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Natural History 

»^ f 7 . G/tO/*£f* A */ N 




Field Museum of Natural History. 

Publication 170. 

Anthropological Series Vol. XII, No. 1, 





Fay-Cooper Cole 

Assistant Curator of Malayan Ethnology 

The R. F. Cummings Philippine Expedition 

George A. Dorsey 
Curator, Department of Anthropology 

Chicago, U. S. A. 
September, 1913 

J ■ * 


List of Illustrations 


I. The Bagobo t? 



Influence of Neighbors; History c 2 

Physical Type _g 

^ ___ .^..m^. - 7 

Sketch of Fundamental Religious Beliefs 61 

Dwellings — Household Utensils 63 

Other Buildings ^_ 

Food and its Preparation 5g 

Hunting and Fishing ?2 

Occupations 7 

Transportation and Trade QO 


Social Organization q c 

Laws, Property and Inheritance .... q 8 

Birth :.".'.'.'.■,;.' 9 9 

Marriage IOI 

Sickness and Death T ~., 

iu j> 

Beliefs concerning the Soul, Spirits, Oracles and Magic. . 105 

Music, Dances and Ceremonies Ioq 

Decorative Art I2I 

Mythology 125 

Other Branches of the Tribe I2 g 

II. TheBila-an 

III. The Kulaman : 

IV. The Tagakaolo j -g 

V. TheAta ...............'..[ 162 

VI. The Mandaya l6 I 

Habitat jg- 

Description l66 

Clothing l6? 

Histor y 169 


VI. The Mandaya — Continued. . page 

Mythology and Religion 172 

Spirits ' 175 

The Tungud Movement 179 

Social Organization 180 

Dwellings 182 

Agriculture 1 84 

Hunting and Fishing 186 

Warfare 187 

Industries 190 

Birth 191 

Marriage 192 

Sickness and Death 193 

Decorative Art 195 

Conclusion 200 





1. Shell bracelet 57 

2. Necklace of rattan overlaid with fern and orchid cuticle 57 

3. Brass anklets worn by the women 58 

4. Brass bracelets 58 

5. Ear stretchers 50, 

6. Woman's ear plugs 60 

7. Pubic shields 61 

8. The "stove" 64 

9. Bamboo plate rack 64 

10. Rice mortar and pestle 65 

11. Cocoanut shell spoon 65 

12. Tambara 66 

1 3 . Rice winnower 69 

14. Lime and tobacco tubes 71 

15. Spears used in fighting and hunting 72 

16. Chicken snare and carrying case 72 

17. Bow and arrows 73 

18. Blow gun and darts 73 

19. Bamboo fish trap 75 

20. Fish spear 76 

2 1 . Fish lure 76 

22-24. Types of weaving used in basketry 77 

25. Cocoanut scraper 78 

26. Stages in the manufacture of metal bells 81-2 

27. Hemp machine 84 

28. Sugar cane press 84 

29. Rice planter 87 

30. Carrying frame 91 

3 1 . Front and back of decorated shield 93 

32. Round shield 93 

33. Taw-gaw or bamboo guitar no 

34. Realistic patterns in beads and shell disks 123 

35. Cooking pot and cover 131 

36. Women's combs ? 134 



37. Ear Plugs 135 

38. Bows and arrows from Lake Buluan region 141 

39. Bows and arrows in common use '. . 142 

40. Pitch slick 142 

41. Embroidered designs 147 

42. Designs on men's clothing 148 

43. Portion of a hemp cloth pillow cover 151 

44. Basket with infitting top 151 

45. Man's knife and sheath 154 

46. Bamboo trumpet 156 

47. Men's hats 168 

48. Woman's comb 169 

49. Ear plugs 169 

50. Gourd rice holder 185 

51. Bird snare • • 186 

52. Wooden shields 188 

53. Silver breast ornaments 191 

54. Designs representing the human form 194 

55. Crocodile designs 196 

56. Crocodile design 197 

57. Design used in weaving 197 

58. Designs on a bamboo lime holder 198 

59. Clothes hanger 198 

60-61. Embroidered figures on jackets and carrying bags 199 

62. Tobacco pouches 199 


I. Tribal map of Davao District Frontispiece 

II. Bagobo youth wearing the prized ivory ear plugs. 

III. The men retain their long hair in place with decorated head 


IV. Many strands of beads surround the necks of the men. 

V. The features of some of the men approach those of the Negrito. 
VI. Bagobo woman wearing the customary hair and neck ornaments. 
VII. A typical Bagobo woman. 

VIII. Although the hair is oiled and combed straight back, stray 
locks are continually creeping out. 






















The clothing worn by both sexes is decorated with 

beads, shell disks, and embroidery. 
A group of women in gala dress. 

(a) In lieu of pockets, the men carry decorated 

hemp-cloth bags on their backs. 

(b) The coming and passing generations. 
(c and d) Customary dress of the children. 

(a) A youth having his teeth cut to points. 

(b) The mutilated teeth. 

In house-building, the roof is made first and is then 

raised to the desired height. 
Farm house with rice granary in the foreground. 
Home of Datu Tongkaling. 

(a) A house in Bansalan. 

(b) Bamboo fence surrounding a clearing. 

(a) Brass boxes in which betel-nut, leaves and 

lime are carried. 

(b) Small mortars and pestles used in crushing 

Wooden decoy used in hunting doves. 
Tobacco boxes carried by the men. 
Woman stripping the hemp which is to be used for 


Overtying the warp threads before dyeing. 

(a) Dried Hemp. 

(b) Overtied warp threads ready to be colored. 

(c) Dyed threads with overtying removed. 

(d) Colored threads ready for the loom. 

Polishing the cloth. 

Manufacture of the magani's headband: 

(a) Overtied cloth. 

(b) The colored headband. 

(a and b) Knife and carved stick used in decora- 
ting "Job's tears. 

(c) Necklace made of the carved seeds. 
Brass workers' forge at Cibolan. 
Bracelet makers at work. 

(a and b) Men's working knives and sheaths. 

(c) Small knife used by both sexes. 

(d) Woman's knife. 


XXX. (a) Playing the agongs. 

(b) The kodlon or native guitars. 
XXXI. Man's suit decorated with beads, shell disks, and 

XXXII. Fighting knives. 

XXXIII. (a) Sheathes for the fighting knives. 

(b) Sheathes for the small working knives. 

XXXIV. (a) Bamboo basket woven in two colors. The 

central rim design is identified as a crocodile . 
(b) The basket rim has been decorated by sewing 
in designs with fern cuticle. 
XXXV. (a) Decorated tobacco boxes. The front of speci- 
men is inlaid with yellow orchid cuticle, 
(b) Wooden tops of tobacco boxes inlaid with beads 
XXXVI. Trinket baskets carried by the women. 
XXXVII. Typical specimens of weaving in hemp cloth. 
XXXVIII. Center panel in woman's hemp cloth skirt. 
XXXIX. Beaded bags which the men carry on their backs. 

XL. Men's carrying bags decorated with beads, em- 
1 broidery and applique. 
XXLL (a) No. 1 — Brass betel-nut box made by the Mora 
No. 2- — Same of Bagobo manufacture, 
(b) Tops of the same boxes. 
XLII. A Bila-an lEbE. 

XLJII. Bila-an man wearing wooden ear plugs. 
XBIV. Bila-an from the Maal river. 
XLV. Bila-an laborers on an American plantation. 
XLVI. Women of Labau. 
XLVII. (a) Woman in typical Bila-an dress. 

(b) Bila-an woman on a coast plantation. 
XL, VIII. Ordinary dress of the women. 
XLiX. (a) The houses are perched on the hill tops, far 
above the rivers, 
(b) Home of Datu Dialum. 
L. (a) Mountain-side clearing and residence, 
(b) A clearing in the jungle. 
LI. Men's hats decorated with chicken's feathers. 
LJI. A lawig. 
IylH. Securing sago. 


LIV. (a and b) Fronts of carved shields. 

(c) Back of a shield. In the upper third is carved 
a hunting scene, showing a man with his 
spear and dog about to attack a crocodile. 
LV. Knives used by the men both for work and defense. 
LVI. Front and back of a man's jacket completely covered 
with embroidered designs. Forms representing 
the crocodile appear on the left shoulder and both 
LVII. Front and back of a man's jacket. 
LVIII. (a and b) Men's trousers decorated with embroid- 
ery and shell disks. 
(c) Boy's trousers. The decoration is secured by 
oversewing the cloth before dyeing. 
UX. Women's jackets, showing typical decoration. 
LX. Specimens of Bila-an weaving. 
IXI. Kulaman men. 
LXII. Kulaman women. 
LXIII. Suit worn by a mabolot. 
LXIV. Mandaya men. 
LXV. Mandaya women. 

LXVL Woman wearing the most prized ornaments of the 
IvXVII. Woman from the headquarters of the Mayo river. 
LXVIII. Waterproof trinket boxes are carried by the women. 
LXIX. Customary dress of the men. 

LXX. Bags, which serve as pockets, hang against the backs 
of the men. 
LXXI. Arm ornaments. 
LXXII. Caroline Island boat at Mayo Bay. 
LXXI 1 1. Mandaya tree dwelling. 
LXXIV. Dwellings near the Mayo river. 
IvXXV. Fighting knives and sheathes. 

IvXXVI. Daggers carried by the men. The sheathes are over- 
laid with silver.- 



The material presented in this paper was obtained, for the most 
part, during a stay of seven months among the tribes of Davao District 
in Southern Mindanao of the Philippine Islands. Previous to this I 
had spent a like period studying the Bukidnon, of the North-Central 
part of the Island, and while thus engaged, had penetrated to within 
about fifty miles of the Gulf of Davao. In order to trace migrations, 
relationships, and trade routes, it was determined to continue the work 
from the Gulf coast toward the interior. In pursuance of this plan I 
went to Davao in July, nineteen hundred and ten. 

All information to be secured from publications, settlers, or natives 
was to the effect that there were at least fourteen distinct tribes to be 
met with in the Gulf region. The preliminary reconnaissance of the 
field made it plain that the earlier classifications were greatly at fault. 
Several divisions recognized as tribes were found to be only dialect 
groups, while others differing in no essential respects from one another 
secured names from the districts in which they resided. It was also 
found that in recent years there had been a considerable movement of 
the hill people toward the coast, and that in some places they had 
penetrated and established themselves in the territory formerly held by 
other tribes. 

The capture of slaves, intermarriage, and trade between the groups 
have been powerful influences in obliterating tribal lines, thus adding 
further confusion to the classification of the people. 

The field offered so much of interest that I determined to make 
detailed studies of the various tribes encountered. The work pro- 
gressed satisfactorily for seven months, when a severe illness caused me 
to leave the tropics for a time, at least. As a result the work with the 
Gulf tribes is still far from complete. The tribes living on or near the 
upper waters of the Agusan river and north of Compostela were not 
visited, and, hence, will not be mentioned here, 'while certain other 
divisions received only scant attention. No attempt is here made 
to treat of the Christianized or Mohammedanized people, who inhabit 
a considerable part of the coast and the Samal Islands, further than to 
indicate their influence on the wild tribes. Both have settled in Davao 
District in historic times, and have taken many native converts into 
their villages. From these settlements new ideas, types of garments, 
and industries have spread toward the interior, while the extensive 
slave trade carried on by the Moro has had a marked effect on all the 
tribes with whom they have come in contact. 


50 Field Museum oe Naturae History — Axth., Vol. XII. 

In the preparation of this paper I have, so far as possible, drawn 
on the knowledge of others to fill in the gaps in my own notes. In 
spite of this the information on certain groups is still so scanty that 
this can be, at best, only a sketch. It is offered at this time in the 
hope that it may serve as a help to other anthropologists who may 
plan to visit this most interesting field. 

I wish here to extend my thanks to the various civil and military 
authorities who gave me valuable assistance; also to Captain James 
Burchfield, H. S. Wilson, James Irwin, Otto Hanson, William Gohn, 
Henry Hubbell, and Juan de la Cruz, planters, whose wide knowledge 
of, and acquaintance with the interior tribes made possible my work 
in many localities. 

It is a pleasure and a duty to acknowledge the assistance rendered 
by my wife, who accompanied me throughout my Philippine work. 
Her presence made it possible to secure the complete confidence of the 
hill people, and thus to gain an insight into their home life which 
otherwise would have been impossible. A large part of the material 
here presented, particularly that relating to the women, was gathered 
by her and many of the photographs are from her camera. 

The dialects spoken by the tribes of central and southern Mindanao 
are to be dealt with in a separate publication, so that at this time I 
shall merely give a brief description of the characters appearing in the 
native names used in this paper. The consonants are pronounced as 
in English, except r which is as in Spanish, c is used as ch in church. 
n, which occurs frequently, is a palatal nasal. There is no clear artic- 
ulation and the stop is not present, but the back of the tongue is well 
up on the soft palate. 

The vowels are used as follows: 

a like a in fatter 

e like a in fate 

I like i in ravine 

o like o in note 

u like u in flute 

a, c, i, o, u, short of the above. 

£ is a sound between the obscure vowel c, as e in sun, and the ur 
in burrow. 

The dipthongs are ai like ai in aisle, an like on in mouse, or final 
Spanish ao as in carabao: ei like ei in eight, oi as in boy, also Eu, at, etc 

Fay-Cooper Cole, 
Assistant Curator of Malayan Ethnology. 

Chicago, September, 191 3. 


Synonyms: — (a) Guianga, Guanga, GuIvANGA 
(6) Obo 
(c) Tig dap a ya 
(rf) Eto 


The west coast of Davao Gulf between Daliao and Digos is dotted 
with small villages, the inhabitants of which are largely Bagobo who 
have been converted to the Christian faith and have been induced to 
give up their mountain homes and settle in towns. Back of this coast 
line rise densely timbered mountain peaks, lateral spurs from which 
often terminate in abrupt cliffs overlooking the sea. From other peaks 
extensive grass covered plains slope gently down nearly to the water's 
edge. Deep river canons cut between these mountains and across the 
plains, giving evidence of active erosion for a long period of time. If 
these mountain chains and river courses are followed back it is found 
that they all radiate from one stupendous mass, the center of which 
is Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines and reputed to 
be an active volcano. Near to its summit is a deep fissure from which, 
on clear mornings, columns of smoke or steam can be seen ascending, 
while the first rays of the rising sun turn into gold, or sheets of white, 
the fields of sulphur which surround the cone. 

Along the lower eastern and southern slopes of this mountain and its 
tributary peaks live the wilder branch of this tribe, whose traditions, 
religious observances, and daily life are closely related to the mani- 
festations of latent energy in the old volcano. 

The exact number who fall under this classification is not known. 
Governor Bolton, who was intimately acquainted with the wild tribes 
of the District, estimated their number at sixty-five hundred, but this 
count did not include the sub -division here given as Obo. One enu- 
meration, made by a Jesuit missionary, places the population at fifteen 
thousand, while the Government report of 1900 gives them eighteen 
thousand four hundred. The latter estimates are certainly excessive. 
It is probable that they were determined by compiling the population 
of villages reported to exist in the interior. 


52 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

The wilder members of this tribe are, to a certain extent, migratory, 
moving their villages from one location to another according to the 
demands of their mode of agriculture. Their rice fields are made in 
mountain-side clearings, and as the ever present cogon grass begins to 
invade the open land they substitute sweet potatoes or hemp. In time 
even these lusty plants give way to the rank grass, and the people 
find it easier to make new clearings in the forest than to combat the 
pest with the primitive tools at their command. This results in some 
new fields each year, and when these are at too great a distance from 
the dwellings the old settlements are abandoned and new ones formed 
at more convenient locations. 

It is probable that the total number belonging to this tribe does 
not exceed ten thousand persons. 


The influence of the neighboring tribes and of the white man on the 
Bagobo has been considerable. The desire for women, slaves, and 
loot, as well as the eagerness of individual warriors for distinction, has 
caused many hostile raids to be made against neighboring tribes. 
Similar motives have led others to attack them and thus there has 
been, through a long period, a certain exchange of blood, customs, 
and artifacts. Peaceful exchange of commodities has also been carried 
on for many years along the borders of their territory. With the 
advent of the Moro along the sea coast a brisk trade was opened 
up and new industries introduced. There seems to have been little, if 
any, intermarriage between these people, but their relations were 
sufficiently close for the Moro to exert a marked influence on the 
religious and civil life of the wilder tribe, and to cause them to in- 
corporate into their language many new words and terms. 

The friendly relations with the Moro seem to have been broken off 
upon the arrival and settlement of the Spaniards in Davao. The 
newcomers were then at war with the followers of Mohammed and 
soon succeeded in enlisting the Bagobo rulers in their cause. A Chinese 
plate decorated with the picture of a large blue fish was offered for 
each Moro head the tribesmen presented to the Spanish commander. 
The desire for these trophies was sufficient soon to start a brisk trade 
in heads, to judge from the number of these plates still to be seen 
among the prized objects of the petty rulers. 

After the overthrow of Moro power on the coast, Jesuit missionaries 
began their labors among the Bagobo, and later established their follow- 

1 Imperata koenigii. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 53 

ers in several villages. In 1886 Father Gisbert reported eight hundred 
converts living in five coast towns. Following the conflict between 
Spain and the United States, and during the subsequent insurrection, 
these villages were left without protection or guidance. As a result, 
large numbers of the inhabitants retired to the hills where they were 
again merged with their wilder brothers. Naturally, they carried 
with them new ideas as well as material objects. With the re-establish- 
ment of order under American rule many returned to the deserted 
villages while others were induced by Governor Bolton to form com- 
pact settlements midway between the coast and the mountain fastnesses. 
The influence of the Government has become stronger each year, and 
following the human sacrifice at Talun in 1907, that powerful village 
and several of the neighboring settlements were compelled to move 
down near to the sea where they could be more easily controlled. 

Schools have been opened in some localities and these, together with 
the activities of Catholic and Protestant missionaries, are causing a 
rapid change in the life and beliefs of the tribe. 

The presence of American hemp planters, with the consequent 
demand for laborers, is also proving an immense factor in wiping out 
old tribal lines and in introducing new ideas. 

Beyond a few letters written by the missionaries 1 we find scant 
reference to this tribe in history, but their own traditions and genealogies 
are well known even by the younger generation. 

According to the tribal historians the human race sprang from a 
man, Toglai, and his wife, Toglibon, who lived on Mt. Apo. 2 "They 
were there from the beginning, at a point near to the present settlement 
of Cibolan. Many fruits grew on the mountains and the forests 
abounded in game so that it was easy for them to secure food. There 
were born to them children, who, when they grew up, married. One 
day Toglai and Toglibon told their oldest boy and girl that they should 
go far away across the ocean, for there was a good place for them. So 
the two departed and were seen no more until their descendants, the 
white people, came back to Davao. The other children remained 
with their parents and were happy and prosperous until Toglai and 
Toglibon died and went to the sky, where they became spirits. Soon 
after their death the country suffered a great drought. This finally 
became so severe that the water in the rivers dried up and there was 
no more food in the land. At last the children were forced to leave 

1 Blair and Robertson. The Philippine Islands. 

2 See fuller account by author, in Philippine Journal op Science. June 191 1, 
Vol. VI, No. 3, pp. 128-9. 

54 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

their home and seek out new habitations in other parts. They traveled 
in pairs, in different directions, until they came to favorable locations 
where they settled down. From them have sprung all the tribes known 
to the Bagobo. One pair was too weak to make the journey from the 
drought-cursed land, and staid at Cibolan. One day the man crawled 
out into the ruined fields to see if he could not find some one thing 
alive, and when he arrived there he saw, to his amazement, a single 
stalk of sugar cane growing lustily. He cut it with his knife, and water 
began to come out until there was enough for the couple to drink. The 
flow did not cease until the rains came again to refresh the land. From 
these two the tribe has again grown until it numbers its members in 
the thousands. The people have remained true to their belief in the 
spirits, and each year has found them stronger in numbers, and richer 
in houses, land, and slaves." 

The genealogy of the Bagobo rulers is traced back through ten 
generations. The first ruler of whom there is record was Salingolop, 
during whose reign, it seems, the Spaniards first came to the Philippine. 
According to the tale 1 "Salingolop" was a man of great and prodigious 
force, and as tall as the Lauan, which is the tallest tree in these forests. 
He had three sons called Bato, Sipongos, and Calisquisan, and a 
daughter named Panugutan. When the Spaniards arrived at Manila, 
and found that there existed a man so tall and powerful, they sent a 
battalion of soldiers. They disembarked on the shore of Bimigao 
near Daron, and ascended the mountain where Salingolop lived. He 
was not found, because at the time he was on the other side of the 
mountain hunting wild boars, and the soldiers returned to the shore, 
taking Panugutan as a hostage. Salingolop, having found out what 
had happened descended the mountain alone to fight the soldiers 
which were there. These fired on him, but in vain, because the balls 
could make no impression. On seeing this, they dropped their rifles 
and with bars of iron they struck him on the legs, trying to overthrow 
him. As he fell on the side towards the sea, the noise of the waves, 
it is said, reached to the Cape of San Augustin. They cut off his head 
and, as he lay dead, they cut off his legs that he might not arise again. 
The Spaniards returned to Manila, taking with them Panugutan; she 
married in Manila a Spaniard, by whom she had two children, who 
later returned to these parts and were well received, being considered 
not only as friends but as brothers of the Bagobo." 

Salingolop was succeeded by his son Bato who, in turn, was followed 
by Boas, Basian, Lumbay, Banga, Maliadi, and Taopan. Until we 
1 Recorded by P. Juan Doyle, S. J. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 


come to this last mentioned ruler we learn little more of importance, 
but at the beginning of his rule, we learn that the Bagobo had become 
a powerful people. Under his leadership they made frequent forays 
into neighboring districts and returned with many slaves and rich loot. 
The data 1 was noted as a brave warrior, but in addition to this he was 
a wise and just ruler, greatly beloved by all his people. When he died 
more than one thousand of his subjects attended the funeral which 
lasted ten days. On the last day the house was decked, inside and out, 
with red and yellow flowers; many valuable gifts were placed beside 
the corpse, and the place was then abandoned. 

He was succeeded by his son Pangtlan, whose administration, like 
that of his father, was firm and just. Upon his death he bequeathed 
the leadership of a united people to his son Manib. The new data did 
not prove to be a great warrior and his decisions in matters of dispute 
were not always just, so that bad blood arose between the people of 
Gibolan and Talun. He was unable to quell the disturbances, and 
finally open warfare broke out, petty chiefs of other districts throwing 
off his control and ruling as data. This was the condition which con- 
fronted the present ruler, Tongkaling, when he found himself ruler of 

The claims of leadership over all the Bagobo had never been relin- 
quished, but the actual power of the datu outside his own district 
amounted to little. Tongkaling soon established his right to the name 
of a great warrior, and his people so prospered under his rule that 
upon the advent of the Americans he was much the most powerful 
among the several chiefs. Under the administration of Governor 
Bolton, Tongkaling was officially recognized as head of the Bagobo, 
and with this added prestige, he has finally succeeded in gaining recog- 
nition from all the chiefs except those about Santa Cruz, but his actual 
control over them is still very slight. He has been a consistent friend 
of the Americans, but has jealously guarded his people against outside 
influences, so that they are much less affected than those of other 
districts. For this reason we shall, in this paper, use Cibolan as a 
type settlement, but where radical differences occur in other districts 
they will be noted. 

1 The Moro name for chief or ruler. The Bagobo name is lagatmoda or matanem, 
but the Moro term is in general use. 

56 Field Museum oe Natural History — Anth., Vol. "XII. 


An idea of the general appearance of the Bagobo can best be ob- 
tained by a study of the accompanying photographs. Plates II-VIII. 

Measurements were made on thirty-thiee men and fifteen women. 
The maximum height of the males was found to be 164.8 cm.; minimum 
149.8 cm.; with an average of 158.6 cm. For the women the maximum 
was 152.8 cm.; minimum 141 cm.; average 147.3 cm. 

The cephalic indices of the same individuals showed 84.5 as the 
maximum, 74.3 minimum, and 78.8 the average for the males. The 
maximum for the females was 83.1, minimum 76.2, average 80.7. 
The average length-height index, taken from the tragus to the vertex, 
of the same persons, was 69.8- maximum 75.6, minimum 65.1- for the 
men; and for the women 73.1- maximum 76.6, minimum 70. 2-. 

The face is long, moderately broad, and the zygomatic arches are 
seldom prominent. The forehead is high and full with supra-orbital 
ridge slightly developed. The crown and back of the head are rather 
strongly arched. The people are seldom prognathous, yet individuals 
are met with w T ho are markedly so (Plate V). 

The lips are full and bowed; the chin is round and well formed. The 
root of the nose is depressed; the ridge broad and generally inclined to 
be concave, although straight noses are not uncommon. The nasal 
wings are moderately broad and arched or swelled. The eye slits are 
oblique and moderately open, showing dark or brown-black eyes. The 
hair is brown-black and generally slightly wavy or loosely curled, while 
in some cases it is found curled in locks. Women comb their hair 
straight back and plaster it with cocoanut oil, but even this does not 
prevent stray locks from creeping out. Both face and body hairs are 
scanty and are generally removed, yet occasionally a man is seen who 
has cultivated a few hairs into a fair semblance of a beard. 

The Bagobo, while well nourished, are inclined to be of slight build, 
with very narrow waists. In color they are a light reddish brown with 
a slight olive tinge which is more pronounced in the women than in the 

In a brief summary, we can say that they are a short, slightly built, 
metsati-cephalic people, with wavy hair, long faces, and broad, full noses 
and lips. Individuals are met with who exhibit many of the physical 
characteristics of the Negrito; 2 while still others, both in color and facial 
lines, are comparable to the Chinese. 

: This subject will be treated fully in a separate publication. 
2 Pygmy blacks of the Philippines. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 57 

No wild tribe in the Islands gives more attention to dress than does 
the Bagobo. By an intricate process hemp is colored and woven into 
excellent garments, which, in turn, are decorated with embroidery, 
applique, or designs in shell disks and beads. The men wear their 
hair long and after twisting it around the head hold it in place with 
kerchiefs, the edges of which are decorated with beads and tassels. 

A close fitting undershirt is often 
worn, and above this is an elabor- 
ately beaded or embroidered coat 
which generally opens in front. The 
hemp cloth trousers scarcelyreach to 
the knee, and the bottom of each leg 
is decorated with a beaded or em- 
broidered band. Two belts are 
worn, one to hold the trousers, the 
other to support the fighting or 
working knives which each man carries. In lieu of pockets he has 
on his back an elaborately beaded hemp cloth bag bordered with tassels 
and bells of native casting. Highly prized shell bracelets, worn as cuffs 
by some men, are made of a large, conical sea-shell (Fig. 1) the base and 
interior spirals of which have been cut away. Necklaces made of rattan 

Fig. 1. 
Shell Bracelet. 

FIG. 2. 

strips decorated or overlaid with alternating layers of fern and orchid 
cuticle (Fig. 2) are frequently seen, while many strands of beads and 
carved seeds surround the necks of both men and women. Both sexes 
also wear, above the calf of the leg, plaited or beaded leglets to some of 
which magical properties are ascribed. 

The woman wears a jacket which is close fitting about the neck and 
reaches to the skirt, so that no portion of the upper part of the body 
is exposed. The cloth now used in this garment is generally secured 
in trade, and in recent years decoration in applique has begun to 
succeed the excellent embroidery seen on older garments. Frequently 
the two types of decoration are seen on the same jacket, and to these 

58 Field Museum of Natural History — Axtii., Vol. XII. 

are added complicated designs in shell or metal disks, or beads. The 
narrow tube skirt is of hemp cloth and is made like a sack with both 
ends open. At the waist it is held in place by means of a cloth or beaded 

-^ v fe; 

In addition to the 
many strands of beads 
which encircle the neck 
and fall over the chest, 
a broad bead band is 
often worn over one 
CM* Vffll shoulder, passing under 

i/lb the opposite arm near 

the waist. Scarfs of 
colored cloth are also 
worn in this manner 
when the ladies are on 
dress parade. Leglets 
and brass anklets, made 
like tubes so as to en- 
close metal balls (Fig. 3) 
or with bells and rattles 
attached, are commonly 
worn. The women are fond of loading their arms with ornaments 
of shell or brass (Fig. 4) and one forearm is covered with separate rings 

FIG. 3. 

Brass Anklets worn by the women. 

FIG. 4. 

Types of brass bracelets. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes or Davao District — Coee. 


of incised brass wire which increase in size from the centre towards the 
ends, forming an ornament in the shape of an hour-glass. Their hair 
is generally cut so as to leave a narrow band in front; this is brushed 
back, but often falls forward on the face or in front of the ears. Back 
of this the hair is kept well oiled and is combed straight to the back 
of the head, where it is tied in a knot. Into this knot is pushed a 
wooden comb decorated with incised lines filled with lime, or inlaid 
with beads. On festive occasions more elaborate combs, with plumes 
or other decorations attached, are worn. Aside from these ornaments 
the head is uncovered. 

Men and women are seen who have their eyebrows shaved to thin 
lines. This is a matter of individual taste and is done only for beauty. 

