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"MANDAYA” is my Tribe and my blood ever flowing through my veins", said by syumangkud na kinawbayan, Josefa Matucol-Piamonte, pasado na Gipandayan nam magkinnawaay, a retired teacher and an IP Women Leader of Caraga, her lovely hometown. Caraga, must be so lucky to have been awarded with two Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles, CADT 01 and the latest, CADT 208, the concrete testament of the aspirations of the tribe, a blueprint of honors and pride. Caraga is peopled of about 97% Mandaya populace, the tribe, whose culture and tradition is so rich and so distinct. Mandaya Tribe has placed Davao Oriental in the Map of Culture, Beauty, and Grace.

Mandaya of Caraga, may be considered the most attractive if not fastidious dressers. Aside from wearing the red blouse, the colorful dagom, with batata, embroidered with varicolor thread, Cascades of adornment on head, neck, breast and anklets. Pal'latina, a breast adornment, fashioned out of old silver coins with delicate geometric designs. One of the kind worn on a special gatherings and on religious rites.

Among all others bracelets, Pamol'lang, a white ivory, like pal'latina, is rare and expensive, where only those in the higher social class are wearers of these. Sowat, a comb made of matured bamboo trimmed with chalk or glittering glass beads with hanging gumamela formed thread, punch on a knotted ribbon-like hair over the nape.

In terms of art, DAGMAY, a unique, traditional woven cloth of Mandaya. Dagmay is one of Mandaya revelation of artistry. It is brown and reddish in color, with human figure, and a crocodile form, designed during pol'lopok during threading time, with stripes and other enchanting patterns. Dagmay is worn as skirt, the linagkaw, with the ul'lun or waistband of a woman.

Josefa Matucol-Piamonte and Nerissa M. Piamonte

Degusman Matucol

As one Tribe of Caraga, Banwa na Matimawa, Pol'lo na waday Bul'lungbull'lungan, the multifaceted cosmic place, in unison, we find joy in our literature, such us Omanoman, babatokon, panayday, chant, obatun, songs and dances. We find contentment with the melody and rhythm of the musical instruments, joyfully heard during social gatherings and in religious rites. Mandaya are religious people in their very own peculiar way. Thus, Gimbal'l, the traditional drum, made of bai, a kind of palm tree of black color, covered with male and female deer skin. When drum beats produce the beautiful sound to implore the supreme will of Magbabaya, God the Creator. Though this musical instrument considered sacred, the only kind to be played during ritual offerings, it is also played for the merriment in social gatherings. Another kind of musical instrument which is soothing sound produce by Bonabon, a kind of flute made of lai, a thinker bamboo to give comfort and to sooth sadness and melancholic mood, and even in their struggles and challenges. One more of a musical instrument is Kudlong, a two stringed zeith, a classic Mandaya string. When Kudlong is tune in a lively beats, his love is expressed. This is heard on bed time and when the cockcrow at dawn, during the period of courtship, serenading his beloved.

Culture Bearer: Josefa Matucol Piamonte | Photos by Mandaya Tribe’s Arts and Culture

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