The Manobo Tribe then and Now: an Ethnography

The Manobo Tribe Then and Now: An Ethnography

Abstract— The study delved into the cultural practices of Agusan Manobo tribe in the past as it is practiced in the present. It also sought the strategies used by the tribe to withhold their practices as well as their hopes and aspiration. The study made use of the interview to the selected ten elders of the tribe and conducted also a focused group discussion to the seven datus surrounding Sitio Kapda, Barangay Sab- ud, Loreto, Agusan del Sur, Philippines. It is revealed in the study that rituals, belief in the spirits, marriages, healing, settling disputes, buri- als and choosing new leader were the practices of the tribe. As pious people, their activities are always consulted with unseen spirits to whom they believed to have interference of every activity of human being. It is revealed that the oral tradition was the most common way of conveying their practices to the young so that it will continue to exist. The family was the first venue of such witnessing of practice. They be- lieved in the unity and faith of the tribe in order to continue their practices. It made known from the study that the tribe longed for indigenous education for their young to use when they led the tribe in the future. They wanted also that they have their own land to live where the next generation can exercise their beliefs and practice their rituals. It went out also that they wanted their culture to be written as part of the histo- ry.

Index Terms— Manobo tribe,Then, Now, Ethnography


——————————  ——————————HE Philippine Constitution of 1987, Chapter 1, section 2, mentioned that the state shall recognize, respect and pro- tect the rights of the indigenous people and to preserveand develop their cultures, traditions and institution. In Re- public Act (RA) 8371, known as Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, defined indigenous people as a group of homogenous society, who have continuously lived as an organized com- munity on communally bounded and possessed land used as their abode, sharing common bonds of language, customs, culture, traditions and indigenous religions, become historical- ly differentiated from the rest of the Filipinos. Annaya (2004) added, they are the living descendants of pre-invasion inhab- itants of lands now dominated by others; they are culturally distinct groups that find themselves engulfed by other settler who encroached their lands.Report from United Nation Educational, Social andCultural Organization (UNESCO, 2001), also mentioned that many rights of our indigenous people have been disregarded and there is a difference between indigenous group and the general population exist. Thus, played a major factor contrib- uting to social marginalization, poverty and dispossession of indigenous people.As supported by Dean (2003), while the human rightsof the indigenous people are continued to be neglected, theseinclude cultural and linguistic preservation, autonomy, envi-ronmental degradation, incursion and discrimination. Fur-thermore, the interaction of indigenous and non-indigenoussocieties throughout the history has been complex, ranging from outright conflict and subjugation of mutual benefit and cultural transfer.In the article published by Indian Ancestry (April 14,2014), it was mentioned that many of the indigenous people,their language and culture face a questionable future. The rela- tively rapid decline in language diversity parallels the decline in cultural diversity. These changes are due in part to the product of both historical relationships, global economic de-velopment as well as cultural beliefs that rationalize or justify actions that have served certain cultures at the cost of others.As supported by Niezen (2003), that globalization re- locates indigenous people, deny indigenous knowledge, elim- inate indigenous languages, impose a gray uniformity on all of humanity, stifling and suppressing the creative cultural ener- gies of those who are most knowledgeable and prescient about the forces of nature.Nakashima (2000) explained that the indigenousknowledge that is passed from generation, usually by word ofmouth and cultural rituals and has been the basis for agricul-ture, food preparation, health care, education, conservation, and the wide range of other activities that sustain the societies in many part of the world. Today, there is a grave risk that much of the indigenous knowledge is being lost, along with it, valuable knowledge about ways of living sustainably.Wieesner (2011) opined that indigenous peoples have rich and ancient cultures, view their social, economic, envi- ronmental and spiritual systems as interdependent. Against all odds, the indignities of colonization and the lures of mod- ern society, indigenous people have survived as communities with a strong felt, time-honoured identity. Their claims and aspirations are diverse, but their common ground is a quest and claim for the preservation and flourishing of their endan- gered culture, their language which are inextricably and often spiritually tied to their ancestral lands.Lutz (2014) mentioned that the indigenous peoplewho want to be recognized for who they are as distinct groups with their own unique cultures. They want to enjoy and pass on to their children their histories, languages, traditions, modes of internal governance, spiritual practices, and all else that makes them who they are. They want to be able to pray on their ancestral lands and live without interference from other people.The Higher Education Act of 1994 mandating theCommission on Higher Education to undertake the task of

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ensuring and protecting the historical and cultural heritage of Filipinos, yet there is still a dearth of such endeavour as evi- dence of the lack of initiatives undertaken by different agen- cies both local and national.The study of Tenio (2003) revealed that the B’laan people do not expect to live continuously with their culture and traditions for they have thoughts that later generation will be acculturated by the posing migrants encroaching to their embodiments. However, they want it to be documented and codified for preservation.Again in 1987 Constitution of the Philippines ArticleXIV Section 2. reiterated the recognition, respect and protec- tion of the rights of indigenous people to preserve their cul- tures, traditions and institutions. This is a mandate of preser- vation of the rich culture of our indigenous people to which in latter days will erode and vanished in the flows of time.Opena (2011), suggested that the compilation of tribal historical information and the draft of manuscripts can be used by tribal members in the future. The government is now trying to mainstream even the educational system of indige- nous people in order for them to live normally and integrate socially with the other Filipino people. In 2007, a conference of Asia indigenous People’s Pact (AIPP) held in Pokhara, Nepal, recommended that customary laws of indigenous people in Asia should be formalized and documented for preservation.DepEd Order Number 62, s.2011 known as NationalIndigenous Peoples Educational Framework, section 15.c. stat-ed that documentation and research activities by Indigenous People (IP) on their own history, knowledge, practices and other aspects of cultural heritage shall be encouraged and supported by DepEd as means of enriching the learning re- sources available to IP communities and the educational sys- tem at large. The DepEd shall uphold the protection of the intellectual property rights of IPs in pursuing this policy.I have read several studies dealing on ethno qualita-tive research, yet, I was not able to come across a study suchas what I am conducting. Also, the Tourism Council of Munic-ipality of Loreto, Agusan del Sur has a scarcity of data related to this investigation, thus, the need to conduct.

