The Manbos of Mindano - Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume XXIII, First Memoir
by John M. Garvan
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E-text prepared by Carl D. DuBois

Transcriber's note:

All Philippine peso amounts are indicated by an upper case "P" instead of a more fancy graphics character.

All fractional centavo amounts have been converted to their decimal equivalents.





United States Government Printing Office Washington : 1931 For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C. Price $1.00 (paper cover)






Presented to the Academy at the Annual Meeting, 1929






CHAPTER I. Classification and geographical distribution of Manbos and other peoples in eastern Mindano

Explanation of terms "Eastern Mindano" The term "tribe" Present use of the word "Manbo" The derivation and original application of the word "Manbo" Geographical distribution of the Manbos in eastern Mindano In the Agsan Valley On the eastern side of the Pacific Cordillera On the peninsula of San Agustin The Mamnuas, or Negritos, and Negrito-Manbo half-breeds The Banuons The Maggugans The Manskas The Debabons The Mandyas The Tgum branch The Agsan Valley branch The Pacific coast branch The gulf of Davao branch The Moros The Bilns The Tagakalos The Laks or Lags The conquistas or recently Christianized peoples The Manbo conquistas The Mandya conquistas The Mamnua conquistas The Maggugan conquistas The Manska conquistas The Debabon conquistas The Bisyas or Christian Filipinos

CHAPTER II. Physical characteristics and general appearance of the Manbos of eastern Mindano

Physical type Divergence of types General physical type Racial and tribal affinities Montano's Indonesian theory Keane's view The Indonesian theory as applied to Manbos Physical type of contiguous peoples The Maggugans The Mandyas The Debabons The Mamnuas The Banuons Physical appearance as modified by dress and ornamentation

CHAPTER III. A survey of the material and sociological culture of the Manbos of eastern Mindano

General material culture Dwellings Alimentation Narcotic and stimulating enjoyments Means of subsistence Weapons and implements Industrial activities General sociological culture Domestic life Marital relations Pregnancy, birth, and childhood Medicine, sickness, and death Social and family enjoyments Political organization System of government and social control Methods of warfare Intertribal and analogous relations Administration of justice General principles and various laws Regulations governing domestic relations and property; customary procedure in settlement of disputes

CHAPTER IV. Religious ideas and mental characteristics in general

A brief survey of religion The basis, influence, and machinery of religion The hierarchy of Manbo divinities, beneficent and malignant Priests, their functions, attributes, and equipment The main characteristics of Manbo religion Mental and other attainments and characteristics


CHAPTER V. The Manobo home

In general Motives that determine the selection of the site Religious motives Material motives Religious ceremonies connected with the erection of a house Structure of the house The materials The dimensions and plan of construction The floor The roof and the thatch The walls The doorway and the ladder Internal arrangements Decorations The furniture and equipment of the house The underpart and the environment of the house Order and cleanliness of the house


General remarks Delicacy in exposure of the person Variety in quantity and quality of clothes The use of bark cloth Dress as an indication of rank Dress in general Preferential colors in dress The man's dress Hats and headkerchiefs The jacket The lower garment The girdle The betel-nut knapsack The woman's dress The jacket The upper Agsan style The style of the central group The girdle and its pendants The skirt

CHAPTER VII. Personal adornment

General remarks Hair and head adornment Care and ornamentation of the head Combs Ear disks Neck and breast ornaments Arm and hand ornamentation Knee and ankle adornments Body mutilations General remarks Mutilation of the teeth Mutilation of the ear lobes Depilation Tattooing Circumcision

CHAPTER VIII. Alimentation

Fire and its production The "fire saw" The steel and flint process Continuation of the fire Lighting Culinary and table equipment Various kinds of food The preparation and cooking of food Preparing the food Cooking the food Food restrictions and taboos Meals Ordinary meals Festive meals

CHAPTER IX. Narcotic and stimulating enjoyments

Drinks used by the Manobos Sugar-palm wine Bhi toddy Sugarcane brew Extraction of the juice Boiling Fermentation Mead Drinking General remarks The sumsm-an Drinking during religious and social feasts Evil effects from drinking Tobacco preparation and use The betel-nut masticatory Ingredients and effect of the quid Betel chewing accessories

CHAPTER X. Means of subsistence

Agriculture General remarks The time and place for planting rice The sowing ceremony The clearing of the land The sowing of the rice and its culture The rice harvest The harvest feast The culture of other crops Hunting Hunting with dogs Offering to Sugdun, the spirit of hunters The hunt Hunting taboos and beliefs Other methods of obtaining game Trapping Trapping ceremonies and taboos The bamboo spear trap Other varieties of traps Fishing Shooting with bow and arrow Fishing with hook and line Fish-poisoning The tba method The tbli method The lgtag method Dry-season lake fishing Fishing with nets, traps, and torches

CHAPTER XI. Weapons and implements

Introductory remarks Offensive weapons The bow and arrow The bolo and its sheath A magic test for the efficiency of a bolo The lance The dagger and its sheath Defensive weapons The shield Armor Traps and caltrops Agricultural implements The ax The bolo The rice header Fishing implements The fishing bow and arrow The fish spear Fishhooks Hunting implements The spear The bow and arrow The blowgun

CHAPTER XII. Industrial activities

Division of labor Male activities Female activities Male industries in detail Boat building Mining Plaiting and other activities Female industries in detail Weaving and its accessory processes Pottery Tailoring and mat making


CHAPTER XIII. Domestic life and marital relations

Arranging the marriage Selection of the bride Courtship and antenuptial relations Begging for the hand of the girl Determination of the marriage payment The marriage feast and payment The reciprocatory payment and banquet Marriage and marriage contracts The marriage rite Marriage by capture Prenatal marriage contracts and child marriage Polygamy and kindred institutions Endogamy and consanguineous marriages Intertribal and other marriages Married life and the position of the wife Residence of the son-in-law and the brother-in-law system

CHAPTER XIV. Domestic life: Pregnancy, birth, and childhood

Desire for progeny Birth and pregnancy taboos Taboos to be observed by the husband Taboos to be observed by the wife Taboos to be observed by both husband and wife Taboos enjoined on visitors Abortion Artificial abortion Involuntary abortion The approach of parturition The midwife Prenatal magic aids Prenatal religious aids Accouchement and ensuing events Postnatal customs Taboos The birth ceremony The naming and care of the child Birth anomalies Monstrosities Albinism Hermaphroditism

CHAPTER XV. Domestic life: Medicine, sickness, and death

Medicine and disease Natural medicines and diseases Magic ailments and means of producing them The composition of a few "Kometn" Other magic means Bodily ailments proceeding from supernatural causes Sickness due to capture of the "soul" by an inimical spirit Epidemics attributed to the malignancy of sea demons Propitiation of the demons of contagious diseases Sickness and death The theory of death Fear of the dead and of the death spirits Incidents accompanying deaths Preparation of the corpse The funeral Certain mourning taboos are observed Death and burial of one killed by an enemy, of a warrior chief, and of a priest The after world The death feast

CHAPTER XVI. Social enjoyments

Instrumental music The drum The gong Flutes The pandag flute The to-li flute The lntui The s-bai flute Guitars The vine-string guitar The bamboo-string guitar The takmbo The violin The jew's-harp The stamper and the horn of bamboo Sounders Vocal music The language of song The subject matter of songs The music and the method of singing Ceremonial songs Dancing The ordinary social dance The religious dance Mimetic dances The bathing dance The dagger or sword dance The apian dance The depilation dance The sexual dance The war dance

CHAPTER XVII. Political organization: System of government and social control

Clans Territories of the clans and number of people composing them Interclan relations The chief and his power The source of the chief's authority Equality among the people Respect for ability and old age The warrior chief General character Insignia and prowess of the warrior chief The warrior's title to recognition Various degrees of warrior chiefship The warrior chief in his capacity as chief The warrior chief as priest and medicine man

CHAPTER XVIII. Political organization: War, its origin, inception, course, and termination

Military affairs in general The origin of war Vendettas Private seizure Debts and sexual infringements Inception of war Declaration of war Time for war Preparations for war The attack Time and methods of attack Events following the battle Celebration of the victory The capture of slaves The return of the warriors Ambushes and other methods of warfare Peace

CHAPTER XIX. Political organization: General principles of the administration of justice: customary, proprietary, and liability laws

General considerations General principles The principle of material substitution Right to a fair hearing Securing the defendant's good will Foundations of Manbo law Customary law Its natural basis Its religious basis Proprietary laws and obligations Conception of property rights Land and other property Laws of contract The law of debt Interest, loans, and pledges Interest Loans and pledges Laws of liability Liability arising from natural causes Liability arising from religious causes Liability arising from magic causes The system of fines

CHAPTER XX. Political organization: Customs regulating domestic relations and family property; procedure for the attainment of justice

