Bagobo Tagabawa

It's sad that the Bagobo tribe,  specifically the Tagabawa -- accordingly has been made an extinct tribe. The reason is that no one at this time and age has continued to uphold its culture and dialect. The 3rd generation Bagobo Tagabawa has turned its back on its roots and origin.

Most young Bagobos today are embarrassed to admit their heritage.  I don't understand because at every opportunity, I declare to all and sundry that I am of a Bagobo Tagabawa descent -- my mother is a full-bloodied Bagoba, the daughter of a Bagobo Tagabawa and a Bagoba Tagabawa.

Although my father is a pure-bred Kapampangan, I have spent a few years of my childhood in the midst of the Tagabawa tribe and I have a good grasp of their culture and I understand every bit of the dialect -- I may not be able to speak it through and through but I do understand.

When my mother died, I knew we all were gonna lose our connection with her roots -- we might even forget the dialect. So I would try to preserve the culture and dialect of the Bagobo Tagabawa by featuring them in this blog. Everything in here would be from my own experience growing up with the tribe and from the stories of my grandmother and my mother.

The first generation Bagobo Tagabawa are proud people, intelligent and courageous people -- ready to kill for their family and their honor.

I understand that there are other groups of Bagobos -- the Guiangans or Clatas, and the Ubos. Sad to say, we Tagabawas and the others, though under the same Bagobo tribe, cannot understand each other. There maybe a few common words in the dialect but not enough to completely understand one another. The truth is, I have no idea about the customs of the other Bagobo communities  -- I have never met one of them. That is why, it would do all groups a lot of good if people do not call them Bagobo in general or if they tell people themselves that they belong to this particular Bagobo group.

I take umbrage with one particular episode of the show Maalaala Mo Kaya entitled "Gong" which featured the "Bagobo" tribe. I do not blame the show for the discrepancies in it, though they should have made a thorough research to get the facts right.  And the letter-sender should have correctly identified the Bagobo community from which his wife comes from because just saying Bagobo is unfair to the other groups.

Why am I offended by the episode?

"Bumaba sa patag para magpalimos"

A Tagabawa never begs or resorts to mendicancy -- never namamalimos ang mga Bagobo Tagabawa! When someone says Bagobo, it embraces all groups so to say that the episode is about the Bagobos and they establish that these indigenous people ay namamalimos is offensive to us Tagabawas. The letter-sender is young -- his wife must be a 3rd generation Bagoba. If she does not know that there are other groups of Bagobo, then she does not know her tribe well.

Tagabawas are proud people. Even the slaves do not beg for food. My mother use to tell me about one al-lang (slave) -- the only living al-lang left after the war -- he lives in an obscure part of my uncle's large estate or my grandfather's large estate under the administration of my uncle.  The al-lang bothers no one, he keeps to himself, and when kids happen to meet him on the road, he takes another route. He tills the land for his food... and never begs.

I was concerned that it was a Tagabawa who carelessly sent her "life story" to the show but upon intently listening to the "dialect" and did not understand a word (maybe because of the WORST accent ever), I knew it was not from a Tagabawa.

"Magpapakasal ka sa isang Bagobong babae! Paano mo maipagmamalaki ang Bagobong iyan?"

First of all -- our women are called BAGOBA.

Second -- if the problem of maipagmamalaki involves the physical look -- let me say here that the Bagobo Tagabawas I know are not plain and homely. Let's start with my mother. She has a flawless fair skin, wavy black hair, beautiful deep set eyes, and well-shaped nose. That is why a man from Luzon who has left behind pretty girlfriends in Pampanga becomes enamored with her and has opted to marry her.

My mother's eldest brother was tall and robust, with a handsomely chiseled features.  Another brother broke so many hearts when he went to school in the city (patag -- as the show kept repeating). Yes... my uncle (a Bagobo Tagabawa) went to school in the city in the early 50's. And yes -- civilization had crept into the Bagobo Tagabawa tribe that early... and please -- weddings were no longer officiated by tribal chieftains even way back then!

Now -- if the problem is the "smart factor" -- let me tell you this. My mother was born and raised in the Bagobo Tagabawa environment and married a Kapampangan who did not speak any other dialect and who refused to learn the Bagobo dialect. To bridge the communication gap, she learned Kapampangan and in a few months, was speaking Kapampangan like a native speaker. If that is not smart, what is?

My cousin, as handsome as his father, became a sought-after bartender in a luxury ship before he retired. Another uncle topped his class in school but unfortunately died after the war. He would have become a good lawyer. Yes -- Bagobo Tagabawas have ambitions, too!

