Monday, June 16, 2008


The Lumad are a group of indigenous peoples of the Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
Lumad is a Cebuano term meaning ‘native’ or ‘indigenous’. For more than two decades it has been used to refer to the groups indigenous to Mindanao who are neither Muslim nor Christian. 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. It is the self-ascription and collective identity of the un-Islamized indigenous peoples of Mindanao.

The name Lumad grew out of the political awakening among various tribes during the martial law regime of President Ferdinand Marcos. It was advocated and propagated by the members and affiliates of Lumad-Mindanao, a coalition of all-Lumad local and regional organizations which formalized themselves as such in June 1986 but started in 1983 as a multi-sectoral organization. Lumad-Mindanao’s main objective was to achieve self-determination for their member-tribes, or, put more concretely, self-governance within their ancestral domain in accordance with their culture and customary laws. No other Lumad organization had had the express goal in the past.
Representative from fifteen tribes agreed in June 1986 to adopt the name; there were no delegates from the Three major groups of the T'boli, the Teduray and the Subanen.

The choice of a Cebuano word was a bit ironic but they deemed it to be most appropriate considering that the various Lumad tribes do not have any other common language except Cebuano. This is the first time that these tribes have agreed to a common name for themselves, distinct from that of the Moros and different from the migrant majority and their descendants.

There are 18 Lumad ethnolinguistic groups: Ata, Bagobo, Banwaon, B’laan, Bukidnon, Dibabawon, Higaonon, Mamanwa, Mandaya, Manguwangan, Manobo, Mansaka, Subanon, Tagakaolo, Tasaday, Tboli, Teduray, and Ubo.

According to the Lumad Development Center Inc., there are about eighteen Lumad groups in 19 provinces across the country. They comprise 12 to 13 million or 18% of the Philippine population and can be divided into 110 ethno-linguistic groups. Considered as "vulnerable groups", they live in hinterlands, forests, lowlands and coastal areas.[1]

Katawhan Lumad are the un-Islamized indigenous peoples of Mindanaw, namely: Erumanen ne Menuvu`, Matidsalug Manobo, Agusanon Manobo, Dulangan Manobo, Dabaw Manobo,Ata Manobo, B'laan, Kaulo, Banwaon, Teduray, Lambangian, Subanen, Higaunon, Dibabawon, Mangguwangan, Mansaka, Mandaya, K'lagan, T'boli, Mamanuwa, Talaandig, Tagabawa, and Ubu`, Tinenanen, Kuwemanen, K'lata and Diyangan.]

There are about twenty general hilltribes of Mindanao, all of which are of Austronesian descent.
The term Lumad excludes the Butuanons and Surigaonons, even the said 2 ethnic groups are native to Mindanao and the word tells it so because those two are Visayans and Lumad are not ethnically related to them.

The Bilaan or B'laan is an indigenous group that is concentrated in Davao del Sur and South Cotabato. They still practice indigenous rituals despite adaptation to the way of life of modern Filipinos.[2]

The Manubu tribe is different from the bagobo, because they live in the upland areas northwest, north, and northeast of Mt. Apo in interior Mindanao.
The Arumanen-Manuvu had its origin from a village settled place called Banubu near the mouth of Pulangi River.

A god named Apo Tabunawai rules the village. He is acclaimed as the “Timuay” or the convenor of the village elders. According to legends, Timuay Apo Tabunawai was a skillful forest food gatherer such of wild ubi, sago palm, various roots crops nuts and fruits.

Issues are tackled by the Council of Elders are the review and reconstitution of community policies for the coming seasons. To bring omens of good tidings, abundance and societal well-being, marriages of young people are arranged and undertaken on the post-festival evenings.

By foot and with the use of basket types of traps, the hunters bring home large fowls, fish, lizards, pythons and lesser wild games.

The villagers acknowledge that the abundance brought home from a hunt comes from the favor of Elemental Beings whose compassion is anchored upon Apo Tabunawai.


