January 5, 2014

0942 PHILIPPINES (Northern Mindanao) - A Talaandig solemn ritual


Mindanao is the most culturally diverse island in the Philippines where people of different languages, tribes and races meet. The native Maguindanaon, Moro or Lumad groups have a culture that is different from the main culture of the Philippines. There are 17 ethnolinguistic groups Lumad (shortening for Katawhang Lumad, which in Cebuano literally means "indigenous peoples"), which at the beginning of the 20th century controlled an area covering now 17 of Mindanao’s 24 provinces, but by the 1980 census they constituted less than 6% of the population of Mindanao and Sulu. Katawhang Lumad are the un-Islamized and un-Christianized Austronesian peoples of Mindanao (about 20 general hilltribes). One of this tribes is the Talaandig, estimated to comprise about 100,000 people or more, who live in the province of Bukidnon, around the mountain of Kitanglad, their sacred "temple" and ancestral home. They have continued to preserve and promote its customs, beliefs and practices, despite the strong influx of modernization.

The Talaandig are semi-settled agriculturalist in the uplands. The traditional crops include corn, rice, rootcrops, abaka and banana, being supplemented by raising chickens, pigs and other livestock. Pigs and chickens are usually utilized for religious purposes while large animals such as horses and carabaos are used for payment of debt and other financial obligations. The Talaandig technology includes blacksmithing, weaving, embroidery, hunting and food gathering. The belief on the existence of the highest God called Magbabaya and the spirits who guard and protect nature is manifested in the social, economic and political aspects of their life.

The Talaandig leadership is governed by Batasan, a set of sacred customs, traditions and policies sanctioned through the religious beliefs and practices of the tribe. Being sacred, the leadership under the sanctions of customary laws is highly respected. The ritual to institute the leadership is called Panagulambung, and is done in the presence of other leaders as a confirmation of authority of a Datu. A Datu, the father of the community, chosen for his recognized courage, accomplishment, versatility, and mastery of the oral history and customs of the people, is a mediator and a leader, his major role being to intervene in conflicting relationships to secure peace and harmony in the community. In this postcard is shown a solemn ritual of inauguration of a Bae, a Female Tribal Chief,  the mother of the community, in Lantapan, the most important municipality of Talaandig.

About the stamps
The stamp, designed by Nemi Miranda and issued on March 30, 2012, is part of the series Philippine Folklores and Legends, and is dedicated to Maria Makiling, Guardian of the Forests, the most widely known diwata (fairy or forest nymph) in Philippine Mythology.

Lumad peoples - Wikipedia 
The Talaandig, by Victorino L Saway - National Commission for Culture and the Arts official website
Talaandig - Talaandig Cultural Site

sender: Chloe Manlosa-Osano (direct swap)
sent from San Fernando (Visayas / Philippines), on 19.11.2013
photo: John M. Campbell

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