1.2 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to describe, recognize, rec- ord and preserve the beliefs and practices of Agusan Manobo tribe from the viewpoints of the participants of the past and present generations. The intent was also to gain insight if the practices of Agusan Manobo tribe before can also be seen to- day as practiced by the members. It also tried to understand the strategies and ways used by them so that they can pass on their culture to the next generation, and also to determine what are the hopes and aspirations of the tribe.As a coordinator of the Learning Resource Materials De-velopment System (LRMDS), the information that will be de- rived from this study are useful guide in making learning ma- terials to be used by the teachers who are teaching in the new- ly established schools in the different Indigenous People (IP) Communities in the province particularly for Agusan Manobo tribe as dominant indigenous group of Agusan del Sur. As thedivision in-charge of the district where the place of study is located I felt proud of being part of their community especial- ly in the lives of their children.As a school administrator in our division and as an educa- tor, the results of the study will help us devise plans and strat- egies to further the implementation of program and projects in our department across all schools and the Indigenous People are part of it which constitute 52 % of our students in the whole division, without prejudices to their culture, but that conform, preserve and protect their beliefs and practices. As an educator, I am with the cause that no child is left behind, for education is not only for the selected race but for all Filipi- nos regardless of colour and origin that includes the children of Agusan Manobo people.

1. 2 Research Questions

1. What were the practices of Agusan Manobo tribe in the past and in the present?2. What strategies do Agusan Manobo tribe used to preserve their culture?3. What are the hopes and aspirations of Agusan Manobo tribe?

1.3 Significance of the Study

According to Barndahard (2008), though the culture of In- digenous people undergone major upheavals, many of the core values, beliefs and practices have survived and are be- ginning to be recognized as having an adaptive integrity that is as valid for today’s generation as it was for generations past.The findings of the study are hoped to benefit the follow- ing people for they are the direct beneficiaries. Administrators of the National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP), the study may encourage designing a program for the preserva- tion, protection, conservation of the culture, beliefs and prac- tices and for the designing of community improvement plan with the tribal leaders of the community. The Administrators of the Tourism Industry, the result of the study will contribute primarily to the documentation and understanding of the cul- ture of Manobo that may initiate eco-tourism programs or any possible projects that may alleviate the lives of the tribe. Other recipients to this study are the DepEd Administrators; they can use the result of the study for the program and projects that they will implement to their respective schools for the indigenous people especially the Manobo tribe. The data may challenge school administrators to design programs for the efficient discharge of their functions, in developing and put- ting into effective measures of all kinds for the protection, con- servation and preservation of the country’s cultural heritage. The Local Government Officials, as part of their municipality, It will bear in mind among the residents that they consist of varied cultures that they can be proud of. They can integrate the results of this study in their plans especially in improving the economic lives of the community.For the teachers, the data from this research may encour-age them to undertake educational campaigns to arouse wide-spread public interest and respect the rights, cultures, practic-es of our indigenous people particularly their children in school. The Agusanon as a whole, migrants and natives in the

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province can take pride that their culture stands in the test of time. Although they have thoughts that come a time their practices and beliefs will be forgotten in the coming genera- tions hence, they will be documented for them to be remem- bered, the unique culture handed down by their forefathers. Most and foremost the Manobo people, they can take pride of their culture and take stand to preserve and value it.

1.5 Definition of Terms

The following terms are defined as used.

Manobo tribe. A group of Indigenous People who lived

in the Province of Agusan del Sur. They are also called Agu- san Manobo. They speak in minanuvu languages, De leon (2006).

Then. The description of the practices of the Manobo tribe in the past.

Now. The description of practices of the Manobo tribe at

the present time.

Ethnography. Qualitative research design aimed to pro-

vide in-depth description of everyday life and practice thatincludes cultures, routines and beliefs of group of people liv-ing in a certain community, Hoey (2013).

1.6 Limitations and Delimitations

The study was limited to the group of Agusan Manobo tribe within and surrounding Sitio Kapda, Barangay Sabud, Municipality of Loreto, Agusan del Sur. Although the Manobo natives are extended to other parts of the municipality and province, I chose this community for it is perceived that the culture, beliefs and practices of Manobo culture are still rich, intact and somehow not yet acculturated by migrants. It is also recommended by the Local Government Unit of Loreto. Ac- cording to them, they are the group of people who exhibited a rare, beautiful, unique and distinct culture of man worthy for cultural admiration. The main sources of the data gathered in this study were the interviews, focused group discussion and observations made by the researcher during the immersion. The actual performance of the rituals were not recorded in this study nor any picture of relics for they believed that it were only for them. The interview and focused group discussion were limited to the elders and datus of the tribe for they are perceived to possess the traditional knowledge and leader- ship. Observation is made to the members of the tribe.


The Cultural Past of Indigenous People

Manobo tribe is one of the populous indigenous group of people in the island of Mindanao, Philippines and that in- cludes the Agusan Manobo tribe in the province of Agusan del


• Abraham L. Masendo is currently pursuing doctors degree in education majorin management and administration in University of Mindanao, Da- vao City,Philippines. E-mail:

Sur, Cembrano (2013). Moreover, the areas inhabited by manobos covers from the Pantaron Mountain Range of Bukid- non and Davao del Norte provinces to the west and to the east is the Diwata Mountain Range. At the heart is the great Agu- san River. It runs from the south at the Municipality of Sta. Josefa and winding to the north going to Butuan City to the mouth of Butuan Bay.Furthermore, the aborigines of Agusan were the ancestorsof the present-day Mamanwas who were driven to the hinter-lands by the waves of Malay immigrants from nearby Borneo,Celebes and Malaysia. The Province of Agusan del Sur hasfive groups of Indigenous people, the Aeta, Mamanwa, Bago- bo, Banwaon, and Agusan Manobo. Among the five existing tribes in the province, only Agusan Manobo, Banwaon and Higaonon tribes are distinctly identified since they live along the National Highway and river towns going to Davao del Norte while others live in the town of Esperanza towards the boundaries of Misamis Oriental, Surigao and Bukidnon.The same author said, archeological research found out that in Maug, Prosperidad, at the eastern part of Agusan val- ley, points to the emergence of the Paleolithic period. Moreo- ver a linguistic reconstruction study revealed that the proto- Manobo language was spoken in the northeastern Mindanao about 500 AD or 1,500 years ago.On the other hand, the monobos have their own dialect,which is a mixture of a native dialect and an acquired foreignlanguage. The Agusan Manobo call their language Minanubu, and is one of the Manobo languages that still have a large number of speakers. It has four dialects: Umayam, Adgawan, Surigao, and Omayamnon. The name Manobo, according to De leon ( 2006), is influenced by the Malay River People. These people are called Mansuba, from the word Mansuba, the malayan term for river. Therefore, Mansuba literally means people living near or in the river (most of them live on floating houses). Later on, Mansuba is shortened to Manuba, which eventually took its masculine gender which is Manobo.According to Jushua Project (2014), the most common life- style of the Manobo is that of rural agriculture. Unfortunately, their farming methods are very primitive. Some of the farm- ers have incorporated ploughing techniques, while others have continued to use the "slash-and-burn" method. Other Manobo living in other areas of the province use a farming system called kaingin. This is a procedure in which fields are allowed to remain fallow for certain periods of time so that areas of cultivation may be shifted from place to place. More- over, social life for the Manobo is patriarchal (male- dominated). The head of the family is the husband.Moreover, polygyny (having more than one wife at a time) is common and is allowed according to a man's wealth. However, among the other group of Manobo, most marriages are monogamous. The only exception is that of the powerful datus (headmen). The political structures of the Manobo groups are all quite similar. A ruler, called a datu, is the head of the group. Beneath him are the royal and non-royal classes. Only those people belonging to the royal classes can aspire to the throne. Those belonging to the non-royal classes are under

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the power and authority of the royal classes. Each class is in- terdependent on the others. The political aspects of life are often integrated with the social aspects. For example, many social events, such as weddings, require political leaders. Whenever there is a negotiation for marriage, both the bride and the groom must use the local datu (headman) to make all of the arrangements.Furthermore, the religious beliefs of the Manobo revolvearound the concept of many unseen spirits interfering in thelives of humans. They believe that these spirits can intrude onhuman activities to accomplish their desires. The spirits arealso believed to have human characteristics. They are both good and evil in nature and can be evoked to both anger and pleasure. While the religious practices of the Manobo vary slightly, there seems to be at least one common thread linking them together. Each culture believes in one "great spirit." This "great spirit" is usually viewed as the creator figure. As the various Manobo groups have been separated, the religious beliefs of other peoples have influenced them somewhat. However, the Manobo have often incorporated these new practices into their belief system, rather than abandoning their practices and being converted to new religions.The initiation of rituals involve separating neophytes (ini- tiates) from everyday social life and forcing them to pass a luminal state in which the boundary of the human social world seems to blur. The ritual communication is established between human beings and non- human beings such as spirits, divinities, and the spiritual owners of natural species, subjec- tivities that inhabits animal bodies and plants and so on all that is endowed with different capacities, (Sztutman, 2008).Furthermore, humans know that much of what they pos- sess- what we call culture- was not merely invented by thembut taken during mythic times, from other species not seen since distant past. To celebrate, an intense network of repay- ments above all of food and drink but also on some occasion’s songs and artefacts is set in motion. Supported by Cole (2013), rituals are a means of praying to the Great Spirit and sacrific- ing oneself while retaining a direct contact with the tree of life.In the study conducted by Buenconsejo (2005), the Mano-bos believed in the myth that Spirit interacts with human be-ings. Manobo’s belief in these beings perpetuates the idea thatthe cosmos where the human being lives is a place where theysurvive because human beings share and exchange gifts, notonly with spirits but among themselves. The Manobo’s distin- guished between diwata, witches and the disembodied souls of deceased humans (umayad). They maintain these funda- mental categorical distinctions between supernatural beings. In fact the action of the spirits conceptually separate from anti- social sorcery (kumetan), spirit mediums can only heal illness caused by a member of a class of spiritual beings, compatible to human interventions, while victims of sorcery must be treated with other methods involving magical substances and talisman.Moreover, there are several classes of spirits being recog- nized by manobos based on their relationship to human com- munities. The three main categories are unsocial (indifferent to the world of humans), “bounded” (tawaganen) and “un-bounded ( baylan) spirits are further subdivided into dozens of subtype based on appearances, behaviour, associated natu- ral features and other factors. Bounded spirits are generally attached to particular sites in the environment while un- bounded are spirits capable of becoming spirits familiars, di- wata most likely to take an active role of human affairs.In addition, Manobos divination and healing involved spirit mediums, musical performances and usually the sacri- fice of domestically pigs or chickens. These rituals are de- signed to solicit benevolent pity from spirits by offering them songs, drum and gong music, consumable substances (betel nuts, tobacco, and foodstuff) and burnt sacrificial gifts (sinug- bahan). Some of the rituals that Manobo performed are inajew (a spirit possession healing ceremony), tukey (incantation rite) and hihinang ( a hybrid commemorative ritual involving the use of visayan language and western style table).In the study conducted by Cembrano (2013) among the Manobo of Northeastern Mindanao, one of the rituals called of pamaliskad (ordination) of the datu is done by taking all the heirlooms like sword, spear, bronze bracelet and baylan’s skirt and placed in the altar called buggusan or angkuw. The deities are believed to come down, laden with boiled boar head and tail, a cluster of betel nuts, a spray of palm betel flowers, sugar cane, taro plant and a chicken. The drum and gong are beaten to summon the spirits. The installing datu summons also the spirit of the earth. The invited leaders do the same calling the spirits of their clans. During the trance, the baylan and the chieftain express the wishes of their ances- tors and the Mambabaja. The new datu is bestowed with a timuso ( bronze bracelet). He must wear also the sinugbahan ( heirloom) to protect them from any harm and as a symbol of leadership. The sacred sword is also handed down to the in- coming datu. The ceremony is believed to ward off evil spirits. The datu elevated to a high position is entrusted with tangkuyo (headcarp) of the ancestor leader. The symbol of wisdom and power is decorated with boar and horse hair, crocodile teeth. The tamed chief spirit and turban can warn him of any danger and protect him from any harm.According to the study conducted by Tomaquin (2013),among the Tambajon or baylan of Manobo-Mamanwas of Su-rigao province, they are believed to be charmers and anherbalist. It is thought that they have several charms. It is apopular belief among the Bisaya/lowlanders population thatthey are endowed by the power of barang, a curse or simply a form of sorcery. The Mamanwas generally are peace loving. They are unassuming and tend to settle their conflict peaceful- ly. The Tambajon/Baylan, in some extent is a peacemaker, if the Datu seeks his services. Tambajon/baylan is an institution of Mamanwa society. It holds the community and provides its solid framework of the society. He is a protector of their indig- enous religion. As a herbalist, his knowledge of indigenous/ traditional medicine is exemplary including the knowledge in treating or curing snakebites. The Tambajon then is a healer-- religious expert. He is an intermediary between the Diwatas and the settlement. The Tambajon/baylan becomes through his own effort or through a visionary experience. He is an ex- pert of the indigenous prayer, (Tud-om), the Mamanwa sham-