Family property Rules of inheritance Rules governing the relations of the sexes Moral offenses Marriage contracts and payments Illegitimate children Extent of authority of father and husband Residence of the husband Crimes and their penalties Crimes The private seizure Penalties for minor offenses Customary procedure Preliminaries to arbitration General features of a greater arbitration Determination of guilt By witnesses By oaths By the testimony of the accused By ordeals The hot-water ordeal The diving ordeal The candle ordeal By circumstantial evidence Enforcement of the sentence

CHAPTER XXI. Political organization: Intertribal and other relations

Intertribal relations Interclan relations External commercial relations Exploitation by Christian natives Exploitation by falsification Defraudation by usury and excessive prices Exploitation by the system of commutation Wheedling or the punak system Bartering transactions General conditions of trading Internal commercial relations Money and substitutes for it Prevailing Manbo prices Weights and measures Slave trade and slaves Slave trade Classes of slaves Delivery and treatment of slaves


CHAPTER XXII. General principles of Manbo religion and nature and classification of Manobo deities

Introductory General principles of religion Sincerity of belief Basis of religious belief Means of detecting supernatural evil Belief in an hierarchy of beneficent and malignant deities Other tenets of Manobo faith Spirit companions of man General character of the deities Classification of deities and spirits Benevolent deities Gods of gore and rage Malignant and dangerous spirits Agricultural goddesses Giant spirits Gods of lust and consanguineous love Spirits of celestial phenomena Other spirits Nature of the various divinities in detail, The primary deities The secondary order of deities The gods of gore, and kindred spirits

CHAPTER XXIII. Maleficent spirits

The origin and nature of malignant demons Methods of frustrating their evil designs Through priests By various material means By propitiation The tagbnua, or local forest spirits Their characteristics and method of living Definite localities tenanted by forest spirits Worship of the forest spirits

CHAPTER XXIV. Priests, their prerogatives and functions

The bailn or ordinary Manobo priests Their general character Their prerogatives, Sincerity of the priests Their influence Their dress and functions The bagni, or priests of war and blood

CHAPTER XXV. Ceremonial accessories and religious rites

General remarks The paraphernalia of the priest The religious shed and the bailn's house Equipment for ceremonies Ceremonial decorations Sacred images Ceremonial offerings Religious rites Classification Method of performance The betel-nut tribute The offering of incense Invocation Prophylactic fowl waving Blood lustration Lustration by water

CHAPTER XXVI. Sacrifices and war rites

The sacrifice of a pig Rites peculiar to the war priests The betel-nut offering to the souls of the enemies Various forms of divination The betel-nut cast Divination from the bgug vine Divination from bya squares, Invocation of the omen bird The tagbsau's feast Human sacrifice

CHAPTER XXVII. Divination and omens

In general Miscellaneous casual omens Divination by dreams Divination by geometrical figures The vine omen The rattan omen Divination by suspension and other methods The suspension omen The omen from eggs Divination by sacrificial appearances The blood omen The neck omen The omen from the gall The omen from the liver The omen from a fowl's intestinal appendix Ornithoscopy In general Respect toward the omen bird Interpretation of the omen bird's call Birds of evil omen

CHAPTER XXVIII. Mythological and kindred beliefs

The creation of the world Celestial phenomena The rainbow Thunder and lightning Eclipse of the moon Origin of the stars and the explanation of sunset and sunrise The story of the Ikgan, or tailed men, and of the resettlement of the Agsan Valley Giants Peculiar animal beliefs The petrified craft and crew of Kagbubtag Ang, the petrified Manbo

CHAPTER XXIX. The great religious movement of 1908-1910

The extent of the movement Reported origin and character of the revival Spread of the movement Its exterior character and general features The principal tenets of the movement New order of deities Observances prescribed by the founder Religious rites The real nature of the movement and means used to carry on the fraud The sacred traffic Religious tours The whistling scheme Pretended chastity and austerity The end of the movement Similar movements in former years


Historical references to the Manbos of eastern Mindanao Early history up to 1875 From 1875 to 1910 Methods adopted by the missionaries in the Christianization of the Manbos The secret of missionary success Explanation of plates





Throughout this monograph I have used the term "eastern Mindano" to include that part of Mindano that is east of the central Cordillera as far south as the headwaters of the River Libagnon, east of the River Tgum and its influent the Libagnon, and east of the gulf of Davao.


The word "tribe" is used in the sense in which Dean C. Worcester defines and uses it in his article on The non-Christian Tribes of Northern Luzon:[1]

A division of a race composed of an aggregate of individuals of a kind and of a common origin, agreeing among themselves in, and distinguished from their congeners by physical characteristics, dress, and ornaments; the nature of the communities which they form; peculiarities of house architecture; methods of hunting, fishing, and carrying on agriculture; character and importance of manufacture; practices relative to war and the taking of heads of enemies; arms used in warfare; music and dancing, and marriage and burial customs; but not constituting a political unit subject to the control of any single individual nor necessarily speaking the same dialect.

[1] Philip. Journ. Sci., 1: 803, 1906.


The word "Manbo" seems to be a generic name for people of greatly divergent culture, physical type, and language. Thus it is applied to the people that dwell in the mountains of the lower half of Point San Agustin as well as to those people whose habitat is on the southern part of the Sarangani Peninsula. Those, again, that occupy the hinterland of Tuna Bay[2] come under the same designation. So it might seem that the word was originally used to designate the pagan as distinguished from the Mohammedanized people of Mindano, much as the name Harafras or Alfros was applied by the early writers to the pagans to distinguish them from the Moros.

[2] Tuna Bay is on the southern coast of Mindano, about halfway between Sarangani Bay and Parang Bay.

In the Agsan Valley the term manbo is used very frequently by Christian and by Christianized peoples, and sometimes by pagans themselves, to denote that the individual in question is still unbaptized, whether he be tribally a Mandya, a Maggugan, or of some other group. I have been told by Mandyas on several occasions that they were still manbo, that is, still unbaptized.

Then, again, the word is frequently used by those who are really Manbos as a term of contempt for their fellow tribesmen who live in remoter regions and who are not as well off in a worldly or a culture[sic] way as they are. Thus I have heard Manbos of the upper Agsan refer to their fellow-tribesmen of Libagnon as Manbos, with evident contempt in the voice. I asked them what they themselves were, and in answer was informed that they were Agusnon—that is, upper Agsan people—not Manbos.


One of the earliest references that I find to the Manbos of the Agsan Valley is in the General History of the Discalced Augustinian Fathers (1661-1699) by Father Pedro de San Francisco de Assis.[3] The author says that "the mountains of that territory[4] are inhabited by a nation of Indians, heathens for the greater part, called Manbos, a word signifying in that language, as if we should say here, robust or very numerous people." I have so far found no word in the Manbo dialect that verifies the correctness of the above statement. It may be said, however, in favor of this derivation that mansia is the word for "man" or "mankind" in the Malay, Moro (Magindano), and Tiruri languages. In Bagbo, a dialect that shows very close resemblance to Manbo, the word Manbo means "man," and in Magindano Moro it means "mountain people,"[5] and is applied by the Moros to all the mountain people of Mindano. It might be maintained, therefore, with some semblance of reason that the word Manbo means simply "people." Some of the early historians use the words Manbo, Mansba, Manbo. These three forms indicate the derivation to be from a prefix man, signifying "people" or "dweller," and sba, a river. From the form Manbo, however, we might conclude that the word is made up of man ("people"), and hbo ("naked"), therefore meaning the "naked people." The former derivation, however, appears to be more consonant with the principles upon which Mindano tribal names, both general and local, are formed. Thus Manska, Mandya, Maggugan are derived, the first part of each, from man ("people" or "dwellers"), and the remainder of the words, respectively, from ska ("interior"), dya ("up the river"), gugan ("forest"). These names then mean "people of the interior," "people that dwell on the upper reaches of the river," and "people that dwell in the forest." Other tribal designations of Mindano races and tribes are almost without exception derived from words that denote the relative geographic position of the tribe in question. The Banuon and Mamnua are derived from banu, the "country," as distinguished from settlements near the main or settled part of the river. The Bukdnon are the mountain people (bukid, mountain); Sbanun, the river people (sba, river); Tiruri, the mountain people (tduk, mountain, etu, man);[6] Tagakalo, the people at the very source of a river (tga, inhabitant, lo, head or source).

[3] Blair and Robertson, 41: 153, 1906.

[4] The author refers to the mountains in the vicinity of Lano, a town that stood down the river from the present Verula and which was abandoned when the region subsided.

[5] Fr. Jacinto Juanmarti's Diccionario Moro Magindano-Espaol (Manila, 1892), 125.

[6] My authority for this derivation is a work by Dr. T. H. Pardo de Tavera on The Origin of Philippine Tribal Names.

The derivation of the above tribal designations leads us to the opinion that the word Manbo means by derivation a "river-man," and not a "naked man."

