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Alangan . Bangon . Tau-buid . Buhid . Hanunoo . Tadyawan . Iraya . Ratagnon



There are around 300 million indigenous peoples in the world. In the Philippines, there are 110 indigenous peoples group, comprising more or less 10% of of the total population of the country or 8 million.

Mindoro is the seventh largest Island in the Philippines, with two Provinces, Oriental and Occidental, with a total population of one million. The Mangyan population is estimated at 10% of the total population or 100,000 Mangyans. It has an area of 10,224 square kilometers. During the 10th to 13th centuries, the southern part of the island was called MAIT, a name that is still used by the Mangyan tribe in the South of Mindoro. The Mait Mangyans were trading with the Chinese, and exchanged their local products of bee-wax, cotton, root crops and medicinal plants for beads, gongs, plates and jars.

Mangyan is the generic name for the eight indigenous groups found in Mindoro island, each with its own tribal name, language, and set of customs.





The Alangan Mangyans are found within the municipalities of Naujan, Baco, San Teodoro, and Victoria in Oriental Mindoro, and in the municipality of Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro.

The name Alangan was derived from the name of a river and mountain slopes in the upper Alangan Valley. [Leykamm, 1979]

The women traditionally wear a skirt, called lingeb. This is made of long strips of woven nito, and is wound around the abdomen. This is worn together with the g-string called abayen. The upper covering is called ulango, made from the leaf of the wild buri palm. Sometimes, a red kerchief called limbutong is worn over the ulango. The men wear g-strings with fringes in front.

The Alangan Mangyans practise swidden farming, which consists of eleven stages. Two of which are the firebreak-making (Agait) and the fallowing (Agpagamas). A firebreak is made so the fire will not go beyond the swidden site where the vegetation is thoroughly dry and ready for burning. And two years after clearing, cultivation of the swidden is normally ceased and the site is allowed to revert back to forest [Quiaoit, 1997]

Betel nut chewing is also noted among the Alangans, like all other Mangyan tribes. This they chew with great fervor from morning to night, saying that they don't feel hunger as long as they chew betel nut. [Leykamm, 1979] Nonetheless, betel chewing has a social dimension. Exchange of betel chew ingredients signifies social acceptance.



The Bangon Mangyans are found along the Bongabon river called Binagaw and the surrounding mountains located within the municipalities of Bongabong, Bansud, and Gloria in Oriental Mindoro.

The Bangon Mangyans have their own culture and language different from the other 6 major Mangyan tribes in Oriental Mindoro and also their writing system. Hence, the Bangons have asserted that they be considered as the 7th major Mangyan tribe not as a sub-tribe of the Tau-buid Mangyans. On March 28, 1996 in a meeting in Ogom Liguma together with Buhid Mangyans, they decided to accept the word Bangon for their tribe.




The Tau-buids are known as pipe smokers and even children begin smoking at a young age.

Standard dress for men and women is the loin cloth. In some areas close to the lowlands, women wrap a knee-length cloth around their bark bra-string and men wear cloth instead of bark. Bark cloth is worn by both men and women in the interior and is also used for head bands, women's breast covers, and blankets. Cloth is made by extracting, pounding and drying the inner bark of several trees. [Pennoyer, 1979]

The Taubuid Mangyans are found within the municipalities of Socorro, Pinamalayan and Gloria, but mostly they live in Occidental Mindoro.



The Buhids are known as pot makers. Other Mangyan tribes , like the Alangan and Hanunoo Mangyans used to buy their cooking pots from the Buhids.

Buhid women wear woven black and white brassiers called linagmon and a black and white skirt called abol. Unmarried women put body ornaments such as braided nito belt (lufas), blue thread earrings, beaded headband (sangbaw), beaded bracelet (uksong), and beaded long necklace (siwayang or ugot). The men wear g-strings. To enhance body beauty, the men put ornaments like long beaded necklace, tight choker (ugot) and beaded bracelet (uksong). Both sexes use an accessory bag called bay-ong for personal things like comb and knife. [Litis,1989].

Together with the Hanunoo-Mangyans the Buhids in some areas possess a pre-Spanish syllabic writing system.

The word Buhid literally means mountain dwellers. [Postma,1967]

The Buhid Mangyans are found within the municipalities of Roxas, Bansud, Bongabong and some parts of Mansalay in Oriental Mindoro, and in the municiplaities of San Jose and Rizal in Occidental Mindoro.



