Lumad peoples

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For other uses, see Lumad (disambiguation).
A woman in traditional Manobo dress
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Davao Region
Northern Mindanao
Zamboanga Peninsula
Manobo languages, Chabacano (in Zamboanga Region), Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Filipino, English
Christianity (Roman Catholic, Protestant) and Animist
Related ethnic groups
Bajau people, Moro, Visayans, Filipinos, other Austronesian peoples
A map shows the regions with significant populations of Lumads in the Philippines.

The Lumad is a term being used to denote a group of the non-Muslim indigenous people in the southern Philippines. It is a Cebuano term meaning "native" or "indigenous". The term is short for Katawhang Lumad (Literally: "indigenous people"), the autonym officially adopted by the delegates of the Lumad Mindanao Peoples Federation (LMPF) founding assembly on 26 June 1986 at the Guadalupe Formation Center, Balindog, Kidapawan, Cotabato, Philippines. It is the self-ascription and collective identity of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao.


The name Lumad grew out of the political awakening among tribes during the martial law regime of President Ferdinand Marcos. It was advocated and propagated by the members and affiliates of Lumad-Mindanao, a coalition of all-Lumad local and regional organizations which formalized themselves as such in June 1986 but started in 1983 as a multi-sectoral organization. Lumad-Mindanao’s main objective was to achieve self-determination for their member-tribes or, put more concretely, self-governance within their ancestral domain in accordance with their culture and customary laws. No other Lumad organization had had the express goal in the past.

Representatives from 15 tribes agreed in June 1986 to adopt the name; there were no delegates from the three major groups of the T'boli, the Teduray. The choice of a Cebuano word was a bit ironic but they deemed it appropriate as the Lumad tribes do not have any other common language except Cebuano. This marked the first time that these tribes had agreed to a common name for themselves, distinct from that of the Moros and different from the migrant majority and their descendants.


There are 18 Lumad ethnolinguistic groups: Atta, Bagobo, Banwaon, B’laan, Bukidnon, Dibabawon, Higaonon, Mamanwa, Mandaya, Manguwangan, Manobo, Mansaka, Subanen, Tagakaolo, Tasaday, Tboli, Teduray, and Ubo.

According to the Lumad Development Center Inc., there are about 18 Lumad groups in 19 provinces across the country. Considered as "vulnerable groups", they live in hinterlands, forests, lowlands and coastal areas.[1]

Katawhang Lumad are the un-Islamized and un-Christianized Austronesian peoples of Mindanao, namely Erumanen ne Menuvu`, Matidsalug Manobo, Agusanon Manobo, Dulangan Manobo, Dabaw Manobo,Ata Manobo, B'laan, Kaulo, Banwaon, Teduray, Lambangian, Higaunon, Dibabawon, Mangguwangan, Mansaka, Mandaya, K'lagan, T'boli, Mamanuwa, Talaandig, Tagabawa, and Ubu`, Tinenanen, Kuwemanen, K'lata and Diyangan. There are about 20 general hilltribes of Mindanao, all of which are Austronesian.

The term lumad excludes the Butuanons and Surigaonons, even though these two groups are also native to Mindanao. This is due to their Visayan ethnicity and lack of close affinity with the Lumad. This can be confusing, since the word lumad literally means "native" in the Visayan languages.

The Lumad are one of the few surviving human populations that have a genetic relationship with the Denisovans.