A further alternative derivation has been suggested by Dr. N. M. Saleeby,[7] from the word tbo, "to grow"; the word Manbo, according to this derivation, would mean the people that grew up on the island, that is the original settlers or autochthons. The word tbo, "to grow," is not, however, a Manbo word, and it is found only in a few Mindano dialects.

[7] Origin of Malayan Filipinos, a paper read before the Philippine Academy, Manila, Nov. 1, 1911.

Father F. Combes, S. J.,[8] says that the owners, that is, the autochthonic natives of Mindano, were called Manbos and Mananpes.[9] In a footnote referring to Mananpes, it is stated, and appears very reasonable and probable, that the above-mentioned term is not a tribal designation but merely an appellation of contempt used on account of the low culture possessed by the autochthons at that time.

[8] Historia de Mindano y Jolo (Madrid, 1664). Ed. Retana (Madrid, 1897).

[9] The word mananp is the word for animal, beast in the Cebu Bisya, Bagbo, Tiruri, and Magindano Moro languages. Among some of the tribes of eastern Mindano, the word is applied to a class of evil forest spirits of apparently indeterminate character. It is noteworthy that these spirits seem to correspond to the Manubu spirits of the Sbanuns as described by Mr. Emerson B. Christie in his Sbanuns of Sindangan Bay (Pub. Bur. Sci., Div. Eth., 88, 1909).

Hence there seems to be some little ground for supposing that the word Manbo was originally applied to all the people that formerly occupied the coast and that later fled to the interior, and settled along the rivers, yielding the seashore to the more civilized invaders.

The following extract from Dr. N. M. Saleeby[10] bears out the above opinion:

[10] The Origin of the Malayan Filipinos, a paper read before the Philippine Academy on Nov. 1, 1911.

The traditions and legends of the primitive tribes of the Philippine Archipelago show very clearly that they believe that their forefathers arose in this land and that they have been here ever since their creation. They further say that the coast tribes and foreigners came later and fought them and took possession of the land which the latter occupy at present. When Masha'ika, the earliest recorded immigrant, reached Slu Island, the aborigines had already developed to such a stage of culture as to have large settlements and rajas or datus.

These aborigines are often referred to in Slu and Mindano as Manubus, the original inhabitants of Slu Islands, the Budanuns, were called Manubus also. So were the forefathers of the Magindano Moros. The most aboriginal hill tribes of Mindano, who number about 60,000 souls or more, are called Manubus.

[Transcriber's note: Both of the above paragraphs comprise the quotation.]

The idea that the original owners were called Manbos is the opinion of San Antonio also, as expressed in his Cronicas.[11] Such a supposition might serve also to explain the wide distribution of the different Manbo people in Mindano, for, besides occupying the regions above-mentioned, they are found on the main tributaries of the Rio Grande de Kotabto—the Batagan, the Biktsa, the Luan, the Narkanitan, etc., and especially on the River Pulagi—on nearly all the influents of the last-named stream, and on the Higoog River in the Province of Misamis. As we shall see later on, even in the Agsan Valley, the Manbos were gradually split on the west side of the river by the ingress, as of some huge wedge, of the Banuons. Crossing the eastern Cordillera, a tremendous mass of towering pinnacles—the home of the Mamnuas—we find Manbos occupying the upper reaches of the Rivers Hubo, Marihtag, Kagwit, Tgo, Tndag, and Kantlan, on the Pacific coast. I questioned the Manbos of the rivers Tgo and Hubo as to their genealogy and former habitat and found that their parents, and even some of themselves, had lived on the river Kasilaan, but that, owing to the hostility of the Banuons, they had fled to the river W-Wa. At the time of the coming of the Catholic missionaries in 1875, these Manbos made their way across the lofty eastern Cordillera in an attempt to escape from the missionary activities. These two migrations are a forcible example of what may have taken place in the rest of Mindano to bring about such a wide distribution of what was, perhaps, originally one people. Each migration led to the formation of a new group from which, as from a new nucleus, a new tribe may have developed in the course of time.

[11] Blair and Robertson, 40: 315, 1906.


[12] See tribal map.

The Manbos occupy the whole Agsan Valley as far as the town of Buai on the upper Agsan with the following exceptions:

1. The upper parts of the rivers Lamiga, Kandiisan, Hawilian, and hut, and the whole of the river Masam, together with the mountainous region beyond the headwaters of these rivers, and probably the territory beyond in the district of Misamis, as far over as the habitat of the Bukdnon tribe.[13]

[13] The reason for the insertion of this last clause is that the people inhabiting the mountains at the headwaters of the above rivers have the same physical types, dress, and weapons as the Bukdnons, if I may judge from my slight acquaintance with the latter.

2. The towns of Butun, Talakgon, Bunwan, Verula, and Prosperidad.

3. The town of Tagusab and the headwaters of the Tutui and Binuggaan Rivers.


In this region I include the upper waters of the Liaga, Hubo, Oteiza, Marihtag, Kagwit, Tgo, Tndag, and Kantlan Rivers.


I desire to call the reader's attention to the fact that this monograph has no reference to the Manbos of Port San Agustin nor to the Manbos of the Libagnon River and its tributaries, nor to the Manbos that occupy the hinterland above Nasipit as far as the Bugbus River. I had only cursory dealings with the inhabitants of the last-named region but both from my own scant observations and from the reports of others more familiar with them, I am inclined to believe that there may be differences great enough to distinguish them from the other peoples of the Agsan Valley as a distinct tribe.

As to the Manbos of Libagnon, it is probable that they have more or less the same cultural and linguistic characteristics as the Manbos that form the subject matter of this paper, but, as I did not visit them nor get satisfactory information regarding them, I prefer to leave them untouched until further investigation.

Of the Manbos of the lower half of the peninsula of San Agustin, I know absolutely nothing except that they are known as Manbos. I noted, however, in perusing the Jesuit letters[14] that there were in the year 1891 not only Manbos but Moros, Bilns, and Tagakalos in that region.

[14] Cartas de los PP. de la Compaa de Jess, 9: 335, et seq., 1892.


The Mamnuas, or Negritos, and Negrito-Manbo half-breeds of Mindano occupy the mountains from Anao-aon near Surigao down to the break in the eastern Cordillera, northwest of Liaga. They also inhabit a small range that extends in a northeasterly direction from the Cordillera to Point Kawit on the east coast.

I heard three trustworthy reports of the existence of Negritos in eastern Mindano. The first report I heard on the Umaam River (Walo, August, 1909). It was given to me by a Manbo chief from the River Ihawn. He assured and reassured me that on the Lagilag River, near the Libagnon River exists a group of what he called Manbos but who were very small, black as an earthen pot, kinky-haired, without clothes except bark-cloth, very peaceable and harmless, but very timid. I interrogated him over and over as to the bark-cloth that he said these people wore. He said in answer that it was called agahan and that it was made out of the bark of a tree whose name I can not recall. He described the process of beating the bark and promised to bring me, 60 days from the date of our conference, a loin cloth of one of these people. I inquired as to their manner of life, and was assured that they were tau-batag; that is, people who slept under logs or up in trees. He said that he and his people had killed many of them, but that he was still on terms of friendship with some of them.

The second report as to the existence of Negritos I heard on the Baglsan River, a tributary of the Slug River. The chiefs whom I questioned had never visited the Negritos but had purchased from the Tugawanons[15] many Negrito slaves whom they had sold to the Mandyas of the Kati'il and Karga Rivers. This statement was probably true, for I saw one slave, a full-blooded Negrito girl, on the upper Karga during my last trip and received from her my third and most convincing report of the existence of Negritos other than the Mamnuas of the eastern Cordillera. She had been captured, she said, by the Manbos of Libagnon and sold to the Debabons (upper Slug people). She could not describe the place where her people live, but she gave me the following information about them. They are all like herself, and they have no houses nor crops, because they are afraid of the Manbos that surround them. Their food is the core[16] of the green rattan and of fishtail palm,[17] the flesh of wild boar, deer, and python, and such fish and grubs, etc., as they find in their wanderings. They sleep anywhere; sometimes even in trees, if they have seen strange footprints.

[15] The Tugawanons were described by my Slug authorities as a people that lived at the headwaters of the River Libagnon on a tributary called Tugawan. They were described as a people of medium stature, as fair as the Manskas, very warlike, enemies of the reported Negritos, very numerous, and speaking an Ats dialect. Perhaps the term Tugawanon is only a local name for a branch of the Ats tribe.

[16] O-bud.

[17] Ba-hi (Caryota sp.).

Their weapons are bows and arrows, lances, daggers, and bolos. According to her description, the bolos are long and thin, straight on one side and curved on the other. The men purchase them from the Ats in exchange for beeswax. The people are numerous, but they live far apart, roaming through the forests and mountains, and meeting one another only occasionally.

The statements of this slave girl correspond in every particular with the report that I received on the upper Slug, except that the Slug people called these Negritos Tugmaya and said that they live beyond a mountain that is at the headwaters of the Libagnon River.

