by: Paco Velayo
History has better words to speak for Misamis
Occidental. Its principal city was
All of the Subanon are farmers who practice "slash and burn" agriculture. This is a type of farming in which a section of forest is cut down, the debris is burned, and various crops are planted on the clearing. Every year a new field is cleared. After one or two years of use, the field must lie fallow for up to 15 years. The Subanon also raise various types of livestock, including pigs, chickens, cattle, and water buffaloes.
But the most common method of farming is in "swidden" fields. (These are temporary gardening plots produced by cutting back and burning off the existing vegetation.) The plots usually lie adjacent to their homes. The farmers also depend heavily on irrigated rice terraces which are located on the mountain slopes.
Rice is by far the most important crop,
although various other grains are raised. If
Subanon houses usually have some distance between them. Their homes are typically rectangular, raised on stilts, and have thatched roofs. They are generally situated on hillsides or ridges that overlook the family fields. Every three or four years the Subanon move to a new location to clear more forest for fields.
Unlike most of the world's peoples, the Subanon
have virtually no division of labor
The Subanon permit polygamy (multiple wives),
but nearly all marriages involve only one man and one woman.
Families usually arrange marriages, and the groom's family is expected to
pay a bride price. Occasionally, the groom will work for the bride's
family for a few years rather than paying a full bride
The study of the riverine people of Mindanao
Island known as Subanon (var.,
With the coming to Mindanao of the Spaniards in the 16th century, the Subanon were pushed farther in to the forests to join their fellowmen who had already settled in it. The Spanish occupation of several places along the coast of Mindanao Island, made the Subanon feel safe in their forest sanctuaries. The Christianized Filipinos who reached Mindanao during the Spanish period and permanently resettled near Spanish garrisons, made it difficult for them to return to the shore. Besides the Spaniards and the Filipinos, the constant attacks by the raiders from Cotabato and Sulu on Christian settlements and Spanish garrisons, added greatly to their fear forcing them to the interior.
The few shoreline settlements of the Subanon were also subjected to attacks by the Moro raiders. One example is the shoreline settlement of Lobongan that is now known as Katipunan in Zamboanga del Norte. It was attacked by Datu Bantilan of Sulu and totally depopulated it of Subanon inhabitants. The Subanon have not been confined to both sides of the Zamboanga Peninsula.
There was an exodus to western Mindanao so that many of them occupied the islands nearby and farther east. Some went as far as Cotabato where they also reached southern Lanao. Others in the north reached Bukidnon and later on went as far as Surigao.
When the survivors of Magellan debacle led by
Sebastian del Cano and Antonio
The early Spaniards occupied the present city
of Iligan in Lanao del Norte. It was
Ozamis is located at the mouth of Panguil Bay.
The Spanish soldiers guarding it,
Those who stayed joined Sharif lawi, who came from Tagolaon in Misamis Oriental.
They established the kingdom of Baloi. But Alawi decided to invade the communities surrounding Lake Lanao. Their arrival caused war with the lake people that lasted for several years. Those lake communities were called Onayan, Masiu and Bayabao. After they got accepted, they became the fourth community of Lanao del Norte.
In Lanao, the Subanon introduced some of their cultures such as the marigay (maliga), a small hut decorated with several gifts and stylized by the Maranao natives as a part of the dowry paraded around. Another legacy of the Subanon is the sari manok that is common even today in Zamboanga del Sur. It is actually the head of a chicken on a stick place on the veranda of the maligay. It is made as the symbolic bird of the Maranao.
Those who reached Cotabato also spread out to
Davao. Some of the words in the
In sharp contrast to the surrounding peoples who have adopted Christianity or Islam, the Subanon cling to their ancient polytheistic religion. They believe that man shares the universe with a variety of gods, spirits, demons, and ghosts. These supernatural forces are said to have the ability to harm humans. However, humans supposedly have the power to harm them as well. At various times of the year, the Subanon give offerings of rice, meat, and wine to the gods and ancestral spirits. Witch doctors, or shamans, play a large role in Subanon religion. The people depend on the shamans to hear and understand the wishes of the gods and ancestral spirits.
The dances and rituals now found among
Filipinos in the hinterlands suggest that
Pangalitawo (pahng-AH-lee-TAH-woh) Tis is a
courtship dance, which typically performed during harvest time and other
social gatherings. The female holds shredded banana leaves in each hand,
while the male wields a kalasay, a type of
Riddles and proverbs are the simplest forms of oral literature. In them, we get a sampling of the primordial indigenous poem, at the heart of which was the talinghaga (analogue, metaphor, or figure)
1. Sintulun ni Apu'
Sinturon ni Apu
Gumagapang ang matanda
3. Migludoy si
Nagbuno sina Taba at Payat,
Pag sumisid si Tanda,
As in other oral cultures, prose
narratives in prehistoric Philippines consisted largely of origin myths,
hero tales, fables, and legends. Their function in the community was
to explain natural phenomena, past events, and contemporary beliefs in
order to make the environment less fearsome by making it more
comprehensible and, in more instances, to make idle hours less tedious by
filling them with humor and fantasy.
Project 2000 URL: www.ad2000.org/peoples/