The B'laan is an indigenous group that is concentrated in Davao del Sur and South Cotabato. They practice indigenous rituals while adapting to the way of life of modern Filipinos.[2]


The colorful Kaamulan Festival celebrated annually in Malaybalay City

The Bukidnon are one of the seven tribes in the Bukidnon plateau of Mindanao. Bukidnon means 'that of the mountains' (i.e., 'people of the mountains'), despite the fact that most Bukidnon tribes settle in the lowlands. The name Bukidnon is itself used to describe the entire province in a different context (it means 'mountainous lands' in this case).[3]

The Bukidnon people believe in one god, Magbabaya (Ruler of All), though there are several minor gods and goddesses that they worship as well. Religious rites are presided by a baylan whose ordination is voluntary and may come from both sexes. The Bukidnons have rich musical and oral traditions[4] which are celebrated annually in Malaybalay city's Kaamulan Festival, with other tribes in Bukidnon (the Manobo tribes, the Higaonon, Matigsalug, Talaandig, Umayamnom, and the Tigwahanon).[5]


Tagakaulo is one of the tribes in Mindanao. Their traditional territories is in Davao Del Sur and the Sarangani Province particularly in the localities of Malalag, Lais, Talaguton Rivers, Sta. Maria, and Malita of Davao Occidental, and Malungon of the Sarangani Province.Tagakaulo means living in mountain. The Tagakaulo tribe originally came from the western shores of the gulf of Davao and south of Mt. Apo.[6] a long time ago.


A Bagobo (Manobo) woman of the Matigsalug people from Davao
Manobo children

The Manobo are an Austronesian, indigenous agriculturalist population who neighbor the Mamanwa group in Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur (Garvan, 1931). They live in barangays like the Mamanwa; however, population size is dramatically larger in the Manobo settlements in comparison to those of the Mamanwa.[citation needed] The two groups interact frequently although the amount of interaction varies between settlements and intermarriage is common between them (Reid, 2009).

Manobo is the hispanicized spelling of Manuvu. Its etymology is unclear; in its current form it means 'person' or 'people'.

The Manobo are probably the most numerous of the ethnic groups of the Philippines in the relationships and names of the groups that belong to this family of languages. Mention has been made of the numerous subgroups that comprise the Manobo group.[by whom?] The total Manobo population is not known, although they occupy core areas from Sarangani island into the Mindanao mainland in the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Davao provinces, Bukidnon, and North and South Cotabato. The groups occupy such a wide area of distribution that localized groups have assumed the character of distinctiveness as a separate ethnic grouping such as the Bagobo or the Higaonon, and the Atta. Depending on specific linguistic points of view, the membership of a dialect with a supergroup shifts.[7]

The Manobo are genetically related to the Denisovans, much like the Mamanwa.[8]


Main article: Subanon people

The Subanons are the first settlers of the Zamboanga peninsula. The family is patriarchal while the village is led by a chief called Timuay. He acts as the village judge and is concerned with all communal matters.

History has better words to speak for Misamis Occidental. Its principal city was originally populated by the Subanon, a cultural group that once roamed the seas in great number; the province was an easy prey to the marauding sea pirates of Lanao whose habit was to stage lightning forays along the coastal areas in search of slaves. As the Subanon retreated deeper and deeper into the interior, the coastal areas became home to inhabitants from Bukidnon who were steadily followed by settlers from nearby Cebu and Bohol.


The Higaonon is located on the provinces of Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Rogongon, Iligan City, and Lanao del Norte. Their name means "people of the wilderness". Most Higaonons have a rather traditional way of living. Farming is the most important economic activity.


A 1926 photograph of Bagobo (Manobo) warriors in full war regalia

The Mamanwa is a Negrito tribe often grouped together with the Lumad. They come from Leyte, Agusan del Norte, and Surigao provinces in Mindanao; primarily in Kitcharao and Santiago, Agusan del Norte,[9] though they are lesser in number and more scattered and nomadic than the Manobos and Mandaya tribes who also inhabit the region. Like all Negritos, the Mamanwas are phenotypically distinct from the lowlanders and the upland living Manobos, exhibiting curly hair and much darker skin tones.

