Sunday, September 25, 2011

History of Mindanao, Part XIX: The Manobo Tribe in 1925, Part 2

In this, the second part of the series, "History of Mindanao, Part XIX" I will excerpt from an academic treatise presented to the National Academy of Sciences (American) annual meeting in 1929, "First Memoir of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume XXIII" (Washington DC: U.S.Government Printing Office) (1933) . Written by the American amateur anthropologist John M.Garvan, "The Manobo of Mindanao" is an incredibly well researched work, all the more so given Garvan's occupation as a teacher, and later a shopkeeper. In this entry, from Chapter 2, Garvan focuses on the label "Manobo" itself.

"The Manobos of Mindanao"

"Present Use of the Word Manobo"

The word "man" seems to be a generic name for people of greatly divergent culture, physical type, language. Thus is it is applied to people that dwell in the mountains of the lower half of Point San Agustin as well as to those people whose habitat is on the southern part of the Sarangani Peninsula. Those again that occupy the hinterland of Tuna Bay* came under the same designation. So it might seem that the word was originally used to designate the pagan as distinguished from the Mohammedanized people of Mindanao, much as the name "Haraforas" or "Alfuros" was applied by the early writers to the pagans to distinguish them from the Moros.

In the Agusan Valley the term Manobo is used very frequently by Christian and Christianized and sometimes by pagans themselves to denote that the individual in question is still unbaptized, whether he be tribally a Mandaya, a Mangguangan, or some other group. I have been told by Mandayas on several occasions that they were still "Manobo," that is, still "unbaptised." Then again the word is frequently used by those who are really Manobos as a term of contempt for their fellow tribesmen who live in remoter regions and who are not as well off in a worldly or cultural way as they are. Thus I have heard Manobos of the Upper Agusan refer to their fellow tribesmen of Libaganon as "Manobos" with evident contempt in ther voice. I asked them what they themselves were and in answer was informed that they were "Agusanon"- that is "Upper Agusan People," not "Manobos."

"The Derivation and Original Application of the Word 'Manobo' "

One of the earliest references that I find of the Manobos of the Agusan Valley is in, "General History of the Discalced Augustinian Fathers (1661-1699)" by Father Pedro de San Francisco de Assis. The author says that "the mountains of that territory are inhabited by a nation of Indians, heathens for the greater part, called 'Manobos,' a word signifying in that language, as if we should say here, 'robust' or 'very numerous people'." I have so found no word in the Manobo Dialect that verifies the correctness of the above statement. It may be said however , in front of this derivation that "manusia" is the word for "man" or "mankind" in the Malay, Moro (Maguindanawon), and Tiruay** language. In Bagobo***, a dialect that shows very close resemblance to Manobo, the word "Manobo" means "Man" and in Maguindanaowan it means "Mountain People"; and is applied by the Moros to all the mountain people of Mindanao. It might be maintained therefore with some semblance of reason that the word "Manobo" simply means "People." Some of the early historians use the words "Manobo," Mansuba," Manubo." These three forms indicate the derivation to be from a prefix "man" signifying "The People" or "Dweller" and "suba" meaning "A River." From the form "Manobo" however, we might conclude that the word is made up of "man" (people) and "hubo" (naked), and therefore meaning the "Naked People." The former derivation appears to be more consonant with the principles upon which Mindanao tribes both general and local are formed. Thus "Mansaka," "Mandaya," and "Mangguangan"**** are derived the first part of each, from "man" (people or dwellers), and the remainders of the words, respectively; from "saka" (interior), "daya" (up the river), and "guanggan" (forest). These names that mean "People of the Interior," "People that Dwell on the Upper Reaches of the River," and "People that Dwell in the Forest" and other tribal designation of Mindanao races and tribes are almost without exception derived from words that denote the relative geographical position of the tribe in question. The "Banuaon" and "Mamanua" are derived from "Banua" (the country) as distinguished from settlements near the main or settled part of the river. The "Bukidnon" are the "Mountain People" (bukid = mountain); "Subanun***** are the "River People" (suba = river), "Tiruay"* means the "Mountain People" (tuduk = mountain) and (eteu = man); "Tagakaolo" are the "People at the Very Source of the River" (taga = inhabitant), (olo = head or source).

The deriviation of the above tribal designations leads us to the opinion that the word "Manobo" means, or is a deriviation of a "River Man" and not a "Naked Man." A further alternative deriviation has been suggested by Dr.N.M.Saleeby, from the word "Tubo," (to grow); the word "Manobo," according to this deriviation, would mean "The People that Grow Up on the Island" as an in indigenous.

"Geographical Distribution of the Manobos in Eastern Mindanao"

"In the Agusan Valley"

The Manobo occupy the whole Agusan Valley as far as the town of Buai on the Upper Agusan with the following exceptions

1) The upper parts of the Rivers Laminga, Kandiisan, Hawilian, and Ohut, and the whole of the River Massam, together with the mountainous region beyond the head-waters of these rivers, and probably the territory beyond in the District of Misamis as far over as the habitat of the Bukidnon Tribe.

