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Who are the Mandayas?

1. Mandaya, literally means “upstream or upland dweller”, is one of the natives in Eastern Mindanao particularly the province of Davao Oriental. The typical Mandaya has a fair complexion, black sawed teeth, relatively well-defined nose and, sometimes, aquiline.

Beliefs
2. The Mandayas believed on the two-fold principles of good and evil, which are represented by the good gods Mansilatan and Badla (father and son), and Pundaugnon and Malimbong (husband and wife) as the evil gods.

Dagmay Weaving and Rituals

3.Known for their artistic embroidery, hand-woven costumes (dagmay) and animistic rituals, the Mandayas have distinctive literary and ritualistic devices to celebrate their tribal life and belief in the form of bayok (epic song or impromptu incantation), dawot (love song), uyog-uyog (lullaby) and ritualistic dance headed by the balyan or babailan (high priest or priestess) similar to shaman.

The Bird of Omen

4.The limocon or limoken, an endangered specie in the eastern part of Davao, is a tiny yellow brown bird with short beak belonging to the family of pigeon, but almost ten times smaller than its size. The wild mystical bird is known as the bird of omen that plays a vital role in shaping the lives and beliefs of the native Mandaya.

Mystical chant

5. Bayok is a customary act of sharing and telling stories through epic song and free-flowing (impromptu) incantation on human struggle, love's sacrifice and adventure. The bayok is usually performed at night during the Mandaya festivities and occasional tribal events with the guests or visitors in the village. The Mandaya dialect itself is like a chant, which is spoken with syllabic intonation, making the bayok a unique form of literature and linguistic expression.

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Mandaya Dagmay Weaving

The Mandaya is one of Mindanao’s surviving minority tribes of the Philippines. They live in the mountainous areas above the coastal town of Davao Oriental particularly in Boston, Cateel, Bagangga, Caraga and Manay. For many generations the Mandaya have woven cloth from fibers of native abaca tree, a variety of the banana family, which is abundant in the region. The finest grade of hemp extracted from abaca stalks is stripped pounded, combed then prepared for dyeing by tying thus, the word tie-dye. The dyes are made from mud, root and other organic materials. This cloth is known locally as dagmay. It is distinguished from other tribal weaving by the intricate figures and patterns depicting the folklores and religion of the tribe. The Mandaya have carried the human and crocodile motifs to their highest expression. The crocodile is held sacred as shown by the frequency with which it appears in their decorative design. This art is handed down from generation. There is no patterns copy. E…