These peoples are traditionally hunter-gatherers[10] and consume a wide variety of wild plants, herbs, insects, and animals from tropical rainforest. The Mamanwa are categorized as having the "negrito" phenotype with by dark skin, kinky hair, and short stature.[10][11] The origins of this phenotype (found in the Agta, Ati, and Aeta tribes in the Philippines) are a continued topic of debate, with recent evidence suggesting that the phenotype convergently evolved in several areas of southeast Asia.[12]

However, recent genomic evidence suggests that the Mamanwa were one of the first populations to leave Africa along with peoples in New Guinea and Australia, and that they diverged from a common origin about 36,000 years ago.[13]

Currently, Mamanwa populations live in sedentary settlements ("barangays") that are close to agricultural peoples and market centers. As a result, a substantial proportion of their diet includes starch-dense domesticated foods.[14] The extent to which agricultural products are bought or exchanged varies in each Mamanwa settlement with some individuals continuing to farm and produce their own domesticated foods while others rely on purchasing food from market centers. The Mamanwa have been exposed to many of the modernities mainstream agricultural populations possess and use such as cell phones, televisions, radio, processed foods, etc.[14]

The political system of the Mamanwa is informally democratic and age-structured. Elders are respected and are expected to maintain peace and order within the tribe. The chieftain, called a Tambayon, usually takes over the duties of counseling tribal members, speaking at gatherings, and arbitrating disagreements. The chieftain may be a man or a woman, which is characteristic of other gender-egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies.[15] They believe in a collection of spirits, which are governed by the supreme deity Magbabaya, although it appears that their contact with monotheist communities/populations has made a considerable impact on the Mamanwa's religious practices. They are often taught (by Christian and Catholic rural Pilipinos) that their animistic beliefs are savage.[citation needed] The tribe produce excellent winnowing baskets, rattan hammocks, and other household containers.

Mamanwa (also spelled Mamanoa) means 'first forest dwellers', from the words man (first) and banwa (forest).[16] They speak the Mamanwa language (or Minamanwa).[17] They are genetically related to the Denisovans.[8]


"Mandaya" derives from "man" meaning "first," and "daya" meaning "upstream" or "upper portion of a river," and therefore means "the first people upstream". It refers to a number of groups found along the mountain ranges of Davao Oriental, as well as to their customs, language, and beliefs. The Mandaya are also found in Compostela and New Bataan in Compostela Valley (formerly a part of Davao del Norte Province).


The term "Mansaka" derives from "mang" with literal meaning "to" and "saka" meaning "climb," and means "to climb or to ascend mountains/upstream." The term most likely describes the origin of these people who are found today in Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur. Specifically in the Batoto River, the Manat Valley, Caragan, Maragusan, the Hijo River Valley, and the seacoasts of Kingking, Maco, Kwambog, Hijo, Tagum, Libuganon, Tuganay, Ising, and Panabo.[18]


The Sangir or Sangil is located in the islands of Balut, Sarangani, and the coastal areas of South Cotabato and Davao del Sur. Their name comes from Sangihe, an archipelago located between Sulawesi and Mindanao. This was their original home, but they migrated northwards.


Tagabawa is the language used by the Bagobo-Tagabawa. They are the indigenous tribe in Mindanao. They live in the surrounding areas of Mt. Apo.[19]


Main article: Tasaday

The Tasaday is a group of about two dozen people living within the deep and mountainous rainforests of Mindanao, who attracted wide media attention in 1971 when they were first "discovered" by western scientists who reported that they were living at a "stone age" level of technology and had been completely isolated from the rest of Philippine society. They later attracted attention in the 1980s when it was reported that their discovery had in fact been an elaborate hoax, and doubt was raised both about their status as isolated from other societies and even about the reality of their existence as a separate ethnic group. The question of whether Tasaday studies published in the seventies are accurate is still being discussed.[20][21]


Main article: Tboli

The Tbolis are one of the indigenous peoples of South Mindanao. From the body of ethnographic and linguistic literature on Mindanao, they are variously known as Toboli, T'boli, Tböli, Tiboli, Tibole, Tagabili, Tagabeli, and Tagabulu. They term themselves Tboli or T'boli. Their whereabouts and identity are to some extent confused in the literature; some publications present the Toboli and the Tagabili as distinct peoples; some locate the Tbolis to the vicinity of the Buluan Lake in the Cotabato Basin or in Agusan del Norte. The Tbolis, then, reside on the mountain slopes on either side of the upper Alah Valley and the coastal area of Maitum, Maasim and Kiamba. In former times, the Tbolis also inhabited the upper Alah Valley floor.