Neither sex makes use of tattooing, nor do they mutilate the lips or 
nose, but what they lack in these respects they make up for in ear 

When a child is very young a small hole is pierced in the ear lobes, 
and into this opening a piece of twisted banana or hemp leaf is placed. 
(Fig. 5a). This leaf acts as a spring, continually enlarging the opening 
until the ear plugs can be inserted. Another method, sometimes 
employed, is to fill the opening with small round sticks (Fig. 5b), 

=\ 3? 

B c 




— . -f 

Fig. 5. 
Ear Stretchers. 


adding more from time to time, until the desired result is obtained. 
The plugs worn by the women are of wood, the fronts of which are 
inlaid with silver or brass in artistic designs, and are connected by 

60 Field Museum of Naturae History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

strands of beads passing under the chin (Fig. 6). Large wooden 
ornaments are also worn by the men, but more prized are large ivory 
ear plugs made like enormous collar buttons (Plates II-IV). These 
are very rare, since the ivory for their manufacture must be secured 
from Borneo, and by the time it has passed through the hands of many 

FIG. 6. 

woman's Ear plugs. 

traders it has assumed a value which limits the possession of articles 
made from it to a few wealthy men. A further method of ear adorn- 
ment, frequently seen among the women, consists of beads sewed into 
a number of holes which have been pierced through the helices of the 

Both men and women file and blacken the teeth. When a boy or 
girl has reached the age of puberty, it is time that this beautifying 
should be done. There is, however, no prohibition to having it per- 
formed earlier if desired. The candidate places his head against the 
operator and grips a stick of wood between his teeth while each tooth 
is filed so as to leave only the stump, or is cut or broken to a point 
(Plate XHa and b). When this has been successfully accomplished, 
what is left of the teeth is blackened. 

The color is obtained in two ways. The more common method is 
to place a piece of metal on one end of a bamboo 1 tube, the other ex- 
tremity of which rests on glowing coals. The smoke from the charring 
bamboo is conducted through the tube to the cold metal on which it 
leaves a deposit or "sweat." This deposit is rubbed on the teeth, at 

1 A variety known as balakdyo is used for this purpose. 

September, 19 13. Wied Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 61 

intervals, for several days until they become a shiny black. A second 
method is to use a powder known as tapEl which is secured from the 
lamed tree. The writer did not see this tree but, from the description 
given of it, believes it to be the tamarindus. This powder is put on 
leaves and is chewed. During the period of treatment the patient is 
under certain restrictions. He may neither drink water, cook or eat 
anything sour, nor may he attend a funeral. Should he do so his teeth 
will have a poor color or be "sick." When the teeth have been properly 
beautified the young man or woman is considered ready to enter society. 

Boys run about quite nude un- 
til they are three or four years of 
age. Until about the same age 
the girls' sole garment is a little 
pubic shield, cut from a coconut 
shell and decorated with incised 
lines filled with lime (Fig. 7). 
Not infrequently bells are at- 
tached to the sides of this "gar- 
ment." When children do begin 
to wear clothing their dress 
differs in no respects from that 
little girls' pubic Shields. of their elders. 


Although we shall treat religion more fully in a later paragraph, it 
is desirable that we now gain an idea of those beliefs which enter inti- 
mately into every activity of the daily life of this people. 

The Bagobo believes in a mighty company of superior beings who 
exercise great control over the lives of men. Above all is Eugpamolak 
Manobo, also called Manama, who was the first cause and creator 
of all. Serving him is a vast number of spirits not malevolently in- 
clined but capable of exacting punishment unless proper offerings and 
other tokens of respect are accorded them. Below them is a horde of 
low, mean spirits who delight to annoy mankind with mischievous 
pranks, or even to bring sickness and disaster to them. To this class 
generally belong the spirits who inhabit mountains, cliffs, rocks, trees, 
rivers, and springs. Standing between these two types are the shades 
of the dead who, after they have departed from this life, continue to 
exercise considerable influence, for good or bad, over the living. 

62 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

We have still to mention a powerful class of supernatural beings 
who, in strength and importance, are removed only a little from the 
Creator. These are the patron spirits. 

Guarding the warriors are two powerful beings, Mandarangan and 
his wife, Darago, who are popularly supposed to make their home in the 
crater of the volcano. They bring success in battle and give to the 
victors loot and slaves. In return for these favors they demand, at 
certain times, the sacrifice of a slave. Dissentions, disasters, and death 
will be sure to visit the people should they fail to make the offering. 
Each year in the month of December the people are reminded of their 
obligation by the appearance in the sky of a constellation known as 
Balatik, and soon thereafter a human sacrifice doubtless takes place 
in some one or more of the Bagobo settlements. 

A man to come under the protection of these two deities must first 
have taken at least two human lives. He is then entitled to wear a 
peculiar chocolate-colored kerchief with white patterns in it. When he 
has killed four he may wear blood-red trousers, and when his score 
has reached six he may don a full blood-red suit and carry a sack of 
the same color. Such a man is knowm as magani and his clothing 
marks him as a person of distinction and power in his village. He is 
one of the leaders in a war party; he is chosen by the datu to inflict the 
death penalty when it has been decreed; and he is one of the assistants 
in the yearly sacrifice. It is not necessary that those he kills, in order 
to gain the right to wear a red suit, be warriors. On the contrary he 
may kill women and children from ambush and still receive credit for 
the achievement, provided his victims are from a hostile village. He 
may count those of his townspeople whom he has killed in fair fight, 
and the murder of an unfaithful wife and her admirer is credited to 
him as a meritorious deed. 

The workers in iron and brass, the weavers of hemp cloth, and the 
mediums or shamans — known as mabalian — are under the protection 
of special deities for whom they make ceremonies at certain times of 
the year. 

The mabalian just mentioned are people — generally women past 
middle life — who, through sufficient knowledge of the spirits and their 
desires, are able to converse with them, and to make ceremonies and 
offerings which will attract their attention, secure their good will, or 
appease their wrath. They may have a crude knowledge of medicinal 
plants, and, in some cases, act as exorcists. The ceremonies which are 
performed at the critical periods of life are conducted by these mabalian, 

1 Orion. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes ov Davao District — Cole. 63 

and they also direct the offerings associated with planting and harvesting. 
They are generally the ones who erect the little shrines seen along the 
trails or in the forests, and it is they who put offerings in the "spirit 
boxes" in the houses. Although they, better than all others, know 
how to read the signs and warnings sent by the spirits, yet, all of the 
people know the meaning of certain omens sent through the medium 
of birds and the like. The call of the limokon 1 is recognized as an 
encouragement or a warning and its message will be heeded without 
fail. In brief, every natural phenomenon and every living thing is 
caused by or is subject to the will of unseen beings, who in turn can be 
inilnenced by the acts of individuals. As a result everything of im- 
portance is undertaken with reference to these superior powers. 


The houses found in the coast villages line well marked streets and 
differ in few respects from those built by the Christianized natives 
throughout the Islands. Even in the more isolated districts the effect 
of this outside influence is marked. However, we can state with 
confidence that village life is a new idea to the Bagobo. He has, from 
time immemorial, built his home near to his fields, and there he and his 
family reside, except during festivals or when extreme danger threatens. 
At such times all go to the house of the local ruler and there unite in 
the festivities or the common defense. 

The smaller dwellings have but one room, the floor of which is raised 
several feet above the ground and supported by many piles. A part of 
the latter extend five of six feet above the floor and form supports for the 
side and cross-beams. From the center of the room lighter poles project 
eight or ten feet above the cross-beams and form the main supports 
for the ridge timber. From beams at the end and sides of the room 
similar pieces run to this central ridge; below this they are joined 
together, at intervals, by means of horizontal poles and cross-beams. 
To this framework are lashed strips of palina brava, supports for a 
covering of closely laid runo, on which rests the final topping of 
flattened bamboo. The ridge pole is always at a sufficient height above 
the floor to give the roof a steep peak, and is of such length that, at the 
top, the side roof overhangs the ends. The roof generally rises in two 
pitches and always extends past the sides of the room. 

In house building, the roof, which is made first, is raised to the 
desired height, thus serving as a shelter for the workers until the struc- 

1 A dove (Calcophops indica). Similar beliefs held by the Tagalog were men- 
tioned by Juan dc Plaseneici in 15S9. See Blair and Robertson, Vol. VII, p. 189. 

64 Field Museum of Naturae History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

ture is complete (Plate XIII). Resting on the cross-beams, just below 
the rafters, a number of loose boards are laid to form a sort of attic 
or storage room where all unused articles, and odds and ends are allowed 
to accumulate. 

The sides of the room, which are of flattened bamboo, are about six 
feet in height, and extend only to within a foot of the roof. In the walls 
small peep holes are cut so that the inhabitants can look outside without 
being seen (Plate XIV). 

FIG. 8. 

The flooring, which is gen- 
erally made of strips of palma 
brava, is in two levels, forming a 
narrow elevated platform at one 
end of the room on which a part 
of the family sleep. 

The furniture of this house is 
very scanty. Near to the door 
is the "stove" (Fig. 8)— a bed of 
ashes in which three stones are 
sunk to form a support for the 
pots and jars — and nearby stand 
a few native jars and sections of 
bamboo filled with water. On a 
hanger above the fire may be 
found articles of food, seeds, and 
the like, which need protection 
from flies and insects. Against 
the wall is a bamboo rack (Fig. 9), filled with Chinese plates, or half 

FIG. 9. 

bamboo Plate Rack. 

September, 1913 . Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 65 

cocoanut shells which serve as dishes. Near to the stove is a rice mortar 
standing on its own wooden pedestal which reaches to the ground 
(Fig. 10). 

r I 

Fig. 10. 

A. rice mortar. 

B. Pedestal which reaches to the 


C. Circle of Corn husks placed 

so as to prevent grain from 
Falling Out. 
d. wooden pestle. 

FIG. 11. 

Cocoanut Shell Spoons 
wooden Handles. 


A child's cradle, made of a blanket suspended hammock-like between 
the wall and a beam support, will probably be found. A few boxes and 
jars, Usually of Chinese make, and always a copper gong or two are 
regular furnishings, while to these can be added a miscellany of clothing, 
looms, spears, shields, meat blocks, spoons (Fig. 11), and the like. 
Akin to furniture, since they are found in every house, are little basket- 
like receptacles made by splitting one end of a bamboo pole into several 

Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

vertical strips and then weaving in other shorter 
horizontal strips (Fig. 12). These are attached 
to walls and supporting poles, and in them offer- 
ings arc- made- to the various spirits. 

This is our picture of a typical home. It is 
not a cheery place by day, for the lack of windows, 
as well as a fog of smoke from the open stove, 
makes it dark and gloomy. Nevertheless, since 
the house offers a cool retreat from the blazing 
sun, and the smoke-laden air is free from flies and 
mosquitoes, it is a popular resort for all members 
of the family during the hottest part of the day. 
The little light, which filters in through the many 
cracks in the floors and walls, is sufficient to allow 
the women to spin, dye, weave, and decorate their 
clothing, or to engage in other activities. After 
dark the resinous nuts of the bitaog tree, or leaf 
covered resin torches are burned, and by their 
uncertain light the women and men carry on their 
labors until far into the night. Entrance to the 
dwelling is gained by means of a notched log, 
bamboo pole, or by a ladder of the same material. 
As a protection against strong winds many props 
are placed against the sides of the house, and when large trees are avail- 
able the dwellings are further secured by being anchored to them with 
rattan lines. 

In each settlement or district will be found one large house built 
on the same general plan as the smaller dwellings, but capable of 
housing several hundred people (Plate XV). This is the home of the 
local datu or ruler. All great ceremonies are held here, and it is the 
place to which all hasten when danger threatens. It is the social center 
of the community, and all who desire go there at any time and remain 
as long as they wish, accepting meanwhile the food and hospitality of 
the ruler. 

A brief description of the house of Datu Tongkaling will give a good 
idea of this type of structure. Except for size — the dimensions being 
44.x 20 ft. — the exterior does not differ greatly from the houses already 
described. A long, partially covered porch leading to the doorway is 
provided with benches which are always occupied by men and boys, 
loitering or engaged in the absorbing task of lousing one another. 
At the far end of the room is the elevated platform, but this one is 

fig. 12. 
Tambara or Basket- 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — C01.1:. 67 

much wider than is customary, and is intended as the sleeping place for 
the warriors, or illustrious guests. As the writer and his wife were 
considered, by the datu, as belonging to the latter class, they were 
favored with this vantage spot, from which they could view and be 
viewed by the whole household. Along the sides of the room are 
elevated box-like enclosures in which the datu and some of his wives 
and daughters sleep and keep their belongings. At night the balance 
of the family, including men, women, children, and dogs, occupy the 
floor. Midway between the side walls and near to the elevated plat- 
form are two decorated bamboo poles, which are raised in honor of the 
patron spirits of the warriors; while in other parts of the room are 
baskets, hanging altars, and other devices in which are placed offerings 
intended for the spirits. In addition to the customary furnishings are 
hundreds of objects testifying to the wealth of the datu. Clothes, 
boxes, dozens of huge copper gongs, drums, ancient Chinese jars and 
plates, spears and shields, beaded clothing, baskets, and last but not 
least — in the estimation of the datu — a huge enameled advertisement 
of an American brewery. 

In the western part of the Bagobo district is a village known as 
Bansalan. Recently its people have been induced to leave the old 
settlement and build in a new location, midway between the mount- 
ains and the sea. Here the writer found a very different type of house 
(Plate XVIa). Small trees formed the uprights to which cross-beams 
were tied to make the roof supports, and on these rested a final covering 
of nipa palm. A few feet above the ground other supports were lashed 
and on them strips of palma brava were laid as flooring. In the few 
cases where the houses were fitted with sides, strips of nipa palm 
fastened together with rattan were used. There seemed to be no 
uniform type of dwelling, each house differing from its neighbor in 
number of rooms, floor levels, or in other respects. Only one feature, 
the elevated sleeping platform at one end of the house, was always 
found. A few miles further inland, in the old settlement, the houses 
are of the type already described in detail. The people have been 
practically forced to their new location by governmental action. The 
new careless type of structures seen in Bansalan probably represents, 
to them, temporary structures in which they expect to remain only 
until a change of governors will furnish an excuse for returning to the 
old location. 


Near to each farm house or settlement will be seen one or more 
granaries, in which rice is stored (Plate XIV). Four poles form the 

68 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

support for a rectangular base from which the sides of the structure 
slope out at an angle of about 25 degrees from the perpendicular until 
they meet the roof. The sides and roof are of bamboo beaten flat, the 
latter covered with a topping of straw. 

In the hemp fields is an occasional shed where the fiber is sometimes 
stripped, but more often these buildings, thus hidden from the public 
gaze, house the forges on which the smiths fashion knives and spears, 
or cast the bells and betel nut boxes so dear to the heart of each Bagobo. 

Aside from the shrines or altars, which we shall describe later, the 
Bagobo erects no other buildings. He sometimes encloses a rice or 
cornfield with a fence, but this requires no special skill in building, 
since it consists of two parallel lines of uprights, between which bamboo 
tubes are laid to the desired height (Plate XVIb). 


It is impossible, without including about everything edible in a 
vegetable line to be found in the district, to give a full list of foods; 
hence no such attempt will be made. Chief of all is the rice, many 
varieties of which are grown in the mountain-side clearings. 1 

Next in importance is the camote, or sweet potato, and then follow 
in the order of their importance: corn, banana, sago and cocoanut. 

Fish, eels, crabs, grasshoppers, monkeys," deer, pigs, and chickens 
form a part of the food supply; in fact, the people seem to draw the line 
at nothing but crows, snakes, mice, rats, goats, horses, dogs, and cats. 
Despite the assertion of a number of worthy informants that the last 
three are on the prohibited list, it is the opinion of the writer that it is 
the scarcity of the supply rather than any feeling of prejudice which 
causes them to be included. 

Salt and pepper are used as condiments. The former is secured in 
trade with the coast natives and Chinese, while the latter is produced 
by mashing the fruit of a small wild pepper, locally known as katombal. 

Rice, after being allowed to dry, is stored without being separated 
from the straw. When a supply is needed a bundle is laid on a piece 
of hide and is beaten with a wooden pestle, wielded by a woman or a 
slave. This separates the grain, which is gathered up and placed in a 
wooden mortar, where it is again beaten with the pestle until the outer 
husk has been loosened. To remove the chaff the rice is taken from the 

1 Back of the coast there are no irrigated fields to be found in the Davao District. 

2 Some people refuse to eat monkey meat. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 69 

mortar, placed on a flat winnowing tray (Fig. 13), and tossed and caught, 
until the wind has carried away the lighter husks, thus leaving the 
grain free. This is placed in a pot, a small quantity of water is added, 
and the vessel is placed over the fire. Here it is allowed to remain 

FIG. 13. 

only until it begins to boil, when it is placed on the ashes, near enough 
to the fire to keep it hot. From time to time the woman turns the jar 
until the contents is cooked through, when each grain stands out free 
from its fellows. 1 

Other vegetable foods are eaten raw, or are cooked with water and 
salt, with perhaps the addition of a little meat broth or a sour. 

Small birds and fish are cooked without other treatment than a 
hasty cleaning; but the flesh of larger fowls, deer, and pig is generally 
cut into small cubes and cooked with condiments in a jar or small 
Chinese caldron. Birds are sometimes prepared by placing them on a 
spit, covering them with green banana leaves, and suspending them 

1 This is the usual way of preparing rice throughout the archipelago. 

70 Field Museum oe Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

above the fire until roasted. This primitive paper bag cooking yields 
a most excellent dish. 

Grasshoppers are relished, and are secured in the following manner: 
A clear grass spot is selected and several deep holes are dug in one end. 
Back of them, and leading toward them, is a high tight fence made 
in a V. By beating the grass with boughs as they walk toward the 
trap, the people drive the grasshoppers before them until they are 
finally forced into the pit, from w r hich they are collected by the bushel. 

I was told that meat w r as sometimes salted, dried, and stored away 
fcr future use. The climate seems to be absolutely opposed to such 
foresight, and the one time that I saw the process being used, the odors 
were such that I beat a hasty retreat and chcse to accept, without 
proof, the verdict of the natives, that venison thus prepared was excel- 

Of almost as much importance as food is the use of the betel or areca 
nut, 1 which is chewed almost constantly by young and old of both sexes. 
The nut is divided into quarters and a piece of buyo leaf" is wrapped 
about each bit. To this is added a little lime and a pinch of tobacco, 
and it is ready for the mouth. The resultant deep red saliva is dis- 
tributed indiscriminately on the floor, walls, and furniture where it 
leaves a permanent stain. To hold the materials necessary for this 
practice brass betel nut boxes, secured from the Moro or of their own 
manufacture, as well as plaited grass boxes and pouches are constantly 
carried (Plates XVIIa and XLJ). The brass boxes generally have 
three compartments; the first for nuts, the second for leaves and 
tobacco, and the third for lime. Lime is also carried in small bamboo 
tubes (Fig. 14), in the decoration of which a great deal of time is con- 
sumed. The open end is fitted with a rattan sifter so that the powder 
is distributed evenly on the nut and leaf. 

Aged persons and those whose teeth have been so mutilated that 
they cannot chew T , make use of an outfit which includes a small mortar 
and pestle (Plate XVIIb). Cutting open green betel nuts, the chewer 
wraps the pieces in leaves and, after adding a liberal supply of lime, 
mashes them in the mortar until all are reduced to a soft mass. 

Lime is secured by placing snail shells in a fire, from which they are 
taken while hot and dropped into cold water. They can then be 
crushed into powder with the fingers. 

Although the Bagobo raises a considerable quantity of tobacco he 
seldom, if ever, smokes it unless the leaf is furnished him, already pre- 

1 Catechu L. 
- Piper betel L. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 71 

pared, by an outsider. Sometimes a small ball made of the green 
leaves is placed between the teeth and upper lip, where it remains until 
all the flavor has been extracted. 

The outfits for betel nut and tobacco, aside from the brass boxes 
which fasten at the side, are generally carried in the sacks worn on the 
backs of the men or in the elaborate shoulder bags worn by the women. 

FIG. 14. 

incised lime and Tobacco Tubes. 

However, a small waterproof box is frequently seen attached to a man's 
belt, and in this he carries his betel nut, tobacco, and fire-making outfit. 
The usual method of making fire is by the use of flint and steel, but 
when this is not at hand a flame can be quickly obtained by rubbing 
two pieces of bamboo rapidly together until the friction produces a 

72 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 



Since only a few domesticated animals 
and fowls are found in a settlement, the 
greater part of the meat supply is secured 
by hunting and fishing. 

Deer and wild pig are taken by means of 
spears. The hunter either lies in wait near 
the runways of the game, or the animals 
are driven toward the spot where the hunts- 
men are concealed. For this purpose the 
ordinary lance (Figs. 15a, b and c) is often 
used, but a more effective weapon is the 
spear known as kaldwat (Fig. I5d). In this 
the metal head fits loosely into a long shaft 
to which it is attached by a rope. As soon 
as the weapon enters the body of the animal 
the head pulls out of the shaft, and this 
trails behind until it becomes entangled in 
the undergrowth, thus putting the game at 
the mercy of the hunter. Dead falls and 
pits are put in the runways, and a frightened 
animal is sometimes impaled on concealed 
sharpened bamboo sticks. Less frequently, 
large animals are secured by means of rope 
loops which hang from trees past which the 
game is accustomed to pass. Until recent 
years the balatik, a trap which when sprung 
throws an arrow with great force against the 
animal which releases it, was much used, 
but so many domestic animals have been 
killed by it that this sort of trap is now in 

Wild chickens are captured by means 
of snares (Fig. 16). A tame rooster 

FIG. 15. 



FIG. 16. 

September, 1913- Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 


is fastened in the jungle and around him is placed a snare, con- 
sisting of running knots attached to a central band. The crowing 
of this fowl soon attracts the wild birds which, coming in to fight, are 
almost sure to become entangled in one of the nooses. Slip loops, 
attached to a bent twig and released by disturbing the bait, are also 
employed in the capture of wild fowl. 

Birds of all sizes are secured by use of bows and arrows, blow guns, 
or nets. Wooden decoys (Plate XVIII) are tied to the branches of 
trees in which the hunters are concealed. The bows used are of palma 
brava, in each end of which notches are cut to hold the rattan bow 
strings (Fig. i7). The arrow shafts are of light reeds and are fitted 



FIG. 17. 

FIG. 18. 

Blow Guns and darts. 

with one or two bamboo points. These weapons are effective only for 
close range, and even then the Bagobo are far from being expert marks- 
men. Boys use a reed blow gun through which they shoot light darts 
tufted with cotton (Fig. 18). The missile is not poisoned and is of 
little use at a distance of more than twenty feet. 

74 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

By far the most effective means of securing birds is to stretch a net 
between trees or poles where the birds are accustomed to fly. Wooden 
decoys are attached to the net in order to attract the game which, once 
enmeshed, is easily caught. 

Various devices are employed in the capture of fresh water fish, 1 but 
the most common is a torpedo-shaped trap of bamboo (Fig. 19). Stone 
conduits lead the water from streams into the open ends of these traps, 
thus carrying in fish and shrimps. The funnel-shaped opening has the 
sharpened ends set close together so that it is quite impossible for the 
prisoners to escape, although the water readily passes between the 
bamboo strips. 

A hook and line is employed, especially for eels; while in clear pools 
fish are secured by means of a' four-pointed spear which is thrust or 
thrown (Fig. 20). Perhaps the most interesting device used is a lure, 
known as boro (Fig. 21). A live minnow is fastened at the end of the 
rod near to a rattan noose. A cord running from the noose to the end 
of the stick allows the fisherman to draw up the noose as he desires. 
The struggles of the captive fish soon attract others, and when one 
enters the loop the line is drawn taut, securely binding the intruder. 
Several fish can be taken from a single pool by this method. A berry 
(anamirta cocculus L.) is used in the capture of fish. It is crushed to a 
powder, is wrapped with vines and leaves, and is thrown into pools. 
The fish become stupified and float to the surface where they are easily 
captured. After being cooked they are eaten without any ill effects. 


Mention has already been made of some of the daily occupations of 
the people. We have found the women caring for the home and prepar- 
ing the rice and other foods which are served in the house. At no time 
did the writer see a man, other than a slave, take any part in such 
household duties; but when on the trail each would do his share in 
preparing the meals. In the village we found the women and children 
carrying the water and wood and, at rare intervals, doing laundry work. 
Instead of soaping and rubbing soiled clothing, they soak the garments 
in water, then place them on stones and beat them with wooden paddles 
or clubs. The articles are alternately soaked and beaten until at least 
a part of the dirt has been removed. It is also the privilege of any 
woman to engage in the manufacture of basketry, or to act as a potter. 

1 Along the coast the methods of the Christianized natives are used in salt water 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. j$ 

76 Field Museum of Naturae History — Anth., Vol. XII. 





fig. 20. (Left) 
Four-Pointed Fish Spear. 

Fig. 21. 'Right) 
Fish Lure. 

September, 1913- Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 77 

FIG. 23. 

FIG. 24. 

Types of weaving used 

in basketry. 

lation to it throughout the entire 

In the manufacture of baskets 
the woman makes use chiefly of 
bamboo and rattan, though other 
materials, such as pandanus are 
sometimes brought into service. 
Three weaves or their variants 
are employed. The first is the 
common diagonal or twilled 
weave, in which each element of 
the weft passes over two or more 
of the warp elements. In this 
way most of the rice winnowers, 
transportation baskets, knife 
sheaths, and the like are made. 
In the second weave (Fig. 22), 
the foundation of the basket is 
made up of parallel horizontal 
rods, or strips of bamboo. These 
are laced together by warp strips 
which pass alternately under one 
and over one of the foundation 
rods, crossing each other at an 
angle, one above the other below 
the rod. The trinket baskets 
carried by the women, the larger 
waterproof receptacles known as 
bindta, and the covers for wild 
chicken snares are in this technic. 
A variant of this weave is found 
in the rattan carrying frames and 
in some fish traps (Fig 23) . Here 
the warp strips cross one another 
at an angle, at each meeting place 
enclosing the horizontal founda- 
tion strips. Unlike the second 
weave described, the warp strips 
do not pass alternately above 
and below the horizontal founda- 
tion, but retain the same re- 
length of each strip. A coiled 

weave (Fig. 24) is used in the manufacture of tobacco boxes (Plate XIX) 

78 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

and in the rims of women's baskets. In this type the foundation 
(.•onsists of a series of horizontal rattan strips or rods which are sewed 
together in the following manner. A narrow strip .1 passes over two 
of these parallel rods 2 and 3 in a left handed spiral. At the top of the 
loop the strip passes under a similar strip B which binds rod 2 to the 
one above. Passing downward inside the basket, the strip .4 goes 
beneath the strip C which binds rods 3 and 4 together. These are 
drawn tightly while damp, thus forcing the foundation rods so closely 
together as to make the basket practically water-tight. Pitch from the 
tabon-tabon nuts may also be rubbed over the outside surface, thus 
making the receptacle impervious to water. 

In the great majority of baskets the surface is divided into three 
parallel zones or decorative bands. These are produced by making a 
slight variation in the weave, by the use of blackened strips of bamboo 
and rattan, or by substituting in their place the black cuticle of a fern. 

As a rule the women of this tribe are not good potters and take little 
pride in their work. In some districts the art has been entirely lost, and 
the people depend on the coast natives for their cooking utensils. At 
the village of Bansalan the women were found still to be proficient in 
their work. After the dampened clay had been carefully kneaded in 
order to remove lumps and gravel, the bottom of the jar was moulded 
with the fingers and placed on a dish which was turned on a bit of cloth 
or a board and answered the purpose of a potter's wheel. As the dish 
was turned with the right hand the operator shaped the clay with the 
fingers of the left adding fresh strips of material from time to time until 
the desired size was obtained. The final shaping was done with a 
wooden paddle and the jar was allowed to dry, after which it was 
smoothed off with a stone. When ready for firing it was placed in the 
midst of a pile of rubbish, over which green leaves were placed to cause 
a slow T fire. 

Other dishes are made by splitting a cocoanut in half and removing 
the "meat." This is readily accomplished by the use of a scraper 
fitted with a rough iron blade (Fig. 25), over which the concave side of 
the half nut is drawn. The cocoanut meat is used for food and oil. 

ut Scraper. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 79 

A little later we shall describe the active part woman takes in the 
planting and care of the fields, but now we shall take up in some detail 
the industry in which she stands pre-eminent, the preparation and 
weaving of hemp. 

