top of page


Ata is one of the sub groups of Manobo meaning People and Ata pertaining location and language in surrounding area of Davao.

Datu Edwin Omo and Biyo Alma Omo are cultural bearers and community leaders of Ata Manobo from Pegdahalan, Barangay Pandaitan, Paquibato district in Davao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines.

In our 2015 immersion, along with other elders, they have shared with us several aspects of traditions such as Ulahing chants and prayers Pangotob tattoo as Ata Manobo identity Bangkakaw wooden log musical instrument for festive celebrations Kuglong way Saluroy boat lute and bamboo zither dance/music.

In 2015, 2017 and 2020, Parangal has visited Haran Bakwit Center in Davao City and met several tribal leaders from various ethnic communities including Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay of Talaingod Manobo. Parangal has learned about oppression and struggles of bakwit communities. As a result we have worked with both communities Ata Manobo and Talaingod and produced inspired dances that both showcase their rich cultures, traditions and struggles. These were showcased at White House Filipino American History Month 2016 in Washington D.C., Merrie Monarch’s Ho’ike 2017 in Hilo, Hawaii, Parangal’s 10th anniversary show 2018, and other local performances in Bay Area

PC Kimberly Requesto

Tanu won Guinawa (land is life) ⁃ In courtship, couple opens piece with ulahing (chanting or singing) as they go back to the community, men are showcased cutting trees for many uses: raft, firewood for cooking, to play their traditional instrument bangkakaw. Women help pick up the smaller branches carried in their baskets. On their way home, paramilitary, is introduced as they are known to hang around the village, disrupting daily lives, schools, etc

Kasuluhan (community) ⁃ The village is happy and celebrating in music and dance. The main instrument is the bangkakaw or tree log, suspended between tripods played usually by 3 women (using ando or long staff ) and 2 men (using sticks to balance the sound produced by three women)

Ugsulungon (intrusion) ⁃ Paramilitary takes over - hurting the village, harassing women, bullying, causing chaos

Bakwit (evacuation) ⁃ Many indigenous groups today especially in Mindanao experience the intrusion in their village, they are forced to leave the land they have cultivated to survive. Some are able to return to the village. Thousands today are still at refugee camps awaiting and continuing to fight. The scene ends with community escaping, evacuating, using the rivers and mountains to find new land or camps. Manobo’s live close to the river, the raft, sail, and song signify hope Attires, accessories and other artifacts were made and purchased directly from the community

bottom of page