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an, whose influence of culture is noticeable. He is highly re- spected in his spirituality as intermediary to the temporal world to the Paradise (Katahawan). The Tambajon/Baylancan directly receive communication from Tahaw, as the Maman- was believed. He is the most sincere person in the village for he led the Kahimonan with deep respect to Tahaw. He is ex- pert in the Mamanwa oral tradition and is endowed with wis- dom of the Tud-om and the code of religious vow of the Tam- balons or the Binaylans.Moreover, of the same author, another religious ceremony of Manobo-Mamanwas is the pagsangkalanlan. When some-body is sick in the village, it is believed that it is brought by Habang, thus be treated in the ceremony. For several weeks the Mamanwas gather salted meat of wild pigs (usually un- cooked). They are going to store up it in bamboo internodes. They are going to combine it with starch from a lumbia tree. Then they will cook it. While cooking, they will dance around the preparation and should become strident. The ritual dance is called binangazozo. After they were done dancing, they will get a tungkayan, a wood or stick used in beating the gimbar (drum made of the skin of iguana). After that the baylan/sarok guided the communal prayer, the banquet and merriment will go on followed by eating accompanied by drumming the gimbar. The spirit that gives sickness will be cast out in the ceremony.Another practice by Manobo-Mamanwas is the ceremony of hunting aimed at inviting Tama, the diwata of the forest. IfTama is pleased, he will release wild pigs and deers. The belief that Tama as the Anito in-charge or herder of hunting animals is clearly noticeable. In the ceremony, the sa- rok/sukdan/baylan is assisted by female tambajon. The main Tambajon followed by the minor one first performs the spir- itual dance (Katahawan). After they are done, the rest of the participants will join. A single gimbar/drum is the only in- strument used is the ceremony. It is expected that after the dance, request are made to the gods, the main sukdan/baylan trembles or in the state of trance. He should be brought to the constructed altar with a boar. After the main sukdanis done with his prayers, and the minor Tambajon finishes his/her dance, the main sukdan/baylan will get a spear and pierces or kills the boar. After which prayers of wish and supplica- tions/petitions are offered to supreme god Tahaw. Then, the blood of the boar is scattered to the ground. The community will bring young coconut leaves for the blessing of the main baylan afterwards. The members of the community will pass by in the constructed altar to be cured of possible illness. Af- terwards, they will butcher the pig, cook it and then the whole community will share with it.The same author, another related ceremony offered to Tama is releasing a hen in the forest. The ritual is performed in order for hunting/game to be successful. And for Tama to release iguana, deer, and pigs in the forest. In this ceremony the blood of the wild pig was scattered/sprinkled in the speci- fied area in the Kaingin, for Tama to hear the wishes of the tribe.Untouched by the influences of Spanish colonialism, theIfugao has also a unique culture. They value kinship, familyties, religious and cultural beliefs, according to Barton (2007). They're unique among all ethnic groups in the mountain prov- ince, not only for their interesting customs and traditions but also for their narrative literature such as the hudhud, an epic dealing with hero ancestors sung in a poetic manner. Moreo- ver, another feature unique to the Ifugao is their woodcarving art, most notably the carved granary guardians bului and the prestige bench of the upper class, the hagabi. Their textiles renowned also for their sheer beauty, colorful blankets and clothing woven on looms. Houses were well-built, character- ized by as a square with wooden floors, windowless walls, and pyramidal thatch roofs. Elevated from the ground by four sturdy tree trunks, they feature removable staircases that were hoisted up at night to prevent entry by enemies and/or wild animals. Lastly, their attire remain traditional for male Ifu- gaos, donning the wanno or g-string; there are six types of wanno which are used depending on the occasion or the man's social status. Ifugao women, on the contrary, wear tapis, a wraparound skirt; there are five kinds of skirts worn, depend- ing on the occasion and/or status of the woman/girl.On the other hand, another beautiful practice of one of the tribes of the Cordillera Mountain, the Bontoc or Igorot, haswedding rituals that usually spans several days, as document- ed by Bigornia (2011). It starts with the delivery of the faratong (black beans) from the girl to the bachelor signifying the bride’s intentions to marry. Afterwards, the bride’s family sends out what is known as the khakhu (salted pork) to the groom’s family. This is countered by the sending of sapa (glu- tinous rice). These food items are distributed to their respec- tive family members, including their relatives. An important rite called insukatan nanmakan (exchange of food) follows. Here, one of the groom’s parents, after receiving an invitation, must go to the bride’s house and have breakfast with them. Later, the groom’s parents also invite a bride’s parent for a similar meal. The next step is the farey. The bride and a kaulog (girlfriend) will visit the house of the groom. This is when they‘start entering each other’s houses’. They will have to leaveimmediately also, but they will be invited again on the follow- ing morning for breakfast. This is the start of the tongor (to align).The next day, the bride’s parents, bearing rice and salted meat, will go to the groom’s house for the kamat (to sew tight). A kaulug of the bride and the groom’s best friend islikewise invited. The evening will be the start of the karangor the main marriage ritual. This is when the bride and groom are finally declared as a couple to the whole community. The following morning is the putut(to half). Here, only the imme- diate relatives are invited for breakfast, signifying the end of the ritual. Two days after the putut, the couple can finally live as husband and wife, but may not sleep together for the next five days, known as the atufang period.The atufang serves to validate the marriage. The groom is instructed to bathe in a spring, taking note of every detail thatcomes his way, such as the characters he meets, weather changes, among others. Should anything peculiar occur, he must make his way to the mountain to cut some wood. The bride, on the other hand, is sent off to weed in the fields. Any