The hemp ordinarily stripped by the men is considered too fine to be 
used in the manufacture of clothing, so a smaller stripping device is 
employed by the woman (Plate XX). On this she cleans the outer 
layers of the hemp stalk, from which a stronger and coarser thread can 
be obtained. The fiber is tied in a continuous thread and is wound 
onto a reel. The warp threads are measured on sharpened sticks 
driven into a hemp or banana stalk, and are then transferred to a 
rectangular frame (Plate XXI). The operator, with the final pattern 
in mind, overties or wraps with waxed threads, such portions of the 
warp as she desires to remain white in the completed garment. So 
carefully does she wrap these sections, that, when the thread is removed 
from the frame and placed in the liquid dye, no portion of the coloring 
matter penetrates to the portions thus protected. If a red color is 
desired the root of the sikarig 1 palm is scraped and the scrapings placed 
in bark vats filled with cold water. The thread is first washed in, 
and is later boiled with the dye for a half hour, after which it is placed 
in a basket to drain and dry. The process is repeated daily for about 
two weeks, or until the thread assumes a brick red color. If a purple 
hue is desired a little lime is added to the dye. Black is obtained by a 
slightly different method. The leaves, root, and bark of the pinarrEm 
tree are crushed in water. This yields a black liquor which is poured 
into a jar containing the thread and the whole is placed over a slow fire 
where it remains until the liquid is near the boiling point. When this 
is reached the thread is removed and placed in a gourd, the open end 
of which fits over the jar so as to catch the steam coming from the dye. 
After a time the thread is removed and dried, and the process is repeated 
until at last a permanent black is obtained. After the coloring is com- 
plete the thread is again placed on the rectangular frame, the over- 
tying is removed and the warp is ready for the loom (Plate XXII .) 
In the loom (Plate XXIII) the threads encircle a bamboo pole attached 
to the wall, and are held tense by a strap which passes around the 
waist of the operator. The weft threads are forced up against the 
fabric by means of the comber board and are beaten in with a baton. 
The warp threads are held in their relative positions, first by the comber 
board, second by loops which pass under the lower threads and over a 

1 Morinda Bracteata Roxb. 

2 Woof threads are generally of one color. A somewhat similar process used 
in Java is described by Sir Thos. Raffles in The History of Java, Vol. I, p. 189. 

So Field Museum of Natural History Axtil, Vol. XII. 

small stick or lease rod, and lastly by passing over and under, or around, 
other lease rods. These are rolled away as the work progresses. 

After the cloth is removed from the loom it is polished. A long pole 
of palma brava is fitted into a notch in the roof. The operator seats 
herself on the floor with a smooth board before her, or in her lap, and 
on it places the dampened cloth. A shell is fitted over the lower end 
of the pole, which is bent and made bowlike, until the shell rests on 
the cloth. It is then ironed rapidly to and fro until the fabric has 
received a high polish (Plate XXIV). 

The woman's duties do not end with the manufacture of cloth, for 
all the garments worn by the members of the tribe are the result of her 
handiwork. She sews the strips of hemp cloth into skirts, men's 
trousers, carrying bags, and sometimes into jackets. The women 
devote hours of labor to these jackets, covering arms, necks, and waist 
bands with colored embroidery or designs in applique, while on the better 
garments they place elaborate designs in beads or shell disks. 

After the evening meal is over the women of the household gather 
around the flickering lights, and until far into the night work on these 
garments, bead necklaces, or other ornaments. 

Only a few of the weavers attempt to make the peculiar chocolate- 
colored head covering worn by the magani. For these kerchiefs the 
woman weaves a square cotton cloth of the desired size, and at one 
corner attaches a small brass hook. Joined to the hook, by means of 
a chain, is a loop which fits over the toes of the operator, thus enabling 
her to keep the fabric taut while her hands are left free for work. Small 
sections of this cloth are raised and are wrapped with waxed thread, so 
that when the fabric is dyed these portions will not receive the coloring 
matter (Plate XXV). Later the overtying is removed, leaving small 
white rings or squares on a chocolate-colored background. These 
cloths are meant primarily for the warriors, but expert weavers, who 
are under the protection of a certain powerful spirit, are also permitted 
to wear an upper garment of this material. 

A considerable part of the man's time is consumed in preparation 
for, or actual participation in, hunting or warfare, but in addition to 
this he does a goodly portion of the work in the fields, and is the house 
builder. When a man is about to erect a dwelling he notifies his friends 
to come and aid him. This they will do without pay, but when in need 
of similar services they will expect and will receive similar help. All 
sorts of house-furnishings, such as spoons, meat blocks, or rice mortars, 
are made by the man, and not infrequently, he assists in the making or 
waterproofing of baskets. A few of the old men of Cibolan still engage 

September, 191 3. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 81 

in the manufacture of small shell disks with which valuable suits are 
decorated, but the greater part of those now in use have been inherited, 
or are purchased from neighboring peoples. The men carve beads out 
of "Job's tears"'' and make them into necklaces. For this purpose a 
peculiarly carved and decorated stick is employed (Plate XXVI). This 
is placed in the palm of the left hand so that the thumb and forefinger 
can hold the seed which fits into a depression in the top. A knife in the 
right hand of the artist is worked over the seed thus cutting a line into 
which dirt is rubbed. Women's combs are made by shaping a half 
circle out of light wood and then cutting teeth into it with a saw-like 
blade of tin or iron. 

Among the men, as with the women, certain industries are monop- 
olized by a few individuals. In this community no men stand higher 
in the estimation of their fellows than do the smiths and the casters 
of copper. The writer spent many hours watching To, the brass and 
copper worker of Cibolan, while he shaped bells, bracelets, and betel 
boxes at his forge on the outskirts of the village (Plate XXVII). Fea- 
thered plungers, which worked up and down in two bamboo cylinders, 
forced air through a small clay-tipped tube into a charcoal fire. This 
served as a bellows, while a small cup made of straw r ashes formed an 
excellent crucible. The first day I watched To, he was making bells. 
Taking a ball of wax the size of a bucket shot, he put it on the end of a 
stick (Fig. 26a), and over this moulded the form of a bell in damp 
ashes obtained from rice straw (b). When several bells were thus 
fashioned they were dipped in melted wax and were turned on a leaf 
until smooth, after which an opening was cut through the wax at the 
bottom of each form (c). Strips of wax were rolled out and laid in 
shallow grooves which had been cut in the sides of the bells and wen- 
pressed in, at intervals, with 
a small bamboo knife (d). 
The top stick was then with- 
drawn, leaving an opening 
down to the wax ball inside. 
Into this hole a thin strip of 
wax was inserted and was 
doubled back on itself so as 
to form a hanger (e) . For 
three days the forms were 
■^ E allowed to harden and then 

FIG. 26. . , 

stages in the manufacture of metal bells, werecovered with several 
1 Coix lachryma Jobi L. 


Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

HG. 2b. 



coats of damp straw ashes. Finally they 
were laid in a bed of the same material 
with a thin strip of wax leading from 
each bell to a central core (f). The 
whole, with the exception of the top of 
the central wax strip, was covered with 
a thick coating of damp ashes, and when 
this had hardened pieces of copper, se- 
cured from broken gongs, were placed in 
the crucible, melted and poured into the 
open end of the clay form. The molten 
metal took the place of the wax as it 
was dissolved and flowed to all parts 
where it had been. After being dropped 
in water the form was broken open, re- 
vealing six nearly perfect little bells 
which were ready for use as soon as the 
ashes were removed from them. The 
same method was used for all other cast- 
ing. Clay forms were made as desired, 
were covered with wax, and the final 
coating of ashes applied before the casting. The workers in copper 
and brass are under the care and guidance of a spirit, Tolus ka towangan, 
for whom they make a yearly ceremony, Gomek towangan. 

Of even greater importance are the smiths who are also under the 
care of a powerful spirit for whom the Gomek- gomanan ceremony is 
celebrated each year, just prior to the planting time. Their forges are 
hidden away in the hemp fields, and I was repeatedly informed that no 
woman might see the smith at work. Whether or no such a rule is 
rigidly enforced at all times I cannot say, but at no time did I see a 
woman about the forge while the fire was burning, and although I was 
allowed to see and photograph the process, my wife was at all times 
prevented from doing so. The forge differs in no material respects 
from that used by the brass casters, except that hollowed out logs 
replace the bamboo tubes, and that a metal anvil and iron hammers 
are used. After an iron knife or spear head has been roughly shaped, 
the smith splits the edge to a slight depth and inserts a band of steel. 
The iron is pounded down on the harder metal and the whole is brought 
to a white heat in the charcoal fire. Removing it to the anvil the 
smith gives the blade one or two light blows and returns it to the fire. 
This is repeated many times before he begins to add the heavy strokes 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 83 

which finally weld the iron and steel together. The blade having 
been given its final shape is again heated and is held above a tube of 
water until the glowing metal begins to turn a yellowish green, when it 
is plunged into the cold water. This process, repeated many times, 
gives a fair temper to the whole weapon. Charcoal for the fire is 
secured by burning logs and chilling them suddenly with cold water. 

Brass wire, secured in trade, is made into bracelets in the following 
manner. In order to soften it and make it more easily worked the roll 
of wire is heated until it begins to turn grey, when it is allowed to cool 
and is scraped, so as to restore the yellow color. One end is laid on an 
anvil made of an iron strip on a wooden block (Plate XXVIII), and is 
cut into various designs by means of metal dies. A wooden cone is 
used as a form, about which the wire is placed in order to shape and 
measure it. 

Hemp 1 grows wild in the Davao District and the Bagobo have, for 
generations, used it in the manufacture of their clothing. In recent 
years the demand for fiber has shown the people an easy way to secure 
the trade articles which they desire and, as a result, rather extensive 
plantings are found even in the more remote districts. The women 
strip a large part of the fiber in local use, but all that prepared for trade 
is produced by the men. When the ever-present cogon grass begins to 
invade a clearing, the young hemp is planted. In about eighteen 
months it has grown to a height of some sixteen feet and is ready to 
be cut. The man goes to the fields, cuts down some stalks and, having 
removed the leaves, splits off the outer fiber layers from the cellular 
matter of the interior, using a bone knife for this purpose. When he 
has accumulated a sufficient number of strips he carries them to the 
hemp machine (Fig. 27). This consists of a knife which rests on a 
wooden block. The handle turns on a pivot and the end is drawn 
upwards by means of a bent twig, or sapling, which acts as a spring. 
This spring is lowered and the knife blade raised by means of a foot 
treadle ; a strip of hemp is laid on the block ; the foot pressure is removed, 
and the knife descends. Taking a firm hold of one end of the strip, the 
operator draws it toward him under the blade, thus removing the pulp 
and leaving the free hemp threads. These are hung in the sun until 
dry, when they are tied in bundles ready to be carried to the coast. 
The work is hard and, unless necessity forces him to greater effort, 
a man seldom engages in it for more than three or four days in a month. 
He thinks his duty ceases with this expenditure of energy and, unless 

1 Musa textilis. 

34 Field Museum of Natural History — Axth., Vol. XII. 

FIG. 27. 


FIG. 28. 

Sugar Cane press 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District— Coee. 85 

he is fortunate enough to possess animals or slaves, is quite content to 
allow his wife, or wives, to carry the product to the coast trader. 

During ceremonies and at festivals a fermented drink made of sugar 
cane is served, and in anticipation of its pleasurable effects the Bagobo 
is willing to expend a considerable amount of effort. The juice of the 
cane is extracted by means of a press made of two logs arranged in 
parallel horizontal positions, so that the end of a wooden lever can slip 
under one and rest in a groove cut in the other (Fig. 28). The cane is 
placed in the groove and the operator bears his weight on the lever, 
thus squeezing out the juice. After being boiled with the bark of 
certain trees and lime juice, the liquor is sealed in jars or bamboo tubes 
and is stored away until needed. 

The sago palm is found in parts of the Bagobo territory, and in 
times of need, the people make temporary camps near to the sago 
districts, where they prepare the flour. This is done in the same 
manner as is fully described on page 140. 

The most important thing in the life of the Bagobo is the care of the 
rice, for on this crop he depends for the greater part of his food supply, 
and by its condition he can ascertain with what favor he is looked 
upon by the spirits. So closely is the cultivation of this cereal coupled 
with the religious beliefs that it is necessary, in this relation, to describe 
the ceremonies connected with it. 

We have previously stated that the incursion of the cogon grass into 
the fields makes necessary some new clearings each year. In the 
month of December a constellation known as Balatik appears in the 
sky. This has a double significance; first, it is the reminder for the 
yearly sacrifice; and secondly, it notifies all workers that the tools, 
which are to be used in making new clearings, shall be placed in readi- 
ness. All those who expect to prepare new fields for themselves, or are 
to assist others in such work, gather at the forge of the local smith and 
there take part in a ceremony held in honor of his patron spirit. They 
carry with them offerings of rice and chickens which they cook in 
bamboo tubes, for food taken from a pot is not acceptable to this 
spirit. When all is ready the food is placed on a rice winnower, near 
to the forge, and on it the men lay their weapons and working knives 
(Plate XXIX). Standing before the offering the smith, in a droning 
voice, calls on the spirit, beseeching him to come and eat of the food, to 
accept the weapons and tools, and having done so to be watchful over 
the workers during the clearing time, so that they may not be injured 
in the work or be molested by enemies. The prayer finished, the 
smith eats a little of the food, and all the men follow his example, but 

86 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

no woman may so much as touch this offering. Meanwhile other food 
which can be eaten by all has been prepared. After the meal 
the weapons and tools which are to be used during the clearing time 
are removed, but, as they now belong to the spirit, they can never be 
disposed of without first recompensing him. During this day there is 
a strict prohibition against music and dancing. For three days the 
men abstain from work and the forge stands idle. When the fire is 
again lighted the first knife made is the property of the spirit. 

With the ending of the period of taboo the workers go to the fields 
and, in the center of each, place a tambara 1 fitted with a white dish 
containing betel nut. This is an offering to Eugpamolak Manobo, 
who is besought to drive from the field any tigbanawa or tagamaling' 
who may live there, to keep the workers in good health, to allow an 
abundant crop, and, finally, to make the owner rich and happy. Tie 
weeds, brush, and trees, after being cut and allowed to dry are fired, 
while the logs remaining after this initial burning are piled together 
and again set on fire, and the field is ready for the planting. No soil 
is broken and not a seed goes into the ground until the spirits again 
designate the time, by placing the constellation Marara in the sky. 
This appears early in April, and is followed by a period of great activity 
in the fields. If, for any reason, the owner of the land cannot plant 
at this time, he has two or more opportunities given him when the 
constellations Mamari and Bwaya appear, the latter toward the end 
of June. 

When the workers go to the field on the day set for the planting they 
enter at one corner and proceed directly across it to the far left hand 
corner where they erect a small house or place a tambara which is known 
as pEmEg'ge. As soon as it is complete, the maballan begin to call 
on the spirits. Manama 3 is called first and after him other spirits, 
according to their rank and power. They are informed that the 
planting is about to begin and that the people are showing them this 
mark of respect so that they will not allow anything to interfere with 
the crop. This done, they go to the center of the field and place a 
second tambara, called parobaman, for the spirit Taragomi, who owns 
all food. Leaves pleasing to him and presents of food or bracelets are 
placed in it, as well as in his tambara found in the house. The owner 
of the field takes the malayag, a large variety of rice, and plants it 

1 See p. 66, Fig. 12. 

2 Evil spirits which are classed with the buso. See p. 107. 

3 Eugpamolak Manobo. 

4 At Cibolan only brass objects are placed in this tambara. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 87 

around the parobatnan, 1 and as the last grain is planted the mabalian 
again starts her prayer, this time beginning with Taragomi. She 
asks for good crops, and protec- 
tion for the field from all animals, 
blight and drought. Finally, she 
begs Eugpamolak Manobo to con- 
trol the sun and winds so that they 
will always be favorable to the 
growing grain. Having thus done 
all in their power to secure the co- 
operation of the superior beings the 
men take their rice planters and real 
work begins. 2 The planter (Fig. 29) 
consists of a long shaft at one end 
of which is a metal blade while at 
the other is a bamboo clapper dec- 
orated with feathers. When this 
instrument is struck on the ground 
it digs a shallow hole an inch or 

more in depth, the clapper mean- 
while keeping up an incessant noise. 
It is said by some that the rattle is 
intended to please the guardian 
spirit of the fields, but this does not 
seem to be the prevalent idea. The 
women follow the men, dropping 
seeds into the holes and pushing 
the soil over them with their feet. 

1 At Digos the mabalian does the plant- 
ing and harvesting about the tambara, and 
the rice grown there is reserved as seed for 
the next season. 

2 Father Gisbert relates that it is the 
custom to sacrifice a slave at this time, 
but this is denied by the data consulted by 
the writer. See letters of Father Gisbert 

R Bamboo AN C la pTIr »\ Blair and Robertson, The Philippine 
attached to Top. Islands, Vol. XLIII, pp. 233-4. 

ss Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

At nightfall of the day in which the planting has been completed a 
mabalian cooks lish and rice, which she carries to the parobanian. 
Early next morning the family goes to the field and eats this offering 
which "belongs to Taragomi, so should be eaten at his house." From 
this time until harvest the fields must be guarded against birds and 
animals, but no further offerings take place unless unusual conditions 
should satisfy the owner that the spirits are demanding more gifts. 
When harvest time comes the owner and a few of his friends w T ill go to 
the field and pull a few of the fresh stalks, which they place in the 
pEmEg'ge and parobanian, meanwhile addressing the spirits, and the 
cutting of the rice begins. This is done by women who, for this purpose, 
employ a small knife called gElat (Plate XXTXd). The last grain to 
be cut is that about the parobanian. The mabalian cooks a little of the 
new rice in the house and places a part of it in the various tambara and 
shrines; then, having placed a number of rice stalks on the floor, she 
offers them one by one to the spirits. Not until she has finished can 
any of the prepared food be eaten. The balance of the crop lies in the 
sun until dry, when it is tied in bundles and placed in the granary. 

When all the harvesting is finished the people will make a festival 
known as Gatokbia-an, or Pakakaro. Ordinarily each family will have 
its own celebration, but at times all the inhabitants of a village will 
join in one great celebration. The period of toil and doubt is past, the 
food supply is assured, and the people gather to give thanks. No New 
England Thanksgiving dinner is prepared with greater thought, or 
less regard for expense, than that which is made ready at this time. 
The finest of the rice, cocoanuts, eggs, chickens, fish, shrimps, and many 
other edibles are prepared and placed in certain dishes which are 
dedicated to the spirits and are used only at this time. These plates 
are arranged in a row in the center of the room and the mabalian gather 
around them. Taking a wand of sandal wood in her hand one of the 
number waves it over the offerings, while she chants long prayers. 
Beginning with the most powerful, she addresses the spirits one by one, 
thanking them for the care they have given to the growing grain and 
to the laborers, and for the bounteous harvest. Frequently individuals 
will interrupt the proceedings to place near to the mabalian a fine knife 
or some other prized object which they desire to have presented to the 
spirits as evidence of their gratitude. At first, it is a little hard to 
understand this lavishness, but it transpires that the former owners 
still have possession of these objects, and that the spirits offer no 
objections to their use, so long as their ownership is not disputed, truly 
a case of eating the pie but still having it. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — -Cole. 89 

The knives and other implements which have been used in the 
fields are laid on a large basket filled with rice, "in order that they may 
eat, and, therefore, have no cause to injure their owners." Another 
large dish of rice is set aside as a special offering. In some cases this 
is taken out to the fields, where it is eaten by the wife, or wives of the 
host; but in Cibolan it is kept in the house until the next morning, 
when it is eaten by all the members of the family. The ceremonial 
eating of this rice causes the supply to last longer and assures abundant 
rains for the succeeding crop. Part of the food from the dishes is 
placed in the tambara and shrines, and then all the guests are permitted 
to feast and make merry. Unlike most Bagobo ceremonies this one 
lacks the music of the agongs,' for only bamboo guitars, flutes, and the 
bolang-bolang are permitted at this time. The last named instrument 
is made by placing a board on a rice mortar; the women gather around 
it with their wooden pestles and beat a rythmical tattoo. This con- 
cludes the festival proper, but many guests will remain for two or three 
days to enjoy the hospitality of their host. 

On the third morning after the festival the familv and some friends 


will celebrate BagkEs "the tying together." The dishes in which food 
was offered are tied together and are carried to the rice field where, 
with great solemnity, the little dish in the parobanlan is removed and 
placed among the others, while the people tell it that the other plates 
have come to take it away, but that it will be returned to its home the 
following year. The family goes back to the village in silence and after 
tying all the dishes together place them in the rice granary. 

In the Bagobo settlement at Digos, the women hold still another 
festival following the cutting of the rice. This is known as Gomeng 
ka taragomi, or bitinbagdybe. In the main it resembles the ceremony 
of similar name, which the women of Malilla hold on the second day 
of GlnEm (See page 1 1 1). A bamboo pole decked with leaves and green 
fruit of the areca palm is placed in the center of a room and is surrounded 
with cooked food. After this has been offered to the spirits, it is eaten 
by the guests who then indulge in dancing about the decorated pole. 
This generally lasts eight days, but in one instance the festivities con- 
tinued for sixteen days and nights. The explanation given is that 
"the women wish to show Taragomi and the Xitos (anttos) how happy 
they are because of the good harvest, for when they see this they will 
be pleased and will help again next year." 

1 Copper gongs. 

90 Field Museum of Naturae History — Anth., Vol. XII. 


The Bagobo makes no use of boats or rafts, for until recent times he 
has lived at a considerable distance from the sea; and the rivers, which 
flow in deep canons, may be changed in a day from tiny streams to 
rushing torrents in which no craft could keep afloat. Deft to his own 
devices, he pays little attention to trails, but cuts his way through 
the underbrush directly to his destination. The government has forced 
him to clear and maintain several fairly good roads between the larger 
settlements and the coast, and these are now the highways over which 
he transports his hemp and other trade articles. Quite a number of 
carabao and horses are to be found in the territory, where they are used 
as pack and riding animals. Both men and women are excellent riders 
and take great pride in the decoration of their mounts. The saddle 
used is carved from wood, in exact duplication of those used by the 
Spaniards. The copper bits are also copies, but are of native casting. 
Strings of bells surround the neck of a prized animal, and it is further 
beautified by an artificial forelock. Rattan whips, wound with braid, 
and decorated with beads, are also a part of his trappings. According 
to Bagobo tradition, they have had horses from the most remote times, 
and Professor Blumentritt is inclined to believe that they possessed 
these animals prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. In support of this 
contention, he points to the fact that, unlike most Philippine tribes, 
they use the Malayan name. 1 

Heavy loads of field products are transported on animals, or are 
carried in cylindrical bark or rattan boxes or carrying frames (Fig. 30). 
Such a receptacle is supported on the back by means of a band which 
passes around the forehead, or by other bands which slip over the 
shoulders. Both sexes carry loads in this way, although it must be 
confessed that consideration for the members of the gentler sex has not 
reached such a stage that they are relieved of any great part of such 
labor. When gathering grain and forest products, or when searching 
for snails, the woman attaches a small basket to her belt so that it 
hangs at a convenient height against her thigh. We have previously 
noticed the decorated bags and baskets which serve as pockets, and 
also contain the betel nut outfits. 

A small child is supported at the mother's hip by means of a broad 
sash, which passes over the right shoulder and under the left arm. 
When it is able to walk the scarf is discarded, and it sits astride the 
mother's hip, where it is held in place by her left arm. Older children 
and the men devote considerable time to the newcomers, but at a very 

1 The terms used are, bait koda — stallion, and mamat koda — mare. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 91 

early age the youngsters begin to run about as wild and carefree as only 
little savages can. 

The Bagobo is a keen trader and many small articles of all kinds 
reach, and pass from him through trade; and to make this barter pos- 
sible he intentionally produces an excess of certain things. Chief of 

FIG. 30. 

Carrying Frame. 

these is hemp, which he now carries to the coast traders, and for which 
he receives trade cloth, iron pots, copper gongs, bells, and the beads 
which he prizes so highly. In exchange for the betel boxes, bells, and 
knife guards, which come from his forge, he receives shell disks, certain 
articles of dress, cooking pots, and various other household articles, 

92 Field Museum of Natural History— Anth., Vol. XII. 

as well as salt and some animals. The knives made by him are in great 
demand and often travel far inland. While among the Bukidnon of 
the North-Central part of the Island the writer secured one blade and 
guard of undoubted Bagobo workmanship. In early days, Chinese 
and Moro traders brought gongs, jars, plates, and other crockery, as 
well as many other articles now among the prized heirlooms of wealthy 
men or occupying an important place in the ceremonial life of the tribe. 
Through these same channels came the Borneo ivory of w r hich the ear 
plugs are made, while other objects from more distant regions were 
occasionally brought in. Two examples of this trade are now in the 
collections of the Field Museum of Natural History. One is a jacket 
made from Javanese cloth; the second a belt buckle which apparently 
originated in Perak. 

Local feuds, as well as the desire of individuals to be known as 
magani, have always made it unsafe for small numbers of traders to 
venture to any great distance from home, and this has been a great 
hindrance to trade. However, large parties, even from other tribes, 
sometimes go to a village for purposes of trade, having previously 
notified the inhabitants of their intentions. While in Malilla the writer 
met with a party of thirty Bila-an traders who lived three days' march 
to the east. The influence of capture, intermarriage, and looting, in 
carrying the artifacts of one tribe into the territory of another has 
previously been mentioned. 


The offensive weapons used by the Bagobo are spears, knives (Fig. 1 5 
and Plate XXXII), and at times bows and arrows (Fig. 17). For 
defense they carry shields, either round or oblong (Figs. 31-32), and cover 
the body with so many strips of hemp cloth that a knife thrust is warded 
off. Turning his body sideways to the enemy, the warrior crouches 
behind his shield, keeping up a continuous capering, rushing forward 
or dancing backward, seeking for an opening but seldom coming to 
close quarters. Arrows and spears are glanced off with the shields. 
An attack is usually initiated by the throwing of spears, then, if the 
enemy is at a disadvantage or confused, the warriors rush in to close 
combat. For this purpose they rely entirely on their knives, and as 
fencers they are unexcelled. They are but indifferent shots with the 
bow and arrow, and that weapon is but little used in actual combat. 
It has been frequently stated that these arrows are poisoned but I was 
unable to discover a single specimen so prepared. When hard-pressed, 
or when a camp must be made in dangerous territory, sharpened bamboo 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District- Cole. 93 

fig. 31a and b. 
front and Back of an Oblong Shield. 

FIG. 32A AND B. 

32A.— Front of a Decorated shield. 

B.— Back of Shi eld a. 

94 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

sticks — sogwiig — are stuck into the ground with their points directed 
toward the enemy. These must be carefully gathered up by the 
pursuers, who otherwise run the risk of having the knife-like blades 
driven into their feet. Old warriors state that in former years they 
not only covered the upper part of the body with hemp cloth but wound 
over this long decorated strips called gindua; they also tell of coats of 
mail made of carabao horn or rattan. None of these outfits exist in the 
territory today, but it is not at all improbable that they were formerly 
in use, for the long decorated bands are still found among the Bukidnon 
of the North, with whom some trade is carried on; and a few coats of 
mail are to be seen among the neighboring Moro. 

Hostile raids against the neighboring Bila-an, Tagakaolo, and Ata 
seem to have been common from the most ancient times. After the 
arrival of the Spaniards there were many minor conflicts with the Moro, 
and the tribal history takes note of Several serious feuds between Bagobo 
villages. Single warriors, usually those desiring to become magam, 
sometimes enter hostile territory and there lie in w T ait for an opportunity 
to spear a passing foe. The fact that these attacks are frequently 
from ambush, or that whole families are slain while asleep on the 
floors of their houses, does not seem to detract in the least from the 
honor due for the deed. Generally, parties of sixty or more, under the 
direction of a magam, are made up to avenge the death of their towns- 
people, to secure loot and slaves, or to win glory and distinction. An 
.ambush is formed near to a hostile village and just at dawn an attack 
is made on the early risers who are scattered and unprepared. The 
invaders are usually satisfied with a few victims and then make their 
escape. Women and children are either killed or are carried away as 
slaves. It is customary for all the warriors to make at least one cut in 
the bodies, and to eat a portion of the livers of enemies who have 
shown great bravery, for in this way it is thought they gain in that 
quality. This seems to be the only occasion when human flesh is tasted, 
despite the fact that the members of this tribe have been frequently 
referred to as cannibals. 

The warriors of Cibolan and Malilla formerly carried heads of 
enemies to their towns and made use of them during the GinEm cere- 
mony, while at Bansalan and Digos a lock of hair, cut from the head of 
the slain, answered the same purpose. Individual raiders sometimes 
carry home a head or a hand as evidence of a successful fight, and at 
such times festivals may be held to celebrate the event. However, the 
trophy soon loses its value and is hung or buried at a distance from the 

September, 1913- Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 95 

village. Head-hunting for the sake of the trophy itself, does not exist 

Peace can be effected by means of a blood compact known as dayandl. 
Each principal cuts his own wrist until the blood flows freely; this he 
catches in his free hand and offers to the other participant to drink. 
Sometimes the blood of both is caught and mixed in a dish from which 
they drink, meanwhile addressing the tigyama, 1 saying, ''We are now 
like brothers, like children of the same parents, and now we cannot 
fight any more. We ask you to be the witnesses." 


There seems to be no trace of clan or totemic grouping among the 
Bagobo. Blood relationship is traced as far as the second cousin and is 
a bar to marriage. The suggestion that a man might marry his mother- 
in-law was received with horror, but whether this was due to local mother- 
in-law stories or to an idea of relationship could not be ascertained, 
However, a man may marry the sister of his wife. 