The Wedding

Again -- weddings as far back as 1950's are already officiated by priests in churches  and licenses are applied for a few weeks before the ceremony -- much like what's required today. Hellooo...!!!
The letter-sender and his wife are a young couple. I assume they have gotten married somewhere in 80's or 90's? Married by a tribal chieftain? In full Bagobo regalia? I don't think the Guiangans or Ubos are that backward! Or are they still practicing their wedding customs?

Well.. as I said I have no idea how the other communities do their thing -- but it still is absurd! If we Tagabawas have moved on with the times, I would assume they too would have kept up.

The rice paddies

The characters keep saying "patag" and keep referring to their home as the "bundok." I may need to check on my geography because I might have missed something. What I know is that planting rice in the "bundok" does not involve rice paddies -- that is why the rice is called "upland rice" in contrast to "lowland rice" planted in rice paddies. And I know that Bagobo Tagabawas are indigenous people of Davao and where they inhabit, there are no rice paddies.  But as I said, I'll have to check on that.

Well... I could go on and on and on -- but I get comfort from the fact that the show might be right for I am not exactly familiar with how the other Bagobo tribes live -- we may have similarities such as the custom of giving dowry for marriages -- but based on the MMK show, I hope the similarity ends there!

If some indigenous people want to showcase their culture on TV -- I hope they make sure they don't come off as second class citizens!!

35 comments:

  1. yes,
    i agree what you stated here,i am also a bagobo tagabawa tribe....from digos...

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    1. Hi... I'm so glad to hear from a fellow Bagobo... I really hope we can unite to showcase our colorful culture so we will not vanish into oblivion...

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  2. Hi! might you have any picture/s of Tagabawa or that of other Bagobo tribe's textiles, accessories or anything physical that may represent your culture? I'm designing a building in Tudaya and I'd like to reference the local tribe's art in the building's exterior. You can reach me through my email, myriclamo@yahoo.com
    I'd really appreciate if you can help me with this..

    from way way way up north..=)

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    1. Hi... thanks for dropping by...
      Sadly... we're not able to save any pictures of our ancestors in full Bagobo regalia or any of the accessories that my grandmother has handed down to us... but you can easily find materials on the internet... some pictures are quiet authentic...

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    2. yes i hve the picture og my grandafa" datu bualan"

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  3. i also a bagobo from toril...

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    1. Really? My family is from Toril... my mother is from Catigan and we have relatives still living there... hope to hear more from you... do you speak Bagobo? Maybe you can send me some insights about Bagobo Tagabawa that I can feature in my blog... thanks for dropping by...

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    2. Hi Norman im my name is ning-ning from toril catigan to be exact. i know how to speak bagobo even iam 25 percent bagoba.. pinag mamalaki ko yan . Mader dukilam langon neyo kakita ni surat ko..

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    3. Hi Ms. Norma mader dukilam langon dini.. im from toril also acasia catigan to be exact my grandma is 100% bagobo tagabawa i ahve 25% blood. i can speak the tagabawa. hindi ko kinahihiya yan.. ii stil have picture of my grand father name "DATU BUALAN" the father of my granda wearing native clothes .kaya may lugar doon na bualan thats because of my grandfa.... sana sa mga bagoba wag kayo mahiya..

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    4. Hi... I spent my childhood in Upper Catigan when my mother used to own a piece of land up there. When I started to go to school, we left and visited once in a while but I still have some distant relatives in Upper Catigan - nice to hear that you can still speak Bagobo Tagabawa -- More Power! Madiggir al-lo kaneko...! I often hear my grandmother speak of Datu Bualan ... my grandfather is known as Bangkas.

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  4. yes bagobo tagabawa tribes is the most intelligent tribe here in davao.. nakakainis nga nuh.. hindi naman talaga tayo ng lilimos sa daan.. shxxxtxx napikon ako dun...

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    1. Correct talaga! Intelligent na... magaganda at guapo pa...!

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  5. madiger allo kanyo langon... good day to all of you.... madita'g bagobo tagabawa dini ta santa cruz... maraming bagobo dito sa santa cruz davao del sur... :)

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    1. I really miss the Bagobo dialect... can you write here some Bagobo phrases, stories, sentences, words, or anything in Bagobo dialect and I will post them here. Thanks!

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  6. thank you for committing to writing your blog and keeping bagobo tagabawa alive. we here in canada, are reading your postings and learning from your heritage! keep writing... also, visit us on FB Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Collective Society

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  7. Hi... thanks for visiting my site... will check your FB page for sure...