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untoward incidents serve as warnings that the new couple must postpone their living together or mangmang. The final stage of the atufang involves covering smoldering charcoals with rice husks overnight. The marriage is considered null and void if the fire goes out the morning after. The final step is the man manok where the bride’s parents invite the groom and his parents and declare that the groom could officially sleep with the bride. This signifies the end of the marriage ritual for most Igorots. An optional lopis (a bigger marriage feast) could be done should the couple’s finances allow.Another practice that supports this study is the burial not-ed in the Province of Davao. In the past centuries one of the tribes in Mindanao, the Manobos living in the hinterland of Davao Provinces, has practices in burying their dead. Accord- ing to Administrative Office of Davao Sur Province (2003), the dead were either laid on a platform built beside a tree, or wrapped in a mat and bamboo slats and hung up a tree. After the funeral, the relatives of the deceased abandon their dwell- ings and clearing. Manuel (2003), said that in the 20th century, as the United States colonial government introduced the abaca plantation system, the Manobos abandoned the practice of “tree burial” and shifted to burying their dead under their houses. He said with the new burial practice, the Manobos no longer abandoned their dwellings and continued with the cul- tivation of their clearings. Wakes among the Ata-Manobos, the tribe occupying the forest areas straddling parts of Davao City and the towns of Talaingod and Kapalong in Davao del Norte, are the only occasion where antuk (riddles) are taught by the elders to the young people. Industan (2005), narrated, that the tribe believes that teaching antuks in occasions other than the wake would lead to misfortunes or bring bad luck to the entire community. In an Ata-Manobo wake, a widowed husband usually lies beside his deceased wife while relatives and friends sit around them. Some pass the time telling the riddles while others chant. During the wake chanting (uwahingan), singing, dancing, playing instruments (tagungguan) are con- ducted to alleviate the pervading grief.Moreover, another belief in the spirit world of the T’boli natives, one of Mindanao’s most colorful tribes living around Lake Sebu, a person is believed to be a “composite of body and spirit,” as noted by an ethnography. The T’boli believes that the spirit leaves the body when it is asleep and returns to awake it. Death happens when the spirit leaves the body per- manently, or is taken away by an evil spirit called busao. The body is laid on a boat-shaped wooden coffin tightly sealed with a tree resin to prevent the odor of the decomposition pro- cess. A T’boli wake may last from a week to five months but if the dead is highly respected by the community, his or her wake may last for a year. At the end of the wake, the wooden coffin will be placed over a fire but the fluid that oozes through the burning wood is collected and used as sauce for their sweet potato meals. In this manner, they believe the de- sirable qualities of the deceased will pass on to them. It is also noted that T’bolis have no specific burial ground so they bury the dead anywhere. But the interment is done only at night and that after the burial, the community partakes of a feast and leaves portions of the food in the grave. After the feast,the dead’s possessions are destroyed. After the burial, the mourners perform rituals to cleanse and rid themselves of evil spirits. The mourners jump over two swords fixed on the ground and later purify themselves in the river or any body of water.Timoquin (2013) reported, the Dakula or Datu has a direct authority in maintaining peace in the village. He is assisted by the elders (Malaaser) and his advisers, the Baylan/Tambajon. He is obliged to pacify or solve the conflict and will make sure it can be pacified so it will not be forwarded to the Barangay captain. In settling conflicts, it is their practice to call the atten- tion of the parties in conflict. Both are allowed to express their sentiments which are listened to and thoroughly considered. After weighing the reasons, the datu offers solutions or ver- dict. A guilty person has to pay a fine, usually a pig. The pig should be slaughtered and a cup of blood should be consumed by the guilty party as a sign of guilt. In cases of murder, it should be forwarded to the municipality or to the police. In cases of conflicts between Mamanwa and Bisaya, it is baran- gay chairman who will have the jurisdiction of the case. Col- lectively, the farm field of the Mamanwa such as one in Siba- hay is managed by the Dakula, which he subdivides among the community members. The same is practiced in Burgos and Hetaob , Manganlo and Lake Mainit. There are customary laws they observed like paying respect to civilians and mili- tary authorities and the laws of the land. They always provide an avenue in conducting the kahimonan at least four times in a year. They respect the hunting rights of other tribes. They respect personal property. They avoid stealing, each should offer suggestions on how to solve village problem. They re- spect the elders and parents. They respect everyone in the vil- lage. They share food and meat gathered from hunting with the rest in the community. They respect women and children. The Dakula maintain the peace of the place with the assistance of the Malaas. A guilty party will offer fines or Mangangade which is in a form of cash or property. In case there is a severe offense, the penalty will be a forced labor. Forced labor will be demanded by the relatives of the aggrieved party. The guilty party is also required to give a piece of land to the victim in cases of severe act of offense such as murder. The settlement will be done in the house of Dakula.The political organization of the Mamanwas traditionallyis a band type according to Jocano, (1996). A band usuallyconsisted of 20-90 households. There is a loose tie in the band for there is no social stratification. The settlement or band is headed by a Dakula, equivalent to Manobo Chief or Datu. Though his authority is informal, he exercises tremendous influence of the settlement. Sanctions such as expelling from the band if there is a violation of tribal norms is seen as very effective.Another practice of Ifugao people when they harvest rice,as mentioned by Naganag (2013), the rice land owner butchera big cow or water buffalo and invite all the harvesters in thecommunity to harvest. Each one will be fed and each harvester will bring home slice of meat when they retire at the end of the day. The pieces of meat are being held together by a small