Each district has its head man, or petty datu who is supposed to be 
subject to the datu of Cibolan. This seems actually to have been the 
case until a few years ago, when some of the local rulers withdrew their 
allegiance. The office is hereditary and usually passes from the father 
to his eldest son. Should the datu be without an heir, or the son be 
considered inefficient, the under chiefs and wise old men may choose 
a leader from among their number. 

In his own district the power of the datu is very great, but even he is 
obliged to respect the laws and customs handed down by the ancestors. 
He is supreme judge in all matters, though he may, if he desires, call in 
the old men to help him decide difficult cases. The usual method of 
punishment is by means of a fine. Should the culprit be unwilling or 
unable to pay he is placed in servitude until such a time as the debt is 
considered canceled, but should he refuse to serve he is killed without 
further ado. The datu appoints a man for this purpose, and he usually 
gets his victim by stealth, either by waylaying him in the road or by 
driving a spear through him as he lies asleep on the floor of his house. 
When a fine is levied the datu retains a portion as pay for his services ; 
if the more drastic punishment follows it serves to emphasize his power 
and is more valuable to him than the payment. When his house needs 
repairing, his hemp requires stripping, or his fields need attention, his 
followers give him assistance. In return for these services he helps 
support a number of fighting men who can always be called upon for 

1 See p. 107. 

g6 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

the defence of the people. His house is considered the property of all 
to the extent that anyone goes there at any time and stays as long as 
he pleases, partaking meanwhile of the datu's food. In times of danger, 
or during festivals, all the people assemble there and assist in the 
defense or the merry-making. 

Datu Tongkaling is the most industrious man in the tribe. Ik- 
does not hesitate to work in the rice fields, to aid in the house-building 
or to take his turn at the forge, neither will he tolerate any loafing on 
the part of his followers. While in most instances he mingles freely 
with his people he never eats with them. His wives, children, and 
quests eat from a long row of dishes set on the floor, but the datu takes 
his food alone at a considerable distance from the others. 

The balance of the people can be roughly divided between freeman 
and slaves, but slavery here is of such a mild type, and the members of 
that class become so quickly merged into the tribe that the lines cannot 
be closely drawn. Women and children secured in raids become the 
slaves of their captors, and may be bought and sold, or pass by in- 
heritance, like other property. It is considered proper for a man to 
live with his slave without marrying her, but should she become pregnant 
she is usually given her freedom at once; if not then, she is certain to 
be upon the death of her master, while her offspring are free and legitimate 
heirs. Children born to a slave couple remain in their class, as do those 
born to a slave mother and a man not her master. These slaves are 
treated with kindness and consideration and seldom try to make their 
escape. In fact it is often difficult to pick out the members of this 
class from the other members of the family. 

The chief aim in life of the man is to have the right to wear the 

blood-red clothing and to be known as magam. As stated earlier in 

the paper, this term is applied to a man who has killed two or more 

persons. He is then entitled to wear the peculiar chocolate-colored 

head covering (Plate XXV). When his score has reached four he can 

don blood-red trousers, and when he has six lives to his credit he is 

permitted to wear the complete blood-red suit and to carry a bag of 

the same color. 1 From that time on his clothing does not change with 

the number of his victims, but his influence increases with each life 

put to his credit. It is said that formerly, at Digos and Bansalan, a 

man who had killed twenty or more was known as gemdwan, and was 

distinguished by a black hemp suit. This claim to the black clothing 

is no longer respected, and such garments are worn by any who desire 

1 This is the rule at Cibolan. At Malilla and Digos, the kerchief may be worn 
when one life has been taken, the trousers for two, the coat for three, and finally 
the sack for four. 

September, i 9 i 3 . Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 97 

them. The man who has never killed a person is called matdlo, a rather 
slighting term signifying one who has no desire to fight but remains at 
home with the women. A man who kills an unfaithful wife and her 
admirer may count the two on his score. He may also count those of 
his townspeople whom he has killed in fair tight, but unprovoked murder 
will be punished by the death of the offender. The candidate for 

mi honors may go to an unfriendly town, or to a neighboring tribe, 
and kill without fear of censure from his own people. 

The magant is one of the leaders in a war party; he is chosen to 
inflict the death penalty when it is decreed, and it is men of this class 
that assist in the human sacrifices. He is under the special protection 
of Mandarangan and Darago, and all petitions to these powerful spirits 
must be made through him. His clothing is considered the property 
of these spirits, and when such specimens were secured for the collection, 
the wearer would invariably place the garment beside some prized 
article, such as a knife or spear, then taking a green betel nut would 
rub the garment and object, meanwhile beseeching the spirits to leave 
the one and enter the other. Later the nut was placed in the tambara 
belonging to those spirits. A father may not bequeath to his son the 
right to the red clothing; and such articles, together with his weapons, 
should be buried with him. Should one not entitled to these garments 
dare to make use of them, the spirits would straightway cause his body 
to swell or turn yellow, and he would die. 

In a previous paragraph we mentioned the unorganized priesthood, 
the members of which are known as mabalian. Men are not barred 
from this profession, but the greater number of its members are old, 
or middle-aged, women. 1 A woman may live the greater part of her 
life without an idea of becoming a member of this order, and then 
suddenly be warned in dreams, by visions, or by other mabalian that 
she has been chosen by the spirits. The one thus elected becomes a 
pupil of a qualified mabalian, and for several months will be drilled in 
the duties of that office. She will be taught the medicines to be used 
at certain times," the duties of a midwife, the correct method of building 
shrines and conducting ceremonies, and finally, she will learn the 
prayers with which the spirits should be addressed. It seems to be 
the belief that, at times during the ceremonies, the mabalian may be 
possessed by a spirit and that she then speaks not as a mortal but as 
the spirit itself. She also knows how to weave and dye the turban 
worn by the magani, and because of this accomplishment is considered 

1 There are five mabalian in Cibolan, all of whom are women past middle life. 
- A medicine is used with the idea that it assists in driving away evil infiuenees. 

98 Field Museum of Naturae History — Anth., Voe. XII. 

to be under the protection of Baitpandi, 1 and is permitted to wear 
garments made of red cloth, the same as the magani. 

The workers in the various crafts are under the guidance and pro- 
tection of special spirits, but there is no bar against other members of 
the tribe entering those professions. 

Apparently then, Bagobo society is divided into several classes or 
divisions, but with the exception of a few individuals in the slave class, 
there is a possibility or an opportunity for each member of the tribe to 
enter any class open to his or her sex. Even a slave woman may become 
the wife of a datu, and her son may assume the leadership of the tribe. 


The laws of the people are those imposed by custom and religion, and 
are equally binding on all classes. Public opinion is sufficient to prevent 
most crimes; the fear of offending the spirits is a further deterrent; 
while the final bar is the drastic punishment meted out by the datu. 
Theft is punished by the levying of a fine if the culprit is able to pay, 
or by a term of servitude if he has no property. If a husband finds that 
his wife has been unfaithful, he should kill both her and her admirer, 
but the spear with which he avenges his wrongs should be left in the 
body of one of the victims, as a sign that the murder was provoked by 
the fault. When this is done the husband cannot be held accountable 
either to the datu or to the dead person's relatives. If, however, he 
withdraws the weapon, the brothers or other male relatives of the 
deceased have a right and a duty to avenge the deaths. A man who has 
killed his wife and her lover is allowed to count both on his score towards 
becoming a magani — a further incentive for him to avenge his wrongs. 
Cases are known where the husband accepted payment for his wife's 
affections, but it was considered a sign of weakness, or cowardice, and 
the man lost caste. Unprovoked murder of one from the same or a 
friendly village is punished by death. 

A man having illicit relations with a slave woman, not his own, is 
subjected to a heavy fine or a term of servitude. Incest should be 
punished by the death of the culprits for should such a crime go un- 
punished the spirits would cause the sea to rise and cover the land. 
Datu Tongkaling claims that on two occasions, since he became ruler, 
he has put such offenders to death. In the first case he had the couple 
bound and thrown into the sea, while in the second instance, they 
were tied to trees in the forest and sacrificed in the presence of all the 
people of the village. 

1 The patron spirit of the weavers. 

September, 19 13 Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 99 

Prohibitions exist against the wearing of the clothing which dis- 
tinguishes warriors and priestesses, and there are rules governing the 
conduct of individuals while near shrines or during ceremonies, but 
punishment for the breaking of these rules is meted out by the spirits 
rather than by the datu. 

Each settlement is recognized as having property rights to all 
adjacent lands. Within these recognized limits, its members may 
take up as much land as they need, provided it is not already in use, 
but when a field is, for any reason, abandoned it again becomes the 
property of the community. Individual ownership extends to houses, 
furnishings, and all articles of clothing, as well as to weapons, traps, 
animals, and slaves. Although bought with a price the wife is still 
very independent and has undisputed rights to her baskets, cooking 
utensils, looms, and to the finery with which she adorns her person. 

Since all the people assist in the support of the datu they consider 
his home to be, to a certain extent, their own and make use of it and its 
furnishings without question. 

Probably at no place in the world has borrowing gone to greater 
extremes than here. When attempting to purchase clothing, or 
articles in daily use, the writer frequently found that not a single garment 
worn by an individual was his own; and it was usually necessary to 
consult several persons in order to secure a complete outfit. 

Upon the death of a man, his property is taken in charge by his first 
wife, or by the old men, and is divided equally among his wives and 
children, with perhaps a little extra added to the share of the first mate. 
The belongings of a free-born woman go to her children, or, in case she 
is barren, are given to her relatives. In cases where both the parents 
are dead, the children pass into the care of the father's family. 

Despite the fact that property is owned by individuals, a large part 
of the labor, especially in house-building and in the fields, is done in 
common. When a man desires to clear or plant a field or to build a 
house, he summons his friends to aid him and they respond with no 
idea of payment other than their food and drink, and the return of like 
services when they are in similar need. 


For about six months before and after the birth of a child the mother 
is relieved from hard labor; she is not allowed to taste of anything sour, 
neither may she eat dried fish or flesh, lest her child be thin and weak. 
The father is under no restrictions other than that he is expected to 
remain near to his home for a few days following the birth of a child. 

ioo Fiki.d Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

Other action on his part would be considered by the spirits as an ad- 
mission that he does not care for the child, and they would cause the 
umbilical cord to decay so that the child would die. The mother is 
delivered in the regular dwelling, where she is attended by two or more 
midwives or mabalian. 1 She is placed with her back against an inclined 
board, while in her hands she holds a rope which is attached to the 
roof. With the initial pains, one of the midwives massages the abdomen, 
while another prepares a drink made from leaves, roots, and bark, 
and gives it to the expectant woman. The preparation of this con- 
coction was taught by friendly spirits, and it is supposed to insure an 
easy delivery. Still another mabalian spreads a mat in the middle of 
the room, and on it places valuable cloths, weapons, and gongs, which 
she offers to the spirits, praying that they will make the birth easy and 
give good health to the infant. The articles offered at this time can 
be used by their former owners but as they are now the property of the 
spirits they must not be sold or traded. The writer was very anxious 
to secure an excellent weapon which had been thus offered. The user 
finally agreed to part with it but first he placed it beside another of 
equal value, and taking a piece of betel nut he rubbed each weapon 
with it a number of times, then dipping his fingers in the water he 
touched both the old and the new blades, all the time asking the spirit 
to accept and enter the new weapon. The child is removed by the 
mabalian who, in cutting the umbilical cord, makes use of the kind of 
knife used by the members of the child's sex, otherwise the wound 
would never heal. The child is placed on a piece of soft betel bark, 
"for its bones are soft and our hands are hard and are apt to break the 
soft bones," then water is poured over it and its body is rubbed with 
pogdndk. 2 The afterbirth is placed in a bamboo tube, is covered with 
ashes and a leaf, and the whole is hung against the side of the dwelling 
where it remains until it falls of its own accord or the house is destroyed. 
In Cibolan the midwife applies a mixture of clay and herbs called 
karamir to the eyes of all who have witnessed the birth "so that they 
will not become blind." Having done this she gives the child its name, 
usually that of a relative, and her duties are over. As payment she will 
receive a large and a small knife, a plate, some cloth, and a needle. 3 

In Malilla the naming does not take place until three days after the 
birth, and the eyes are not always anointed, although the old people 
agree that it is an ancient custom and "a good thing to do." At that 

1 In Cibolan the midwife is called taratEk-Ekn, and need not be a mahafian. 

2 A medicine made of bark and rattan. 

3 The payment given at the birth of a boy is somewhat greater than that 
for a girl. 

September, i 9 i 3 - Wild Tribes of Davao District — Coee. ioi 

time the mat containing the gifts is spread on the floor and the offerings 
are again called to the attention of the spirits, who are urged to look 
to the welfare of the child. Should the infant be ailing, or cry a great 
deal, it is a sign that the spirits are displeased with the name given to 
it and another will be substituted; however, this does not seem to be 
done with an idea of fooling the spirits, as is the case with some other 
tribes. The child is nursed until two or three years of age, or until 
another takes its place. There is no superstition concerning twins, 
but triplets are at once put to death by filling their mouths with ashes, 
otherwise "the parents would die, for they are like dogs." 

When questioned concerning abortion, Datu Tongkaling asserted 
that he considered it "very bad," and that he would prohibit any 
mabaltan who assisted in such a practice from continuing her profession, 
but he said that despite his orders secret medicines which produce that 
result are sometimes administered. Such a practice is not common, 
however, as children are greatly desired and no worse slur can be applied 
to a woman than to speak of her as barren. 

So far as could be learned there is no ceremony or celebration of any 
kind when a child reaches the age of puberty but soon thereafter its 
teeth will be filed and blackened. In some villages the boys are ciru in- 
cised, but the practice is not compulsory, neither is it general throughout 
the territory. 


Marriage among the Bagobo takes place much later than is common 
among most Philippine tribes, the couple often being eighteen or twenty 
years of age. As a rule the parents of the boy select the girl and nego- 
tiate the match. Going to the house of the girl they casually broach 
the subject and if her parents are favorable, a day is set to discuss the 
details. This meeting is attended by the friends and relatives of both 
families, and two head-men or datu must also be present to represent 
the contracting parties. The price the girl should bring varies according 
to the wealth of the interested parties and the accomplishments of the 
bride. Whatever the sum paid, the father of the girl must make a re- 
turn present equal to one-half the value of the marriage gift "so that 
he does not sell his daughter like a slave." Usually marriage does not 
take place until a year or more after this settlement, and during the 
interval the boy must serve his father-in-law to be. When the time 
for the final ceremony arrives the relatives and friends assemble and 
for two or three days they feast and make merry. A mabaltan spreads 
a mat on the floor, places on it many valuable articles and then offers 
all to the spirits, in order that they may be pleased to give the couple a 

102 Field Museum oe Naturae History — Anth., Voe. XII. 

long and prosperous life together. Finally, she puts a dish of rice on 
the mat and, after offering it to the spirits, places it between the boy 
and the girl as they sit on the floor. The girl takes a handful of the 
rice and feeds it to the boy who, in turn, feeds her, and the ceremony 
is complete. The couple may then go to their new home, but for several 
years the girl's family will exact a certain amount of service from the 

A slight variation of the usual order occurred recently at the mar- 
riage of one of Datu Tongkaling's sons. At that time all the details 
were arranged by the datu, who, accompanied by his son and a number 
of relatives, went to the girl's house and proposed the union. After 
the girl had brought wine, betel nut, and food, and had placed them 
before the visitors, she was directed by her mother to make a carrying 
bag for her lover. Had she objected to the union and refused to make 
this gift, her decision would probably have been accepted as final and 
all negotiations abandoned. However, it is not customary for the 
young people to refuse to carry out the wishes of their elders. As the 
girl offered no objections, the party fell to discussing the price the 
groom should pay, and finally, after several hours of bargaining, decided 
that he should furnish her father with one agong, 1 one horse, and a double 
betel box." Five days later, when he paid this sum, he received a 
return gift of one agong and ten skirts from the bride's mother. About 
one-half the value of the groom's gift was distributed among the girl's 
relatives, who were at the same time admonished that, in case a separa- 
tion should occur, they would be expected to return an equal amount. 
In the presence of about a hundred friends, the pair drank wine from 
the same dish, then submitted to having a little hair cut from their 
heads, and were pronounced man and wife. Before they retired for 
the night the mabalian combed their hair, then, having directed the 
groom to precede his bride to their sleeping place, she secured a child 
and placed it on the mat between the pair. This, she explained, was 
an old custom, and was done so that the girl might not be ashamed, 
for she was not the first to sleep there. Having finished this duty, 
she returned to the center of the room and placed a number of plates 
and a knife on the tambara, where they were allowed to remain for four 
days as offerings to the anito, Manama, Toghii and the tigyama. At 
the end of that period the plates were attached to the outside walls of 
the house, and the knife returned to its former owner. This completed 

1 Large copper gong. 

2 Much more is often given. One girl in Cibolan brought six horses, five agongs, 
and several spears and knives. 

3 See p. 107. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 103 

the duties of the mabaltan who returned home carrying an agong, the 
payment for her services. 

A man may have as many wives as he desires and can afford, but he 
may not take a second mate until a child has been born to the first 
union, or the wife has been proved beyond doubt to be barren. The 
groom renders no services to the father of the second wife, but instead 
of this pays a double price for the girl, for he not only pays her parents 
but is forced also to give a like sum to his first wife, who, in turn, 
presents it to her father. Should a third wife be added to the family 
a sum equal to her cost is divided among the earlier wives. The first 
wife is generally the lady of the house and does not particularly object 
to having other girls added to the family, provided they are willing to 
obey her. Datu Tongkaling has had four wives, three of whom are 
still living. 

If a couple cannot agiee, a separation can be arranged by applying 
to the local head-man, who, after listening to their troubles, decides 
which one is at fault, and whether or no the marriage gifts must be 
returned. When a couple parts, plates, bowls, and jars are sometimes 
broken as a sign that they will never live together again and the spirits 
are thus called to witness. A divorced woman may remarry, but 
unless the sum originally paid for her has been returned, the new groom 
must pay such an amount to the first husband. 


In case of illness a mabaltan administers some simple remedy without 
any call on the spirits. If, however, the sickness does not yield readily 
to this treatment, it is evident that the trouble is caused by some spirit 
who can only be appeased by a gift. Betel nuts, leaves, food, clothing, 
and some article in daily use by the patient are placed in a dish of palm 
bark and on top of all is laid a roughly carved figure of a man. This 
offering is passed over the body of the patient while the mabaltan ad- 
dresses the spirits as follows. "Now, you can have the man on this 
dish, for we have changed him for the sick man. Pardon anything this 
man may have done, and let him be well again." Immediately after 
this the dish is carried away and hidden so that the sick person may 
never see it again, for should he do so the illness would return. 

According to Father Gisbert a doll is carved from a piece of wood 
and the spirit is addressed: "O God, Thou who has created men and 
trees, and all things, do not deprive us of life, and receive in exchange 
this bit of wood which has our face." 

104 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

In obstinate cases the invalid may be removed from his own house to 
another, in order that he may be under the care of the good spirits 
residing there. The mabalian appplies certain medicines and then 
decrees a period of taboo, during which no outsiders may enter the 
house. Those within at the time the medicine was given may go out 
if they desire, but must return there to sleep. Should it become evident 
that the patient will die he is taken back to his own place, otherwise 
his family would be called upon to reimburse the owner of the house 
in which the death occurs, for bringing evil or unfriendly spirits into 
their dwelling. 

Governor Bolton describes a somewhat different procedure among 
the members of the Guianga branch of this tribe. Having learned that 
Datu Angalan was ill he went to see him, but found his house deserted. 
The dain was finally located in a small hut about a hundred yards away 
from his own dwelling, with no attendants. The governor writes, 
"When I went in the tribesmen entered. I soon found that I had 
broken a charm which prevented anyone seeing him for a certain time; 
that he had been placed in the hut for that reason, and to insure his 
not dying in the large house. It is likely that they had a human 
sacrifice at that time." 

Following a death the body is covered with good clothing and is 
placed in the middle of the house. Wailers sit by the corpse, fanning 
it to keep away flies, or making an occasional offering of food; while 
the friends gather to talk of the virtues of the deceased, to console the 
family, and to partake of the food and drink which has been provided 
for the gathering. The body is kept over one night, and in the case 
of great personages, for three days, or until the coffin — a large log split 
in halves and hollowed out — is prepared. When this is ready the body 
is placed in it, together with some prized articles of the deceased. 
After the top has been fitted to the lower portion, they are lashed 
together and the cracks are filled with lime. 2 The body is buried 
beneath the house, and the grave is protected by a bamboo fence, 
within which is placed food, small offerings, or perhaps a shield and 
spear. In some instances the coffin is allowed to remain in the house, 
which is then abandoned. It is said that when Datu Taopan died his 
funeral lasted ten days, and on the last day the house was decked, 
inside and out, with flowers and valuable gifts, and was then deserted. 

1 Extract from letters of Gov. Bolton, in files of the Governor at Davao. 

2 When the deceased has been a person of note the coffin is sometimes decorated 
or colored. The coffin of a magani should be red, yellow, and black; while that of a 
mabalian should be yellow, black, and brown. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 10; 

Following the burial the family lives in the house where the death 
occurred until a human sacrifice has been made. During this period 
they live very quietly, eat poor food, wear old clothing, and abstain from 
all amusements. If their wealth permits, they may shorten the period 
of mourning by making a special sacrifice, but in most cases the be- 
reaved will wait until the yearly sacrifice when they will purchase a 
share in the victim and thus remove the taboo. Following the offering, 
the old house is abandoned and is allowed to fall to pieces for "the man 
has gone and his house must go also." The procedure is the same for 
women, and for children who have survived infancy. 



There is some variance, in different parts of the Bagobo area, in the 
beliefs concerning the spirits or souls of a man. In Cibolan each man 
and woman is supposed to have eight spirits or gimokod, which dwell 
in the head, the right and left hands and feet, and other parts not 
specified. At death these gimokod part, four from the right side of the 
body, going up to a place called palakaldngtt, and four descending to a 
region known as karonaronawan. These places differ in no respects 
from the present home of the Bagobo, except that in the region above 
it is always day, and all useful plants grow in abundance. In these 
places the gimokod are met by the spirits, Toglai and Tigyama, and 
by them are assigned to their future homes. If a man has been a 
datu on earth, his spirits have like rank in the other life, but go to the 
same place as those of common people. The gimokod of evil men are 
punished by being crowded into poor houses. These spirits may return 
to their old home for short periods, and talk with the gimokod of the 
living through dreams, but they never return to dwell again on earth. 

In the districts to the west of Cibolan the general belief is that 
there are but two gimokod, one inhabiting the right side of the body, the 
other the left. That of the right side is good, while all evil deeds and 
inclinations come from the one dwelling on the left. It is a common 
thing when a child is ill to attach a chain bracelet to its right arm and 
to bid the good spirit not to depart, but to remain and restore the child 
to health. In Malilla it is believed that after death the spirit of the 
right side goes to a good place, while the one on the left remains to 
wander about on earth as a buso; 1 but this latter belief does not seem 
to be shared by the people of other districts. 

1 See p. 107. 

106 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

Aside from the gimokod the Bagobo believe that there exists a great 
company of powerful spirits who make their homes in the sky above, 
in the space beneath the world, or in the sea, in streams, cliffs, mount- 
ains, or trees. The following is the list related by Datu Tongkaling, 
a number of mabaltan, and others supposed to have special knowledge 
concerning these superior beings. 

I. Eugpamolak Manobo, also called Manama and Kalayagan. 
The first and greatest of the spirits, and the creator of all that is. His 
home is in the sky from whence he can observe the doings of men. 
Gifts for him should be white, and should be placed above and in the 
center of offerings intended for other spirits. He may be addressed by 
the mabalain, the datu, and wise old men. 

II. Tolus ka balakat, "dweller in the balakat 1 ." A male spirit 
who loves the blood, but not the flesh of human beings, and one of the 
three for whom the yearly sacrifice is made. Only the magani may 
offer petitions to him. He is not recognized by the people of Digos 
and vicinity. 

Ill and IV. Mandarangan and his wife Darago. This couple look 
after the fortunes of the warriors, and in return demand the yearly 
sacrifice of a slave. They are supposed to dwell in the great fissure 
of Mt. Apo, from which clouds of sulphur fumes are constantly rising. 
The intentions of this pair are evil, and only the utmost care on the 
part of the magani can prevent them from causing quarrels and dis- 
sentions among the people, or even actually devouring some of them. 

V. Taragomi. A male spirit who owns all food. He is the 
guardian of the crops and it is for him that the shrine known as paro- 
banian is erected in the center of the rice field. 

VI. Tolus ka towangan. The patron of the workers in brass and 

VII. Tolus ka gomanan. Patron of the smiths. 

VIII. Baitpandi. A female spirit who taught the women to 
weave, and who now presides over the looms and the weavers. 

IX. and X. Toglai, also called Si Niladan and Maniladan, and his 
wife Toglibon. The first man and woman to live on the earth. They 
gave to the people their language and customs. After their death 
they became spirits, and are now responsible for all marriages and 
births. By some people Toglai is believed to be one of the judges over 
the shades of the dead, while in Bansalan he is identified with Eug- 
pamolak Manobo. 

1 A hanger in which offerings are placed. 

September, 19 13. Wied Tribes of Davao District — Coee. 107 

XI. Tigyama. A class of spirits, one of whom looks after each 
family. When children marry, the tigyama of the two families unite 
to form one who thereafter guards the couple. While usually well 
disposed they are capable of killing those who fail to show them respect, 
or who violate the rules governing family life. 

XII. Diwata. A class of numerous spirits who serve Kugpamolak 

XIII. Anito. A name applied to a great body of spirits, some of 
whom are said formerly to have been people. They know all medicines 
and cures for illness, and it is from them that the mabalian secures her 
knowledge and her power. They also assist the tigyama in caring for 
the families. 

XIV. Buso. Mean, evil spirits who eat dead people and have 
some power to injure the living. A young Bagobo described his idea 
of a buso as follows: "He has a long body, long feet and neck, curly 
hair, and black face, flat nose, and one big red or yellow eye. He has 
big feet and fingers, but small arms, and his two big teeth are long 
and pointed. Like a dog he goes about eating anything, even dead 
persons." As already noted, the people of Malilla are inclined to 
identify the gimokod of the left side with this evil class. 

XV. Tagamaling. Evil spirits who dwell in big trees. 

XVI. Tigbanua. Ill disposed beings inhabiting rocks and cliffs in 
the mountains. These last two classes are frequently confused with 
the buso. 

In addition to these, the old men of Malilla gave the following: 

1. Tagareso. Low spirits who cause people to become angry and 
to do little evil deeds. In some cases they cause insanity. 

2. Sarinago. Spirits who steal rice. It is best to appease them, 
otherwise the supply of rice will vanish rapidly. 

3. Tagasoro. Beings who cause sudden anger which results in 
quarrels and death. They are the ones who furnish other spirits with 
human flesh. 

4 and 5. Balinonok and his wife Balinsogo. This couple love blood 
and for this reason cause men and women to fight cm to run amuck. 

6. Siring. Mischievous spirits who inhabit caves, cliffs, and 
dangerous places. They have long nails and can be distinguished by 
that characteristic. They sometimes impersonate members of the 
family and thus succeed in stealing women and children, whom they 
carry to their mountain homes. The captives are not eaten but are 
fed on snakes and worms, and should they try to escape the siring will 
scratch them with their long nails. 

ios Field Museum or Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

( )thcr spirits were named and described by individuals, but as they 
are not generally accepted by the people of the tribe they are not 
mentioned here. 

The stars, thunder and lightning, and similar phenomena are 
generally considered as "lights or signs" belonging to the spirits, yet 
one frequently hears hazy tales such as that "the constellation Marara 
is a one-legged and one-armed man who sometimes causes cloudy 
weather at planting time so that people may not see his deformities," 
or we are told that "the sun was placed in the sky by the creator, an 1 
on it lives an evil spirit who sometimes kills people. The sun is moved 
about by the wind;" again, "the sun and moon were once married and 
all the stars are their children." 

Despite repeated assertions by previous writers that the Bagobo are 
fire-worshippers no evidence was obtained during our visit to support 
the statement. The older people insisted that it was not a spirit and 
that no offerings were ever made to it. One maballan stated that fire 
was injurious to a woman in her periods and hence it was best for her 
not to cook at such times; she was also of the opinion that fire was of 
two kinds, good and bad, and hence might belong to both good and 
bad spirits. 

A common method used by the spirits to communicate with mortals 
is through the call of the limokon. 1 All the people know the meaning 
of its calls and all respect its warnings. If a man is starting to buy 
or trade for an article and this bird gives its warning the sale is stopped. 
Should the limokon call when a person is on the trail he at once doubles 
his fist and thrusts it in the direction from which the warning comes. 
If it becomes necessary to point backwards, it is a signal to return, or 
should the arm point directly in front it is certain that danger is there, 
and it is best to turn back and avoid it. When it is not clear from 
whence the note came, the traveler looks toward the right side. If he 
sees there strong, sturdy trees, he knows that all is well, but if they are 
cut or weaklings, he should use great care to avoid impending danger. 
When questioned as to why one should look only to the right, an old 
man quickly replied: "The right side belongs to you; the left side is 
bad and belongs to someone else." 