The Subanuns are the first settlers of the Zamboanga peninsula. Because they live near the river ("suba"), they are called river dwellers or Suba-nuns. The family is patriarchal while the village is led by a chief called Timuay. He acts as the village judge and is concerned with all communal matters.


The Higaonon is located on the provinces of Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental,and Rogongon, Iligan City, Lanao del Norte. Their name means "people of the wilderness". Most Higaonons still have a rather traditional way of living. Farming is the most important economic activity.

Cultural groups Majority of the inhabitants of the region are of Visayan lineage. The ethnic residents include the Manobo, the Mamanwa and other tribes.

"Kamayo" literally means "You/ its Yours / Yours " when it use to conversation by the lumad / other kamayo speaking people. But "Kamayo" when refers to as a group of people / as a society in a certain place in mindanao means " A Way of Life" or Pamaaging panginabuhi-an in kamayo term.The kamayo way of life is peacefull, kind and loving people. Most of kamayo are located in the minicipality of ,Bislig, Hinatuan, Tagbina, San Agustin, Lingig and other part of Caraga region, Campostella Valley and Davao provinces.

The Mamanwa is a Negrito tribe often grouped together with the Lumad. They believe in a collection of spirits, which are governed by the supreme deity “Magbabaya”. The tribe produce excellent winnowing baskets, rattan hammocks, and other household containers.

"Mandaya" derives from "man" meaning "first," and "daya" meaning "upstream" or "upper portion of a river," and therefore means "the first people upstream". It refers to a number of groups found along the mountain ranges of Davao Oriental, as well as to their customs, language, and beliefs. The Mandaya are also found in Compostela and New Bataan in Compostela Valley Province (formerly a part of Davao del Norte Province).

By: Gwendalene Ting The term "Mansaka" derives from "man" meaning "first" and "saka" meaning "to ascend," and means "the first people to ascend the mountains or go upstream." The term most likely describes the origin of these people who are found today in Davao del Norte, specifically in the Batoto River, the Manat Valley, the Marasugan Valley, the Hijo River Valley, and the seacoasts of Kingking, Maco, Kwambog, Hijo, Tagum, Libuganon, Tuganay, Ising, and Panabo (Fuentes and De La Cruz 1980:2).

The Sangir or Sangil is located in the islands of Balut, Sarangani, and the coastal areas of South Cotabato and Davao del Sur. Their name comes from Sangihe, an archipelago located between Sulawesi and Mindanao. This was their original home but they migrated northwards.

History has better words to speak for Misamis Occidental. Its principal city was originally populated by the Subanon, a cultural group that once roamed the seas in great number, the province was an easy prey to the marauding sea pirates of Lanao whose habit was to stage lightning forays along the coastal areas in search of slaves. As the Subanon retreated deeper and deeper into the interior, the coastal areas became home to inhabitants from Bukidnon who were steadily followed by settlers from nearby Cebu and Bohol. The name Subanon, "which is derived from the word suba, "river," means a river people.

One of the smallest tribes in the Philippines, there were only 61 individuals in a census conducted in 1987. They were originally called “Linat Batang."

Up to this day, they continue to hunt and gather food, dwell in caves, use stone tools and wear garments of “curcoligo” - a kind of fern plant - along side practices acquired through long contact and exchange with neighboring people. They are socially and geographically distant, though not completely isolated. Linguistic studies show Tasadays belong under the ethno linguistic category.
The Tasaday (IPA [təˈsɑdaɪ]) were purportedly a group (cf. tribe) of about two dozen people living within the deep and mountainous rainforests of the southern Philippine island of Mindanao

The Tbolis are one of the indigenous peoples of South Mindanao. From the body of ethnographic and linguistic literature on Mindanao they are variously known as Tboli, T'boli, Tböli, Tiboli, Tibole, Tagabili, Tagabeli, and Tagabulu. They term themselves Tboli or T'boli. Their whereabouts and identity is to some extend confused in the literature; some publications present the Tboli and the Tagabili as distinct peoples; some locate the Tbolis to the vicinity of the Buluan Lake in the Cotabato Basin or in Agusan del Norte. The Tbolis, then, reside on the mountain slopes on either side of the upper Alah Valley and the coastal area of Maitum, Maasim and Kiamba. In former times, the Tbolis also inhabited the upper Alah Valley floor.