To the Hanunoo-Mangyan, clothing (rutay) is one of the most important criteria in distinguishing the Mangyan from the damuong (non-mangyan). A Hanunoo-Mangyan male wears a ba-ag (loin cloth) and a balukas (shirt). A female wears a ramit (indigo-dyed short skirt) and a lambung (blouse). Many of the traditional style shirts and blouses are embroidered on the back with a design called pakudus, based on the cross shape. This design is also found on their bags made of buri (palm leaf) and nito (black fern), called bay-ong. Both sexes used to wear a hagkos (twilled rattan belts with a pocket) at their waist. Long hair is the traditional style for a man. It is tied in one spot at the back of the head with a cloth hair-band called panyo. Women also have long hair often dressed with a headbands of beads. The Hanunoo-Mangyans of all ages and both sexes are very fond of wearing necklaces and bracelets of beads. [Miyamoto, 1985]

Noted anthropologist Harold Conklin had made an extensive study on the Hanunoo-Mangyan agricultural system in 1953. The Hanunoo-Mangyans practise swidden farming. This type of farming is different from the "kaingin" system practised by non-Mangyans which is often very destructive when it is done with no proper safeguards to prevent the fire from spreading to the surrounding vegetation. A fallow period is also observed so that the swidden farm will revert back to forest. According to Conklin, the Mangyans managed their swidden farm skillfully. In 1995, almost half a century after Conklin's research, a study on the Hanunoo-Mangyans' swidden farming system was conducted by Hayama Atsuko. She concluded that the Hanunoo-Mangyans' farming practices have prevented land derioration in spite of the fact that forest land degradation is evident now in the Hanunoo-Mangyan territory due to various factors.

Together with their northern neighbor the Buhids, the Hanunoo-Mangyans possess a pre-Spanish writing system, considered to be of Indic origin, with characters, expressing the open syllables of the language. [Postma,1981] This syllabic writing system, called Surat Mangyan, is being taught in several Mangyan schools in Mansalay and Bulalacao.

The Hanunoo Mangyans are found within the municipalities of Mansalay, Bulalacao, and some parts of Bongabong in Oriental Mindoro, and in the municipality of San Jose in Occidental Mindoro.



The Tadyawan Mangyans are found within the municipalities of Naujan, Victoria, Socorro, Pola, Gloria, Pinamalayan, and Bansud.

In the past, the women wore for their upper covering a red cloth called paypay, which is wound around the breast. For their lower covering, they wrapped around the waist a white cloth called talapi. The men wore g-strings called abay. For their accessories, the women wore colorful bracelets and necklaces made of beads. However, at present, women are rarely seen wearing their traditional attire, though there are still several men wearing g-strings.

The Tadyawan, like all other Mangyan tribes, depend on their kaingin farm for their subsistence. Their staple food consists of upland rice, banana, sweet potato, and taro. Some have also planted fruit-bearing trees like rambutan, citrus fruits, and coffee in their kaingin.



The Iraya Mangyans are found within the municipalities of Puerto Galera, San Teodoro and Baco in Oriental Mindoro, and mostly they live in Occidental Mindoro, particularly in the municipalities of Abra de Ilog, Paluan, Mamburao and Sta. Cruz.

Estel (1952) described the Iraya as having curly or deep wavy hair and dark skin but not as dark as that of the Negrito.

During the ancient time, the Iraya traditional attire was made up of dry bark of a tree which they pounded to make it flat and soft. The women usually wore a blouse and a skirt. Whereas, the men wore g-strings made of cloth. They cultivated cotton trees and from these, they obtained raw materials which they weave in a crude hand loom called harablon. The process of weaving was called habilan which starts with the gathering of cotton balls and pilling them to dry in the “bilao” or flat basket. Afterwards, the seeds are removed, the cottons are placed on a mat and beaten by two flat sticks to make it fine. Then, the fine cottons are placed inside the binuyo, a container made out of banana stalks. Then, the cottons are weaved.
However, at present they are dressed just like the lowland people. Ready-to-wear clothes are easier to find than their traditional costume. [Uyan, 2002]

The Irayas are skilled in nito-weaving. Handicrafts, such as jars, trays, plates and cups of different sizes and design made of nito, are being marketed by them to the lowlanders. They also subsist on rice, banana, sweet potato, and other root crops.




The Ratagnon are found in the southernmost part of the municipality of Magsaysay in Occidental Mindoro. The language spoken by the Ratagnon is similar to the Cuyunon language, a Visayan language spoken by the inhabitants of Cuyo Island in Northern Palawan.

The Ratagnon women wear a wrap-around cotton cloth from the waistline to the knees and some of the males still wear the traditional g-string. The women's breast covering is made of woven nito or vine. They also wear accessories made of beads and copper wire. The males wear a jacket with simple embroidery during gala festivities and carry flint, tinder, and other paraphernalia for making fire. Both sexes wear coils of red-dyed rattan at the waistline. Like other Mangyan tribes, they also carry betel chew and its ingredients in bamboo containers.