Sneezing is a bad omen, and should a person sneeze when about 
to undertake a journey, he knows that it is a warning of danger, and 
will delay until another time. 

Certain charms, or actions, are of value either in warding off evil 
spirits, in causing trouble or death to an enemy, or in gaining an ad- 

1 See p. 63, note. 

September, 1915. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 109 

vantage over another in trading and in games. < >ne type of charm is 
a narrow cloth belt in which "medicines" arc tied. These medicines 
may be peculiarly shaped stones, bits of fungus growth, a tooth, shell, 
or similar object. Such belts are known as pamadan, or lambos, and 
are worn soldier-fashion over one shoulder. They are supposed to 
protect their owners in battle or to make it easy for them to get the 
best oi other parties in a trade. A little dust gathered from the foot- 
print of an enemy and placed in one of these belts will immediately 
cause the foe to become ill. 

It is a simple matter to cause a person to become insane. All that 
is needed is to secure a piece of his hair, or clothing, place it .in a dish of 
water and stir in one direction for several hours. 

Father Gisbert relates the following method of detecting theft: 

"There are not, as a rule, many thefts among the Bagobo, for they 
believe that a thief can be discovered easily by means of their famous 
bongat. That consists of two small joints of bamboo, which contain 
certain mysterious powders. He who has been robbed and wishes to 
determine the robber takes a hen's egg, makes a hole in it, puts a pinch 
of the above said powder in it, and leaves it in the fire. If he wishes the 
robber to die he has nothing else to do than to break the egg; but since 
the thief may sometimes be a relative or a beloved person, the egg is 
not usually broken, so that there may be or may be able to be a remedy. 
For under all circumstances, when this operation is performed, if the 
robber lives, wherever he may be, he himself must inform on himself 
by crying out, T am the thief; I am the thief,' as he is compelled to do 
(they say) by the sharp pain which he feels all through his bod}'. W nen 
he is discovered, he may be cured by putting powder from the other 
joint into the water and bathing his body with it. This practice is 
very common here among the heathens and Moros. A Bagobo, named 
Anas, who was converted, gave me the bongat with which he had fright- 
ened many people when a heathen." 

In Bansalan crab shells are hung over the doors of houses, for these 
shells are distasteful to the biiso who will thus be kept at a distance. 

I was frequently told of persons who could foretell the future by 
means of palmistry, but was never able to see a palmist at work, or to 
verify the information. 


The music for the dances is generally furnished by one or more 
persons beating on several agongs of different sizes and notes, which 
are suspended in regular order from the house rafters (Plate XXXa). 

no Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

The player stands in front of the line and begins to beat the instruments 
with a padded stick. Oftentimes he is accompanied by a man who 
strikes a wooden drum with the palm of one hand and a stick held in 
the other. The music grows faster, emphasizing certain beats, until 
it becomes a compelling rhythm that starts the feet of the onlookers, 
and suddenly a man or woman begins to dance. At first she keeps 
time to the music by raising on her toes and heels, bending the knees 
and twisting the body from side to side, but soon she becomes more 
animated, the feet are raised high above the floor and brought down 
with a sort of shuffle which reminds one of the sound made by the feet 
of a clog dancer. Still swaying her body, she begins to circle, contra- 
clockwise, around the gongs, and soon she is joined by others until 
all the dancing space is filled. The scene is most picturesque, for these 
dances usually occur at night, in rooms illuminated only by the flickering 
light of torches. The rich clothing of the participants loses nothing 
of its beauty in this dim light, while the bells and rattles with which 
each dancer surrounds arms, legs and ankles, add to the din and weirdness 
of the occasion. Before the dance has progressed far the musicians 
begin to keep time with their feet and frequently dance away from 
their instruments, circle, and then return to continue the music. 

With slight variation, this is the dance used on all occasions. At 
certain ceremonies small gongs, or the bolang bolang, 1 replace the agongs, 
and at times also a single dancer will accompany himself on the kodlon - 
a long wooden guitar with rattan strings (Plate XXXb). 

FIG. 33. 

taw-Gau or bamboo Guitar. 

In this description we have named a large share of the musical 
instruments used by the Bagobo. The women frequently play on a 
sort of guitar made of a section of bamboo from the outside of which 
narrow strings are cut. These are raised and made taut with small 
wooden bridges and are then picked with a stick or the fingers (Fig. 33). 
Bamboo Jew's-harps and mouth flutes are played by the men, but the 

1 An instrument made by placing a small board on a rice mortar, 
or beaten with short sticks, or with the wooden pestles. 

This is pounded 

September, 19*3 • Wild Tribes of Davao District — CoeE. hi 

nose flute, so common in most parts of the Philippines, was not seen in 
use here. 

The ceremonies and dances are so closely associated with every day 
affairs that in the description of the life of the people up to this point 
we have left only a few still to be discussed. These are, in the main, 
very similar throughout the Bagobo belt, but to avoid confusion the 
description here given of the two greatest events of the year — the 
GinEm ceremony and the human sacrifice — deals with Cibolan, unless 
expressly stated to the contrary. 

The greatest of all Bagobo ceremonies — the GinEm — may be given 
by the datu within three or four months after the appearance of the 
constellation Balatik, when the moon is new or full. Its object is to 
thank the spirits for success in war or domestic affairs, to ward off 
sickness and other dangers, to drive away the huso, and finally to so 
gratify the spirits that they will be pleased to increase the wealth of 
all the people. Datu Tongkaling expressed a belief that this ceremony 
is in a way related to the rice harvest, "for it is always made when there 
is plenty of rice in the granaries." It appears to the writer, however, 
that this ceremony probably originated in connection with warfare. 

According to the tales of the old men, it was formerly the custom to 
go on a raid before this ceremony was to take place, and successful 
warriors would bring home with them the skulls of their victims which 
they tied to the patan'nan. 1 It seems also to have been closely asso- 
ciated with the yearly sacrifice, for it was never made until after the 
appearance of the constellation Balatik, and without doubt a sacrifice 
frequently did take place during the first day of the ceremony, at the 
time the decorated poles were raised. However, such an offering at 
this time did not relieve the datu from the obligation of making the 
regular sacrifice. 

Datu Ansig of Talun informed me that, unless the death of some 
great person made a special sacrifice necessary, there was only one such 
offering made during the year, and that at the time the decorated poles 
were placed in the dwelling. 

The time for the festival having been agreed upon, messsengers are 
sent to other datu and head-men, inviting them and their people to 
attend. Sufficient food is prepared for the guests and when all is ready 
the mabalian takes one chicken from among those to be used for food 
and frees it as an offering to the gimokod. It is bidden to wander 

1 Ceremonial poles dedicated to Mandarangan and Darago. In Digos and 
Bansalan the skulls were not taken but hair cut from the heads of enemies was 
placed in the swinging altar balakat, and were left there until the conclusion of the 

ii2 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

about in the forest, and no one will molest the fowl, for should he do so 
he is certain to become ill. 1 The mabalian has previously placed festoons 
of leaves and vines at various points in the house and now she spreads 
a mat on the floor. A jar of balaba, wine, stands at each corner, while 
at one end is an agong, and a plate containing betel nut, leaf, and two 
varieties of rattan; at the other end are several tambara. When all is 
thus prepared the people place offerings of beautiful clothing, knives, 
and other costly gifts on the mat. Two mabalian, a man and a woman 
call upon the spirits, 2 urging them to look with favor on the offering 
made by the people, to grant them a good year with health and plentiful 
harvests, to let their journeys be without mishap, and to keep them all 
under their constant care. The tambara are fastened in various parts 
of the house, and the gifts are hung on or laid beside them. Later these 
offerings may be removed by their former owners who now regard them 
as being loaned to them by the spirits. 

Following the offering the magani go to a bamboo thicket and cut 
two large poles, one nine sections long, the other eight. With each 
stroke of the knife the men give their battle cry, then when the poles 
are felled, all seize hold and carry them to the house of the datn. Here 
they are decorated, first by being cut down for short distances, thus 
leaving the lower part attached so that the shavings make a sort of 
fringe, and then by attaching strips of palm or bamboo leaves and 
cloth or palm leaf streamers. When complete these poles are known 
as patan'nan and are then the property of the spirits Mandanagan and 
Darago. The longer one is for the male spirit, while the one of eight 
sections is for his wife. Under no circumstances may anyone not a 
magani touch these poles. They are carried into the house and are 
fastened near to the elevated platform at the end of the room where the 
datu or leading magani stands ready to sacrifice a chicken. He allows 
some of the blood from the offering to drip onto the poles, at the same 
time begging the spirits not to let the people fight or quarrel during the 
GtnEm, "for blood is now being offered." In at least two recent 
offerings the datu urged the spirits to be content with this offering of a 
fowl, since it was impossible for them to kill a man. At this time, 
it is said, the skulls of enemies should be attached to the patan'nan. 
As the leader finishes his offering, the men and boys gather about the 
poles and yell lustily, then sit quietly down and amuse themselves by 
chewing betel nut until the chicken, just killed, and the other food 

1 This offering is not made at Bansalan, neither has the mabalian any part in 
the ceremonies of the first day. 

2 Those called at this time are Toglai, Togllbon, tigyma, and Kalayagan — 
Eugpamolak Manobo. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 113 

has been prepared for eating. Old dishes are placed in the center of 
the floor and in them food is offered for all the spirits, but in the exact 
center of all is a large plate of white food for the supreme being. A 
second large dish of food is placed in a tambara at the corner of the 
room as an offering to the warrior deities "so that they will not eat 
anyone during the fiesta." Again the spirits are besought to give 
them a good year, with abundant crops, health, and success in war. 
Going to the patan'nan each maganl, beginning with the datu or his 
son, takes hold of the poles, and in a loud voice, begins to confess all his 
warlike deeds. He relates how and when he killed his victims, the 
number of sacrifices he has participated in, the towns he has sacked 
and the slaves he has captured. In short, he tells of all the manly 
deeds he has performed in order to gain the right to wear his red suit 
and be known as maganl. When all have confessed, the men and boys 
eat the chicken which was sacrificed before the poles, and from then 
until near midnight, all the people may dance to the music of the 
agongs or may indulge in feasting and drinking. From the middle of 
the night until daybreak they chant songs or poems, many words of 
which are now obsolete so that they are not fully understood. 1 

The festival may last one or more days. The last held in Cibolan 
(1909) extended through two days and nights. At that time no offerings 
were made to the spirits on the second day, but the people feasted and 
drank while the daiu gathered a little apart and held a council. 

In Malilla the second day of this ceremony is called EgbikbEgdybe 
and is given over almost entirely to the women. Two tambara are 
erected in the house, and young betel nut buds and women's skirts are 
hung on them. The women and some men form a line and dance in a 
circle around the offerings, keeping time to music furnished by beating 
small gongs, or by pounding on a board resting on a rice mortar. 2 Before 
each dance the mabalian informs a spirit that this dance is for him and 
it is customary to add a gift of some kind to those already on the 
tambara. Sixteen spirits are thus honored. Throughout the day there 
is much feasting and drinking, and at some time before sunset the 
women are baptized. Having filled an old agong with water, the 
mabalian dips certain leaves into it and sprinkles the heads of the 
women present eight times, meanwhile bidding the spirits to grant to 
them a good mind and habit. 

1 Mr. Gohn informs me that at midnight during the last GinEtn mack- by Datu 
Ali in Santa Cruz, a gun was fired, and the datu said that a sacrifice should have 
taken place at that time. 

2 See p. 1 10, note. 

ii4 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

Mr. Gohn, a planter of Santa Cruz who lias witnessed a number of 
these ceremonies, says that with the Bagobo of that place it was cus- 
tomary for the datu to baptize the women prior to the day of GinEm. 
On the second day, a mabalian provided a long palm leaf, and a number 
of betel nut buds which, she said, represented streams, rivers, tribes, 
and individuals. Taking up a bud she swung the palm leaf above it, 
chanting meanwhile, and, as she finished, handed it to the datu who 
opened it and read the signs sent by the spirits. At the conclusion of 
this act, all the women went to the river to bathe. 

In the writings of the early missionary fathers stationed among the 
Bagobo are found many references to human sacrifices. Since American 
occupation several articles have appeared describing this custom, and 
following the sacrifice held in Talun in 1907, this practice became the 
subject of official communication between the Governor of the District 
and his superiors. While these descriptions agree, in the main, there 
are so many minor variations that it seems best to first relate the account 
given to the writer by Datu Tongkaling and ten of his magani, after 
which we shall take up some of the earlier accounts, and the official 
correspondence of 1907. 

Datu Tongkaling is a magani. He claims to have killed more than 
thirty of his enemies in fair fight and to have assisted in, or to have 
witnessed, an even greater number of sacrifices. Prior to his elevation 
to the office of datu he had aided in several of the yearly offerings. At 
the time he became datu he entertained all his people for seven days 
and on the morning of the last day, in the presence of his subjects, he 
alone sacrificed a decrepit Bila-an slave for whom he had paid three 
agougs. Hence, probably, no man in the tribe is better fitted to describe 
this event than he. 

According to him, a sacrifice should be held each year following the 
appearance in the sky of a constellation of seven stars known as Balatik 
("pig trap"). 1 The stars are placed there by the spirits for two pur- 
poses : — first, to inform the people that it is time to prepare for the 
clearing of new fields; second, to remind them that they should offer 
a slave to Mandarangan, Darago, and Balakat as payment for the 
good year they have enjoyed, and to secure their good will for the 
coming season. A great epidemic or continued calamaties might also 
be signs that the spirits were in need of another offering, and this could 
take place at any time. Upon the death of an adult it becomes the 
duty of the family to make a sacrifice, but, unless the deceased is of 

1 This is the constellation Orion which appears early in December. 

September, i 9 i 3 . Wild Tribes ok Davao District — Cole. 115 

very great importance, they may wait until the yearly sacrifice 1 when 
they can purchase a share in it. The one other occasion for which this 
offering is obligatory is the installation of a new datu in office. For the 
yearly event the ruler should provide a decrepit slave, and then invite 
all those who have had death or trouble in the family and who wish a 
part in the sacrifice to help bear the expense of the ceremony. Guests 
gather from near and far and for two or three days, feast, dance, and 
make merry in the house of the datu. On the morning of the last day 
they accompany their leader to a great tree in the forest and there 
witness or take part in the sacrifice. The victim is tied with his back 
to the tree, his arms stretched high above his head. Meanwhile a 
little table or altar is constructed near by, and on it the principals 
place their offerings of betel nut, clothes, or weapons, and on top of all 
is a dish of white food for Eugpamolak Manobo. When all is ready 
one of the magam begins a prayer, begging the spirits to look and see 
that the people are following the old custom, to give them success in 
battle, and to protect their homes from sickness and enemies. The 
prayer being completed, the datu places his spear below and just in 
front of the right armpit; then all those who have purchased a share in 
the victim take hold of the weapon, and at a signal given by the datu, 
thrust it through the body. As soon as it is withdrawn, the magam 
who has offered the greatest price for the privilege attempts to cut 
the body in two with one blow of his fighting knife. If he fails in the 
attempt, another tries, and so on until someone succeeds. The two 
portions are then released from the tree and cast into a shallow grave 
near by. Before the body is covered with earth any person who wishes 
may cut off a portion of the flesh or hair and carry it to the grave of 
some relative whom he may have reason to believe is being troubled 
by evil spirits. In such a case the evil spirit will be content to eat of the 
slave, and cease disturbing the other body. Returning to the house 
of the datu, the people continue the dancing and merry-making through- 
out another night. 

The following accounts are extracts from the official correspondence 
forwarded by the Governor of Davao to the Governor of the A'loro 
Province : 

"I have the honor to submit herewith a full report of an investigation 
made by myself and the Senior Inspector of Constabulary of Davao, 
regarding a human sacrifice made by the Bagobos at Talun near Digos 
on Dec. 9th, 1907. 

1 We have already seen that this offering sometimes occurs during the GtnEi 

n6 Field Museum oe Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

"We left Davao on the morning of the 27th of December and arrived 
at Digos in the afternoon of the same day. An order was immediately 
sent out to the Bagobos of Talun to come down to Digos to meet us. 

"On the morning of the 30th, the entire population of Talun — men, 
women and children, to the number of almost one hundred and fifty- 
arrived at Digos. They were informed that it was reported that a 
human sacrifice had been made at their town and that the authorities 
desired to know if this was so. 

"Datto Ansig replied that it was true that a sacrifice had been held 
as stated and that both he and his people were ready to tell all about 
it as to the best of their belief they had committed no crime, but only 
followed out a religious custom practiced by themselves and their 
ancestors from time immemorial. 

"From the statements made by Ansig and his followers, it appears 
as follows: 

"That the Bagobos have several gods, 'Bacalad,' God of the 
spirits, Agpanmole Monobo, God of good and his wife the goddess 
Dewata; Mandarangan, the God of evil (corresponding perhaps to 
our devil) and to whom sacrifice is made to appease his wrath which is 
shown by misfortune, years of drought, or evil befalling the tribe or its 
members, also it is at times necessary to offer him human sacrifice so 
that he will allow the spirits of the deceased to rest, etc. They say that 
in case a Bagobo of rank or influence dies, and his widow be unable to 
secure another husband, it is necessary for her to offer sacrifice to 
appease the spirit of her departed husband in order that she may secure 
another. In order that these sacrifices be not made too often, it is 
customary for the old men of the town to gather together once each 
year during a time when a collection of seven stars, three at right angle 
to the other four, are seen in the heavens at seven o'clock in the evening, 
which is said to occur once each year during the first part of the month of 

"This collection of stars is called by the Bagobos 'Balatic,' and is 
the sign of the sacrifice, that is, if a sacrifice is to occur, it must take 
place during the time that the stars are in this position. 

"The old men meet and decide if enough misfortune has overtaken 
the tribe or village during the period since the last sacrifice to render 
necessary another tribute to the god of evil. It is not necessary to 
offer a sacrifice for each evil, but when the misfortunes amount to a 
considerable, a sacrifice is held to cover the entire lot. 

"In this case it appears that two widows, Addy and Obby, went to 
Datto Ansig and requested that he arrange a sacrifice to appease the 

September. 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 117 

spirits of their departed husbands which were bothering them. Ansig 
called a meeting of the old men at which were present besides himself 
Bagobos Oling, Pandaya, and Ansig, and these four decided that as 
they had not had a sacrifice since the great drought (about three years 
ago) and that since that time many evils had befallen them, it would 
be well to offer a sacrifice. These four men sent out to find a slave 
for sacrifice, the finder becoming the chief of the sacrifice. 

"Ongon, a henchman of Datto Ansig, purchased from Bagobo Ido, 
a Bilan slave boy named Sacum about eight years old and who was 
deaf and cross-eyed, and had other defects of vision, making him of 
little or no value as a laborer. Ido originally received this slave from 
Duon, a Bilan, as a wedding present when he married Duon's daughter 
about a year ago. 

"Ongon agreed to pay Ido five agongs for the boy and took him to 
the house of Ansig where arrangements were made for the sacrifice by 
calling on all who for any reason had need to appease the evil spirits 
to come and take part. Three days after the slave was brought to the 
house of Ansig, the people met at Talun near the river Inolia, a short 
distance from Ansig's house, this being the regular place of sacrifice. 

"Leaving the house of Ansig the boy Sacum was seated upon the 
ground near the place of sacrifice. He was naked but no other prep- 
aration was made with regard to the person. Upon a platform or 
bench of bamboo about two feet high and a foot or two square was 
placed a small basket or receptacle made of the bark of the bunga tree ; 
in this each person present and taking part in the sacrifice placed a 
piece of betel-nut, over this the men placed their head handkerchiefs 
and the women strips of the bark of the palma tree. Upon this the 
men laid their bolos, and spears were then stuck in the ground in a 
circle around the platform. Next Datto Ansig as chief of the sacrifice 
made an oration which was about as follows: 'Oh, Mandarangan, 
chief of evil spirits and all the other spirits, come to our feast and 
accept our sacrifice. Let this sacrifice appease your wrath and take 
from us our misfortunes, granting us better times.' 

"After this, the boy Sacum was brought forward by Ongon, placed 
against a small tree about six feet high, his hands tied above his head, 
and his body tied to the tree with bejuco strips at the waist and knees. 
Ansig then placed a spear at the child's right side at a point below the 
right arm and above the margin of the ribs. This lance was grasped 
by the widows Addy and Obby, who at a signal from Ansig forced it 
through the child's body, it coming out at the other side. It was 
immediately withdrawn and the body cut in two at the waist by bolos 

u8 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

in the hands of Moesta Barraro and Ola, after which the body was cut 
down and chopped into bits by the people present, each of whom was 
allowed to take a small portion as a momento of the occasion, the 
re mainder of the body being buried in a hole prepared for it. 

"It is said the child w r as deaf and almost blind and that it did not 
realize what was to happen to it until the moment it was tied up when 
it began to cry; further, that death was almost instantaneous, the only 
cry being one uttered when the spear first entered the child's body. 

"Datto Ansig, a man about sixty years of age, says that in his life 
he has attended or officiated at fifty human sacrifices, more or less, 
both among the Bagobos and the Bilanes, and that human sacrifice is 
also practiced among the Tagacolos, although he has never been present 
at one held by that tribe. 

"The Bagobos do not sacrifice any but old and decrepit or useless 
slaves captured from other tribes, but the Bilanes sacrifice even their 
own people. 

"Being asked if it was customary to eat any portion of the body 
sacrificed, Ansig replied that it was not customary nor did he know 
of any case where such had occurred. 

"The last sacrifice before this was held at Talun during the year 
of the drought (about 1905) when a Bilan slave, an old man who was 
paralyzed in one arm, was sacrificed by Datto Oling, his master. 

"Asked if the sacrifice of an animal would not do as well as that of 
a human being, they said, 'No, better to have no sacrifice at all.' 

"They appeared utterly unconscious of having committed any 
crime, told their story with frankness, said it was a matter not talked 
about among their own people but that if we wanted to know the facts 
they would give them to the authorities. They claimed the offering of 
human sacrifices by their tribe to be an old custom and, as far as they 
knew the only way to appease the wrath of the evil spirits, but said 
if they were ordered to give the custom up they would do so even if 
the devil got them all." 

Then follows the statement of an eye witness to the ceremony : 
"My name is Modesta Barrera; I live in the town of Santa Cruz, my 
father being a Visayan, my mother a Bagobo. I cannot read or write, 
and I think that I am about twenty-three years old, although I am 
not certain on that point. 

"On the 8th instant myself, Baon, Otoy, and Oton left Santa Cruz 
early in the morning to go to Talun, a day's march from Santa Cruz, 
for the purpose of trading with the natives of Talun, and also to collect 
some debts which they owed Baon. We remained that night at 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 119 

Saculampula, near Talun, where Ungon and Ido, two Bagobos, live with 
their families. There we found two children the only persons at the 
house who informed us that we should go to the house of Ambing, at 
Talun, where we could sell our merchandise. On the morning of the 
9th we got up about 7 or 8 o'clock and started for Ambing's house. 
When within about an hour's walk of the house, we found a great many 
people congregated together. We were told that a human sacrifice 
had just taken place and on approaching to discover what had happened, 
we saw a little boy about eight or nine years old, the upper half of 
whose body was suspended by the wrists to a tree, the lower half lying on 
the ground. The child had been thus tied up while alive and had been 
cut into two parts at the waist; this was about the position of the 
body when we saw it. 

"Immediately about twenty persons began to chop the body into 
small pieces; and Ansig, the datto of Talun, came over to us and gave 
Eaon two pieces of the victim's hair attached to the scalp, which is a 
sign of the sacrifice. The victim was a slave owned and sacrificed by 
Datto Ansig. The first bolo cut which severs the body at the waist 
and which in this case we were told was done by Ansig is always per- 
formed by the person making the sacrifice. The people present were 
guests of Ansig and were not responsible for the killing, though it is the 
custom for the more favored ones to assist in chopping the victim into 
small pieces after death." 

In the letters written by Father Gisbert in 1886, are many references 
to the religious practices of the Bagobo, from which the following are 
extracts : 

"The feast which they hold before the sowing is a criminal and 
repugnant trago-comedy. The tragical part is the first thing that is 
done. When they have assembled in the middle of the woods * * 
they tightly bind the slave whom they are going to sacrifice. All 
armed with sharp knives, leap and jump about their victim striking 
him, one after the other, or several at one time, amid infernal cries 
and shouts, until the body of the victim sacrificed has been cut to bits. 
From the place of the sacrifice they then go to the house of their chief 
or the master of the feast, holding branches in their hands which they 
place in a large bamboo, which is not only the chief adornment but the 
altar of the house in which they meet * * * The principal part 
is reserved for the old man or master of the feast, he standing near the 
bamboo which I have mentioned above, holding the vessel of wine in 
his hand, and, talking with his comrades, addresses the great demon 

120 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

called Darago, whose feast they are celebrating, in the following words : 
'Darago, we are making you this feast, with great good will and 
gladness, offering you the blood of the sacrifice which we have made 
and this wine which we drink so that you may be our friend, accompany 
us, and be propitious in our wars.' *********** 

"When they marry, if the lovers think that it will be of any use 
they make a human sacrifice so that they may have a good marriage, 
so that the weather may be good, so that they may have no storm, 
sickness, etc., all things which they attribute to the devil. In the same 
way also when they learn that there is any contagious disease, or fear 
death, several of them assemble and make a human sacrifice, asking 
the devil to let them live, since they generously offer him that victim. 
They also believe that the disease can be conjured. But the time that 
it is necessary to make a sacrifice, according to the law of the Bagobos, 
is at the death of anyone of the family, before they can remove the 
laldoan or mourning * * * At the point and on the day assigned, 
all the sacrificers assemble, or possibly one member of each of the 
families who are in mourning, at times fifty or more. The value of the 
slave sacrificed is paid among them all, and he who pays most has the 
right to sacrifice first."** 

By the side of the trail, or in the forests, little shrines or platforms 
about 3 ft. high and a foot square at the top, are frequently seen. 
These are known as bids and are erected for the buso, in order to avert 
their displeasure and to keep them at a distance from the dwellings. 
When the family has been subjected to petty annoyances, or when for 
any other reason, the mabalian thinks an offering should be made, she 
orders the family to provide her with betel nut, a piece of iron, and bits 
of broken dishes, or castoff clothing. These are placed on the platform 
and the buso are exhorted to come and accept them. Good offerings 
are never made to this class of spirits, for "they do not expect to be 
treated like the more powerful." A shrub known as dalingding is 
planted by the side of the shrine so that its location may be known even 
after the platform has fallen, and all passersby will make some small 
offering, hoping thus to keep these evil beings in good humor. 

Rain can be stopped by placing an offering of a leg ring, or prepared 

betel nut beside the trail and presenting them to the Gimokod, at the 

same time asking them to stop the downpour. 

**In Blair and Robertson, Vol. XLIII, pp. 244-51, will be found a very in- 
teresting letter from Father GisberT, in which he describes the sacrifice of a Bagabo 
half-blood who had fallen in debt. 

The official files in the Governor's office at Davao contain an account, written 
by Gov. Bolton, of the sacrifice at Cataloonan, July 1, 1904. This was held to 
secure the return to health of Chief Obo, who later died. 

September, 1913- Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 121 


To a stranger entering a Bagobo house, in the absence of its owners, 
it appears that the people have little artistic development. He sees 
no paintings, no drawings, and few, if any, attempts to beautify the 
house with carvings. The pots sitting by the fire show no decoration 
nor do the other household utensils exhibit embellishment of any kind. 
A closer study of the field baskets, however, shows a slight attempt 
to produce ornamentation by changing the weave of the central band 
from that at the top and bottom, or by adding a few rude lines in pitch. 
The moment the people enter, however, all is changed. The clothing 
they wear is covered with intricate patterns, some realistic, others 
highly conventionalized (Plate XXXI). Wonderful designs in beads 
or shell disks appear on coats, jackets, and carrying bags, while at 
neck, waist, shoulder, and at the bottom of sleeves and trousers are 
other figures in fine embroidery or applique. Strands of beads and 
seeds exhibiting a great variety of designs surround the necks of both 
men and women, while rings, armlets, leglets, and anklets of beads, 
plaited material or metal, are common. Combs are covered with pitch 
and inlaid with beads, or patterns are incised in the wood and filled 
with lime. Ear plugs exhibit beautiful delicate patterns inlaid with 
brass or silver. 