Musical heritage[edit]

Main articles: Music of the Philippines and Agung

Most of the Mindanao Lumad groups have a musical heritage consisting of various types of Agung ensembles – ensembles composed of large hanging, suspended or held, bossed/knobbed gongs which act as drone without any accompanying melodic instrument.[22]

Social issues[edit]

Norma Capuyan, vice chair of Apo Sandawa Lumadnong Panaghiusa sa Cotabato (ASLPC) speaking out in a press conference to defend the ancestral domains of the Lumad.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Lumads controlled an area which now covers 17 of Mindanao’s 24 provinces, but by the 1980 census, they constituted less than 6% of the population of Mindanao and Sulu. Significant migration to Mindanao of Visayans, spurred by government-sponsored resettlement programmes, turned the Lumads into minorities. The Bukidnon province population grew from 63,470 in 1948 to 194,368 in 1960 and 414,762 in 1970, with the proportion of indigenous Bukidnons falling from 64% to 33% to 14%.

Lumads have a traditional concept of land ownership based on what their communities consider their ancestral territories. The historian B. R. Rodil notes that ‘a territory occupied by a community is a communal private property, and community members have the right of usufruct to any piece of unoccupied land within the communal territory.’ Ancestral lands include cultivated land as well as hunting grounds, rivers, forests, uncultivated land and the mineral resources below the land.

Unlike the Moros, the Lumad groups never formed a revolutionary group to unite them in armed struggle against the Philippine government. When the migrants came, many Lumad groups retreated into the mountains and forests. However, the Moro armed groups and the Communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) have recruited Lumads to their ranks, and the armed forces have also recruited them into paramilitary organisations to fight the Moros or the NPA.[citation needed]

For the Lumad, securing their rights to ancestral domain is as urgent as the Moros’ quest for self-determination. However, much of their land has already been registered in the name of multinational corporations, logging companies and other wealthy Filipinos, many of whom are, relatively speaking, recent settlers to Mindanao. Mai Tuan, a T'boli leader explains, "Now that there is a peace agreement for the MNLF, we are happy because we are given food assistance like rice … we also feel sad because we no longer have the pots to cook it with. We no longer have control over our ancestral lands."[23]

Lumad killings[edit]

The Lumads are people from various ethnic groups in Mindanao island. Residing in their ancestral lands,[24] they are often evicted and displaced due to the Moro people's claim on the same territory.[25] The Lumads have lost parts of their ancestral land due to a failure to understand the modern land tenure system.[26] To counter this, the Lumads established schools in their communities, supplying essential knowledge for the tribe members that would protect their rights, property and culture.[27] However, the Lumad communities are located in mountains that are distant from urban areas. These areas are also the location sites of armed conflict between the New People's Army (NPA) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Caught in the conflict, the Lumad people's education, property, and security are endangered because of the increasing amount of military activity by the armed parties.[26] Increasing military activity have eventually led to the displacement of the communities to shelter sites.[28] Anxiety continues to grow among the Lumads with the escalation of armed conflict and detainment of community leaders (tribe leaders and teachers) labelled as rebels by the military.[29] Alternative schools within the communities (aided by NGOs and universities) face concerns of closing down or demolition of their property, with some buildings converted by the military for their use.[30] Lumad leaders and tribesmen, having experienced political detention due to false suspicions as well as the displacement of their tribes from their areas, have demanded respect for their human rights.[31]

