Our fellow elder Ifugaos
There are 100 or so different sea-based or highland-based tribal groups in the Philippines. Among Filipinos, they are ones least influenced by western or Islamic cultures. Some of the people in this category include the Cordillerano (Igorot), who live in the highlands of Luzon; the Mangyan of Mindoro; the scattered Negritos including the Aeta in Luzon and the Ati of Panay; the tribes of Palawan ; the Lumad of Mindanao (including the Manobo, Tasaday, Mamanwa, Mandaya, and Kalagan); and the Bajau of the Sulu Archipelago. While some tribal groups living in Luzon have been Americanized and Westernized--an example of which is the predominance of Protestantism in Cordillera Administrative Region—the tribal groups living in Mindoro and Palawanare still generally animistic, while many of those in Mindanao practice folk Islam.
The Moros consist of various ethnolinguistic groups in southern and western Mindanao who have a similar ancestry to other lowland Filipinos, but whose religion is Islam. The largest of these are the Tausug, the Maguindanao, the Maranao, the Samal, the Yakan, and the Banguingui. These ethnolinguistic groups are very diverse in terms of language and culture, and have been politically independent from each other up until recently.
Collectively, they are also called Moros. The word Moro in English means 'moor'. Muslim Filipinos have an independent justice and education system centrally based in Cotabato City. Islam has been the most dominant influence on the Moro culture. All in all, they comprise 5% of Filipinos, them the sixth largest ethnic group in the country.
Aeta, Ati or Negritos
Aeta are an indigenous people who lived in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of Luzon, Philippines. Known to be “Negritos” who are dark brown skinned and tend to have features such as a small stature, small frame, curly to kinky afro-like textured hair with a higher frequency of naturally lighter hair color (blondism) relative to the general population, small nose, and dark brown eyes. They are believed to be the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, preceding the Austronesian migrations.
Aeta are also animists. They believe that good and evil spirits inhabit the environment, such as the spirits of the river, the sea, the sky, the mountain, the hill, the valley, and other places. For example, the Pinatubo Aeta believe in environmental spirits such as anito and kamana.
One of the tribal groups, they inhabit the six provinces of Abra, Apayao,Benguet, Kalinga, Ifugao, and Mountain Province; plus the lone city of Baguio. The Igorots are known for being industrious, honest, and faithful to their ancestors.
Their land is important to them because this is their main livelihood. One proof is the Rice Terraces of Banaue which is found in one tribes of Ifugao.
Live mostly in the Southern part of Benguet located in the Cordillera of Northern Luzon, one of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines are the Ibaloi (also Ibaloy and Nabaloi).
Ibaloi people are traditionally an agrarian society. Many of them continue with their agriculture and rice cultivation. Their language is closely related to the Pangasinan language.
One of the major feasts of the Ibaloi is the Pesshet. It is a public feast mainly sponsored by people of prestige and wealth. It last for weeks and involves the butchering and sacrifice of dozens of animals.
Bendiyan Dance is one of the popular dances of the Ibaloi which is participated by hundreds of male and female dancers.
Mangyan is the generic name for the eight indigenous groups found in the Philippine Island of Mindoro. They are Alangan, Bangon, Tau-Buid, Buhid, Hanunoo, Iraya, Ratagnon, and Tadyawan. The following eight Mangyan tribes may look the same but they have different cultures and traditions. Each of the have their own tribal name, language, and customs.
Mangyan are agriculturists. They plant a variety of sweet potato, upland (dry cultivation) rice, and taro. They also trap small animals and wild pig.
Like the Aetas their traditional religious world view is also animistic.
The Manobo are several people groups who inhabit the Island of Mindanao. Their cluster includes eight groups: the Cotabato Manobo, Agusan Manobo, Dibabawon Manobo, Matig Salug Manobo, Sarangani Manobo, Manobo of Western Bukidnon, Obo Manobo, and Tagabawa Manobo. The eight Manobo groups are all very similar; they differ only in dialect and in some aspects of culture.