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sheet of bamboo. The size of a bundle is as big as a full-grown man’s three fingers held together.If the bundle in the kaingin is bigger, it is as big as a man’s risk. The rice harvester will stick to their lane until the end of the day. There is no swapping or interchanging of positions or destination or station. Changing station will decrease the har- vest. The harvest is usually gathered before noon or lunch break. One will gather all the bundled rice and arrange them by path.Habbiling (2008), harvest season calls for grandiosethanksgiving feasts, while the concluding harvest rites "tungo"or "tungul" (the day of rest) entail a strict taboo of any agricul- tural work. Partaking of the rice wine (bayah), rice cakes, and'moma' (mixture of several herbs, powdered snail shell and betel nut/ are coline: and acts as a chewing gum to the Ifu- gaos. It is an indelible practice during the festivities and ritualactivities. After the bountiful harvest, the ifugao hold a ritual to mark the end of the harvest season. The “punnuk,” a post- harvest ritual, is performed by residents of some towns in Mountain Province, (Amores, 2014).In addition, a day before the punnuk, a “houwah” (thanksgiving rite) is performed by the “mumbaki” (nativepriest), along with the reading of the bile of a chicken for good omen, and the offering of “bayah” (rice wine) to the gods and deities. The next day, the punnuk is declared by a “dumu- pag,” a female agricultural leader who holds the social posi- tion and respect in the village. The punnuk is a thanksgiving ritual after a bountiful rice harvest. This signals that people can now be free to do other things that were earlier prohibited during the harvest ritual. For instance, no eating of fish or shells from the river, no eating of leafy vegetables from the terraces or planting in the gardens and other heavy manual tasks.Hungduan children forge a bond by joining communityfestivals and rituals tied to Ifugao province’s rice cycle. Fromthe rice terraces, a group of children, teenagers, adults andelders lines up dressed in their native attire: The men in their“wanoh” (loincloth) with their “pongot” (headdress) and the women in their “tolge” (native skirt). They carry the “dongla,” the principal sacred plant of Ifugao, and the “kina’ag” (a mon- key-like scarecrow made of rice stalks) in a procession heading to the nearby river. As they walk down through the terraces, the participants and spectators cheer and challenge each other to play the “guy yudan” (tug-of-war). The “pakid,” a long wooden pole with a hook, is pulled by each group from the opposite end. The players from each village are a mix of men and women, children and elders, with their bodies half-soaked and resisting the strong current of the river. They believed that the winners of the game would have a bountiful supply of rice, while the loser would experience scarcity throughout the year. The guyyudan is also regarded as a form of entertainment for residents as they celebrate the lifting of the prohibitions at the end of the harvest season. At the end of the guyyudan, villagers throw the kina’ag and then the dongla into the river to symbolize that all misfortunes, pests and sick- ness will be washed away.Another practice by Manobo-Mamanwa is called hongod- god (Tomaquin, 2013). This ceremony is done when planting doma or root crops (camote, kalibre, karlang, ube, palaw, etc.) After clearing the kaingin/slush and burn farming,a nursing Mamanwa mother would institute the first planting. She should carry on her back the infant because it is believed that by doing so, harvest will be plentiful. Since Mamanwas be- lieved in the presence of Diyatot and Anitos, (part of the spirit world) who usually dwell in the balete and tuog trees, during their kaingin farming, these balete trees were spared. The saruk/tambajon/baylan should conduct a ritual so that the Diyatot and Anitos will not be angry of the kaingin. Moreo- ver, they believe that there are two types of anitos: the Mara- diyaw and Mataro (Good and bad). The good ones promote good harvest of the kaingin and kamotihan. The bad ones give illness or sickness.The Manobo of Cotabato, as stated by De Jong (2010), the Samayaan is a native ritual in which omens are read in con- nection with the various stages of the farming cycle: clearing, planting, growing, and harvesting. The first day of the plant- ing season marks the beginning of the Manobo year, the last day of harvesting is the ending. Cultivating rice and corn has been and still is a part of the Manobo way of living, some Manobo villages have shifted to the cultivation of coconut for copra export. Corn and rice are planted in the month of Feb- ruary, the corn is harvested in July but rice takes longer to grow and is harvested four months later. When the trees start to bloom, the Manobo hunter will wait for the coming of the bees that will led him to their bee hives. The hunt for bees is the basis of the traditional bee-hunting dance. To pray for a successful hunt only bee hunters are allowed to sing a tradi- tional song titled Manganinay , this hymn is sung in honor of Panayangan, the god of the bee hunt. The song must be pro- claimed outside the house, singing it inside will cause the house to burn down.Throughout the year, the elders of the Manobo tribe arelooking for the star-lit sky to determine the season of planting,harvesting, fishing and hunting. Each star can bring a different message and will guide the tribal group in their traditional way of living. This practice is called Pamiteun, the Manobos' indigenous way of understanding the stars. Nowadays only the members of the older generation of farmers will continue to use the Pamiteun but they are passing the knowledge to the present generation, to learn the old way of living, keep their culture and traditions alive and deepen their consciousness about their own cultureThe history of the past amused the present time and some of the practices still hold of the present. The Manobo camefrom Mamanwas who were driven to hinterland until they reached to forestall area of Agusan through Agusan river. Other group of indigenous people have their own myths and practices like planting and harvesting, arts and literature, wedding, burials with corresponding rituals for they are the expression of their lives. Spiritual beliefs are the basis for tra- ditional Indigenous rituals and laws, and those beliefs and laws are demonstrated through ceremonies and rituals. Cere- monies are an important way for Indigenous people to com-

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municate with their spirits, and to learn the culture’s law. The spiritual life of traditional Indigenous people is based on the creation time, a time when Ancestral Beings brought the land to life, creating people and other living things.There are still many rituals, beliefs and practices that in- digenous people both local and foreign practiced today not mentioned in this study. However, those mentioned practices supported that rituals are done to demonstrate that Agusan Manobo people believed in Supreme Being and that their fate has something to do about what they believed.


3.1 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to describe, recognize, rec- ord and preserve the beliefs and practices of Agusan Manobo tribe from the viewpoints of the participants of the past and present generations. The intent was also to gain insight if the practices of Agusan Manobo tribe before can also be seen to- day as practiced by the members. It also tried to understand the strategies and ways used by them so that they can pass on their culture to the next generation, and also to determine what are the hopes and aspirations of the tribe.As a coordinator of the Learning Resource Materials Development System (LRMDS), the information that will be derived from this study are useful guide in making learning materials to be used by the teachers who are teaching in the newly established schools in the different Indigenous People (IP) Communities in the province particularly for Agusan Manobo tribe as dominant indigenous group of Agusan del Sur. As the division in-charge of the district where the place of study is located I felt proud of being part of their community especially in the lives of their children.As a school administrator in our division and as an educa- tor, the results of the study will help us devise plans and strat- egies to further the implementation of program and projects in our department across all schools and the Indigenous People are part of it which constitute 52 % of our students in the whole division, without prejudices to their culture, but that conform, preserve and protect their beliefs and practices. As an educator, I am with the cause that no child is left behind, for education is not only for the selected race but for all Filipi- nos regardless of colour and origin that includes the children of Agusan Manobo people.