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  8. Your Blog is definitely honest and true. We Tagabawa's are proud people. I really don't understand other Bagobo teens or "New Gen" of Bagobos are so ashamed of our roots. I am of mix Tagabawa and Obu-Manobo blood.My mother is Bagoba and my father is Manobo. The letter sender of MMK was definitely ignorant of his/her culture. We Bagobos are rich people before the Tagalogs, Ilonggos,Cebuanos and even Muslims came in to Mindanao. We never beg for money!, No matter how poor our state would seem to be, We never beg for other peoples money. We have a very profound tradition which I really have fond of hearing from my father and mother whenever they tell stories about it, and NEVER did I hear from them that a Bagobo or any Lumad beg for money(Badjao are an exemption).

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    1. We should continue to be proud of our heritage.... Bagobos are great people... we should never be ashamed of our roots...!

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  9. We Bagobos never beg for money. That letter sender is ignorant of our culture!. We may not be rich in material things but we definitely are not beggars!. My mother is Bagoba and my father is of Manobo descent. I never heard from them that any of our tribal keens nor Bagobos beg for money. Dramas on TV are too commercialize not centering on facts.

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  10. Madigar allo ka langun, garbo ko na bagobo tagabawa ah, imbitan ko si kiyu langun bisita ko ka bagobo tagabawa language org. Subra 600 dan eh membro puro mga pamatan on. Marapung tagabawa ag ginawa ka kinagiyan ta.,,
    Salamat

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    1. Let me try to translate your comment:
      "Good day to all, it is my pride to be a Bagobo Tagabawa. I invite all of you to visit bagobo tagabawa language org. More that 600 members (puro mga pamatan on? -- sorry this I do not know...)
      So many Tagabawa love our dialect..."
      I hope I am doing this right...
      More power Bagobo Tagabawa!!!

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  11. Madigar allo ka langun tagabawa, imbitan ko si kiyo na bisita ko kato fb group bagobo tagabawa language org. Subra dan 600 membro mga puro taga baea.
    Salamat

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    1. Will definitely check out the FB Page. Thanks!

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  12. hi :) i'm joyce, and i'm conducting an architectural research involving the culture of bagobo tagabawa and i would like to tour around your community in toril and in sta. cruz. i hope you could help me :) thanks

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    1. I've not been to Toril or Sta. Cruz for such a long, long time... anyone who can help Joyce?

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    2. I came from Toril and proud to be a Bagoba of Tagabawa tribe. My mother is pure Tagabawa & my father was half Tagabawa & Ilonggo. My family still lives in Toril and still active in representing the Bagobo Tagabawa Tribe on any occasions & events. As of now one of my sister is leaving for China to represent our tribe & she is the only delegate from our country

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    3. Wow! Congratulations to your sister and to your family... truly a pride of the Bagobo Tagabawa... and the whole country for that matter!

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  13. Very proud to be one. My family still lives in Toril & very active in representing our tribe in any events especially ARAW NG DABAW.

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    1. More power! Thanks for keeping the tribe spirit alive especially during the Araw Ng Dabaw celebration....

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  14. Diri ta kalingawan to mga kustombre ta na asta neggo lumon ta.... Tudloan ta to mga bata ta eg kaggi ka kinagiyan ta abo don pagsik ginawa dan kani tribu ta

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    1. Tuo manggo yan... diri ta kalingawan ni kinagiyan ta... ni mga gabata ngan-ni diri din katig ag kaggi... ago kay-ya-an sikandan...

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  15. Malapong nakilala ko tagabawa dun ka davao particularly dun ka Digos, Santa Cruz asta Toril na di dan katig ag istoray ka Tagabawa. Majority kata mga kadumaan ta Bisaya dan eh kinagian so kay-yaan dan sikanda na sikandan tagabawa. Dun mga professional na storyahan no ka Tagabawa ta pag tubag dan is Bisaya dan. To ngadan ko is Camilo A. Andi Jr. 100 percent LUMAD.

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    1. Hi Camilo... tuo yan... madita din diri kalyag ag kagi ka Bagobo... taman manan kay-yaan sikandan? Madigir man to custombre ka mga Tagabawa. Madita kanita mga professionals. Ag kaguol ah ago manda din ni kinagiyan ta ka sige din ag-Bisaya ni mga ka-tribu ta. Sak agad 50% Tagabawa a did -- proud to be Bagoba!

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  16. Proud bagobo tagabawa dili naku ika ulaw ako tribe. ang uban man gud i deny nila ilang tribe mao ng mga hilas na pud kaayo ba naka tung2x lang gani ug siyudad. Hehehe suko jud kaayo ko. pasensya na na carried awaya lang ko. taga sta cruz diay ko.

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  17. Hi Proud bagobo . mga gwapo og gwapa ang mga bagobo. hehehehe dili naku ika ulaw ako tribe

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