A glance at the weapons carried by the man shows that his knife 
has been ornamented with caps of brass (Plate XXXII), the metal 
guard has cut or cast patterns in its surface, while sheath and carrying 
belt are covered with thin brass plates, painted lines, or a beaded cloth 
(Plate XXXIII) with bells attached. Fronts and backs of shields are 
covered with incised designs, while the metal ferrule next to the spear 
head seldom lacks in conventionalized figures. So the list might be 
extended to cover the women's knives and their pocket and carrying 
baskets, as well as the betel boxes and lime holders used by both sexes. 
In short, there seems to be no end to the list of personal ornaments and 
equipment which may be improved by carvings, arrangements of beads, 
or metal castings and inlays. Even the horses are decorated with 
artificial forelocks of hair and beads. Strings of bells surround their 
necks, while saddles and whips display the aesthetic taste of their 

A part of this decoration is apparently realistic and will readily be 
identified by any member of the tribe; another part is suggestive and 
with a widely known meaning, but by far the greater number of designs 
have no generally accepted signification. The writer spent many hours 
securing the names of the designs on textiles, ornaments, or on lime 

122 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

boxes, only to receive the reply "done to make pretty," or to find that 
no two of five or a dozen informants could agree on many patterns, 
while frequently it was found that some obliging individual had volun- 
teered names at one time which he could not remember on the day 
following. It is possible that a long residence with the people and 
diligent inquiry along this line might yield more definite results, but 
for the present the writer must content himself by showing some typical 
examples of the decorative art, and adding a few notes to the same. 

The great majority of baskets lack in decoration, other than that 
which can be obtained by a slight change in the weave. In these a 
central band can be distinguished from those at top and bottom, al- 
though the same material is used and there is only a minor variation in 
the technique. 

Small carrying receptacles, or trinket baskets, frequently have 
designs produced by plaiting the rattan or bamboo of natural color 
with that which has been blackened (Plate XXXI Va). No uniform 
meaning or pattern name seems to be attached to the designs shown in 
this specimen, but an incised design on the wooden rim was readily 
identified as a crocodile. 

The small baskets in the coiled weave sometimes have the fronts 
entirely covered with beads which are woven into the basket in parallel 
lines. The tobacco box shown in Plate XXXV has been covered with 
cloth and pitch, in which an artistic design made from the yellow 
cuticle of an orchid has been inlaid. Plate XXX Vb shows the wooden 
tops of three tobacco boxes. Nos i and 2 are carved and inlaid with 
beads and buttons in designs which "look pretty," but number 3 depicts 
a hunting scene in which two men and a dog are hunting the alligator. 
Several beads are missing so that it requires quite a stretch of the 
imagination to. secure the impression the native artist meant to impart. 

The prized trinket baskets of the women generally have the fronts 
covered with cloth, to which hundreds of colored beads are sewed, in 
elaborate designs (Plate XXXVI). 

The patterns brought out in the weaving are as beautiful and in- 
tricate as they are confusing. Five typical specimens of cloth used 
in women's skirts are shown in Plate XXXVII. In them can be 
found several apparently different designs to some of which names 
were assigned, but as there was no agreement among my informers 
I refrain from giving them here. The pattern marked X in (c) was 
generally identified as "alligator," yet the weavers were by no means 

September. 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 123 

The strip of cloth (Plate XXXVIII) was intended for the center 
breadth in a woman's skirt and shows the typical designs employed in 
the best garments. 

The extensive use of beads is shown in Plates XXXIX-XL. Carry- 
ing bags, clothing, combs, necklaces, armlets, belts and sheath covers 
are partially covered with or made up of colored beads, always in 
designs, yet very few of these patterns have generally accepted meanings 
or names. The same holds true of the designs in shell disks, which, 
on the finer garments, take the place of beads. A few exceptions to 
this are found in which realistic patterns appear in (Plate XXXIb and 

Fig- 34)- 

<& jp-, &> 

' 00 00, 

&*m£ ®8> 



3 <£CL 

©^ a?s&g&Ioo M€%1 * r?r% * »r$$% 

«ss^ ^ 

as jo 00 do 

FIG. 34. 

Like the bead work, the embroidery and applique found on many 
garments are added "to make pretty." Some of this work is quite 
fine, but in general that of recent years is either inferior to that found 
on old garments or is borrowed from, or made by, the Bila-an women. 
Some garments, with designs produced by oversewing before dyeing, are 
seen here, but they are recent importations from the Kulaman or 
Tagakaolo tribes. 

124 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

Necklaces and leglets are made of rattan and are decorated with 
burned lines or by being overlaid with platted strips of orchid and fern 
cuticle (Fig. 2). 

A few rare specimens, such as personal ornaments or basket rims, 
have sewed in designs in which the sewing has been done with fern 
cuticle (Plate XXXI Vb). 

Incised patterns appear on nearly all the bamboo lime and tobacco 
holders, but here individual fancy plays such an important part that a 
hundred specimens might be examined without rinding duplicate 
patterns. Fig. 14 shows nine of these tubes covered with cut-in designs, 
yet only one figure, that marked X in b could be identified. This 
was said to be the familiar crocodile. 

Coming to the work in brass and copper we encounter an en- 
tirely new type of design. In some cases straight inlaid or overlaid 
strips and twisted wires are used to ornament the specimen; while in 
the raised and cut-in lines on the bells we find simple patterns. In the 
main, however, the ornamentation on this class of material consists 
of complicated scrolls (Plate XU), designs suggesting flower or tree 
patterns, or conventionalized figures. One only needs to compare 
these objects with similar specimens from Borneo and the Malayan 
Islands of the South, to find the source of this type of ornamentation 1 . 
In fact the imitation of Moro wares is practiced today. In Plate 
XLIa and b are shown two betel nut boxes — No. 1 the work of the 
Samal Moro, No. 2 the imitation of the inlaid work on the top of the 
first specimen. This last was made in my presence, and with the ex- 
pressed intention of duplicating the Moro box. However, in this case, 
as in all others, the Bagobo caster did not attempt to exactly reproduce 
the work of another, but simply borrowed a broad idea, and thus he 
often creates new forms. 

Not once did the writer receive a name for any pattern or design 
shown in metal work. A careful study of the method of work, of the 
articles produced, and of the folk-lore and religious observances con- 
nected with the work in brass and copper brings one to the conclusion 
that this class of work is of comparatively recent introduction and that 
the instructors in the art were the Samal Moro. 

Mention has already been made of the designs incised on combs and 
other objects which are afterwards filled with lime. Just here it is 
interesting to note that, so far as is known, the southern end of Min- 
danao and adjacent small islands, are the only parts of the Philippines 
in which this decoration, so typical of Melanesia, is to be found. 

1 See Ling Roth, Oriental Silver Work. 

September, i 9 i 3 . Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 125 

Realistic carvings were seen used in only two capacities. The first 
in certain ceremonies, where extremely crude wooden figures were 
offered to the spirits in exchange for the sick person (see p. 105), 
and the second, the wooden decoys used in hunting doves (See Plate 

Summing up our present information we can say: first, that the 
Bagobo makes use of certain realistic designs which in some cases have 
become conventionalized but still retain their former significance; 
second, that the greater part of decoration in beads, shell disks, em- 
broidery or applique, as well as the incised designs in lime boxes and 
the like, have no meaning to the people of the present day, and are 
added only to make the objects more beautiful in the eyes of the owners. 
In this work there are no set patterns and each artist gives full reign to 
the fancy in producing these figures. Third, that the ideas for the pat- 
terns inlaid, incised, and cast in brass or copper, are furnished by the 
examples of this work coming from the Malays to the south, but that 
even in these the artist has taken great liberties in the execution of the 
design. Fourth, that one type of decoration, i. e., the incised figures 
filled with lime, suggests the possible influence of Melanesia on the 
artistic ideas of this people. 


During my stay with this tribe I heard parts of many folk-tales, some 
chanted, others told with gravity, and still others which caused the 
greatest levity. My limited knowledge of the dialect and pressure of 
other work caused me to delay the recording of these tales until I should 
begin a systematic study of the language. Owing to unforeseen cir- 
cumstances, that time never came, and it is now possible to give only 
the slightest idea of a very rich body of tales. 1 

In the main these stories are an attempt to account for the present 
order of things. In the tale which we quoted in part, at the beginning 
of the paper, we are told of an all-powerful being who created the earth 
and all that is. Other spirits and many animals inhabited the sky 
and earth which the creator had made. Of the latter only one, the 
monkey, is named. He and his kind, we are told, once inhabited and 
owned all the world, but were dispossessed by two human beings, 
Toglai and Toglibon, from whom all the people of the world are de- 
scended. After their death a great drought caused the people to dis- 
perse and seek out new homes in other parts. They journeyed in 
pairs and because of the objects which they carried with them, they 

1 Since this was written Miss Benedict has published an excellent collection 
of Bagobo Myths (Journal of American Folklore, 1913, XXVI, pp. 13-63. 

126 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

are now known by certain names. One couple, for instance, carried 
with them a small basket called bira-an, and for this reason their children 
are known as Bira-an (Bila-an). From the time of the dispersion until 
the arrival of the Spaniards we learn that certain mythical heroes 
performed wonderful feats, in some cases being closely identified with 
the spirits themselves, in others making use of magic, the knowledge 
of which seems to have been common in those times. 

The two following tales are typical of those commonly heard in a 
Bagobo gathering. The first was told by Urbano Eli, a Bagobo of 

"After the people were created a man named LumabEt was born. 
He could talk when he was one day old and the people said he was sent 
by Manama. He lived ninety seasons and when still a young man he 
had a hunting dog which he took to hunt on the mountain. The dog 
started up a white deer and LumabEt and his companions followed 
until they had gone about the world nine times when they finally caught 
it. At the time they caught the deer LumabEt's hair was grey and he 
was an old man. All the time he was gone he had only one banana 
and one camote with him for food. When night came he planted the 
skin of the banana and in the morning he had ripe bananas to eat, 
and the camotes came the same way. When he had caught the deer 
LumabEt called the people to see him and he told them to kill his 
father. They obeyed him and then LumabEt took off his headband 
and waved it in the air over the dead man, and he at once was alive 
again. He did this eight times and at the eighth time his father was 
small like a little boy, for every time the people cut him in two the knife 
took off a little flesh. So all the people thought LumabEt was like 
a god. 

"One year after he killed the deer he told all the people to come into 
his house, but they said they could not, for the house was small and 
the people many. But LumabEt said there was plenty of room, so all 
entered his house and were not crowded. The next morning the 
diwata, tigyama, and other spirits came and talked with him. After 
that he told the people that all who believed that he was powerful could 
go with him, but all who did not go would be turned into animals and 
buso. Then LumabEt started away and those who stayed back became 
animals and buso. 

"He went to the place Binaton, across the ocean, the place where 
the earth and sky meet. When he got there he saw that the sky kept 
going up and down the same as a man opening and closing his jaws. 
LumabEt said to the sky 'You must go up,' but the sky replied 'No.' 

September, 19 13. Wied Tribes of Davao District — Coee. 127 

At last Lumab£t promised the sky that if he let the others go he might 
catch the last one who tried to pass; so the sky opened and the people 
went through; but when near to the last the sky shut down and caught 
the bolo of next to the last man. The last one he caught and ate. 

"That day Lumab£t's son Tagalion was hunting and caught many 
animals which he hung up. Then he said he must go to his father's 
place; so he leaned an arrow against a baliti tree and sat on it. It began 
to grow down and carried him down to his father's place, but when he 
arrived there were no people there. He saw a gun, made out of gold, 
and some white bees in the house. The bees said 'You must not cry; 
we can take you to the sky.' So he rode on the gun, and the bees took 
him to the sky and he arrived there in three days. 

"One of the men was looking down on the land below, and all of 
the spirits made fun of him and said they would take out his intestines 
so that he would be like one of them and never die. The man refused 
to let them, and he wanted to go back home because he was afraid; 
so Manama said to let him go. 

"The spirits took leaves of the karau grass and tied to his legs, and 
made a chain of the grass and let him down to the earth. When he 
reached the earth he was no longer a man but was an owl . ' ' 

(2) The second tale, which was recorded by P. Juan Doyle, S. ]., is 
as follows: 

"In one of the torrents which has its origin at the foot of Apo, there 
were two eels which, having acquired extraordinary magnitude, had no 
room in so little water, on account of which they determined to separate, 
each one taking a different direction in search of the sea or the great 
lakes. One arrived, happily, at the sea by the Padada river, and from 
it came eels in the sea. The other descending a torrent, swimming and 
confining himself as well as he might, enclosed in these narrow places, 
said to himself T haven't the slightest idea of what the sea is, but it 
appears to me that when I see before me an extraordinary clearness on 
a limpid surface, that must be the sea, and with one spring I will jump 
into it.' So saying, he arrived at a point where the torrent formed 
a cascade. He noticed that it cut off the horizon and to his view it 
appeared of an extraordinary clearness ; he thought he could swim there 
without limit, and at his pleasure, and that this, in fine, must be the sea. 
He darted into it, but the unhappy one was dashed against the rocks, 
and too fatigued to swim through the rough waters, he lost his life. 
His body lay there inert and formed undulations which are now the 
folds which the earth forms to the left of Alt. Apo." 

128 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 


To the south and southwest of Mt. Apo, and west of Digos, are 
seven settlements, the inhabitants of which are known as Obo or 
Tigdapaya. On the south they meet the Bila-an, and, like this latter 
people, extend over the watershed into the valley of the Cotabato river. 
On the northwest they come in contact with the Ata. They have inter- 
married with both of these tribes, have adopted many of their customs, 
and in some cases their manner of dress. However, they consider 
themselves, and are considered by the Bagobo, as a part of that tribe, 
and recognize Tongkaling as their chief. Bagobo customs and blood 
predominate, although intermarriage with the Negrito was evident 
in nearly every individual of this division seen by the writer. 

Immediately west of Daliao are three villages whose people are 
known as Eto or Ata. Aside from a slightly greater percentage of in- 
dividuals showing negroid features, these people do not differ in any 
respect from the Bagobo. It does not seem that they should be classed 
with the people later referred to as Ata. To the north, their lands 
join the territory held by the Guianga. 

The habitat of the division called Guianga begins a few miles back 
of the Gulf and extends west to the watershed. An east and west line 
drawn through the village of Taloma marks their southern boundary, 
while to the north they approach the Lasan river. They are found in 
a number of scattered settlements which owe allegiance and are subject 
to five petty data. Tongkaling is not recognized as having any au- 
thority in the district, and there seems to be no remembrance of a time 
when any of the Bagobo rulers held authority over the Guianga. Phys- 
ically and culturally they do not seem to be far removed from the 
Bagobo, while their language is so closely related that individuals of 
the two divisions, meeting for the first time can carry on a conversation. 
There is, however, considerable variation between the dialects, both in 
intonation and vocabulary. 

Further study may result in raising this branch to the dignity of a 
tribe, but the information at hand does not justify us in considering them 
other than a dialect group of the Bagobo. 



(a) Tagalagad— "dwellers in the back country" is the name 
generally applied to this tribe by the coast natives. 

(b) Tagkogon— -"dwellers in the cogon" -The group living on the 
grass plains west of Malalag. 

(c) Buluan, Bueuanes — The members of this tribe dwelling near 
to Lake Buluan. This group is sometimes identified with the Tagabtli 
or Tagabuhi who also reside in that region. 

(d) Bira-an, Bara-an — Synonym for Bila-an, often used by the 
neighboring Bagobo. 


(f) Balud or Tumanao — name sometimes applied by early writers 
to the Bila-an who live on the Sarangani Islands. 


This tribe is found in the mountains on the west side of Davao Gulf 
beginning at an east and west line drawn through Bulatakay and ex- 
tending south to Sarangani Point, and they also appear in small numbers 
in the Sarangani Islands which lie just south of the mainland. At 
Bulatakay they are a day's march back from the coast and to reach 
them it is necessary to pass for several hours through a rolling belt of 
forest land, then as the mountains are approached, gently sloping 
cogon plains about ten miles in width are crossed. West of Malalag 
they are still far from the sea with a belt of hill Tagakaolo between 
them and the coast people. In this region they have spread out in 
considerable numbers on to the grass plains, and for this reason are 
locally known as Tagkogon "dwellers in the cogon." On the gulf 
side of the divide, south of Malalag, they are found in small groups far 
back in the mountains, while between them and the sea are Tagakaolo, 
Kulaman and Moro. Along the watershed between the districts of 
Davao and Cotabato they possess all the territory and even extend in 
some numbers into the lowlands toward Lake Buluan. They are 
distinctly a mountain people, having never reached the sea, except near 
Sarangani Point, until after the advent of the American. Since then 
a few hundred have been induced to move to the coast plantations, and 
the town of Labau has been established on the Padada river about six 
miles back of the coast. According to Mr. H. S. Wilson, tribal ward 
headman for the Bila-an, this tribe numbers about ten thousand persons, 
of which number fifteen hundred reside on the Sarangani Islands. 


130 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

The material here presented was gathered from the people of Labau, 
the Malalag cogon, and those living near the headwaters of the Ma-al 
and Padada rivers. 

Formerly a neutral, uninhabited belt extended between them and the 
coast people, and at stated intervals they went to recognized trading 
points in this territory to exchange their agricultural and forest products 
for salt, fish, and other articles of barter. Beyond this trading and an 
occasional fight, they had few dealings with the coast people and seem 
never to have encountered the Spaniard. 

They are almost unknown to history, for aside from two or three 
short accounts, 1 based mostly on hearsay, we find no mention of them. 
The coast natives who knew them by name only had many stories con- 
cerning their life and prowess, and one still hears that "the Bila-an are 
of small stature but agile like monkeys. One may wander for days 
through their territory without encountering a person and then when 
in a bad place suddenly see the little people in hundreds swarming down 
the sides of impassable cliffs. They are always in such numbers that, 
while they use only the bow and arrow, they are almost sure to ex- 
terminate the intruders." As a matter of fact, the Bila-an compare 
in stature with the coast natives and differ little from them in color, 
although a few individuals of decidedly lighter cast are met with. 

Observations were made on thirty-eight men, but no women could 
be induced to submit to being measured. The maximum height of the 
men was found to be 163.6 cm.; minimum 142.3 cm.; with an average 
of 154.7 cm. The cephalic indices showed 87.8 cm. as the maximum; 
74 cm. the minimum; and 80.4 cm. the average. The greatest length- 
height index was 78.6 cm.; the minimum 62.4 cm. and the average 
69.7 cm. From these measurements it appears that the Bila-an are 
somewhat shorter than the Bagobo ; are more short headed, the majority 
being brachycephalic; while the height from tragus to vertex is about the 
same in both groups, and both have the crown and back of the head 
strongly arched. The face 2 is absolutely shorter and relatively broader 
than in the Bagobo. The forehead is usually high and full, but in 
about one-third of the individuals measured it was moderately retreat- 
ing, while in the same proportion the supra-orbital ridges were quite 
strongly marked. In other features, as well as in hair form, eyes, 
body form and color, this people conform to the description given of the 
Bagobo (Plates XLJI-XLVIII). 

1 Blair and Robertson The Philippine Islands, Vol. XLIII, pp. 239, 282-283. 
Census of the Philippine Islands, 1905. 

2 Measured from the chin to the hair of the forehead. 

vSeptember, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 131 

The greater part of this tribe live far back in the rugged mountains 
which form the watershed between the Cotabato valley and the Gulf of 
Davao. Travel through that district is entirely on foot, and is prin- 
cipally along the water courses, so that in going from place to place a 
person is continually crossing the stream. From time to time dim trails, 
scarcely worthy of that name, lead from the river's bank almost per- 
pendicularly up the mountain-side or to the summits of high hills, where 
will be found one or two frail houses (Plate XLIX). The dwellings 
are never in large groups, and more frequently each house is by itself. 
From one habitation it is possible to look across the hills and see many 
others at no great distance, to reach which would necessitate a descent 
of several hundred feet and an equal climb up to each. 

There is considerable variation in the architecture of the dwellings 
but the following description of the home of Datu Dialum, on the head- 
waters of the Ma-al river, will give the general plan of all. 

Small hardwood poles about twenty feet in length formed the up- 
rights to which the side and crossbeams were lashed, while in the center 
of each end beam smaller sticks were tied to form the king posts. From 
the ridge pole small timbers extended to the side beams, thus forming 
the framework on which the final topping of flattened bamboo was laid. 
This roof was of one pitch and at the sides overhung the walls by about 
a foot. Twelve feet above the ground other poles were lashed to the 
uprights and on these rested the cross timbers of the floor, which in 
turn were covered with broad strips of bark. The side walls extended 
between the floor and the beams, but in no place did they extend up to 
the roof. Entrance to the dwelling was gained by a notched log. 

Once inside the house the arrangement 
impressed one as being similar to those of 
the Eagobo. Justabove the door, and again 
in the far end of the room, poles were laid 
across the beams to form the floors of lofts 
which, in this case, were used as sleeping 

In front of the door, at the opposite side 
of the room, was a bed of ashes in which' 
three stones were sunk to form the stove, 
and above this was suspended a rack which 
contained cooking pots, drying wood, ears of 
corn, and the like. Close to the stove were 
a few earthen pots (Fig. 35) and many short 
bamboo tubes filled with water, while against. 

FIG. 35. 
Cooking Pot and Cover. 

132 Field Museum of Natural History — Axth., Vol. XII. 

the wall hung rattan frames filled with half cocoannt-shell dishes, 
spoons, and two or three old Chinese plates. Near the center of the 
room stood a rice mortar made by hollowing out a section of log. At 
the far end of the room was a raised sleeping platform, such as is found 
in all Bagobo houses, and extending from this to the center and on 
each side of the room were narrow stalls where the women were engaged 
in weaving, and in which they slept and kept their most valued pos- 

In the description of the house we have mentioned most of the 
furnishings. In addition it is customary to find a few well made mats 
of pandanus or buri palm leaf. These are spiead on the floor when 
the owners wish to retire and for the rest of the time are rolled up and 
laid along the w T alls. Carved forked sticks which serve as torch-holders 
stand in various parts of the room, while somewhere near the stove 
is a miscellany of wooden meat blocks, bamboo fans and fly swatters, 
gourds filled with millet, salt, or mashed peppers, and shovel-shaped 
or round rice winnowers, which also serve as common eating dishes 
for the family and guests. Well made baskets stand by the walls or 
hang from pegs along with articles of clothing, while spears, shields, 
and other weapons are fastened to side walls or roof. 

Small clearings are found at no great distance from these dwellings 
and in them the people raise rice, corn, millet, camotes, sugar-cane, and 
a few banana and hemp plants (Plate L,). As is the case with all the 
wild tribes in this district, the Bila-an make new clearings as soon as 
the cogon grass begins to invade their fields, and this in time causes 
them to move their homes from one locality to another. 

The domestic animals consist of a few chickens, dogs, an occasional 
cat and pig, and in the lower cogon lands, a few families possess horses. 
Some fish are secured from the river, while deer, wild pig, jungle fowl, 
and other game are taken with traps or secured by hunting. 

There seems never to have been a time when this tribe was organized 
under a single leader as was the case with the Bagobo. Each district 
is so isolated from the others and the population so scattering that any 
such development has been barred, and hence the people of each river 
valley or highland plain have their local ruler. The power of this 
ruler is real only so far as his personal influence can make it so. He 
receives no pay for his services, but his position makes it possible for 
him to secure the help of his fellows w r hen he is in need of workers or 
warriors. In return he conducts negotiations with other groups and 
administers justice in accordance w r ith the customs handed down from 
bygone ages. Upon his death he is succeeded by his eldest son, unless 

September, 1913- Wild Tribes oe Davao District — Cole. 133 

the old men of the group should consider him incompetent, in which 
case they will determine upon the successor. 

Warriors who have killed one or more persons 1 are known as lEbE 
(Plate XLII), and are permitted to wear plain red suits decorated 
with embroidery. Their duties and privileges are much the same as 
those of the Bagobo magam. 

A class known as almo-os is composed mostly of middle-aged women 
who are in close communication with the spirits and who, like the 
mabalian of the Bagobo, conduct ceremonies to aid in the cure of the 
sick, to secure good crops, or to thank the higher beings for their help 
and watchfulness. Unlike the mabalian, these women are seldom 
mid wives, such duties being performed by a group called f audita. 2 
Finally, we learn that slaves are sometimes taken from neighboring 
tribes or even from unfriendly settlements of their own people, to 
which class may be added offenders against the laws of the group. 
Slavery, however, is not very prevalent, for men are not greatly desired 
unless needed for a sacrifice, while young girls and women soon become 
regular members of their master's family. 

As has just been indicated a man may have as many wives as he can 
secure by purchase or capture, provided they are not blood relations, 
but a new wife cannot be added to the family until the one preceding 
has borne a child. 

Difficulties are generally settled between the parties concerned, but 
if they carry their case to the ruler they must abide by his decision. A 
thief is usually compelled to return the stolen property, but in at least 
one case the culprit was sacrificed. 3 

Murder can be avenged by a murder so long as the trouble remains 
a family affair, but if the case goes to the ruler it is probable that he will 
levy a fine on the culprit. Unfaithfulness in a wife can be punished 
by the death of one or both offenders if the husband exacts the punish- 
ment, otherwise a fine is imposed. 

The type of clothing worn by this tribe is practically identical with 
that of the Bagobo, while the cloth from which it is made is procured by 
a like process. However, in the ornamentation of these garments there 
is wide variation. Beads are not used to any great extent, but in their 
place are intricate embroidered designs which excel, both in beauty and 
technique the work of any other wild tribe in the Islands, while on the 
more elaborate costumes hundreds of shell disks are used in artistic 
designs. The woman's skirt is of hemp and is made in exactly the same 

1 Said to be four among the Tagkogon. 

2 Probably a corruption of the Mora term pandi'a. 

3 See p. 145. 

134 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

manner as those of the Bagobo, but the general pattern is different, and 
it seldom contains the broad decorative center panel (Plate LX). 

Some of the men cut their hair so that it falls in bangs along the 
center line of the forehead and behind reaches to the nape of the neck, 
but the majority of them, and all the women, allow the back hair to 
grow long and tie it in a knot at the back of the head. Ordinarily the 
men dispense with head covering, or at most twist a bit of cloth into a 
turban, but for special occasions they wear palm leaf hats covered with 
many parallel bands of rattan and crowned with notched chicken 
feathers (Plate LI). Rarely is a woman seen with any kind of head 

FIG. 36. 

Women's Combs. 

protection or hair ornament other than a small comb which is peculiar 
to this tribe (Fig. 36). This comb is made of bamboo or rattan splints 
drawn together at the center but flaring at top and bottom until it 
forms an ornament in the shape of an hour glass. The ear plugs worn 
by the men are of wood and are undecorated, but those of the women 
have the fronts overlaid with incised brass plates (Fig. 37). In other 
respects the dress of the women differs little from that of the Bagobo. 
They have the same necklaces, arm and finger rings, leglets, and anklets, 
although in less quantity. They also carry trinket baskets, but these 
are larger than those used by the women of the other tribe and are 
lacking in bead and bell pendants. However, they are tastily decorated 
with designs in colored bamboo or fern cuticle. We have already noted 
that the use of plain red garments is limited to warriors, but cloth of 
that hue which contains narrow black stripes may be used by all. Quite 
a number of garments are seen in which white patterns appear in a red 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes op Davao District— Coee. 135 

background (Plate LYIIIc). In this tribe the use of such suits is not 
restricted, but with the neighboring Kulaman they can be worn by 
warriors 1 only. 

Before we proceed further with the description of the life of the 
people, it will be well for us to inquire into their religious beliefs, for, 
as is the case with all their neighbors, their faith in unseen beings 
influences their daily life to a very great extent. The two following 
tales deal with the Bila-an genesis. 

"In the beginning was Al£lu — a being of such great size as to be 

FIG. 37. 

A. women's ear Plugs. 

B. M en's Ear plugs. 

beyond comparison with any known thing; who was white, having gold 
teeth, and who sat upon the clouds, and occupied all space above. 

"He was very cleanly and was constantly rubbing himself with his 
hands in order that he might keep his skin quite white. The scurf or 
dead skin which he thus removed, he placed to one side where it ac- 
cumulated at last to such a heap that it annoyed him. To be rid of this 
annoyance he made the earth, and being pleased with his work, he de- 
cided to make two beings like himself only much smaller in size. This 
he did from remnants of the material from which he made the earth. 

1 See p. 155 for a description of this process. 

136 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

"Now, while MElu was making the first two men, and when he had 
the first one finished, all excepting the nose; and the second one finished 
all excepting the nose and one other part, Tau Tana (Funtana) or Tau 
Dalom Tana appeared and demanded of MElu that he be allowed to 
make the nose. Then began a great argument in which Tau Dalom 
Tana gained his point and did make the noses and placed them on the 
faces of the first two people upside down. So great had been the 
argument over this making and placing of noses that MElu forgot to 
finish that part of the second person and went away to his place above 
the clouds, and Tau Dalom Tana went away to his place below the 
earth. Then came a great rain and the two people on the earth were 
about to perish on account of the water which ran off their heads into 
their noses. MElu seeing what was happening came to them and 
changed their noses, and then told them that they should save all the 
hair which came from their heads, and all the scurf which came from their 
bodies to the end that when he came again he might make more people. 
As time passed there came to be a great many people, and they lived 
in a village having plenty to eat and no labor but the gathering of such 
fruits as they desired. 