3.2 Research Participants

4 The study used the purposive sampling since it is most effective technique when one needs to study a certain cul- tural background with the knowledgeable expert within. Selected respondents were highly important for this re- search, as people looked upon the knowledge and infor- mation. Choosing the purposive sample is fundamental to the quality of data gathered, thus, reliable and competent.5 The study used seven key informants who were in-volved in the study. The seven members whose ageswere 60 years old and above, all were respected datus ofthe Agusan Manobo tribe. They were invited to constitute the “then” group for the focused group discussion. An-other ten of mixed elderly and young ages selected for the interview and constituted the “now” group. The partici- pants were chosen as pure Manobo in blood and residents of the research setting.

3.3 Data Collection

The instruments used in this study were the interview and the interview guide validated by experts, tape recorder, camera and video camera. At first, the questions were made and sub- mitted to the adviser for refinement. Then the draft was shown to the panel of experts for validations and for further refinement. When the validity of the questions is established it will be administered to the participants and informants.I went to the National Commission for IndigenousPeople (NCIP) to seek advice about my study and gave me a background of the Manobo tribe. They recommended me the tribe and advised me then to write formally a letter of request so that they can assist in getting the data and they can also inform the concerned datu of my coming. I also asked permis- sion from the Supreme Datu of the municipality of Loreto of my intention of my research. I also obtained permission from the tribal leaders after introducing my research plan.The approaches employed in gathering data were in- terviews, focused group discussion and field observation toillicit information from the respondents. The issue of this re- search were the real life experiences of the respondents partic- ularly their culture, beliefs and practices. Aiming that each answers makes sense and I can give meaning to every social experience they have. My immersion with the tribe was based on casual conversations, taking notes of what had happened daily and there was a formal interviews.Focused Group Discussion was conducted accordingto procedures described by Krueger as cited in the work ofOpena (2011). There were seven datus participated in the FGDand ten in the interview. During the discussion, I was themoderator. I directed the flow of the discussion through the interview guide. I prepared also an interpreter so that those who cannot understand my language can understand it through their dialect. Since, they able to speak in bisayan lan- guage I set aside the interpreter to translate my questions to their language.. The participants of the study were from SitioKapda, Barangay Sabud, Loreto, Agusan del Sur, situated atthe boundary of the provinces of Compostela Valley andBukidnon. In the eastern part is also the Municipality of LaPaz, Agusan del Sur.As participants arrived, I readied with a nametag tobe worn during the discussion and so that I can easily recog-nized them. When participants were prepared, introductionwas made. I started with few brief welcome discussion andoverview of the topics and also the ground rules. Participantswere informed that conversations were recorded. The sample interview guide is attached in the Appendix. After the inter- view, the participants were given a chance to clear all their doubts by encouraging them to ask questions or clarifications on issues discussed earlier.

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The researcher must determine and find what data will contribute to his understanding and resolution of a given problem and collect the suitable and available data for that problem. In this study the collection of data was patterned to the five (5) steps given by Creswell (2008) which are as fol- lows; obtaining permission to conduct the study, selecting participants and cites purposefully to best understand the phenomenon, identifying data from various sources, adminis- tering and recording data using protocols, such as observa- tional and interview protocols, and administering the data collection in a manner sensitive to individuals and sites.Another aspect of data collection is identifying the types of data that will address the research questions and sub ques- tions in the interview guide. For the purpose of obtaining the perspective of the participants and allowing them to share their views, research questions to be used must be less struc- tured and open-ended (Creswell, 2008). There are three open- ended research questions formulated for this study. Each re- search question has sub questions that serve as the guide dur- ing the face-to-face interview with each male student.Moreover, Creswell reminded qualitative researchers of the field issues in administering data collection. He noted thatfew of these issues are the need to adjust or change the form of data collection once the researchers enter the field, collection of data must be limited at the start of the study, one or two interviews at a period so as to budget the time needed for the remaining data to be collected, and the amount of energy and focus or concentration required to establish an ample data- base.Merriam (1998) stated that there are three sources of datain a multiple case study, namely, observations, interviews, anddocuments. Data collections for this study were focused oninterviews and documents only.

3.4 Data Analysis

The data analysis started as soon as the interview and fo- cused group discussion were done. However, beforehand plans are formulated so that information gathered were easily interpreted and analyzed. During the activity, translator of the language was prepared. However, it was found out that they speak also the bisayan language. It was decided later that the medium of conversation is bisayan language.The conversation and observations were recorded us-ing video tape recorder and audio recorder. It was also tran-scribed in support of the records taken during the focused group discussion and interview.Themes, coding, narrative analysis and analysis of re- sponses were employed by the study in analyzing the results.


The rituals conducted by the tribe are part of their culture. The culture of the tribe includes their beliefs, assumptions and values of the members of the tribe. These rituals will tell that Manobo people are religious and pious people. And the rituals are part and parcel of their beliefs. They do these rituals be- cause they believe in the spirits that protect them.The families in the tribe are responsible of the preser- vation of their culture. They teach their children the values, rituals, beliefs, arts and culture. It is one of the strategies used by the tribe to continue their culture. The role of the datu as the leader of the tribe is also crucial in the cultural preserva- tion for he can command the tribe. The tribe will heed his call because he is the most respected person in the tribe.The tribe longed for a school that will give educationto their children. They realized that only through educationtheir hope will be realized. They viewed education as an im-portant tool to improve their situation by pursuing economic,social and cultural development; it provides them with indi- vidual empowerment and self- determination. They under- stand it as a means for employment; it’s a way for socially marginalized people to raise themselves out of poverty.The tribe expect that their culture will continue to exist,despite of the strong influx of other culture. They wanted to preserve it by documenting their activities that in the future, their children can read what the Manobo culture is. They wanted also to preserve their land for their own race with the help of the government.The focus of this qualitative case study was to obtain in- formation of thelived experiences of the male student prostitutes that cre- ates a future dilemma to the academic institutions. Moreover, the study also understand the feelings and emotions to these male student prostitutes concerning the reasons and aspira- tions in turning to this kind of activities. The participants were from the different universities and colleges within Composte- la, Compostela Valley Province.There were three research questions in this study. Each re-search questions has subquestions that served as the guide for the in-depth interview. The first research question was about the experiences lived by the male student prostitutes. The se- cond research question dealt on the reasons of these students in turning to prostitution. The third concerned with the aspira- tions of these male student prostitutes as they are looking for their future.Each participants were the time to answer the questions tocomplete the profile of the in-depth interview participants.Thewhole duration of the in-depth interview has been recorded.The participants have been assured of the complete confiden-tiality of the data gathered.