Putting together these three reports and assuming the truth of them, the habitat of these Negritos must be the slopes of Mount Panombaian, which is situated between, and is probably the source of, the Rivers Tigwa (an important tributary of the Rio Grande de Kotabto), Sbud (the main western tributary of the Ihawn River), and Libagnon (the great western influent of the Tgum River).

Montano states that during his visit to the Philippines (1880-81) there were on the island of Samal a class of half-blood Ata' with distinctly Negroid physical characteristics. Treating of Ata' he says that it is a term applied in the south of Mindano by Bisyas to Negritos "that exist (or existed not long ago) in the interior toward the northwest of the gulf of Davao."[18] A careful distinction must be made between the term Ats[19] and the racial designation Ata', for the former are, according to Doctor Montano, a tribe of a superior type, of advanced culture, and of great reputation as warriors. They dwell on the northwestern slope of Mount Apo, hence their name Ats, hatas, or atas, being a very common word in Mindano for "high." They are, therefore, the people that dwell on the heights. I heard of one branch of them called Tugawanons, but this is probably only a local name like Agsanons, etc.

[18] Une Mission aux Philippines, 346, 1887.

[19] Called also Its.

I found reports of the former existence of Negritos in the Karga River Valley at a place called Sukipin, where the river has worn its way through the Cordillera. An old man there told me that his grandfather used to hunt the Negritos. The Mandyas both of that region and of Tagdaug-dug, a district situated on the Karga River, five days' march from the mouth, on the western side of the Cordillera, show here and there characteristics, physical and cultural, that they could have inherited only from Negrito ancestors. One interesting trait of this particular group is the use of blowpipes for killing small birds. In the use of the bow and arrow, too, they are quite expert. These people are called taga-buti—that is, mountain dwellers—and live in places on the slopes of high mountains difficult of access, their watering-place being frequently a little hole on the side of the mountain.


The Banuons,[20] probably an extension of the Bukdnons of the Bukdnon subprovince. They occupy the upper parts of the Rivers Lamiga, Kandiisan, Hawilian, and hut, and the whole of the River Masam, together with the mountainous region beyond the headwaters of these rivers, and probably extend over to the Bukdnons.

[20] Also called Higaunon or Higagaun, probably "the Hadgaguanes—a people untamed and ferocious"—to whom the Jesuits preached shortly after the year 1596. (Jesuit Mission, Blair and Robertson, 44:60, 1906.) These may be the people whom Pigaffetta, in his First Voyage Around the World (1519-1522) calls Benaian (Banuon ?) and whom he describes as "shaggy and living at a cape near a river in the islands of Butun and Karga—great fighters and archers—eating only raw human hearts with the juice of oranges or lemons" (Blair and Robertson, 30:243, 1906).


This tribe occupies the towns of Tagusab and Pilar on the upper Agsan, the range between the Slug and the Agsan, the headwaters of the Mnat River, and the water-shed between the Mnat and the Mawab. The physical type of many of them bespeaks an admixture of Negrito blood, and their timidity and, on occasions, their utter lack of good judgment, brand them as the lowest people, after the Mamnuas, in eastern Mindano. One authority, a Jesuit missionary, I think, estimated their number at 30,000. An estimate, based on the reports of the people of Compostela, places their number at 10,000 just before my departure from the Agsan Valley in 1910. The decrease, if the two estimates are correct, is probably due to intertribal and interclan wars.


The Manskas do not seem to me to be as distinct tribally as are the Manbos and Mandyas. It would appear from their physical appearance and other characteristics that they should be classed as Mandyas, or as a subtribe of Mandyas with whom they form one dialect group. I judge them to be the result of intermarriage between the Maggugans and the Mandyas. They occupy the Mawab River Valley and the region included between the Hijo, Mawab, and Madawan Rivers. They are probably the people whom Montano called Tagabawas, but I think that this designation was perhaps a mistaken form of Tagabaas, an appellation given to Maggugans who live in the b-as, or prickly swamp-grass, that abounds at the headwaters of the Mnat River.


The Debabons are probably a hybrid group forming a dialect group with the Manbos of the Ihawn and Babo, and a culture group in dress and other features with the Mandyas. They claim relationship with Manbos, and follow Manbo religious beliefs and practices to a great extent. For this reason I have retained the name that they apply to themselves, until their tribal identity can be clearly determined. They inhabit the upper half of the Slug River Valley and the country that lies to the west of it as far as the Babo River.


These form the greatest and best tribe in eastern Mindano.[21] One who visits the Mandyas of the middle Kati'il can not fail to be struck with the fairness of complexion, the brownness of the hair, the diminutiveness of the hands and feet, and the large eyes with long lashes that are characteristic of many of these people. Here and there, too, one finds a distinctly Caucasian type. In psychological characteristics they stand out still more sharply from any tribe or group of people that I know in eastern Mindano. Shrewd and diplomatic on the one hand, they are an affectionate, good-natured and straight-forward people, with little of the timidity and cautiousness of the Manbo. Their religious instincts are so highly developed that they are inclined to be fanatical at times.

[21] It is very interesting to note that the people called Taga-baloyes and referred to by so many of the writers on Mindano can be none other than the Mandyas. Thus San Antonio (Blair and Robertson, 40: 407, 1906) states that "the Taga-baloyes take their name from some mountains which are located in the interior of the jurisdiction of Caraga. They are not very far distant from and trade with the villages of (Karga) and some, indeed, live in them who have become Christians. * * * These people, as has been stated above, are the descendants of lately arrived Japanese. This is the opinion of all the religious who have lived there and had intercourse with them and the same is a tradition among themselves, and they desired to be so considered. And it would seem that one is convinced of it on seeing them: for they are light complexioned, well-built, lusty, very reliable in their dealings, respectful, and very valiant, but not restless. So I am informed by one who has had much to do with them: and above all these are the qualities which we find in the Japanese."

In further proof, Father Pedro de San Francisco de Assis (ibid. 41: 138, et seq.) says: "The nearest nation to our village [Bislig] is that of the Taga-baloyes who are so named from certain mountains that they call Balooy. * * * They are a corpulent race, well built, of great courage and strength, and they are at the same time of good understanding, and more than halfway industrious. Their nation is faithful in its treaties and constant in its promises, as they are descendants, so they pride themselves, of the Japanese, whom they resemble in complexion, countenance, and manners." The writer describes briefly their houses and their manner of life, and mentions in particular the device they make use of in the construction of their ladders. It is interesting to note that the same device is still made use of by the more well-to-do Mandyas on the Karga, Manorigao, and Kati'il Rivers. In other respects their character, as described, is very similar to that of the present Mandyas of the Kati'il River who in physical type present characteristics that mark them as being a people of a superior race.

In Medina's historia (Blair and Roberston, 24:175, 1906,) we find it related that Captain Juan Nio de Tabora mistreated the chief of the Taga-baloyes in Karga and that as a result the captain, Father Jacinto Cor, and 12 soldiers were killed. Subsequently four more men of the religious order were killed and two others wounded and captured by the Taga-baloyes.

Zuiga in Estadismo (ibid. 2:71, et seq.) notes the fairness of complexion of the Taga-baloyes, a tribe living in the mountains of Balooy in Karga.

Father Manual Buzeta in Diccionario geogrfico-estadstico-histrico de las Islas Filipinas (1: 506, 1905) makes the same observation, but M. Felix Renouard de Sainte Croix in Voyage commercial et politique aux Indes Orientales (1803-1809) goes further still by drawing attention to these people as meriting distinction for superior mentality.

The Jesuit missionary Pastells in 1883 (Cartas de los PP. de la Compaa de Jess, 4:212, 1884) writes that the people above Manresa (southeastern Mindano) are perhaps of Moro origin but bettered by a strain of noble blood, which their very appearance seems to him to indicate. In support of this view he cites the authority of Santayana, who claims Japanese descent for them and repudiates the opinion of those who attribute Hollandish descent. In a footnote, the above celebrated missionary and scholar adds that the town of Kinablangan (a town on the east coast of Mindano) owes its origin to a party of Europeans who were shipwrecked on Point Bagoso and took up their abode in that place, intermarrying with the natives. I was informed by a Bisya trader, the only one that ever went among the mountain Mandyas, that he had seen a circular, clocklike article with strange letters upon it in a settlement on the middle Kati'il. The following year I made every effort to see it, but I could not prevail upon the possessors to show it to me. They asserted that they had lost it. It is probable that this object was a ship's compass.

[Transcriber's note: The preceding six paragraphs are all part of footnote 21.]

On the whole, the impression made upon me in my long and intimate dealings with the Mandyas of the Kati'il, Manorigao, and Karga Rivers is that they are a brave, intelligent, clean, frank people that with proper handling might be brought to a high state of civilization. They are looked up to by Manbos, Maggugans, Manskas, and Debabons as being a superior and more ancient race, and considered by the Bisyas of the Agsan Valley as a people of much more intelligence and fair-dealing than any other tribe. The Mandyas consist of four branches:


These occupy the country from near the mouth of the Tgum to the confluence of the Slug and Libagnon Rivers, or perhaps a little farther up both of the last-mentioned rivers. It is probable that the Debabons farther up are the issue of Manbos and Tgum Mandyas.