Most common lifestyle of the Manobo is one of rural agriculture. Their farming methods are primitive. When it comes to Social life, Manobo is patriarchal, or male-dominated.The head of the family is the husband. Polygyny (having more than one wife at a time) is common, and is allowed according to a man's wealth. However, among the Bukidnon, most marriages are monogamous. The only exception is that of the powerful datus, or headmen.
Manobo’s religious culture believes in one "great spirit". This "great spirit" is usually viewed as the creator figure.
Maranao are the graceful "people of the lake", living on the northern edge of Lake Lanao. They are Mindanao's last group to be converted to Islam.
They are famous for their artwork, sophisticated weaving, wood and metal craft, and their epic literature. Okir or okkil refers to the ranfe of folk motifs, usually of plants and geometric forms that are prominent in Maranao art work.
Tausug or Suluk is the name of an Islamized tribal group in the Sulu archipelago, and is taken from the words tau meaning man and sug meaning current. Traditionally the Tausug is sailors, pearl divers and traders, their ancestral homelands in the Sulu Archipelago have vigorous tidal currents that flow from the Sulu and China Seas to the Celebes Sea. This translates literally into the name people of the current.
They are the first group in the archipelago to be converted to Islam. They possess a courage that is beyond doubt, their bravery is supposed to be unquestionable, therefore the Tausug are often named Tau Maisug or brave people. The Tausug regards themselves superior to other Philippine Muslims and still live a combative way of life, running away from a fight is considered shameful. One old Tausug proverb says: “Hanggang maybuhay, may pag asa” meaning; Never admit defeat as long as you live.
Lumad people are a group of native peoples of Southern Mindanao, Philippines. It is a Cebuano term meaning “native” or “indigenous”. The term is short for katawhang Lumad (literally “indigenous peoples”), the autonym officially adopted by the delegates of the Lumad Mindanaw Peoples Federation (LMPF) founding assembly in June 26, 1986 at the Guadalupe Formation Center, Balindog, Kidapawan, Cotabato, Philippines. Katawhang Lumad is the un-Islamized and un-Christianized Austronesia peoples of Mindanao
Lumad is composed of 18 ethonolinguistic groups namely, Atta, Bagobo, Banwaon, B’laan, Bukidnon, Dibabawon, Higaonon, Mamanwa, Mandaya, Manguwangan, Manobo, Mansaka, Subanon, Tagakaolo, Tasaday, Tboli, Teduray, and Ubo.
The cultural heritage of Lumad people is seen in their clothes and ornaments they wear. Housing, economic activities, cultural habits and often religion are all very traditional. Ome groups learned to know tourism as a good alternative to earn extra money. In general, this native group still live like in the past.
One of the majority Muslim groups that live on the hillsides on the island of Basilan, which was formerly known as Tanguina, is the Yakan.
Yakan preserved an Islamic lifestyle that differs from the majority of the Philippine population. Their belief can be described as Folk Islam, they follow Saytan, the various spirits in heaven and in the natural environment, showing the remaining influence of pre-Islamic religious beliefs. The mosque has continuously played an active role in the guidance of the Yakan community, a place of worship and a place of education, it is considered to be the center of the community and a place that binds the tribal community together.
Yakan people are known as fierce warriors and primary farmers. They reside in the mountainous interior region of Basilan Island. They believe that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are good working days and the remaining days of the week are bad working days. The diversity and rich culture of the gentle Yakan tribe is best portrayed in their annual Lami-lamihan Festival, showing the traditional Yakan customs and traditions, music, traditional dances and crafts that has long been preserved.
The tribe is known to be peaceful and respectful as shown in their manner of greeting strangers. When meeting people of the tribe a visitor has to join them in Mang-Upa, a betel nut chewing ritual. It has a symbolic value at ceremonies and cultural events and practiced at the beginning of social events, it is offered to guests as a sign of hospitality and to strengthen social ties.