Saturday, August 11, 2018

Keepers Of The Range

MUCH IS KNOWN and has been written about the Hanunuo Mangyans, thanks to the dedicated work of Dutch missionary Antoon Postma, but little about the group more kindred and familiar to this writer--the Taubuid Mangyans (sometimes known as Batangan Mangyans), the pipe-smoking group that calls the mountains of Sabang, and beyond, the cordillera of my town of Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro home. So I was glad to find studies done by American anthropologist F. Douglas Pennoyer, Dean of Cook School of Intercultural Studies at Biola University, who documented their fascinating lifestyle in Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society and Anthropos. My mother, a schoolteacher, supported a promising Taubuid kid named Celso Yayag from the village to the elementary school in town until he graduated, but was recalled thereafter by his parents to help with the farm work, and the last time we heard, he also became a teacher. Maybe one day he can also contribute to the knowledge about his people. For a pictorial tour of the present Taubuid Mangyans with their solar lamps and cell phones and their role in wildlife conservation, read World Wildlife Fund's article. The tamaraw skulls, I presume, came from specimens that died natural deaths, and are kept more as venerated relics than as trophies. To visit the Taubuid community in Pinamalayan, follow these MHC guidelines or contact Job Lusnawan, President, Tagfasadi Fagayu Taubuid, Barangay Safa, Sabang, Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro. But make sure to bear in mind Pennoyer's words, which I only know too well: "Fear is a pervasive force among the Taubuid and is greatly intensified during confrontation with strangers, spirits, and even members of the same hamlet. The biggest obstacle to an in-depth study of fear in interior Taubuid society is the fear itself, which virtually precludes prolonged contact with the outside world."

Pipe-smoking Taubuid Mangyan as ranger guarding Mts. Iglit-Baco against poachers. Photo by Gregg Yan

My mother's grade 6 class with Celso Yayag (last row, third from right)

No comments:

Post a Comment