It is usual for the people of the upper Agsan from Gerona to Compostela to call themselves Mandyas, but this appears to be due to a desire to be taken for Mandyas. They have certainly absorbed a great deal of Mandya culture and language, but, with the exception of Pilar and Tagusab, they are of heterogeneous descent—Mandya, Manbo, Maggugan, Debabon, and Manska.

At the headwaters of the Agsan and in the mountains that encircle that region live the Mandyas that are the terror of Mandyaland. They are called by the upper Agsan people Kau-, which means the same as Tagakalo, but are Mandyas in every feature, physical, cultural, and linguistic.


They occupy the following rivers with their tributaries: the Kati'il, the Baganga, the Mano-rigao, the Karga, the Manai, the Kasaman, and the upper reaches of the Mati. There are several small rivers between the Kasaman and the Mati, the upper parts of all which, I think, are occupied by Mandyas.


These occupy the upper reaches of all the rivers on the east side of the gulf of Davao, from Sumlug to the mouth of the Hijo River whose source is near that of the Agsan and whose Mandyas are famous in Mandyaland.


Moros or people with a preponderance of Moro blood and culture occupy the coast towns on the eastern and northern sides of the gulf from Sumlug to the mouth of the Tgum. Of course they have other settlements on the north and west sides of the gulf.

In Mati and its vicinity, I believe there are a comparatively large number of Moros or Mohammedanized Mandyas.


[22] Called also, I think, Bi-la-an.

Bilns were found according to the testimony of the Jesuit missionaries[23] in Sigaboi, Tikbakawan, and Baksal, on the peninsula of San Agustin.

[23] Cartas de los PP. de la Compaa de Jess, 9: 331, et seq., 1889-1891.


According to the authorities just cited there were Tagakalos in Sigaboi, Uagen, Kabuaya, and Makambal between the years 1889 and 1891. It is probable that these people are scattered throughout the whole of the hinterland to the west of Pujada Bay, and that they are only Mandyas who, unable to withstand the stress of war, fled from the mountains at the headwaters of the Agsan River. I base this suggestion on the fact that the Mandyas at the headwaters of the Agsan are known as, and call themselves, Kau-[24] and that they were, and are probably still at the date of this writing, the terror of Mandyaland. If the Tagakalos of Point San Agustin are fugitive Kau-, according to the prevailing custom they would have retained their former name; this name, if Kau-, would have been changed by Bisyas and by Spanish missionaries to Tagakalo.

[24] Kau- would be Ka-lo in Bisya, from the prefix ka, and lo, head or source.


According to the authority of Father Llopart[25] the Laks dwell in the mountains southwest of Pujada Bay. He says that in customs they differ from other tribes. They dress in black and hide themselves when they see anyone dressed in a light color. No stranger is permitted to enter their dwellings. The same writer goes on to state that their food is wholly vegetable, excluding tubers, roots, and everything that grows under the ground. Their chief is called poska,[26] "an elder who with his mysterious words and feigned revelations keeps his people in delusion and under subjection." It is the opinion of Father Llopart that these people are only fugitives, as he very justly concludes from the derivation of their name.[27]

[25] Cartas de los PP. de la Compaa de Jess, 9: 337-338, 1891.

[26] Poska means in Malay, and in nearly all known Mindano dialects, an "inheritance" so that in the usage attributed to these Laks it would appear that there may be some idea of an hereditary chieftainship. The word in Bagbo, however, means something beloved, etc., so that the reported Lak poska or chief might be so called because of his being beloved by his people.

[27] He states that lak is probably from log, "to flee," "to take to the mountains." In several dialects of eastern Mindano laag, lag, means, "to get lost," while lgui is a very common word for "run" or "run away."

Another writer, Father Pablo Pastells[28] makes mention of these Lak as being wild Tagakalos who are more degraded than the Mamnuas. He designates the mountains of Hagimitan on the peninsula of San Agustin as their habitat. I am inclined to think that the authority for this statement was also a Jesuit missionary.

[28] Ibid., 8: 343, 1887.


The work of Christianizing the pagans of eastern Mindano was taken up in earnest in 1877 by the Jesuit missionaries and carried on up to the time of the revolution in 1898. During that time some 50,000 souls were led to adopt Christianity. These included Mandyas, Manbos, Debabons, Manskas, Maggugans, and Mamnuas, and members of the other tribes that live in eastern Mindano. For the present, however, we will refer to the conquistas of the Manbo, Mandya, Mamnua, Maggugan, Manska, and Debabon tribes.


The inhabitants of all the settlements in the Agsan Valley except Novela, Rosario, the towns south of Buai, the towns within the Banuon habitat, and a few settlements of pagan Manbos on the upper Umaam, Argwan, and Ihawn, W-wa and Maitum are Manob conquistas.

On the eastern slope of the Pacific Cordillera in the vicinity of San Miguel (Tgo River), on the Marihtag and Oteiza Rivers there are several hundred Manbo conquistas. The towns up the Hinatun and Bislig Rivers are made up of both Manbo and Mandya conquistas.


In the Agsan Valley the towns on the Sulibo River and perhaps on the Adlaian River are made up of Mandya conquistas for the most part. These Mandyas evidently worked in from the Hinatun River for one reason or another, perhaps to avoid missionary activity on the east coast or to escape from Moro raids.

On the Pacific coast we find Mandya conquistas to a greater or less extent in nearly all the municipalities and barrios from Tndag to Mati, with the exception of such towns as have been formed by immigration of Bisyas from Bohol and other places. There can be no doubt but that in former years the Mandyas covered the whole Pacific slope from Tndag to Mati, for we still find recently Christianized Mandyas in Kolon and Alba on the Tgo River and in Kagwit and Bakolod on the Kagwit River. The inhabitants of these eastern towns are not known by the designation of conquistas, but assume the name and status of Bisyas and are not so dependent on the older Christians as are the conquistas of the Agsan Valley who are called conquistas and treated as inferiors by the older Christians.

I think that from Ligig to Mati all the barrios, both of the coast and in the hinterland, are made up of Mandyas that have been Christianized since 1877.


These Mamnua conquistas live in the vicinity of Anao-aon and Malimono' on the northeast coast; in San Roque and San Pablo, also on Lake Manit; on the River Asiga, a tributary of the River Jabonga; and somewhere up the Lanusa River on the east coast.


During my stay on the upper Agsan, there were only two towns of Maggugan conquistas—Tagusab and Pilar—and even these were mere suggestions of towns. It may be, however, that since the appointment of a deputy governor, the great numbers of Christianized Maggugans that had fled from the wrath of their enemies into the swamp region at the headwaters of the Mnat River have returned and that Maggugan towns now exist.


In Compostela, Gandia, and Tagaunud are found a few Manska conquistas. The inhabitants of these towns, however, are of such a heterogeneous blend that it is difficult to assign any tribal place to them. It may be said, in general, that these towns are still passing through a formative period, the result of which will probably be their complete adoption of Mandya culture and language, if they are left free to follow their own bent.


The Debabon conquistas are found in the town of Moncayo and are also scattered about on the upper Slug. The missionaries found the Debabon people very recalcitrant; the comparatively few converts made evinced, on the one hand, all the fickleness and instability of the Manbo and, on the other, the aggressiveness of the Mandya.


The Bisyas or Christian Filipinos in the Agsan Valley occupy the towns of Butun, Talakgon, Verula, Bunwan, and Prosperidad, of which latter they formed, during my last visit to the Agsan Valley, a majority. Outside of the Agsan Valley, they occupy all the towns on the north coast except the towns of Tortosa, Maasao, Tamolayag, and Malimono'. On, and in the vicinity of Lake Manit, they occupy the towns of Sison, Timamana, Manit, Jabonga, Santiago, Santa Ana and several other small ones. On the east coast they occupy all the coast towns from Surigao to Bislig. South of Bislig only the towns, of Kati'il, Baganga, Karga, Santiago, and Mati may be said to be Bisya, although the Christianized Mandyas of the intervening towns call themselves Bisyas. But even the above-mentioned towns, with the exception of Santiago, have hardly any claim to be considered Bisya in the sense in which that word is applied to the Bisyas of the town of Surigao. The same holds true of a great portion of the inhabitants of Tndag, Tgo, La Paz, and Kagwit, where the Mandya element in language and in superstitious beliefs still holds sway to a considerable extent among the lower class of the inhabitants.

In the Agsan Valley a great part of the Bisyas of Talakgon can not be considered as Bisyas in the full sense of the word. Many of them called Sulibonon are of no higher culture than the conquistas of the River Sulibo from which they come. They are distinctly Mandya in physical type and in manner of life except that they have abandoned the ancient Mandya religious beliefs and adopted those of Christianity. They are probably the first group of Mandya conquistas that were induced to leave the Sulibo and take up their abode in Talakgon.