In response to the killing, detention, and displacement of members of their tribes, the Lumads have organized groups to gain the public's attention, calling for the halt of militarization in their communities. Students, religious leaders, and human rights advocates have supported the Lumads in their movement against the militarization. Activities held to support the Lumad movements have included concerts, cultural festivals (focusing on ethnic culture), and commemoration of Lumad leaders killed in the conflict. Activity leaders have included Fr. Fausto Tentorio, Fr. Tullio Favali, and Fr. Salvatore Carzedda.[32] Groups like the Manilakbayan 2015 supported the movements through recruitment and the handing out of national situationers to students to spread awareness about the Lumads' dilemma.[33] The Philippines' Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has been investigating the incidents in regard to the 2015 murder of Lumad leaders and a school official by a paramilitary group called Magahat/Bagani[34] (in line with the idea of CAFGU) created by the AFP to hunt for NPA members. The AFP denies the allegation and attributes the killings to tribal conflict.[35] However, the AFP has admitted that CAFGU has Lumad recruits within its ranks while asserting that the NPA has also recruited Lumads for the group.[36][37] There is also delay of a decision on the CHR investigation due to the noncooperation of the Lumad group after the interruption of the investigation by the spokesman of Kalumaran Mindanao, Kerlan Fanagel. Fanagel insists that the group need not have another 'false' dialogue with the CHR since CHR has yet to present the results/findings of the investigations from the past months when Lumad leaders were killed. Because of the lack of data, CHR decided to postpone the presentation of their initial report to the second week of December 2015.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 31 October 2006, Kidapawan City, Philippines. Contributed by Pependayan, LMPF Secretary General from 1988–1999
  2. ^ B’laan women record dreams in woven mats –, Philippine News for Filipinos
  3. ^ "Bukidnon". Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  4. ^ Bukidnon heritage kept alive, Dr. Antonio Montalvan II", (accessed through on 3 February 2010)
  5. ^ Kaamulan Festival", (accessed 3 February 2010)
  6. ^ "Tagakaolo". Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "Manobo". Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Reich, D.; Patterson, N.; Kircher, M.; Delfin, F.; Nandineni, M.R.; Pugach, I.; et al. (2011). "Denisova Admixture and the First Modern Human Dispersals into Southeast Asia and Oceania". The American Journal of Human Genetics. 89 (4): 516–528. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.09.005. PMC 3188841free to read. PMID 21944045. 
  9. ^ Anthropology Museum: Mamanwa
  10. ^ a b Omoto K. 1989. Genetic studies of human populations in Asian-Pacific area with special reference to the origins of the Negritos. In: Hhba H, Hayami I, Michizuki K, orgs. Current Aspects of Biogeography in West Pacific and East Asian Regions. The University Museum, The University of Tokyo, Nature and Culture: 1.
  11. ^ Barrows DP. 1910. The negrito and allied types in the Philippines. Am Anthropol 12:358-376.
  12. ^ The HUGO Pan-Asian Consortium. 2009. Mapping Genetic Diversity in Asia. Science. 326:1541–1545.
  13. ^ Pugach, Irina; Delfin, Frederick; Gunnarsdóttir, Ellen; Kayser, Manfred; Stoneking, Mark (2013). "Genome-wide data substantiates Holocene gene ?ow from India to Australia". PNAS. 110 (5): 1803–8. doi:10.1073/pnas.1211927110. PMC 3562786free to read. PMID 23319617. 