"One day when the rest of the people were about the village and the 
near country, a man and woman who had been left behind fell to gazing, 
one upon the person of the other, and after a little while they went 
away apart from the rest and were gone many days, and when they 
returned the woman carried a child in her arms, and the people wondered 
and were afraid. When MElu. came again soon, knowing what had 
taken place, he was very angry and he went away abandoning them, 
and a great drought came, when for two seasons no rain fell and every- 
thing withered up and died. At last the people went away, two by 
two, one man and one woman together, and MElu never again came 
to visit his people on earth." 1 

The writer did not hear the foregoing tale, but the following, with 
more or less variation, was told to him by several Bila-an: 

"In the beginning four beings, MElu and Fiuweigh-males, and Dwata 
and Sa weigh (or sEwE or sE weigh) -females, lived on a small earth 
or island as large as a hat and called salnaoil. There were no trees or 
grass on this island, but they had one bird called Baswit. They sent 
this bird across the waters to secure some earth, the fruit of the rattan 
and of trees. When it returned MElu took the earth and beat it the 
same as a woman beats pots until he had made the land, then he planted 
the seeds in it and they grew. When he had watched it for a time 

1 Recorded by Mr. H. S. Wilson. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 137 

MElu said: 'Of what use is land without people'; so the others 
said. 'Let us make wax into people.' They did so, but when they put 
the wax near to the fire it melted, so they saw they could not make 
man that way. Next it was decided that they should use dirt, and 
M£lii and Fiuweigh began to make man. All went well until they 
were ready to make the nose. Fiuweigh who was making this part 
put the nose on upside down and when MElu told him that the people 
would drown if he left it that way he became very angry and refused 
to change it. When he turned his back, MElu seized the nose quickly 
and turned it as it now is, and you can see where, in his haste, he pressed 
his fingers (at the root). 

"The people they made were Adnato and Andawi, male and female. 
These two had children, Tap! (or Mastafi) and Lakarol. (Informants 
disagreed here, part insisting that MEsa, Lakbang, and Mangarang 
were part of the first people made.) Their descendants were Sinudal 9 , 
Moay 6 / Limbay 9 , Madinda 9 , Sinnamoway 6 , Kamansa 6 , Gilay 9 , 
Gomayau 6 , Salau 6 , Slayen 9 , BaEn 9 , Kanfal 9 , Latara 6 ." 

The last was the father of Alimama, the chief informant of this tale. 
Inok, dato of Labau, is also of this line, tracing his descent from Lak- 

It is said that MElu and Saweigh now live below, Dwata and Fiu- 
weigh in the sky. 

A variation of this story credits MElu and Dwata with being the 
creators of Fiuweigh and S£ weigh. They were the ancestors of men, 
for they took earth and made it into the form of people and then whipped 
it until it moved. The first people they made were Otis 6 and Lak- 
bang 9 • Two of their children were Mastaf 1 6 and Lakarol (or 
Landol) 9 • From these two eame all the Bila-an. "These two lived 
in a small distant place and their one animal was Baswit — -a bird. 
They sent him on a long journey and when he returned he brought a 
piece of earth and the fruit of a panda g tree. Lakarol planted the 
fruit in the piece of earth and when it grew the leaves fell down and 
finally made the earth." 

From these tales and later questioning we learn the MElu, or 
MElE, is the most powerful of all the natural spirits and that his help 
is sought in times of calamity and at very important occasions. 

Duwata (Duata, Dwata, Adwata, Diwata) is generally considered to 
be the wife of MElu and of equal strength with him. She is sometimes 
identified with a female spirit called Kalalokan. 

1 6 male, 9 female. 

138 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

Fiuweigh and SEweigh are now powerful spirits, but there is some 
dispute as to whether they have always been so, or once were human. 

Lamot ta Mangayo, also called Mandalangan, is the patron spirit of 
the warriors and is in all respects almost identical with Mandarangan 
of the Bagobo. 

The bitsau are a class of spirits, often ill-disposed toward men, who 
live in various parts of the mountains. Bakay, one of the busau, is said 
to be the owner of the deer and pig and is held in considerable esteem by 
the people of the Padada region, but he is not recognized by the Tag- 
kogon branch of the tribe. Another spirit, Bawi, who owns the rice, 
is in great favor with the Padada people, but is unknown to the latter 
group. Flau is the spirit of an unborn child whose mother died in 
pregnancy. Its cry is often heard at night, and at times it attacks and 
injures people. 

These natural spirits are very powerful, and since they sometimes 
interest themselves in the doings of mortals it behooves all to keep their 
good will. Below them is another class of spirits, less powerful, but far 
more concerned in the affairs of men, and for this reason more to be 
feared should they become displeased. This class is made up of the 
spirits of the dead. A man's spirit, almogol, does not live in his body, 
but always accompanies him during life. If at any time it wanders 
the man becomes ill, and if it fails to return its owner dies. After 
separating from the body the almogol goes to Kilot, a good place below 
the earth where there is no work or punishment. There it spends most 
of its time, but upon occasion returns to its former haunts where it aids 
or injures the living. 

The almo-os, already mentioned, 1 have considerable influence with all 
the spirits, but they are particularly close to the almogol. When a 
person is ill he is placed in a little house known as lawig (Plate LJI), 
beside which a fire is kindled. Nearby are two decorated bamboo 
sticks, behind which the spirit of the sick man stands while he watches 
the proceeding. The almo-os takes a chicken in his hands and, while 
five or six assistants dance, he chants, appealing to the spirit to see the 
good things that are being prepared, and to be pleased to return to 
the sick man. Occasionally, the music stops and one of the dancers 
cries ''almogol, here is food for you; you must not go away." After a 
time the fowl is killed, is cooked over the fire, and is fed to the invalid, 
while the "doctor" continues his song of entreaty. If the call pleases 
the spirit it will pass between the bamboo sticks and go to the sick 
person in the lawig, but if it is not convinced that it should remain it 

1 See page 133. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Coee. 139 

departs, and the patient dies. The sick person is kept in the spirit 
house for a day and is then returned to his home. 

Little structures known as bolofi are erected for other spirits who 
may be trying to injure the almogol or attempting to persuade it to leave 
its owner. 

Certain ceremonies and offerings occur after a death, at the birth 
of a child, at planting and harvest times, and when the warriors are 
about to start on a raid ; all of which will be spoken of in a later para- 
graph. When approaching a place known to be owned by certain 
spirits, it is thought wise to make a small offering. On the trail to 
Ma-al is a large rock which marks the divide between the mountains' 
and the open cogon lands. As the writer's party approached this 
stone one of the men removed some of his leg bands and placed them 
beside the rock, at the same time praying the busau to "take the present 
and do not let any of our party fall sick or be injured on the journey." 
It is also customary for a man who wishes to buy anything or to make 
a trade, first to make an offering of betel-nut to the spirit of some rich 
man, and to ask his help in the venture. 

Some new clearings are cut in the jungle each year, after the con- 
stellation Balatik has risen out of the sea. The spirits place this sign 
in the heavens to notify all that the land should be cleared, but it does 
not call for a sacrifice as in the case of the people we have previously 
described. At that time the men cut the trees and underbrush, and 
after allowing them to dry, fire them. They also make the holes into 
which the women drop seed rice. 

When the land is ready for planting, a little house called botabwE is 
built in the center of the field, and beside it is placed a platform or 
table, sina-al, on which is an offering of food. Early in the morning, 
while the others sleep, the owner and his wife carry the seed rice to the 
field and place it on the botabwE. After a time they eat some of the 
food which has previously been offered and then begin to plant, be- 
ginning close to the spirit house. Soon they are joined by other workers 
who aid them in the planting. These assistants do not receive payment 
for their services other than food while working and like help when in 
need. At this time a bamboo pole, with one end split and spread open 
like a cup, 1 is placed in front of the elevated platform of the family 
dwelling and the guardian spirit of the fields is promised that after the 
harvest he will receive the new seed rice. While the rice is growing 
the men attend to the fences and the women keep down weeds or 

1 This pole which is here known as sabak is the same as the tambara of the Bagobo. 
See p. 66 and fig. 12. 

140 Field Museum of Naturae History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

frighten birds and other intruders away. When the crops have matured 
all the people of a neighborhood will meet at the home of the chief, 
and there celebrate a ceremony known as Pandoman. Two bundles of 
rice are laid on a mat in the center of the room, and beside them a spear 
is thrust into the floor. These are offerings to the great spirits M£lu 
and Dwata who are besought to give health to the workers while they 
are gathering crops. As soon as this offering is made, the men begin 
to build the rice granaries; meanwhile the women silently guard the 
mat and gifts, for until the new storehouses are completed there must 
be no dancing or merry-making. When all is ready for the harvest, the 
•wife of the owner goes alone to the field, and having cut a few heads of 
grain, she carries them back to the house. One portion is placed in the 
sabak another on a little platform, gramso, near to the house, as an 
offering to M£lu and Dwata; and the balance is cooked and eaten by 
the family. The following morning all the women go to the fields to 
gather the harvest. When the last bundle has been carried to the 
house a celebration begins, agongs and EdEl 1 furnish the music for the 
dancers, and for a day and a night all feast and make merry; then the 
workers return to their homes carrying small gifts of cooked food or 
new rice. 

Aside from clearing the land and helping somewhat with the rice 
crops, the men seldom concern themselves with work in the fields but 
leave the cultivation of corn, sweet potatoes, tobacco, and the like to 
the women. 

A large part of the food of the tribe is furnished by the fruits and 
herbs of the jungle and here again the women are the chief providers. 
Although in the sago industry both sexes have well defined duties. 

Along the edge of the cogon lands are many large buri palms, 2 from 
which a starch commercially known as sago is secured. The men cut 
down a tree close to its roots and remove the hard outer bark, thus 
exposing the soft fibrous interior (Plate LIII) ; then a section of bamboo 
is bent so as to resemble an adze, and with this the men loosen or break 
up the soft interior portion of the trunk. This is removed to a near-by 
stream, and is placed in a bark vat into which water is led by means of 
bamboo tubes. Here a woman works it with her hands until the 
starch grains are separated from the fibrous matter. As the water 
drains slowly out the fine starch is carried with it into a coarse cloth 
sieve, which retains all the larger matter but allows the starch to be 
carried into another bark vat below. Fresh water passes slowly through 

1 See p. 110 note. 

2 Corypha umbraculifera. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes oe Davao District — Cole. 141 

this lower vat, removing the bitter sap from the flour, which is de- 
posited on the bottom of the vat. From time to time this is scraped 
up and placed in baskets where it is kept until needed. The flour, 
while rather tasteless, is nutritious and in years of drought is the chief 
source of food supply. 

Preparation of the meals, care of the children, basket and mat 
making, weaving and decoration of clothing, take up most of the time 
of the women when they are not engaged in the cultivation of the 
fields or in search of forest products. 

The hardest work in the fields falls to the men; they also strip the 
hemp needed in weaving, while a few of them are skilled workers in 
brass and copper and turn out bells and other ornaments not at all 
inferior to those of the coast natives. Their methods of casting as 
well as their manufactures are identical with 
those of the Bagobo from whom they probably 
learned the art. So far as could be learned 
no iron work is done by members of this tribe, 
and the few spears and knives possessed by the 
warriors seem to be trade articles. 

The old men claim that until recent years 
the bow and arrow was their sole offensive 
weapon. It is certain that today they have 
a greater variety of arrows and are more skillful 
in the use of this type of weapon than are any 
of their neighbors. None of the weapons 
found on the gulf side 
of the divide appeared 
to be poisoned, but a 
number secured by 
Major Porter from 
the Lake Buluan 
region seem to have 
been so treated 
(Fig. 38). Different 
types of arrows have 
been developed 
for different purposes; 
one for fighting, 
another for deer and 

FIG. 38. 

Bows, Arrows and quiver from 
lake Buluan Region. 

4 * 


142 Field Museum of Naturae History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

pig, another for monkeys, and still others for fish and birds (Fig. 39). 
Birds are killed also by means of reed blow guns, identical in type with 
those shown on page 73, Fig. 18. As a rule such weapons are used 




FIG. 39. 

FIG. 40. 

by boys. Pitch sticks (Fig. 40), chicken snares, and fish traps are in 
common use, but bird nets and wooden decoys seem to be unknown. 

When on a raid warriors carry beautifully carved shields, bows and 
arrows, spears, and fighting knives (Plates LIV-LV). They are in 
bad repute with the coast natives, but are really far less warlike and 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 143 

troublesome than any of their neighbors. Their isolated' dwellings 
serve as protection against invaders, but at the same time make it 
difficult to gather large bodies of men for raiding purposes. It is only 
when urged on by an invasion of their country, by a desire for revenge 
for real or fancied wrongs, or when a victim is needed for a sacrifice 
that great raids are planned. Before a war party is to start against 
an enemy the leader takes eight pieces of betel nut and some leg bands 
and placing them on his shield, bids his followers lay their weapons 
upon them. Addressing the guardian spirit of the warriors, he speaks 
as follows: "Now listen I,amot ta Mangayo, let the person who killed 
my brother come to meet us even though his head does ache, for now we 
offer to you. Give us good fortune in the fight." Upon returning 
from the fray they place eight whole betel nuts, together with leaves, 
on a plate, and having set it outside the house, one of the warriors calls 
to M£lu saying: "If the brother of the man we have killed in payment 
for my brother calls on you for aid, you must not give heed, for here we 
make a present to you." 

There are no restrictions placed upon a pregnant woman, who, as 
a rule, continues her regular duties until near the time of delivery 1 . 
When the first pains begin an old man or woman offers four pieces of 
betel nut to M£lu, and to the spirit of the child's grandfather, if de- 
ceased. The midwife prepares a drink which is supposed to aid in the 
delivery, and after the birth she cuts the umbilical cord with a bamboo 
knife. She also assists about the house for a time, and for these services 
receives two or three Chinese plates, some small knives, rings for the 
right arm, and some needles. The father is not under any restrictions 
at this time, but for a day of two he will gather young patina palms and 
from them prepare food for his wife. 

From birth until marriage the career of the child is without special 
event. He is a welcome addition to the family, but no ceremonies 
attend either his naming, or his arrival at the age of puberty. 

As a rule, a youth does not take a wife until he is near twenty years 
of age, and then his mate is generally of his own choosing. Having 
decided upon a suitable girl he informs his parents and the friends he 
may wish to accompany him when he goes to her home to press his suit. 
Arrived at the house, the father of the suitor expresses his belief that 
his son wishes to reside there since he now asks the daughter for his 
wife. In reply he is told that the family is poor, having neither agongs, 
animals, or other things of value. The suitor at once makes an offering 

1 A woman does not work during her periods, and any food prepared by her at 
that time would be refused by all who knew her condition. 

144 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

of some of these desired articles, but whatever the gift may be, a return 
present equal to half its value must be made. 1 Should the girl's parents 
reject the gift all negotiations would be called off and the guests return 
home, but as a rule, both families are well aware of and favorable to the 
expected wedding sometime before the visit of the groom's parents. 
After the exchange of gifts, food is furnished first to the guests and later 
to the couple, who in the presence of all the friends, feed each other 
with rice and are henceforth considered as husband and wife. Until 
after the birth of a child the couple live with the girl's family and the 
groom serves his father-in-law. After the birth of an heir the couple 
establish a home of their own and to it the husband may bring other 
wives if he desires. He pays a price for these new wives, but does not 
give any services to their families. The first mate is considered su- 
perior to the others, and in case her husband dies, she acts as admin- 
istrator of his property; however, the children of a second wife share 
equally with those by the first marriage. 

The evening following a death, the friends gather and throughout 
the night sing of the virtues of the deceased and of their own sorrow. 
The body is placed on a mat in the center of the house and for three 
days is watched over by the relatives, who, during this time, abstain 
from music, dancing, shouting, or loud talking. The women cease 
from weaving and the men refrain from all labor. A breaking of this 
taboo would result in the certain death of the offender, for the spirit 
of the dead man is still near at hand and is sure to wreak his vengeance 
on those who show him disrespect. Finally, the body is wrapped in 
mats and is buried at some little distance from the house. All the 
people return to the dwelling, where the headman makes a cup out of 
leaves, and having placed in it a narrow belt or string, together with 
betel leaves, sets it adrift on a near-by stream, while all the men shout. 2 
This removes the ban, so that all the people can resume their re- 
gular occupations. 

If the deceased has been a person of great importance, the death 
should be followed eight days later by a human sacrifice. This rite, 
while less common than with the Bagobo, is by no means infrequent, 
and may be occasioned by several causes beside that of death. For 
instance, if a person has been ill for a long time and his relatives have 
become convinced that an enemy has used magic to bring about the 
misfortune, they may seize and sacrifice him, even though he be a mem- 
ber of their own community. A case is known where a thief was put 

1 Note the similaritj' to the Bagobo custom. Page 101. 

2 See pp. 157 and 161. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 145 

to death in this manner. As there is considerable variation in the 
accounts of this important ceremony the writer has thought it wise to 
give the descriptions of two eye-witnesses. 

The first informant was an eighteen year old Bila-an boy of Labau 
named Lantingan. His account is as follows: 

"Sololin of Ma-al, the wife of Karan, a Bila-an living near Digos, 
died and her husband, in company with Umook, Gamban, and Bunod, 
Bagobos of Digos, and the people of Labau, decided that a sacrifice 
was necessary both because of the death and in order that the size, 
wealth, and fame of the tribe might be increased. About this time 
Dianon, a Bila-an of Latian (now deceased), caught a man named 
Saligon stealing camotes, sugar-cane, and corn from the land. 1 He 
bound and tied the man, and after a conference with Karan, Dianon 
agreed to turn over his prisoner for the sacrifice if paid five agongs and 
one gun. 

"The sacrifice took place on a stream called Matinao near Labau 
during the new moon. Two poles were sunk into the ground seven feet 
apart, and a cross-piece attached about six feet above the ground. 
The culprit was tied with hands crossed., one on each side of the horizon- 
tal pole so that his arms were high above his head, and his feet were 
fastened to a stake. 

"The men gathered close around the poles, but the women and 
children stood at a distance. Karan took his stand just back and to the 
right of the victim, and Umook stood in front on the left side. Both 
unsheathed their knives and then they called upon the spirits Dwata, 
M£lu and Lamot ta Mangayo to look and see that they were killing 
the man because of his great fault; if this were not true they surely 
would not kill him. 2 At this point Saligon, the victim, told the men 
that he was not afraid to die, that if they killed him, their fault would be 
great, but that if they would release him, he would return at once to 
his home in Bilawan and would not cause them any trouble because of 
what they had proposed to do. When he stopped talking, Karan 
struck him from in front just below the ribs with his fighting knife,, and 
Umook struck him from in back. The other men present who were 
willing to pay for the privilege then struck at the body with their knives. 

1 The woman Sololin had planted this sugar-cane and is reported to have eaten 
some of it just prior to her death. The cane stolen was from the patch, but the 
informant could not say whether or not this had anything to do with later develop- 

2 The informant here added that if the man had not been guilty, Karan and 
Umook would surely have been punished with sickness; but since they were not ill, 
it is certain that he was bad, and that Dwata had taken his body up and would 
not punish his murderers. 

146 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

The body was then cut down and buried in a shallow grave already- 
prepared for it. No parts were carried away, although in some cases 
the worren take the long hairs of the victim and sew them in the de- 
signs on the men's trousers in place of black thread." 1 

Datu Baklay who now lives near the Padada river, but was formerly 
a resident of the Malalag cogon plains, claims that the ceremony is 
not a yearly event, as is the case with the Bagobo, neither does if follow 
each death; but if the deceased has been a person of great importance 
or a member of the ruler's family it should take place in eight days, 
regardless of the phase of the moon or the position of the stars. He 
further insists that neither Balatik nor any other constellation governs 
the time of an offering, nor does such a ceremony insure better crops 
or success in war. He describes the sacrifice following the death of 
Datu Kalayan, his father, as follows: 

"A Bila-an slave was purchased for one agong and preparations 
made for a sacrifice. A small house without floor or sides was built in 
the forest some distance from the town, and in this were two upright 
poles which supported a crossbeam at a height of about seven feet. 
Near them and inside the house a shallow grave was dug and then the 
victim was brought in. He was tied to the horizontal pole, hands 
crossed one on each side of the beam. The men filled the house, 
leaving a free place only near the victim, and the women and children 
crowded close around in the yard. After addressing the spirits, Lamot 
ta Mangayo, M£lu, and Dwata, I placed my spear to the man's side, 
and then all the male relatives took hold of the shaft and at my signal 
forced the weapon through the body. Other men then cut at the body 
with their knives, finally releasing it from the pole. While it lay on 
the ground the women and boys were allowed to enter the house and 
throw spears at it, after which it was buried." 

Baloey, a Kagan living at Padada, claims to have seen a Bila-an 
sacrifice at Ma-al, about ten years ago, while Bagobo Datu Ansig of 
Talun, and Tongkaling of Cibolan claim to have witnessed several of 
these events. As their accounts agree in most particulars with the 
two just recorded, it seems probable that we have here a fairly accurate 
account of a rite which no white man has seen or can hope to see. 

In studying the decorative art of this people a person encounters the 

same difficulties as with the Bagobo. Nearly all garments are covered 

with elaborate patterns (Plates LVI-LX), to some of which all the 

people will give the same names and explanations; but by far the 

1 The informant further volunteered, that the Bila-an make a sacrifice every 
two years, and that several years ago his uncle named KB was the victim. At that 
time he was too young to remember the details. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 147 

greater portion of the designs have only pattern names which are 
unexplained. Many designs are readily identified as men and alligators. 
In Fig. 41 the forms marked a are identified as men and women, while 
the conventionalized crocodile is shown in the same plates by the figures 
marked b. Fig. 42 is perhaps the most interesting since it shows in one 
garment the process of conventionalization. Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4, are 
realistic representations of the human form; in 5 and 6 the heads are 

i 111 W '"■■ i |f ' 


FIG. 41. 


lacking but the figures are easily recognized, while the balance have 
lost all resemblance to the original, except for the uplifted arms and 
spread legs. However, the great majority of decorative patterns on 
clothing are without meaning to the mass of the people, and this is 
true also of the designs on baskets, in mats, the incised designs often 
seen on pottery jars, and of the carvings which frequently cover hangers, 
tobacco tubes, and the like. 

148 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

The language of this tribe, while quite uniform among its divisions, 
varies considerably from that of any of their coast neighbors. There 
is at once noticeable a more common use of obscure vowel and con- 
sonant sounds, such as b, f, E, a, and k, in the beginning, end or even 
in the body of the word; while the letter f, seldom found in Philippine 
dialects, is here very common ; and finally, there is wide variation in 

There are certain ill-defined tales to the effect that this tribe once 
lived about Lake Buluan, and one writer 1 has attempted to show that 
the tribal name is derived from that earlv home. Todav thev are still 

FIG. 42. 

in considerable numbers in that region, and this together with the fact 
that they are now, and have been since the advent of the white man, 
primarily an interior mountain people, helps to give credence to the 
belief that they have spread to their present homes from the lake 
district. Their language is a further proof that they have long been 
separated from the people of the Davao Gulf region, for it differs more 
from all the other dialects studied than did any of these vary among 
themselves. Despite the foregoing statement, this brief sketch has 
shown that in material culture, religion, and even physical type this 
tribe does not differ radically from the Bagobo. 
1 Blumentritt, Smithsonian Report for 1899. 




(b) Manobo. 

According to Governor Bolton this tribe numbers about thirty-five 
hundred individuals and occupies a considerable portion of the coast, 
and adjacent mountains, from the Padada river on the north to Saran- 
gani Bay on the south. On the east side of Davao Gulf its members 
are found along the beach and in the mountains, from Sigaboy to Cape 
San Agustin, and also in a few scattered villages on the southeastern 
Pacific Coast. 

By their neighbors they are known as Kulaman or Manobo. The 
former designation is translated as "bad man," but it is probable that 
they received the name from the town of Kulaman, where they formerly 
resided. They are equally well known as Manobo — a word meaning 
"man." Earlier writers, misled by these two names, have generally 
treated this people as forming two distinct groups, but this is quite 
incorrect, both names being applied to a part or to the whole of the 
tribe. It has also been customary to describe them as a part of the 
great Manobo tribe which inhabits a large portion of Central and 
Northeastern Mindanao. The writer is of the opinion that there is 
not sufficient evidence to justify such a classification and that for the 
present we must consider them as distinct from the Manobo of the 
northern district as are the other tribes of Davao Gulf. 

According to their own tales, the Kulaman once held all the coast 
from the Padada River to Sarangani Bay, but did not extend far back 
from the sea, since in the mountains lived the Tagakaolo and Bila-an 
with whom they were constantly at war. When the Moro appeared 
on their coasts and offered help against the hill tribes in return for 
land, they were gladly received and were given several village sites 
near to the mouths of various rivers. Aside from a few minor quarrels, 
the Kulaman have always lived on friendly terms with these later 
comers, and not a few of the tribe have been converted to Moham- 

Influenced by their new allies they organized under several petty 
rulers who were subservient to the datu at Kulaman, and with this 
superior organization they were able to carry on such successful warfare 


150 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

against the hill tribes that the Tagakaolo were, for a time, partially 
under their rule. 

When the Spaniards arrived and undertook to subdue the Moro, 
the Kulaman cast their lot with their Mohammedan allies, and even 
after the power of the Moro was broken, they remained irreconcilable and 
frequently raided the settlements under the care of the Spanish priests. 

The recent history of the tribe, as told by Datu Bongkalasan of 
Padada, as is follows : "About a hundred years ago when Gogo became 
datu, he left Kulaman and settled at Piapi, not far from Padada, and 
planted the cocoanut trees which can still be seen there. He was a 
man with a very small head, but his arms were as large as a man's 
legs. He lived until very old, and during his lifetime never did any 
work but was always a great warrior. Under him the tribe became 
strong and all the other datu 'feared him. When he died his son Kolatau 
my uncle, succeeded him. Like his father, he was a great warrior and 
all the neighboring tribes paid him slaves and other tribute. His 
two sons died during his lifetime; so upon his death the leadership fell 
to me, Bongkalasan." 

By the time Bongkalasan became ruler, the influence of the Span- 
iards was strong enough to break the power of any coast datu, and after 
a hostile demonstration by the new ruler his town was destroyed and 
his following scattered. A part of the people took to the hills while 
others migrated to the east side of the Gulf and settled near Sigaboy. 
It is not believed that any members of this tribe were in that vicinity 
prior to this time. A further migration took place shortly after the 
arrival of the Americans, when a brother of Bongkalasan took a number 
of the Kulaman over to Sigaboy. A certain amount of communication 
is kept up between the people on both sides of the Gulf and the dialects 
are still so similar that it is certain the separation has not been for any 
great period of time. • 

Upon the establishment of American rule a number of hemp planters 
settled along the coast and soon their inducements to laborers began 
to scatter the people, until today members of this tribe can be found 
as far north as Santa Cruz. The power and influence of the datu has 
waned until he now has a following of less than two hundred people. 
Only that portion of the tribe which retired to the hills still maintains 
any semblance of their old prowess and even those groups are growing 
smaller year by year. 

At the height of their power the men of the tribe were noted as boat- 
builders 1 and fishermen. Fighting also took up a considerable portion 

1 This art is now practically lost and their boats are secured from the Moro. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 151 

of their time, for added to their desire for loot and slaves was a demand 
for victims imposed by the warrior deity. The women cultivated little 
patches of corn, camotes, and some cocoanuts, and at certain seasons 
all the members of the tribe went to the forest to gather sago, but aside 
from this the sea furnished most of their food supply. According to 
their own stories they did not cultivate rice until recent years, and 
Datu Bongkalasan insists that none of the people planted rice when 
he was a boy. It is his belief that all the ceremonies connected with the 
rice culture were learned from the Tagakaolo and Bila-an. 

From the Spanish writers 1 we hear little but evil of this people, 
They are spoken of as warlike, superstitious, treacherous, and vengeful 
as head-hunters "who expose the heads of their enemies on poles," and 
as slavers. From Father Gisbert 2 we learn that in 1886, about twelve 
hundred members of the tribe were converted to Christianity; but during 
the period following the departure of the Spaniards most of them desert- 
ed the faith and returned to the old life. Since American occupation 
they have been among the most troublesome people of Southern Min- 
danao, and only as late as 191 1 were responsible for the death of a num- 
j-rp^ — pj] — __— ^^ ber of planters and the destruction 

of the plantations in the neighbor- 
hood of Nuin. They are rapidly 
breaking up as a tribe, and are inter- 
marrying with the coast natives and 
hill tribes, from both of whom they 
are adopting artifacts and ideas. 
Already they have so altered their 
dwellings that we cannot refer to a 
typical Kulaman home; their house- 
hold utensils 3 are those of their 




FIG. 43. 

Part of a Hemp Cloth pillow Cover. 

FIG. 44. 

Waterproof basket with In- 
Fitting Top. 

1 Blair and Robertson, Vol. LV, p. 556. 

2 Blair and Robertson, Vol. XLIII, p. 242. 

3 Long narrow hemp cloth pillows (fig. 43) and round waterproof boxes with 
infitting, tray-like tops (fig. 44) are found in nearly every house. The use of these 
two articles is not confined to this people, but is typical of them. The same type 
of box is found among the Manobo of the Agusan river valley. 