There seem to be differences in physical type between the Manbos on the lower part of the Agsan as far as the Bugbus River and those of the Ihawn and the upper Agsan Rivers. On the upper Agsan the variations become more noticeable as we approach the confines of the Mandyas and the Debabons, both of whom differ from the Manbos in physical characteristics to such an extent that even an ordinary observer can not fail to notice it. Again, on the upper Agsan, in the vicinity of Tagusab, we find types that remind us of the Maggugan with his manifestly Negroid characteristics. Over on the Tgo River, too, and on the far upper Wa-wa, there are groups of so-called Manbos who are clearly descendants of Mamnuas. With these exceptions the following delineation holds good, I think, for the great mass of Manbos with whom one comes in contact throughout eastern Mindano.


In general, the Manbo man is of athletic build and of strong constitution, although he is often short of stature. His muscular development denotes activity, speed, and endurance rather than great strength. Corpulency and prominence of the abdomen are never present, so far as I have observed. His skin, as a rule, is of a reddish-brown color that turns to a somewhat dark brown after long exposure to the sun, as in the case of those who engage in fishing in the lake region.

The hair is abundant, long, black, straight, and coarse. As we approach the domains of the Maggugans and of the Mamnuas, the hair is a little less abundant and shows traces of curliness. Occasional waviness may be observed also among those Manbos who live near the territory of the Mandyas, Debabons, and Manskas.

Beard and body hair are not abundant. In this respect the Manbo differs from the Mandya and from the Banuon, both of whom have a more copious growth (though I can not be definite as regards the latter people), and, in some cases, beards that are abundant enough to suggest admixture with white people.

The head appears to be well developed, being rather high and arched, as compared with that of the average Bisya.[1] There is no flattening of the occiput. This roundness of the posterior part of the cranium, due, as Montano[2] states, to the prominence of the parietal bumps, becomes very apparent when comparison is made with the heads of Bisyas of other islands. The occipital arch of the latter is invariably flattened.

[1] In physical comparisons between Manbos and Bisyas no reference is made to the Bisyas of eastern Mindano, the great majority of whom are undoubtedly of Manbo or other pagan origin.

[2] Une Mission aux Philippines, 349,1906.

Owing to the prominence of the jawbones and to the above-mentioned height of the cranium, the face is decidedly lozenge-shaped, a feature that distinguishes it, on the one hand, from the long face of the Mandya and of the Banuon and, on the other, from the short, round face of the Mamnua and of the Maggugan. Montano[3] says that this peculiar shape is due to the development of the zygomatic arches or cheek bones and to the diminution of the minimum frontal line, that is, the shortest transverse measurement of the forehead.

[3] Loc. cit.

Prognathism is marked but variable according to the testimony of Montano, who took the anthropometrical measurements of many crania which he obtained from caves in northeastern Mindano.

The forehead is somewhat high and prominent, and the superciliary ridges are salient. The eyes are brown in color. The palpebral opening is elongated as compared with that of the Mandya, whose eye is round. There is no trace of the Mongolian falciform fold, and the transverse axis is perfectly horizontal.

The nose is prominent and well-developed but short, and, as a rule, straight. Toward the confines of the Banuons we sometimes notice a slight curve upward at the top. The nostrils are somewhat slender, but otherwise well developed. They are a little larger than those of Bisyas. The ridge is broader than that of Bisyas, and the root is lower down.

The lips bear resemblance to those of the Bisyas except that the upper lip of the Manbo is more prominent and more developed, due, it is suggested, to the universal, incessant practice of carrying a quid of tobacco partly under it and partly protruding out between it and the lower lip.

The chin is round and well developed, but is not prominent.

The above statements hold true of the women in all details except that of stature. The difference between the stature of the male and female Manbo is much greater than that between the sexes among Bisyas and other civilized people of the Philippines. This difference in the stature of the sexes is apparent in all the tribes of eastern Mindano with the exception of certain groups of Mandyas, and may be attributed, on the one hand, to the excessive burdens carried, and the onerous labor performed by the women in the discharge of their household and other duties, and, on the other, to the unencumbered outdoor life pursued by the men in their hunting, fishing, and trading expeditions.

The other parts of the bodies of both sexes are in good proportions. The thorax is especially well developed, and the feet are, perhaps, inordinately large.

The general appearance of the men is somewhat unpleasing and, perhaps, among the Manbos of remote regions, might be said to be coarse. This is especially noticeable among the latter, as their eyes usually bulge out and give them a somewhat wild and even vindictive air. The blackening of the teeth and lips, the quid of black tobacco between the lips, the look of alarm and suspicion, and various other characteristics all tend to heighten this expression.

The women have a more pleasing expression, but the timid furtive look, the ungainly gait, and the ungraceful contour of their abak skirts, detract from the moderate beauty that they possess in their youth. After marriage their beauty wanes incredibly fast.

Comparing the Manbo's physical and general appearance with that of neighboring peoples, we may say that he stands fifth, the Mandya, Manska, Debabon, and Banuon leading, while below him stand without any question the Maggugan and the Mamnua. He has not the height, the proportions, the fairness, nor the gentility of the first three. He lacks the nobility, courage, and intelligence of the fourth,[4] but he maintains his superiority over the Maggugan, whose repellent features, sparse hair, scanty clothing, and low intelligence put him only a little above the Mamnuas. These latter are only poor homeless forest dwellers like the Negritos of Luzon, and physically, mentally, and culturally stand lowest in the plane of civilization of all the people of the eastern Mindano.

[4] My acquaintance with Banuons is so slight that I can not make any definite physical comparison.


With our present lack of knowledge concerning the great number of tribes that inhabit not only the island of Mindano but Borneo, Sumatra, and other islands of the Indies, it is impossible to make any definite statement as to the racial and the tribal affinities of the Manbo people.


Montano proposed the Indonesian theory to explain the origin of the Samals, Bagbos, Giangas, Ats, Tagakalos, Manbos, and Mandyas. He asserts that these peoples are pure Indonesians whose origin can not be explained otherwise than by supposing them to be the indigenes of all the islands included under the term Indonesia. Hence he calls the above tribes Indonesians of Mindano.

He claims that these Indonesians are the result of a fusion of three elements: (1) the Polynesian, (2) the Malay-Bisya, and (3) the Negrito.

The Bisya element, he says, is considerable and becomes apparent in the increase of transverse diameter of the cranium. The Negrito element is apparent only in the waviness of the hair, the height and prominence of the forehead, and the darker color of the skin.

He further states that the anatomical characteristics of these tribes are their superior stature, their muscular development, and the prominence of the occipital region in contradistinction to the flattening noticeable in Malays in general, and especially in those of the Philippines.


Keane in his Ethnology[5] notes that—

the term "Indonesian," introduced by Logan to designate the light-colored non-Malay inhabitants of the Eastern Archipelago, is now used as a convenient collective name for all the peoples of Malaysia and Polynesia who are neither Malays nor Papuans but of Caucasic type. * * * Doctor Hamy, who first gave this extension to the term Indonesian, points out that the Battaks and other pre-Malay peoples of Malaysia so closely resemble the Eastern Polynesians, that the two groups should be regarded as two branches of an original non-Malay stock. Although all speak dialects of a common Malayo-Polynesian language, the physical type is quite distinct and rather Caucasic than Mongolic, though betraying a perceptible Papuan (or Negrito) strain especially in New Zealand and Mikronesia. The true Indonesians are of tall stature (5 feet 10 inches), muscular frame, rather oval features, high, open forehead, large straight or curved nose, large full eyes always horizontal and with no trace of the third lid, light brown complexion (cinnamon or ruddy brown), long black hair, not lank but slightly curled or wavy, skull generally brachycephalous like that of the Melanochroic European.

[5] Ethnology, 326 et seq., 1901.

Regarding the Indonesians of the Philippine Islands, he says:[6]

Apart from the true Negrito aborigines Blumentritt distinguishes two separate "Malay" invasions, both prehistoric. Montano also recognizes these two elements which, however, he more correctly calls Indonesian and Malay. The Indonesians whom he affiliates to the "Polynesian family" were the first to arrive, being followed by the Malays and then, in the sixteenth century, by the Spaniards, who were themselves followed, perhaps also preceded, by Chinese and others. Thus Blumentritt's Malays of the first invasion, whom he brings from Borneo, are Montano's Indonesians, who passed through the Philippines during their eastward migrations from Borneo and other parts of Malaysia. The result of these successive movements was that the Negritoes were first driven to the recesses of the interior by the Indonesians with whom they afterwards intermingled in various degrees. Then the Indonesians were in their turn driven by the Malays from the coast lands and open plains, which are consequently now found occupied mainly by peoples of true Malay stock. Then with peaceful times fresh blends took place and to previous crossings are now added Spaniards and Chinese with Malays, there "quadroons" and "octoroons" with Indonesians, and even here and there with Negritoes. It has thus become difficult everywhere to distinguish between the true Malays and the Indonesians, who are also less known, dwelling in the more remote upland districts, often in association with the Negritoes and not always standing at a much higher grade of culture.

