Oja and his people liked Pakuan. Because of its lush vegetation
of edible ferns, vast timberlands (a source of materials for their
houses), crystal-clear springs that served as their water supply,
and rivers teeming with fish, Pakuan was the ideal place to settle.
In fact, the area's waterfalls were natural sites for the tribe's
worship rituals to the diwata (spirit) and for tribal weddings and
the Manobo are spread out all over Surigao del Sur and have an estimated
population of 129,000 people. They are concentrated mostly in the
towns of San Miguel and in the baranggays of Lobo and Cabangahan
in Cantilan as well as Pakuan, Agsam and Mante in Lanuza. They also
live in Pansukan and Panikiam of Carascal, in Bayugo of Madrid,
and in Himpuyan and San Vicente of Carmen.
Unlike the Mamanua, the Manobo have light brown skin, straighter
hair and bolder personalities. They decorate their bodies with tattoos
and wear bright colorful attire with ethnic designs. They adorn
their necks and arms with multi-colored strings, made of indigenous
materials skillfully and attractively created. Nowadays, only senior
members of the tribe regularly wear the full costume, while younger
members have already adopted the mainstream population's mode of
the Mamanua, the Manobo are not nomadic.They plant crops for their
daily consumption and sell or barter their surplus harvests once
a week at tabos (farmer's markets).
have their own political structure, which is autonomous from the
main population. At the head of their political system is the datu
(leader) whose position is gained by traditional succession. A council
of elders advises him. If the community determines that he is not
suited to the position, he is then removed from office and a special
election is then called. Peace keeping is entrusted to the baganis
Manobo still practice some of their old customs and traditions.
Like the Mamanua they transmit laws orally from generation to generation.
Declaring land ownership by word of mouth and planting bamboos to
mark land boundaries are actively practiced customs.
the Mamanua, the Manobo are gentle people. However, they will not
avoid conflicts, especially when their domain is threatened. Proud
of their heritage, they hold on to their ancestral lands - ready
to fight and die for them. Their land is their life. Although unschooled
in Philippine laws governing land ownership, and with no titles
of ownership of their domain, the Manobo nevertheless strongly resisted
capitalists' attempt to take over the ancestral lands in the early
1960s. They raised their voice in unified protest and the government
listened. In a historic breakthrough, the government - through the
Certificates of Ancestral Domain Claims program of the National
Commission on Indigenous People - have started to award to some
Manobo communities certificates of titles to their ancestral lands.
Today the Manobo have become a political force.
to survive amidst strong waves of change, the younger Manobo dream
of a better life and a brighter future for their children. They
have come to realize that such betterment start with education.
The USAA, through its scholarship program, is committed to helping
this strong and independent people fulfill their achievable dream.