat of the sun. Once they are dried up, the can be weaved into the different products mentioned above.