[6] Op. cit., 332.


Comparing the physical characteristics of the Manbos with those which are predicated of the Indonesians by these and other writers, I find that, in the case of the Manbos of the Agsan Valley, in stature, waviness of the hair, abundance of the beard, and lightness of the skin color there appears to be a divergence from Keane's Indonesian standard. Keane requires 1.795 meters as an average for the stature of the Indonesian, whereas the average of the Manbo, as I found it from cursory measurements, is approximately only 1.60 meters and Doctor Montano found it to be only 1.4667 meters. As to waviness of the hair, I have observed it rarely among the Manbos to which this paper refers. Neither is the beard abundant, and as for fairness in the color of the skin, a casual glance at the great mass of Manbos that occupy the Agsan and its tributaries will convince one that their color is decidedly ruddy brown and not light. It is true that in the mountains children and even young women are found with fair complexions, but this is probably due to confinement in the house or to protection from the sun while out of doors.


In the first part of this chapter a broad comparison was made between the Manbos and the contiguous tribes of eastern Mindano, but, in order to bring out in stronger relief the physical characteristics of the Manbo, it is considered expedient to give a brief description of the contiguous tribes.


In stature the Maggugan is shorter than the Manbo. His physical configuration gives one the impression that he is undersized. His cranium is elongated from the front backward along the antero-posterior curve, there being formed accordingly an enlargement on the upper part of the occiput. From this enlargement downward there is a flattening of the curve. The forehead is large, high, and very prominent, and diverges backward from the plane of the face at an observable angle. The face is narrow and flat, the narrowness being due to the prominence of the lower jaw and to a depression that is formed in the side of the face between the jaw and the cheek bone. The hair is lank, coarse, and in males, scant. The beard is very sparse except in elderly men, and even then it is far from being as abundant as that of the Manbos and especially that of the Mandyas. The nose is broad and conspicuously depressed, while the nasal orifices are rather large. On the whole, the prognathism is considerable but is not as variable as that of Manbos and of Mandyas.

There can be no doubt as to the Negritic character of the Maggugan. Owing to the peculiar circumstances that arose after my arrival on the upper Agsan in 1909, I found it impossible to get into communication with any but the more domesticated Maggugan in the vicinity of Compostela, but my observation of their physical and mental characteristics and of their low degree of culture led me to a strong conviction of a Negrito origin not far removed.


The Mandya, on the other hand, with the exception of groups on the upper Karga and perhaps on the upper Kasaman Rivers, is of superior stature. Montano found the stature to be only 1.578 meters, but the number of men measured by him was so small that we can not base any conclusion on his figures. I did not make any measurements of Mandyas, but it is my impression that the male Mandyas of the Kati'il, Karga, and Manorigao Rivers are noticeably taller than Manbos. In fact, one meets a great number that seem to come up to the Indonesian standard of Keane.

The Mandya's cranial conformation differs, according to Montano, from that of the Manbo only in one particular, namely, in the straightness of the middle part of the antero-posterior curve of the cranium. In other respects his cranium is similar to that of the Manbo. The face is oval rather than lozenge-shaped and has a pleasant, sympathetic look, due no doubt to the greater width of the palpebral opening, the largeness of the eye, and the length, darkness, and prominence of the eyelashes.

The nose is straight and prominent, occasionally quite European, and the nostrils are not depressed nor flattened. Their lower edges, instead of being horizontal, slant slightly upward from the tip. The nasal apertures are of medium size.

The superciliary ridges are prominent, but as the hair of the eyebrows is constantly kept shaved, there is not such an impression of prominence as in the Christianized Mandyas of the southeastern seaboard of Mindano.

As to the abundance of beard, it is hard to form a judgment because from youth it is constantly and conscientiously eradicated. The hair of the head is long, black, and abundant, often somewhat wavy and not as coarse, I think, as that of Manbos.

The most striking characteristic of the Mandya is his fair color. It is not my intention to give the impression that he is one of a "lost white tribe" or that he is entitled to be called white in the sense in which we use the term when speaking of Europeans. But for a native of the Philippine Islands he certainly may be denominated white, though his skin is not tawny white like that of the Japanese or Chinese but has a peculiar ashy tint. I have seen a few individuals that were very nearly as white as the average American, but who otherwise were not of a pronounced Caucasian type.

It is very difficult to explain the prevailing fairness of this tribe except by presupposing an admixture of some other blood. The Manbo lives in as dark forests and on as lofty mountains as those occupied by Mandyas. His manner of life is practically the same, and yet the average tint of his skin is far darker, so much so that the Mandya, in speaking not only of him but of Maggugan and even of Bisya, spurns them all as being "black."


As to the Debabons, I have not come in touch with a sufficient number of them to enable me to make any general statements. The groups that I met in Moncayo, on the Slug where the Baglsan River empties into it, and in the country extending some 10 kilometers to the west of it, closely resemble the Mandyas in physical characters, and yet in language, general culture, and religious belief, and by genealogy, they belong to the Manbo tribe. It is probable that they are the result of intermarriage of Manbo men of Babo and Ihawn origin with Mandya women of the lower Slug and Tgum Rivers.


The Mamnuas need little comment. They are full-blooded Negritos in every respect, physical and cultural, like the Negritos of Mariveles, as Montano very explicitly states. The Manbos of the upper Tgo River constantly intermarry with Mamnua women, as I had occasion to observe on several visits which I made to that region. It is probable that the same thing takes place on the Hbo, Marihtag, Lanusa, and Kantlan Rivers. In the vicinity of Lake Manit, a great many Mamnuas are reported to be half-breeds.


I visited only one settlement of Banuons, near the mouth of the Masam River. I met members of the tribe here and there along the Agsan between San Luis and Las Nieves, but my observations of them were casual and superficial so that I am not prepared to make any statements as to their physical characteristics. All reports, both of Manbos and Bisyas and the testimony of the Jesuit missionaries, state that they are a superior people. It is probable that this group of people, known as Banuon in the Agsan Valley, is a branch of the Bukdnons of whom the celebrated missionary Urios and others make such commendatory mention,[7] the former in one place going so far as to make the statement that the Bukdnons are fit to be kings of the Manbos.

[7] Cartas de los PP. de la Compaa de Jess, passim.


The upper garment of both sexes among the Manbos is a closed square-cut garment with sleeves and with a sufficient opening on top to admit the head. It fits the body either closely or fairly loosely. It is made of abak fiber when imported cloth is not available. It is always adorned with embroidery of imported red, white, blue, and yellow cotton, on the cuffs, on the seams of the shoulders and the side, and on the neck and lower edges. The garment of the man differs from that of the woman in being all of one color, except that across the back, over the shoulders, and as far down as the breasts, are horizontal, parallel, equidistant lines of inwoven blue cotton yarn.

The body and sleeves of the woman's garment are of different colors. Thus, if the sleeves are black, the body is red and vice versa. Another distinguishing feature is the profuseness of cotton embroidery on the front of the garment.

The lower garment of the man is a pair of trousers, generally of native cotton and abak fiber, reaching somewhat below the knees, with cotton embroidery in the above-mentioned colors on the sides and at the bottom. The ends of the draw string that holds the trousers in place hang down in front and are ornamented with tassels of the same colors.

The lower garment of the women is a doubled sacklike skirt of abak fiber, almost invariably of a reddish color, with beautiful designs in horizontal panels or with a series of horizontal equidistant black stripes. A girdle of human hair or of plaited vegetable fiber, held in place with a shell button or with a plaited cord, retains this garment in place. The consequent gathering of the capacious opening of the skirt at the waist and the bulging out at the bottom (which is just a little below the knees), detracts not a little from the gracefulness of the Manbo woman's figure. From the girdle hang, in varying number and quality, beads, hawk bells, redolent, medicinal, and magic seeds, sea shells, and fragrant herbs.

The hair is worn long by both sexes. It is dressed much like that of a Chinese woman except that it is twisted and tied up in a chignon on the crown of the head.

The man wears a long narrow bamboo hat which protects only the top of the head, and which is held on the head by two strings passing from end to end behind the ears. It usually has a plume of feathers standing up at right angles to the back part. The woman wears no hat as a general rule, but in lieu thereof adorns her head with a bamboo comb, at times inlaid with mother-of-pearl, at others covered with a lamina of beaten silver, but nearly always ornamented with decorative incisions. A pair of ear plugs with ornamental metal laminae are placed in the enlarged ear lobes.

I have seen men who had each ear lobe pierced in one or two places and small buttons fastened over the orifices, but I never saw a case of a Manbo woman with any other perforation in the ears than the great aperture in each lobe for her ear disks.