The Bagobo is a tribe that traces its origin from the people who brought Hinduism to Mindanao during the Sri Vijayan and Majapahit invasion. When the people inter-married with the locals, they formed a new society and came up with the name Bagobo.

The word “Bagobo” is derived from the root word “bago,” which means “new” or “recent” while the “obo” suffix means “grow” in the tribe’s dialect.

The Bagobos have a light brown complexion. Their hair is brown or brownish black, ranging from wavy to curly. The men have an average height of five feet and three inches, while the women’s height average is five feet.
Although their faces are wide, their cheekbones are not too prominent. Their eyes are dark and widely set, while the eye slits are slanting. The males and females deliberately shave their eyebrows to a thin line. The root of their nose is low, while the ridge is broad. Their lips are full and their chins are round.

Musical Heritage of the Mindanao Lumad groups
Most of the Mindanao Lumad groups have a musical heritage consisting of various types of Agung ensembles - ensembles composed of large hanging, suspended or held, bossed/knobbed gongs which act as drone without any accompanying melodic instrument.

Social Issues
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Lumads controlled an area which now covers 17 of Mindanao’s 24 provinces, but by the 1980 census they constituted less than 6% of the population of Mindanao and Sulu. Heavy migration to Mindanao of Visayans, spurred by government-sponsored resettlement programmes, turned the Lumads into minorities. The Bukidnon province population grew from 63,470 in 1948 to 194,368 in 1960 and 414,762 in 1970, with the proportion of indigenous Bukidnons falling from 64% to 33% to 14%.

Lumads have a traditional concept of land ownership based on what their communities consider their ancestral territories. The historian B. R. Rodil notes that ‘a territory occupied by a community is a communal private property, and community members have the right of usufruct to any piece of unoccupied land within the communal territory.’ Ancestral lands include cultivated land as well as hunting grounds, rivers, forests, uncultivated land and the mineral resources below the land.
Unlike the Moros, the Lumad groups never formed a revolutionary group to unite them in armed struggle against the Philippine government. When the migrants came, many Lumad groups retreated into the mountains and forests. However, the Moro armed groups and the Communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) have recruited Lumads to their ranks, and the armed forces have also recruited them into paramilitary organisations to fight the Moros or the NPA.

For the Lumad, securing their rights to ancestral domain is as urgent as the Moros’ quest for self-determination. However, much of their land has already been registered in the name of multinational corporations, logging companies and wealthy Filipinos, many of whom are settlers to Mindanao.
Our ancestors have passed their traditional beliefs from one generation after the other. To some indigenous tribes, traditional beliefs are the gospel truth. Through time, some of our traditional beliefs have been eclipsed by scientific principles.

Indian, Chinese, Arabian, Spanish, Mexican, and American belief systems have contributed to our own set of beliefs.

There are folk beliefs about the es of illnesses. Though some tribes believe certain maladies have a biological origin such as overeating, poor diet, excessive drinking, infections, and accidents, there are still other groups who believe that spirits and elementals can also be a cause for a number of illnesses. The belief in the supernatural is the primary reason why up to this day Filipinos have a surplus of albularyos or quack-doctors.

Traits, on the other hand, vary from one person to another and in a collective sense; it varies from one nation to another. Every country has its own set of traits. They are molded from influences from another person or from another culture. This holds true in our country, as the Americans, Spanish and other countries that made constant interactions with our fellowmen through the years have influenced us.

Because of this mix of influences, we came up with a set of traits and influences that we can call our own.

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