This chapter presents the summary of findings, conclu- sions and recommendations of the study.The study was conducted to describe, document and preserve the cultural practices of the Agusan Manobo tribe living in Sitio Kapda, Sabud, Loreto, Agusan del Sur. The ethnographic research method was used in this study with seven participants in Focused Group Discussion and 10 partic- ipants in interview who eagerly and sufficiently shared their practices. In the interview they are randomly selected while in

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focused group discussion the datu around the area were invit- ed. After I secured permission from the concerned persons and agency and with the help of LGU I proceeded to the re- search area.Specifically, this study sought to answer the following questions:What are the past and present practices of Manobo tribe? What strategies used by Manobo tribe to preserve theirculture?What are the hopes and aspirations of Manobo tribe?After the study, the following summary of findings wasdrawn out:The past and present practices of Manobo tribe are the fol- lowing:Rituals. The rituals of Manobo tribe are based on partici- pation and purposes. There are two types’ of rituals among the Manobo tribe. The public and private rituals. The public ritual is of community interest and the examples are the har- vesting and planting called the taephag, the ritual of epidemic diseases called sundo and the initiation of a new baylan, suyad buya. They are usually led by the tribe priest. The pri- vate rituals are arranged by individual for himself or any member of his family. The examples of this rituals are the ta- gun-on tu bata (birth), sugnod (death) and sugudun (hunting and fishing). The ritual sinuyad is a welcome or acceptance dance in honor of the diwata who comes and identifies itself through the baylans’ chant. The purpose of this ritual is to admit the diwata into the baylan.According to Montilla-Burton (1985), there are two types of priest: the baylan and the bagani. The diwata is said to communicate with human beings through the baylan whom they possess. The manifestation of such possession are sweat- ing, belching, having spasm, foaming at the mouth and falling into trance. The baylan officiates in rituals involving the eve- ryday affairs of the people. Before, the bagani priests are con- sidered war priest because they manifested the same signs of possession, were induced by gods tagbusau to declare war and performed rituals in honor of their war gods with the use of their paraphernalia similar to baylan’s, except the betel nut offering. But now, it is only the baylan who is called in the tribe to .Furthermore, there are two most important things used in rituals, they are betel quid and the blood of sacrificial pig or chicken, believed to be the diwata’s food and drink. The blood offering is the central point of every ritual. A lance or bolo is thrust into the sacrificial victim and a bowl catches the blood and some of which is smeared on the altar and on the partici- pants. In the ritual where the baylan is possessed, the blood of the sacrificial victim is either sucked from the wound or caught in the bowl from which the baylan drinks.Generally, a ritual is divided into three stages: the first stage is the inapogan or panawagtawag (invocations) which begins with the baylan inviting the diwata to chew betel quid. In curing ritual, the baylan is possessed by her abyan. Ocas- sionally, the baylan breaks into a dance or an ecstatic seizure in between parts of the invocation. In rituals such as taephag, the baylan is not possessed.In second stage, the sacrificial victim, which is either a pigor chicken, is killed with a bolo or a spear. The blood is caught in a bowl and smeared on the altar and the central partici- pants. Sometimes, the baylan, in a trance, drinks the blood.The third stage, the hakyad, is the invitation for the diwa- ta to partake of the food offering of cooked rice, meat and eggs. Then the baylan pours a glass of water around the altar. This is believed to be drunk by the diwata.Moreover, religious ceremonies make use of wooden trays, tables, platforms, and sections of bamboo poles. The bangkaso is a rectangular wooden tray decorated with palm fronds and with incised, traced, or carved designs. The talidung is a sacrificial stand, consisting of a wooden disk standing on one leg. Offerings of betel nut, rice, meat, and others are laid on it. The angka/angkaw is a sacrificial table, its top consisting of split bamboo bands laid side by side, with narrow gaps in between. Palm fronds arch over each side of the table and more palm fronds hang down like tassels from the edges. On top is laid the sacrificial victim or the ritual of- ferings of 6 china plates of uncooked rice and betel quid, 2 glasses of water, 6 candles, and 6 raw eggs Montillo-Burton (1985).Beliefs in Spirits of Divine Being. The lives of the Mano- bo tribe revolved always in the belief that unseen spirits are interfering the activities of humans. They believed that spirits can speak to them through the medium which is the baylan. Unseen spirits are both good and evil and can be evoked to anger and also to pleasure. Members of the tribe can call upon their spirits as helpers, intermediaries between people and power and as teacher. Acquiring and maintaining right rela- tionship with this aspect of the spirit world can constitute a sacred partnership, Baum (1999).The Agusan Manobo are polytheistic, although they seem to acknowledge Magbabaja, the Creator as their supreme dei- ty. The Magbabaja’s messengers are diwata, invincible and powerful lesser gods who can possess human beings, especial- ly the baylan and the bagani, through whom they communi- cate with ordinary human beings. The diwata can be classified as non-chanting or chanting diwata. Based on their abodes, they may be classified as celestial or terrestrial. Based on their functions and relation to human affairs. Montillo-Burton (1985).Moreover, an example of a non-chanting celestial diwata is “Inadyaw”, who dwells on a lakeshore in heaven. He is the god of thunderbolt, lightning, wind, rain and storm. He pun- ishes breaker of taboos. “Libtakan” is the god of sunrise, sun- set and good weather. “Tutudoman” or chanting diwata communicate through the baylan, who chants their messages when is possessed. The tagbusau are the diwata of bloodshed and revenge and in the past, used to incite the “bagani” to wage war in order to appease their craving for human blood. The” pana-iyang” cause ordinary persons to run amuck, kill- ing everyone in their path. Agricultural diwata are Taephagan, Hakyadan and Tagamaling. Taephagan is the goddess who guards the

Published on : 25/02/2018 by Puerto Parrot

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