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ Cashdan, E. A. (1980), Egalitarianism Among Hunters and Gatherers. American Anthropologist, 82: 116–120. doi:10.1525/aa.1980.82.1.02a00100
  16. ^ "Agusan-Surigao Historical Archive". Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  17. ^ "Mamanwa". Ethnologue. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  18. ^ Fuentes, Vilma May A.; De La Cruz, Edito T. (1980).  A Treasure of Mandaya and Mansaka Folk Literature. Quezon City, Philippines: New Day Publishers. p. 2. 
  19. ^ Joshua Project – Bagobo, Tagabawa of Philippines Ethnic Profile
  20. ^ Shaping and Reshaping the Tasaday: A Question of Cultural Identity—A Review Article, AA Yengoyan – The Journal of Asian Studies, 1991
  21. ^ Invented Eden: The Elusive, Disputed History of the Tasaday, Robin Hemley. U of Nebraska Press, 2007
  22. ^ Mercurio, Philip Dominguez (2006). "Traditional Music of the Southern Philippines". PnoyAndTheCity: A center for Kulintang – A home for Pasikings. Retrieved 25 February 2006. 
  23. ^ Mindanao, Land of Promise
  24. ^ Acosta, J. R. Nereus O. Loss, Emergence, and Retribalization: The Politics of Lumad Ethnicity in Northern Mindanao (Philippines). N.p.: n.p., 1994. Dissertion Committee, May 1994. Web. 5 November 2015.
  25. ^ Oona Paredes (2015) Indigenous vs. native: negotiating the place of Lumads in the Bangsamoro homeland, Asian Ethnicity, 16:2, 166-185, DOI: 10.1080/14631369.2015.1003690
  26. ^ a b FIANZA, MYRTHENA L. "Contesting Land and Identity In The Periphery: The Moro Indigenous People of Southern Philippines." PSI-SDLAP, n.d. Web. 5 November 2015.
  27. ^ Pangandoy: The Manobo Fight for Land, Education and Their Future. Dir. Hiyasmin Saturay. Perf. Manobo, Talaingod Manobo. Salugpongan Ta' Tanu Igkanogon, 2015. Documentary.
  28. ^ Labrador, Kriztja Marae G. "Shelter Sites for Lumads Congested." Sunstar Davao, 10 December 2014. Web. 6 November 2015.
  29. ^ Cruz, Tonyo. "#StopLumadKillings: What You Need to Know." N.p., 4 September 2015. Web. 5 November 2015.
  30. ^ Reyes, Rex R.B., Jr. "ON THE MILITARIZATON AND IMPENDING CLOSURE OF LUMAD SCHOOLS IN MINDANAO." NCCP. National Council of Churches in the Philippines, 5 June 2014. Web. 5 November 2015.
  31. ^ Mateo, Janvic. "Lumads Demand End to Violence." Philstar, 27 October 2014. Web. 6 November 2015.
  32. ^ PULUMBARIT, VERONICA. "Italian priest the third from PIME murdered in Mindanao? GMA NEWS, 17 October 2011. Web. 05, November 2015
  33. ^ Mateo, Janvic. "Lumads Demand End to Violence." Philstar, 27 October 2015. Web. 5 November 2015.
  34. ^ Templa, Mae Fe. "STATEMENT: Attacks on Mindanao Lumad Schools and Communities Intensify as Aquino's Military Goes Berserk for Oplan Bayanihan." MindaNews STATEMENT Attacks on Mindanao Lumad Schools and Communities Intensify as Aquinos Military Goes Berserk for Oplan Bayanihan Comments. Minda News, 5 September 2015. Web. 5 November 2015.
  35. ^ "NPA Created the Conflict in Lumad Tribes - Office of The Army Chief." Philippine Information Agency. Republic of the Philippines, 28 September 2015. Web. 5 November 2015.
  36. ^ Romero, Alexis. "AFP Denies Forced Recruitment, Extrajudicial Killings of Lumads." Philstar, 4 November 2015. Web. 5 November 2015.
  37. ^ BOLINGET, WINDEL. "'Lumad' Killings Not the Result of Tribal Conflict." Inquirer Opinion Lumad Killings Not the Result of Tribal Conflict Comments. Inquirer, 28 September 2015. Web. 5 November 2015.
  38. ^ Ramirez, Robertzon. "Lumads Refuse Dialogue with CHR." The Philippine Star, 29 October 2015. Web. 6 November 2015.

External links[edit]