Around the neck the woman wears in more or less profusion, according to her means and opportunities for purchase, necklets of beads, and necklaces of seeds, beads, shells, and crocodile teeth.

On her forearms she wears one or more sea-shell bracelets, circlets of black coral or of copper wire, and a close-fitting ringlet of plaited nito. This last adornment is also worn by men, who dispense with the use of other forms of bracelets, but who usually adorn the upper arm with a finely plaited ligature made of a dark fibrous vine. Both men and women frequently wear similar ligatures just below one or both knees. On solemn and festive occasions the woman decks her ankles with loose coils of heavy wire.

A square knapsack of hemp, frequently fringed with cotton yarn of many colors and suspended from the back by strings passing over the shoulders and under the arms, constitutes the man's receptacle for his chewing paraphernalia. It may be more or less elaborate in beadwork and embroidery, but as a rule there is no ornamentation of this kind.

Both sexes blacken the lips with soot black, and continually keep them more or less in that condition by the use of a large quid of tobacco, mixed with lime and mu-mau juice, the whole being carried between the lips. This mixture serves not only as an indispensable and pleasing narcotic, but also as the principal factor in bringing about the complete and permanent staining of the teeth.

In order that "they may not look like dogs," both sexes have the upper and lower incisors ground at an early age. They proceed at once to stain what is left with frequent applications of the above-mentioned masticatories.

As white and sharp teeth are doglike, so beard and body hair are suggestive of the monkey. Hence all straggling hairs are sedulously and constantly eradicated.

Tattooing by both sexes is universal. It consists of the puncturing of the skin and the rubbing in of a soot made from a very common variety of resin. The figures tattooed, often artistic, are representations of stars, leaves, crocodiles, etc.

Both sexes are tattooed on the breast, arms, and fingers, but it is customary for women to have an extra design on the calves of the legs and sometimes on the whole leg.

As to the Christianized Manbos, it is obvious that the great majority have adopted the garb of their Bisya brethren and abandoned the use of ornaments and mutilations characteristic of their pagan compeers. The change was enjoined by Spanish missionaries for religious reasons and, in the case of clothing, was encouraged by Bisya traders for commercial motives, but did not benefit the new Christians, as far as my observation goes, either religiously, financially, or esthetically.





For a home the Manbo selects a site that is clearly approved by supernatural agencies, and that is especially suitable for agricultural purposes by reason of its fertility, and for defense, because of its strategic position. Hereon he builds an unpretentious, square, one-roomed building at a height of from 1.50 meters to 8 meters from the ground. The house measures ordinarily about 3 meters by 5 meters. Posts, usually light, and varying in number between 4 and 16, support the floor, roof, and intervening parts. The materials are all rattan lashed and seldom consist of anything but light materials taken from the immediate vicinity. The floor is made of slats of palm or bamboo, the roof is thatched with palm leaves, and the walls are light, horizontal, superimposed poles laid to about the height of the shoulders of a person sitting on the floor. The space between the top of the walls and the roof constitutes a continuous window. This open space above the low house wall permits the inmates during a fight to shoot their arrows at the enemy in any direction.

The one ceilingless room serves for kitchen, bedroom, and reception room. There is no decoration nor furniture. Scattered around or hung up, especially in the vicinity of the fireplace, are the simple household utensils, and the objects that constitute the property of the owner—weapons, baskets, and sleeping mats. On the floor farthest away from the door are the hearth frames, one or more, and the stones that serve as support for the cooking pots. A round log with more or less equidistant notches, leading from the ground up to the narrow doorway, admits the visitor into the house.

Under the house is the pigpen. Here the family pigs and the chickens make a living off such refuse or remnants as fall from above. The sanitary condition of this part of the establishment is in no wise praiseworthy. The only redeeming point is that the bad odors do not reach the house, being carried away by the current of air that is nearly always passing.

The house itself is far from being perfectly clean. The low, cockroach-infested thatch, the smoke-begrimed rafters, the unswept, dirt-bestrewn floor, the bug-infested slats, the smoke-laden atmosphere, the betel-nut-tinged walls and floor, these and other features of a small over-populated house make cleanliness almost impossible. The order and quietude of the home is no more satisfactory. The crying of the babies, the romping and shouting of the boys, the loud talking of the elders, the grunting of the pigs below, the whining and growling of the dogs above, and the noise of the various household occupations produce in an average house containing a few families a din that baffles description. But this does not disturb the serenity of the primitive inmates, who laugh, chew, talk, and work, and enjoy themselves all the more for the animation of which they form a great part.


In the absence of such a luxury as matches, the fire-saw or friction method of producing fire is resorted to, although the old steel and flint method is sometimes employed.

The cooking outfit consists of a few homemade earthen pots, supplemented by green bamboo joints, bamboo ladles, wooden rice paddles, and nearly always a coconut shell for receiving water from the long bamboo water tube.

The various articles of food may be divided into two classes, one of which we will call the staple part of the meal and the other the concomitant. It must be remembered that for the Manbo, as well as for so many other peoples of the Philippine Islands, rice or camotes or some other bulky food is the essential part of the meal, whereas fish, meat, and other things are merely complements to aid in the consumption of the main food. Under the heading, then, of staples we may classify in the order of their importance or abundance the following: Camotes, rice, taro, sago, cores of wild palm trees, maize, tubers and roots (frequently poisonous). Among the concomitant or supplementary foods are the following, their order being indicative of the average esteem in which they are held: Fish (especially if salted), domestic pork, wild boar meat (even though putrefied), venison, iguana, larvae from rotted palm trees, python, monkey, domestic chicken, wild chicken, birds, frogs, crocodile, edible fungi, edible fern, and bamboo shoots. As condiments, salt, if on hand, and red pepper are always used, but it is not at all exceptional that the latter alone is available.

Sweetpotatoes, taro, tubers, and rice are cooked by steaming. Maize and the cores of palm trees are roasted over the fire.

There are only two orthodox methods of cooking fish, pork, venison, iguana and chicken: (1) In water without lard; (2) by broiling. Python, monkey, crocodile, wild chicken, and birds must be prepared by the latter method.

When the meal is prepared, it is set out on plates, banana leaves, or bark platters, with the water in glasses or in the coconut-shell dipper. On ordinary occasions the husband, wife, children and female relatives of a family eat together, the unmarried men, widowers, and visitors partaking of their meals alone, but on festive occasions, all the male members, visitors included, gather in the center of the floor.

The hands and mouth are washed both before and after the meal. All begin to eat together on the floor. The men eat with their left hands and, on occasions, when the remotest suspicion of trouble exists, keep their right hand on their ever-present weapons. It is customary not to leave one's place after the meal without giving due notice.


The most common and indispensable source of everyday enjoyment is the betel-nut quid, It would be an inexcusable breach of propriety to neglect to offer betel nut to a fellow tribesman. Not to partake of it when offered would be considered a severance of friendship. The essential ingredients of the quid are betel leaf, betel nut, and lime, but it is common to add tobacco, cinnamon, lemon rind, and several other aromatic elements. At times substitutes may be used for the betel leaf and the betel nut, if there is a lack of either.

Another important masticatory is the tobacco quid with its ingredients of lime and mu-mau juice. This is carried constantly between the lips. Occasionally, however, the men like to smoke a little mixed tobacco in small pipes or in little leaf cones.

The greatest and the most cherished enjoyment of all is drinking: Men, women, and children indulge, the last two sparingly. In Manboland the fame of a banquet is in direct proportion to the number of those who became drunk, sobriety being considered effeminate, and a refusal to drink an affront to the host.

The main drinks are of four kinds: Cabo negro toddy, sugarcane brew, bahi toddy, and mead. The first and third are nothing but the sap of the palms that bear their respective names, the sap being gathered in the same manner as the ordinary coconut tuba. The second or sugarcane brew is a fermented drink made from the juice of the sugarcane boiled with a variety of the ginger plant. It is the choice drink of Manbo deities. The fourth drink mentioned above is mead. It is similar to the last mentioned except that instead of sugar-cane juice, honey is used in its preparation.

One feature of the drinking is that it is seldom unaccompanied by meat or fish. Hence, on every occasion that a supply of these may be obtained, there is a drinking bout. Religious sacrifices, too, afford abundant opportunity for indulgence.

Quarrels sometimes ensue as a result of the flowing bowl, and war expeditions are proposed, but on the whole it may be said that the Manbo is a peaceful and a merry drinker.


The Manbo makes his living by farming, fishing, hunting, and trapping. He clears a patch of the primeval forest, and his womenfolk clean off the brush, sow broadcast a little rice, plant camotes, some taro, maize, and sugarcane. As the rice crop seldom is sufficient for the sustenance of his household, the Manbo must rely also on the camote for his maintenance.

He obtains his supply of fish from the streams and rivers. When the water is deep and the current is not strong, he shoots the fish with a special bow and arrow. When the water is shallow and swift, he makes use of bamboo traps and at times poisons the whole stream.

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