The reason for the insertion of this last clause is that the people inhabiting the mountains at the headwaters at the above rivers have the same physical types, dress, and weapons as the Bukidnons, if I may judhe from my slight acquaintance with the latter.

2) The towns of Butuan, Talakogon, Bunawan, Veruela, and Prosperidad.

3) The town of Tagusab and the head-waters of the Tutu and Binungngaan [sic] Rivers.

"On the Eastern Side of the Pacific Cordillera"

In this region I include the upper waters of the Lianga, Hubo, Oteiza, Marihatag, Kagwait, Tago, Tandag, and Kantilan Rivers.

"On the Peninsula of San Agustin"

I had only cursory dealings with the inhabitants of the last named region but both from my own scant observations and from the reports of others more familiar with them. I am inclined to believe that there may be differences great enough to distinguish them from the other peoples if the Agusan Valley as a distinct tribe.

As to the Manobos of the Libaganon it is probable that they have more or less the same cultural and linguistic characteristics as the Manobo that form the subject matter of this paper but as I did not visit them nor get satisfactory information regarding them, I prefer to leave them unoticed until further investigation.

Of the Manobos of the lower half of the Peninsula of San Agustin I know absolutely nothing except that they are known as Manobos. I noted however, in pursuing the Jesuit Letters****** that there were in the year 1891 not only Manobos but Moros, Bilanes*******, and Tagakaolos in that region.

"The Debabaons********"

The Debabaons are probably a hybrid group forming a Dialect Group with the Manobos of the Ihawan, Baobo, and a cultural group in dress and other features with the Mandayas. They claim a relationship with the Manobos and follow Manobo religious beliefs and practices to a great extent. For this reason I have retained the name that they apply to themselves until their tribal identity can be clearly determined. They inhabit the upper half of the Salug River Valley and the country that lies to the west of it as far as the Baobo River.

"The Manobo Conquistas*********"

The inhabitants of all the settlements in the Agusan Valley except Novela, Rosario, the towns of Buai, the towns within the Banuaon habitat and a few settlements of pagan Manobo on the Upper Umaiam, Arfawan, Ihawan, Wawa, and Maitum are Manobo Conquistas.

On the eastern slopes of the Pacific Cordillera in the vicinity of San Miguel (Tago River) on the Marihatag and Oteiza Rivers there are several hundred Conquistas. The towns up the Hinatuan and Bislig Rivers are made up of both Manobo and Mandaya Cobquistas.

"The Debabaon Conquistas"

The Debabaon Conquistas are found in the towns on Moncayo and are also scattered about on the Upper Salug. The missionaries found the Debabaon People very recalcitrant; the comparatively few converts made envinced on the one hand all the fickleness of and instability of the Manobos and, on the other, the aggresiveness of the Mandaya.

* "Tuna Bay" is on the southern coast midwat between Sarangani Bay and Parang Bay

** "Tiruay" is usally spelled as "Teduray" and refers to the tribe living today in and around the municipality of Maguindanao Province

*** "Bagobo" are a Lumad Tribe living in the mountains of North Cotabato Province

**** Mansaka, Mandaya, and Mangguangan are all separate tribes centered in ComVal (Compostela Valley) and Davao del Norte Province.

***** "Subanun are today transliterated as "Subanon" and alternatively as "Subanen." Rooted in Indonesia their original home on Mindanao sat where today's Zamboanga City sits. When Muslims began arriving the tribe was pushed up into the mountains of the Zamboagan Peninsula where they remain today

****** "Cartas de los la Compania de Jesus," 9:335, et seq. (1892)

******* Modern transliteration is almost always "B'laan"

******** "Debabaons" is today transliterated almost always as "Dibabaowans," and is

********* "Conquista" is a Spanish term that literally means "Conquered Ones" and was a social/demographic classification of the Spanish Era that refers to first or second generation Christian converts from Animist tribes. Hence "Manobo Conquista" refers to the Manobo who had accepted Baptism and were now living in diocese and/or mission communities as well as to their children. Usually by the third or fourth generation the progeny had assimilated into the dominant Bisaya Culture so as to then be counted as Bisaya.

Mr.Galvan relied on at least two primary sources for this excerpt, in addition to the Jesuit Letters mentioned above ("Cartas de...") :

1) "The Origin of the Malayan Filipinos" by Dr.Najeeb Mitry Saleeby, a paper read at the Philippines Academy, a subsidiary of the National Academy of Science in Washington D.C. on November 1st, 1911

2) "Etimilogo de los Nombres de Razas de Filipinos ("The Origin of Filipino Tribal Names") by Dr.Trinidad Hermenegilido Gorrico Pardo de Tavera, a paper presented to the (Spanish) Royal Academy of Linguistics in Madrid in 1887

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