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In striking contrast in today's progress in almost every endeavor, let us take a
fascinating glimpse into the world of the indigenous groups of the Islands from the the
Aeta (Negrito), pygmy aborigine of the Islands, to the Tasaday which was last discovered
in mid 1970.
Most tribes are mainly a mixture of Malayan, Bornean, and Indonesian,
and are divided into two groups -- the Moslems in the South and the mountain tribes in the
North. Some have emigrated from their original settlements, have become integrated
into their adopted communities and speak the dialect native to that area. However,
all cling to their ancient religious rituals and superstitions, costumes, and individual
There are many unique contrast although there is an underlying
similarity among them.
IGOROT (Mountain Province, Luzon): This mountain tribe lives in
the rural areas surrounding Baguio City, almost 6,000 miles above sea level. They
are famous for their fine weaving and wood carvings.
TIRURAY (Cotabato, Mindanao): The striking trait among the
Tiruray is their emphasis on personal ornamentation. They crop their hair at the
forehead and cut eyebrows and eyelashes. Beaded jewelry is worn extensively.
Bukidnon): The Manobos are a very musical tribe and play many instruments. Their
singing and dancing is usually done solo. This Manobo musician plucks the bamboo saluray
a version of the guitar
KALINGA (Northern Luzon): The
Kalingas stand tall, and are of Malayan heritage. In the past, they were feared for
their head hunting activities.
MANSAKA (Western Davao, Mindanao): The Mansaka live in the
innermost part of Western Davao. They design and make their own clothing. The
only means of economy is agriculture.
AGTA (Polilio Island): Agtas are also known in the
Christian community as Dumagats, meaning "of the sea."
MARANAO (Lake Lanao, Mindanao): An Islam-practicing people,
the Maranaos are famous for their brassware, the most popular being the legendary "Sari
Manok"(rooster). Men wear the malong, acolorful sarong and the kupia cap.
YAKAN (Basilan Island): The Yakans are hunters of nomadic
habits, constantly changing their whereabouts. They profess to be Mohammedans but
they have added a vast number of superstitions to the Koran. Elaborate painting of
the face is done at graduation from Korean studies and at wedding ceremonies.
ILONGOT (Northern Luzon): This tribe inhabits the forest of
Nueva Viscaya. They are noted for their rice wine called basi, which they also like
to consume. Their "bottles"are bamboo tubes.
MATIGSALUG (Southern Bukidnon): This datu belongs to
the Matigsalug society. A datu is a powerful position acquired through heroic deeds,
exemplary life and sometimes thru inheritance. He acts as headman, judge and
ATI-ATI (Panay Highlands): The Ati-Ati belong to the
Negrito (aborigine) group and are famous for their ati-atihan, a Mardi Gras type ritual
TAUSOG (Sulu Archipelago, Mindanao): This tribe's name was
inspired by the swift currents and whirlpools around Sulu, "Tau" meaning people
and "sug" meaning current. They consider themselves the true Muslims.
KANKANA-EY (Northern Luzon): The mountain province of
Benguet is the home of the Kankana-Ey. Men wear the traditional G-string.
Ornamentation by tattooing of the arms is popular among both sexes.
NEGRITO (AETA) (Momadic): The primitive Negritos are are
believed to the first aborigines of the Philippines. Their average height is 4 feet
3 inches. They have dark skin and kinky hair. They are found wherever there
are mountains and forests.
SUZANN (Zamboanga, Mindanao): This is one of the pagan
tribes inhabiting the interior of Zamboanga and the Sibugay Peninsula. They are
HANUNOO (Southern Mindoro): The Hanunoo is the most
numerous of the Mangyan group. Unique to their culture is the Sanskrit script they
still use today. The woman wears a typical vine skirt.
TASADAY (Southern Mindanao): The gentle Tasaday is a tribe
whose existence was discovered just recently in June, 1970. This child-like Stone
Age people inhabit an uncharted rain forest deep in Mindanao and are protected by the
HIGAONON (Northern Mindanao): Among the cultural
minorities, the Higaonon is the least known. This group is composed of four tribes, each
named after the river where they settled.
MAMANWA (Surigao, Mindanao): These negritos of the South
have the same small stature and kinky hair of the aboriginal Aeta.
TAGBANUA (Palawan Island): A fairly short, slender people,
the women are fond of bracelets, anklets, earrings and necklaces. They like bright
colors, red being their favorite.
BATANGAN (Mindoro Island): The Batangan belongs to the
Mangyan group and lives in the isolated interior of Mindoro. The austere life of the
Batangan is reflected in the few material goods he possesses. They do not have
personal names of their own but use kinship terms.
BLAAN (Cotabato, Mindanao): Inhabiting the southern tip of
Cotabato and the interior of southern Davao, the Blaans are divided into four separate
sub-groups. Their culture and ornamentation are similar to the T'Boli of Lake Cebu.
IFUGAO (Northern Luzon): The most prominent of the mountain
people. They are known collectively as Igorots, actually consisting of six major
groups. The Ifugao and Bontocs are the most advanced. Their ancestors built
the famous rice terraces over 2000 years ago without the aid of metal tools.
MANGYAN (Mindoro Island): Unique to their culture is a
Sanskrit type script. One of the two surviving indigenous scripts of several used
before the Spanish era, the writing, often in the form of poetry, is inscribed on weapons
and personal items.
IBALOY (Northern Luzon): The Ibaloys live in Benguet,
Mountain Province and are closest neighbors of the Kalingas. Although they have a
similar culture to that of their neighbors, they speak a different dialect.
T'BOLI (South Cotabato, Mindanao): This is largest of the
Non-Muslim groups. Girls learn to decorate themselves with jewelry and make-up at an
early age. Appearance is highly regarded and is heightened when the ornaments worn
sway and tinkle as women walk and dance.
ISNEG (Northwestern Luzon): Isneg live in the northwestern
tip of the Cordillera Mountains. They are close neighbors to the Kalinga, Tngguan
and Ifugao. They have cultural similarities and only the languages differ.
This tribe is very fond of tobacco.
BONTOC (Nortrhern Luzon): The Bontocs call the central
Cordillera Mountains their home. Rice is their main diet, grown on one of the
wonders of the world the 2,000 year old rice terraces built on the mountainsides.
They have unique haircut and fond of playing a bamboo nose flute.
BADJAO (Southwestern Mindanao): These sea gypsies live on
boats in the Sulu Sea and in the waters of southwestern Mindanao. They are expert
fishermen, deep sea divers and navigators with a phenomenal knowledge of the sea.
They seldom come ashore except to barter for food.
DUMAGAT (AGTA) (Northern Luzon): A hunting and gathering
people with few possessions, thus easy mobility. The Agta move from their seaside
lean-tos to the interior forests when rain and cooler weather arrives.
UBO (South Cotabato, Mindanao): Known for their intricate
casting, the Ubo fashion fine weaponry and jewelry that they believe have souls so the
maker will not readily part with them.