The Talaandigs – A Tribes in Bukidnon, The Philippines

The Talaandigs is one of seven tribes that live in the Bukidnon Provinve in Mindanao Island. Some of them are still wearing coconut shells as bra and palm leaves as skirt. They have different language and different tradition.  In the forest, they often live in group consist of 5 families, but some live only with their own family.

By Any Marsianti

datu[1]of Higaonon and some other people was telling me that the Talaandig people are some people I do not want to meet in the woods.  For other tribe such as Higaonons or Bukidnons, the Talaandigs are common for their notorious hobby of fighting and war.

talaandigs in bukidnon

The Talaandigs often build their houses on the heights of trees to avoid spear attack from their enemy.

Furthermore, they see the Talaandigs as group of lazy people.  Most of the time of their life they spend doing nothing.  They sometimes cultivate the land but they are really lazy doing cultivation routine such as fertilizing, removing bushes from their plant area.  They just plant the seeds and wait for the harvesting time.  Since they are too lazy, their cultivation (mostlykaingin[2]) is seldom coming out with good harvest.  Some people say that is why the Talaandigs are often very poor.  They even can’t buy salt for cooking.  They don’t send their children to school since the schools are often located very far from their area of living (some of them still live in the deep inside the forest).

The Talaandigs in the Kaamulan Festival 

Today, I saw something else in the street dancing competition in Kaamulan festival in Malaybalay city, the capitol city of Bukidnon Province.  The Talaandings that inhabit the municipality of Talakag has shown their best way of peace keeping with their neighbourhood tribes.  They stated that their tribe has been always a good imitator of their surrounding[3].  In Talakag, which is neighbouring with Lanao, a Moslem majority community, the Talaandigs has imitated the Moslems way of life in some way.

Why I say the Talaandigs has shown their best way of peace keeping?  It is because when I read the script, there’s a paragraph that says:

“It is our hope that through this, our indigeneous people of Talakag will be known far and wide as weavers of beautiful mats, as hardworking people and as warriors and hunters whose bravery cannot be doubted. Further, in the spirit of unity and oneness, we join the other tribes of Bukidnon in the annual celebration of the Kaamulan.  It is also our fervent hope that all indifferences, if there be any, between and among these different tribes, be settled and forgotten for good.”

The Talaandigs Performance in The Street Dancing was A Campaign 

I just can assume that through the dance, the Talaandigs are hoping to have fruitful and peaceful relationship with any other tribes in Bukidnon aside of their notorious history of violent.

In the street dancing competition today (March 6), the Talaandigs showed their way of live of farming.  The Dance is entitled as Mangilamun, Mamula, Maglala, daw Mangaso Kyo which means Let us plow, plant, weave, and hunt.  From the script, they started the dance with a group of brave warriors opening the forest (I assume this scene as a practice of slash and burn).  After that, the elders prayed and followed by some farming activities till the harvest time.  Some of them were also weaving and some warriors were acting of hunting activity.

the talaandigs
traditional dresses of Talaandigs
The Talaandigs, street dancing

[1] Datu is one of a tribe leaders in Bukidnon province, no matter what the tribe is.

[2] Kaingin is local term for slash and burn farming.

[3] It comes with their name, tala is a prefix, while andig means fond of or imitate.

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