152 Field Museum of Naturae History— Anth., Voe. XII. 

neighbors, and this is true also of most of the clothing, although one 
special type will be mentioned later on. 

As a result of their slave raids, and the adoption of captive women 
and their offspring into the family, we find great variation in the mem- 
bers of the tribe (Plates LXI-LXII). 

Measurements on twenty-seven men gave the following results: 

Height: — Maximum 169.0 cm.; minimum 146.0 cm.; average 
158.3 cm. 

Cephalic Index: — Maximum 86.4; minimum 71.7; average 78.1. 

Length-Height Index: — Maximum 76.5; minimum 61.9; average 

If these figures are compared with those of the Bagobo it will be seen 
that there is little difference in the averages; however, this similarity 
is less real than the figures indicate, for with the Kulaman there are 
more individuals at both extremes. For example: the cephalic indices 
of eight out of the twenty-seven were 80 or above, while six were less 
than 75; again, in the length-height indices six were above 70 and an 
equal number less than 65. In other respects there is such variation 
that it is hard to generalize. It is noticeable that there is a greater 
tendency toward prognathism than we have heretofore met with; the 
forehead, while high, is moderately retreating and the supra-orbital 
ridges prominent in most individuals; the hair is brown-black and is 
inclined to curl in locks. The wide variation of type within the tribe 
is to be expected when we know that its members have been constantly 
recruited from the neighboring tribes. It is even possible that a con- 
siderable number of slave women from distant islands may have been 
added to the group by purchase from the Moro. 1 

The religious beliefs have many points in common with those of the 
neighboring tribes, but there are some which require special notice. 

Two powerful beings, TimanEm and his wife Diwata 2 are above all 
other spirits. 

Mandalangan, also called Siling or Manobo Siring, is much like the 
Bagobo divinity of similar name. He is fond of war and bloodshed and 
when there has been a great slaughter he feasts on the flesh and drinks 
of the blood of the slain. Only warriors can address him and make the 
offerings of red food which he demands. Once a year, usually after 

1 According to early writers, the Moro of the Gulf carried on a lucrative slave 
trade with this and other tribes. As the Moro raids were made by water and often 
reached as far as the Northeastern coast of this island and south to the Celebes it 
is quite possible that these remote districts have helped in the upbuilding of the 
tribe under discussion. 

2 The Padada people say the term diwata is a name which may be applied to the 
timanEm, of whom there are two, a male and a female. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes oe Davao District — Cole. 153 

the rice harvest and when the moon is full, a raid must be made and 
victims slain so that this spirit can feast. 1 If the warriors fail to render 
him this service Mandalangan will cause their bodies to swell up and 
many will die, while sickness will visit all other members of the tribe. 2 

The many spirits who inhabit rocks and large trees are generally 
favorable to man and are collectively known as magintaldnan. 

Tama owns the deer and wild pigs, and no one hunts or traps in the 
forest until he has made an offering of betel nut to this spirit. When 
game is secured its tail and ears are strung on rattan and are hung in a 
tree, in exchange for the live animal. 

The manidkan, generally evil spirits, resemble snakes, and like them 
live in the ground. People are frequently made lame by simply stepping 
over their homes. 

Each man and woman has a spirit, kalalda, 3 dwelling in his body 
during lifetime. At death this spirit goes into the sky, unless it deserves 
punishment, in which case it is hurried to Ktlot, a region below. In 
either place these spirits keep close watch over the living and bring 
success or disaster according to their will. They have come to be 
looked upon as the guardians of the fields, and suitable offerings are 
made to them at planting and harvest time. 

A few old men, makating, are thought to be able to address the 
spirits with greater probability of success than the others; but they do 
not stand in the same relation to the spirit world as do the mabalian of 
the Bagobo. The nearest approach to that class is a group of women 
known as lokEs i , who act as midwives and make use of roots and herbs 
in curing sickness. 

The people are warned of disaster or impending danger by various 
signs. A snake crossing the trail is an imperative order for the traveler 
to turn back; the call of the limokon 5 is likewise a warning, while should 
one of the principals to any agreement sneeze during the negotiations 
the project would be delayed or abandoned. 

There is only slight development of beliefs and ceremonies in con- 
nection with the cultivation of field crops, due probably to the recent 
adoption of agriculture by the members of this tribe. A field is seldom 

1 Datu Bongkalasan says it was formerly the custom to make a foray at each 
full moon. 

2 This was the reason given for the raid on the coast plantations in 191 1. 

3 The Kulaman of Santa Cruz insist that each person has two kalalda, one on the 
right side and one on the left. At death the one on the right side, goes to a good 
place in the sky, where there is no work and 'thoughts come easy." The kalalda 
of the left side goes into the ground to a poor place called Kilot. It is probable 
that the neighboring Bagobo have influenced the beliefs of this group. 

4 In Santa Cruz known as bagbabolan or mananagdmen. 

5 See p. 63 note. 

154 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

planted to rice for more than one season, after which the land is used 
for corn, camotes, and the like, until the invasion of cogon grass makes 
further cultivation impossible. 

As a result new land must be broken for each planting. When the 
constellation layag "a sail," and balangay "a boat" appear in the month 
of December, the people go to the desired plot, cut down the trees, and 
when these are dry, fire them. 

Before the planting can be begun the seed rice must be carried to the 
center of the field where a bamboo pole, talabtman, and a stalk of sugar- 
cane have previously been placed, as an offering to the kalaloa who 
guard the land. Again at harvest time an offering of food is taken to 
this spot and the spirits of the dead are besought as follows: "Do not 
take our rice, but let it last for a long time, for now we give a part to 
you." A meal and dance follow the offering and then all who desire 
may aid in cutting the new rice. 

FIG. 45. 
Man's Knife and Sheath. 

No offerings are associated with the planting or harvesting of other 
field crops, but the gathering of sago flour is attended by gifts to the 
spirits of the dead and prayers for the health of the workers. The 
method of obtaining and preparing the flour is the same as that already 
described. Offerings are made before and after a hunt, and a man 
never goes to fish without first placing a leg ring and some betel nut 
on the sand close to the water, meanwhile saying, "You TimanEm 
must give us some food, and you shall have your part." Upon his 
return he places a small fish beside the first offering and is then free to 
take his catch to the village. 

In addition to the pursuits already outlined, we find that some of the 
men are expert workers in iron (Fig. 45), copper, and brass, while the 
women are weavers. Their weaving does not differ from that pre- 
viously described, but a peculiar type of decoration has been developed 

September, 1913- Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 155 

by this tribe, and from them has spread somewhat to their neighbors. 
Waxed threads are used to work designs into cloth so that when the 
fabric is placed in dye the liquid will not reach the portions thus cov- 
ered. Later, when the threads are removed, white patterns appear on 
the red background (See Plate LXIII). 

Slaves are kept, but their duties are so similar to those of the free- 
born that it is impossible for the casual observer to pick out the members 
of this class. 

Until recent years a large part of the man's time was taken up in 
preparation for or active participation in the inter-tribal fights. There 
are several incentives for these raids. First is the desire for loot and 
slaves; then comes the ambition of the young men to be recognized as 
successful warriors; and finally, and most compelling is the demand of 
the spirit Mandalangan for victims. 

A man who has killed five or more persons is entitled to wear a red 
suit covered with peculiar white designs (See Plate LXIII), and is 
henceforth known as maboldt. When his score has reached twenty-five 
he receives the still more honorable title of matsEg and is then allowed 
to dress entirely in black and to deck his hair with red flowers. 1 

A raid is made only when the moon is full. A dish of red rice is 
decorated with red flowers and is placed in the center of the room. 
Around it the warriors stick their spears and then one of the oldest of 
the company takes up a handful of the food and offers it to the spirit, 
saying: "Mandalangan come and eat, for we are ready to fight; go 
with us and help us." As he finishes his prayer each warrior takes a 
portion of the rice and throws it out of doors, for "they are not yet 
worthy to eat what Mandalangan has left." Returning to the room 
they all eat of white rice and are ready for the raid In addition to 
the'ir spears they should carry shields and fighting knives, and in recent 
years quite a number have come into possession of firearms. 

Although the warriors are bold in their attack and do not hesitate 
to assault strong villages, they have no scruples against seizing or 
killing members of small parties or the inhabitants of isolated dwell- 
ings. It is necessary that the raiders secure at least one victim, 
otherwise another foray must be made at once. The body of the slain 
is opened, the liver is extracted and is eaten by the warriors who thus 

1 The flowers used are Celosia cristata L., Graptophyllum hortense nees; Coleus 
atropurpeus Benth. 

2 Should water fall by accident on a warrior who is on a raid, it is considered a 
bad omen and the plans may be changed or delayed. In one instance the owner 
of a place marked for attack fastened dishes of water so that the marauders un- 
wittingly knocked them over on themselves, and, as a result, the place was left 

156 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

"become like Mandalangan." 1 The head, forearms, and lower part 
of the legs are carried back to the village where they are cut to pieces 
by the women and children. The men take no part in this mutilation 
of the body, but as soon as the fragments are buried they begin to dance, 
meanwhile holding their unsheathed knives high above their heads. 
After a time the head-man blows loudly on a decorated bamboo trumpet 
(Fig. 46), while all the men unite in shouting "to announce their vic- 
tory." At last they have fulfilled all the commands of Mandalangan 
and without fear they enter the house and partake of the red food 
which has been offered to him. 

The events just preceding and following the birth of a child are very 
similar to those of the Bagobo, except that there are no restrictions of 
any kind placed on the father and mother, neither are there any cere- 

FIG. 46. 

Tambolang or Bamboo Trumpet. 

monies connected with the birth or naming of a child unless unusual 
events have convinced the people that the spirits are in some way 
displeased. 2 

The afterbirth is placed in the care of an old woman who carries it 
directly to a sturdy molave 3 tree and there attaches it to the branches 
"so that the child may become strong like the tree." While on this 
mission the bearer looks neither to the right nor to the left, nor does 
she hesitate, for such actions on her part might influence the disposition 
of the child or cause it to have physical deformities. 4 No special at- 
tention is given to youths when they reach the age of puberty, although 
it is customary to file and blacken their teeth at about that period. 

Marriage is attended by gifts and ceremonies, such as we have 
previously described. We find the groom paying a price for his bride, 

1 At times the skull is opened and the brain eaten. 

2 Triplets are killed, as with the Bagobo. 

3 Vitex littoralis Decne. 

4 Similar beliefs are held by the Tinguian of Northern Luzon. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 157 

but receiving a return gift from her parents; the couple feed one another 
with rice and are thereby legally married; and finally we learn that a 
child is kept with them until they have had intercourse. It is custo- 
mary for the youth to serve his father-in-law-to-be for two or three 
years preceding the wedding, after which he is released from such service. 

As is the case with the neighboring tribes, polygamy is practiced, the 
only bar to marriage being blood relationship. Upon the death of the 
head of the family one-half of his property goes to his wife and half 
to the children. If there are two or more wives, the first wife still 
retains half, while all the children share equally in the balance of the 
estate, thus leaving the second and succeeding wives without a portion. 

Sickness may be caused by evil spirits, or it may be due to a desire 
on the part of the kalalSa to leave its present abode. In either case the 
man becomes ill and it behooves him to take immediate steps to placate 
the evil spirits or to convince his kalalSa to remain with him. This 
last can best be accomplished by bathing the sick person with water which 
has been heated in a good agong. A fine dish would do equally well, 
but should the hot water cause it to break the spirit would depart at 
once. In extreme cases the lokEs will gather certain roots and brew 
them into a drink which she gives to the sick person. At each tree or 
shrub visited in her search for medicines she leaves an offering- of betel 
nuts and leg rings, and when the drink has been prepared she makes a 
further gift, meanwhile begging TimanEm to aid her in effecting a cure . 
If all efforts fail and the spirit leaves, the corpse is placed in the center 
of the house, where it is kept from two to nine days according to the 
wealth and prominence of the deceased. During this time no one should 
sleep in the dwelling, for the spirit might be resentful and turn the face 
of the sleeper black. 

Usually, the body is buried in the ground at a distance from the 
house. The coffin is made out of a split log, in which weapons, jars, 
and the like are placed for the use of the spirit. If the dead man has 
been a warrior he is dressed in the clothing distinctive of his rank, and 
his grave is covered with red flowers. At times the coffins are shaped 
to resemble small boats and are then placed on high poles near to the 

For a month following a funeral the relatives refrain from all merry- 
making. At the expiration of this period all go to a near-by river and 
with their knives, cut to pieces a braided cord, which has been made 
since the burial, and as they destroy it they shout "This is a man we 
are killing. This is a man we are killing." Finally, the pieces are 
thrown into the river and the period of taboo is past. 



(a) Tagakaola. 

(b) Saka— "head of the river." 

(c) Kagan, Kalagan, Calaganes, Caeagars. 

(d) Laoc. According to the account of Paster 1 this name is given 
to a small, degraded division of the Tagakaolo who live in the mount- 
ains of Haguimitan on San Augustin peninsula. 

The present habitat and general condition of this tribe is nearly the 
same as that of the Kulaman. 

Prior to Spanish times they held the hill region back of the coast, 
between Malalag and Lais. On the Gulf side they were barred from 
the sea by the Kulaman and Moro, while in the mountains they en- 
countered the powerful Bila-an tribe. 

About fifty years ago that part of the tribe living furthest to the 
north united under the leadership of a brave warrior named Paugok, 
and made war on the Bagobo. They were successful in this conflict 
and drove their enemies from the rich valleys of the Padada and Bula- 
takay rivers, where they established themselves. This brought them 
in close contact with the Kulaman and Moro of the coast, with whom 
they lived on friendly terms. The influence of the latter group was so 
great that the newcomers not only adopted their style of dress, but also 
substituted cotton for hemp in the manufacture of their garments. 
Today the members of this tribe can still be recognized by their close 
fitting suits of red and yellow striped cloth, from which they have 
received the name of Kagan. 2 They have also been constant bor- 
rowers, from all their neighbors, of ideas for house-building and uten- 
sils. They have intermarried to some extent with the Kulaman, and 
in times past Bila-an and Bagobo slave women have been added to the 

Today practically all the members of the Kagan division are found 
living on the American plantations along the Padada and Bulatakay 
rivers. They are on friendly terms with their Tagakaolo kinsmen, and 
are still so like them in language, social customs, and religious beliefs, 
that one description will suffice for both. 

1 Blair and Robertson. Vol. XLI'II, p. 259. 

2 The general name applied to red cotton trade cloth. 


September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Coee. 159 

At some unrecorded date a considerable portion of the tribe migrated 
to the east side of Davao Gulf, and settled near Cape San Agustin, 
where, it is said, they now number more than two thousand. 

The name Tagakaolo signifies "those who dwell at the head of the 
river," and is applied to all the hill people living between the coast and 
the country of the Bila-an. They have always been broken up into 
small groups, often at war with one another, yet they appear to be 
quite uniform in type, language, and religious beliefs. In recent years 
many of them have been induced to come down to the coast plantations, 
but the great majority still remain in the mountains. They are of a 
turbulent, warlike disposition, and have been a constant source of 
trouble to the Spanish and American authorities. 1 At the time of the 
writer's visit they had joined with the Kulaman in raiding the coast 
settlements, and, as a result, were being vigorously pursued by the 
American troops; for this reason it was only possible to gain information 
from those remaining on the plantations. 

The total number of persons making up the tribe is estimated at six 
thousand, but this is at best a mere guess. 

There is scarcely any variation in physical type between the Kagan 
branch and the Tagakaolo proper, while for the whole tribe there is less 
variation between its members than in any group so far discussed. 

The following results were obtained by measurements on twenty- 
seven men: 

Maximum height 166.6 cm.; minimum 15 1.3 cm.; average 157.4 cm. 

Cephalic indices — Maximum 89.7; minimum 76.3; average 81.5. 

Length-height indices — Maximum 79.0; minimum 63.1 , average 70.0. 

These tables show that aside from being more short-headed, this 
tribe differs little from the Bagobo, Bila-an, and Kulaman. Like the 
Kulaman, they have high foreheads, often full and vaulted but quite 
as frequently retreating from well-marked supra-orbital ridges. They 
are slightly more prognathous than the Kulaman, and in the majority 
of cases the hair is curled in locks. The teeth are usually mutilated 
and blackened, while shaving of the eyebrows and tattooing of the left 
forearm and breast are quite common. 

The historians of. the tribe tell us that all the Tagakaolo are de- 
scended from Lakbang, MLEngEdan, and his wife Bodek. In the 
beginning these three persons lived on a small island in the sea. Two 
children, Linkanan and Lampagan, were born to them and they in 
turn were parents of two birds — the kalau and sabltan. These birds 
flew away to other places and returned with bits of soil which their 

1 Members of this tribe were responsible for the murder of Governor Bolton. 

160 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

parents patted and moulded with their hands until they had formed 
the earth. Other children were born and from them have come all the 
people who now inhabit the land. 

Two powerful spirits, Diwata and TimanEm, watched the formation 
of the world, and when it was completed the latter spirit planted trees 
upon it. He still takes considerable interest in the affairs of men and 
each year sends the spirits Layag and Bangay, 1 as stars, to tell the 
people when to prepare their land for the planting of crops. 

Other spirits, less friendly, have existed from the first time. Of 
these one named Siling causes much trouble by confusing travelers 
through the forest. Spirits of unborn children — mantianak 2 — wander 
through the forest crying "ina-a-a" (mother), and often attack human 
beings. The only way persons thus assailed can hope to escape is by 
running to a stream and throwing water on the abdomens of their 
pursuers. » 

The powerful spirit Tama owns the deer and wild pig, and is usually 
kind to hunters who offer him proper gifts. Should they fail in this 
duty he may cause them to become lost or injured. Mandalangan 
(Mandangan) is known as a powerful spirit who loves war and blood- 
shed, but he is so closely interwoven in the minds of the people with 
TimanEm that it is doubtful if he should be classed as a separate spirit. 

In addition to these beings are the kawE, or shades of the dead, the 
chiefs of whom are the people who created the earth. During life the 
kawE live in the body, but after death they go to the sky where they 
remain the greater part of the time. They do return to earth at certain 
seasons, to aid or injure the living, and it is usually one of their number 
who keeps guard over the rice-fields. Certain persons known as ballan 
can talk to these spirits and from them have learned the ceremonies 
which the people should perform at certain seasons, and at the critical 
periods of life. In the main these ceremonies are so similar to those 
just described that it is useless to repeat. The proceedings at a birth, 
marriage, or death are practically identical with the Kulaman, as are 
also those at planting and harvest time. A slight variation was noticed 
after the rice planting at Padada, when all the workers placed their 
planting sticks on an offering of rice and then poured water over them 
"so as to cause an abundance of rain." Another difference is noticed 
following the death of a warrior. His knife lies in its sheath beside 
the body for seven days and during that time can only be drawn if it 
is to be used in sacrificing a slave. If such an offering is made it is 

1 See page 154. 

2 Frequently called husau. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 161 

carried out in much the same way as the Bagobo sacrifice, except that 
the bereaved father, son, or brother cuts the body in halves. 

If it is impossible to offer a slave, a palm leaf cup is filled with water 
and is carried to the forest. Here the relatives dance and then dip 
the knife and some sticks in the water for "this is the same as dipping 
them in blood." Later they are carried back and hung up in the house 
of mourning. 

According to the long established custom, warriors must go to fight 
once each year, when the moon is bright. Spears, fighting knives, 
bows and arrows, sharpened bamboo sticks, and shields have long been 
used, and to these several guns have been added in recent years. 

The attack is from ambush and the victims are generally cut to 
pieces, although women and children are sometimes taken captive. 
Tufts of hair taken from the slain are attached to the shields of the 
warriors, and an arm is carried back to the home town "so that the 
women and children can cut it to pieces and become brave." 

The foregoing account shows that the Kagan and Tagakaolo living 
on the hemp plantations differ very little from their neighbors, whom 
we have previously described. It may be that an investigation, carried 
on in peaceful times, far back in the mountains, will show that more 
radical differences exist in the great body of the tribe. 

V. ATA. 

The people classed under this name are the least known of any of the 
wild inhabitants of Mindanao. They probably receive their name from 
the word atds which signifies "those up above" or "the dwellers in the 
uplands." It does not appear that they form a single tribe, or that 
they are even of uniform type. 

The writer did no intensive work with them, and the following notes 
make no pretense of being first-hand knowledge. I have drawn on all 
possible sources for this scanty information, but am mostly indebted 
to the letters and reports of the late Governor Bolton, who, without 
doubt, knew more of this people than any other white man. 

I am thus compelled to make my descriptions vague ; indeed, my one 
excuse for dealing with the Ata is to bring together such information 
as we possess in the hope that it may be of value to some other worker 
who may later take up the task of studying this little known people. 

According to Governor Bolton, the Ata inhabit the regions west and 
northwest of Mt. Apo, the headwaters of the Davao river — north and 
west of the Guianga — as well as the headwaters of the Lasan, Tuganay, 
and Libagawan rivers. In all these regions they extend over the water- 
shed, converging toward the center of the island at the headwaters of 
the Pulangi river. 

It should be noted at the outset that the Eto or Ata, living between 
the Guianga and Bagobo, should not be included in this division. 

In the region about Mt. Apo they are closely allied to the Obo and 
Tigdapaya, 1 while in the region adjoining the Guianga they have inter- 
married with that people and have adopted many of their customs as 
well as dress. On the headwaters of the Basan river we are told that 
they are known as Dugbatang or Dugbatung; that they are a timid 
degenerate branch having no fixed habitations and very little clothing; 
they are small, with crispy hair, and often decorate their bodies with 
tattooed designs. About twenty miles up the Tuganay river Governor 
Bolton encountered a similar group of Ata whom he describes as being 
very wild. From the headwaters of this river he crossed over near to 
the source of the river Bibagawan where he discovered a hitherto un- 
known people — the Tugauanum — These he believed were mixed 
Malay and Negrito, with crispy or curly hair and sharp features. 

1 Seep. 128. 


September, 1913- Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 163 

While in the central part of Mindanao, on the headwaters of the 
Pulangi river, the writer saw about fifty people known as Tugauanum 
who came over the mountains to trade. They were certainly of mixed 
ancestry, showing a distinct infusion of Negrito blood, and in other 
respects conforming to the description of Governor Bolton. Among 
articles of barter carried by them were the typical knives and hemp 
cloth of the west side of 'the Davao gulf region, showing that they are 
at least in the line of trade with the tribes we have already studied. 

According to their own stories, the original home of the tribe was 
along the river Mapula which flows into the Tuganay near its source. 
Governor Bolton tells of hearing, while in this section, of a people called 
Dedaanum "who were small and black and had curly hair," but who 
had all been killed by the Tugauanum. He was also informed that a 
numerous tribe of very small black people called Tugniah lived on the 
headwaters of the river Omiern, which flows north of the Libagawan. 
They were said to live in trees, to plant nothing, and to subsist on sago 
flour. "Their bolos are like sabers and they use lances, bows, and 

The Governor classes the Tugauanum as Ata "since they speak the 
same language" but he adds "they are probably the same race as the 
Libabaoan." This latter people are elsewhere in his notes referred to 
as Guibabauon or Dibabaoan. They live along the headwaters of the 
Tagum river and are, he believes, a mixture of Ata and Mandaya. 

From one source we learn that the Ata are small, in many respects 
resembling the Negrito; that they are timid and are either nomads or 
build their houses high in the branches of trees. Another writer tells 
us that they are a superior type, with aquiline noses, thick beards, and 
are tall. "They are very brave and hold their own with the Moro." 
We are also told that they cultivate the soil and build good houses. 

The estimates concerning their numbers are equally conflicting. 
Governor Bolton gives the population as six thousand; the report of the 
Philippine Commission for 1900 credits them with eight thousand, 
while Father Gisbert believed that they aggregated "not less than 
twenty thousand souls." 

The divergent reports are due to the fact that up to the year 1886 
only one village of this people had been visited, 2 and since that time 
only a few hasty trips have been made into their territory. 

1 The writer believes that the Libabaoan are probably the same as the Divavaoan 
who are classed as a branch of the Mandaya. See p. 165. 

- Blair and Robertson, Vol. XLIII, pp. 242-3. 

164 Field Museum of Naturae History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

From our present information it seems probable that the Ata are 
descendants of an early invading people who intermarried first with the 
early Negrito inhabitants, and later with other tribes with which they 
came in contact. They have been free borrowers from their neighbors 
in all respects, and hence we find them occupying all the steps from the 
nomad condition of the pygmy blacks to the highly specialized life of 
the Guianga. 

The following account of their beliefs was extracted from letters 
written by Governor Bolton. He fails to designate the section from 
which the information was gathered, but its similarity to Bagobo and 
Guianga makes it probable that the account comes from the Ata 
dwelling near those people. Considerable variation will doubtless be 
found in other districts. 

"The greatest of all the spirits is Manama 1 who made the first men 
from blades of grass, weaving them together until they resembled a 
human form. In this manner he made eight persons — male and female 
— who later became the ancestors of the Ata and all the neighboring 
tribes. Long after this the water covered the whole earth and all the 
Ata were drowned except two men and a woman. The waters carried 
them far away and they would have perished had not a large eagle 
come to their aid. This bird offered to carry them to their homes on 
its back. One man refused, but the other two accepted its help and 
returned to Mapula. 

"The other deities are Mandarangan, Malalayug, god of agri- 
culture; Mabalian, the spirit who presides over childbirth; Tarasyub 
and Taratuan, the guardian spirits of the brass and iron workers; 
Boypandi — the spirit who guards over the weavers." 

While in the Ata country the Governor observed certain customs 
of the people. As his party approached the palisaded house of Ma- 
dundun they stopped for twenty minutes to perform a ceremony called 
anting-anting. "An old man waved his shield and a cloth, meanwhile 
repeating mysterious words. Then each man was given a chew of 
betel-nut and was well rubbed with a charm." "At Tuli a swarm of 
bees passed over the house just as the party was ready to start. This 
was taken as a sign that some of the party would be killed by the arrows 
of the enemy, hence they refused to go." "Likewise, if the dove 
limokan calls on the left side of the trail the party will refuse to proceed, 
unless another limokan answers the call from the right side of the path." 

1 See page 106. 


("Inhabitants of the Uplands"). 

(a) Mansaka ("Inhabitants of the mountain clearings"). This 
name is applied to those Mandaya who formerly dwelt far back in the 
mountains. Many of this division have recently emigrated to the coast 
and are now found at the north and east part of Davao Gulf. 

(b) Pagsupan. The appellation by which the members of this 
tribe, living near the Tagum and Hijo rivers, are known. 

(c) Mangwanga or Mangrangan ("Dwellers in the forests"). 
A name by which are designated those Mandaya who live in the heavily 
forested mountains skirting the coast. 

(d) Managosan or Magosan. The members of the tribe living 
on the headwaters of the Agusan river bear this name. 

(e) Divavaoan. A division which inhabits a small district to the 
south and west of Compostela. Very little is known of this people, 
but from the information now at hand it seems that they should be 
classed as a branch of the Mandaya. 


This tribe occupies both slopes of the mountain range which borders 
the Pacific ocean, from about 9 degrees of North latitude south nearly 
to Cape San Agustin. Its members are also found in considerable 
numbers from the head of the Agusan drainage nearly to the town of 
Compostela, and several settlements of this people are to be found 
along the Hijo and Tagum rivers, while in recent years a number have 
established themselves on the eastern side of Davao Gulf. 

Generally speaking, this whole region is extremely mountainous and 
at the same time heavily wooded. It is only when the Agusan, Hijo, 
and Tagum rivers are approached that the country becomes more open. 
On the Pacific coast there are few harbors, for the mountains extend 
down almost to the water's edge forming high sheer cliffs. Aside from 
the three rivers mentioned the water courses are, for the greater part, 
small and unnavigable and a short distance back from the coast appear 
as tiny rivulets at the bottom of deep cations. 

There is no organisation of the tribe as a whole, since each district 
has its local ruler who is subject to no other authority. These divisions 
are seldom on good terms, and are frequently in open warfare with one 
another or with neighboring tribes. 


166 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

Despite this' lack of unity and the great area they inhabit, their 
dialects are mutually intelligible and in other respects they are so 
similar that I believe we are justified in regarding them as one group 
linguistically, physically, and culturally. 


Measurements made on fifteen men and five women gave the fol- 
lowing results: 

Height — Men: Maximum 161.3 cm., minimum 145.1 cm., average 
153.9 cm. 

Women: Maximum 152.3 cm., minimum 144. 1 cm., average 
146.8 cm. 

Cephalic index — Men : Maximum 89. 1 , minimum 76.3, average 84.6. 

Women: Maximum 84.8, minimum 75.2, average 81.3. 

Length-height index — Men: maximum 78.7, minimum 64.5, average 

Women: Maximum 81.8, minimum 75.0, average 77.4. 

From these figures it appears that there is considerable variation 
between individuals, but a closer study of the charts shows that the 
majority of those measured come closer to the averages than do the 
members of any other group here mentioned (Plates LXIV-LXIX). 

Both sexes wear the hair long and comb it to a knot at the back of 
the head. The women generally bang the hair over the forehead, while 
the men allow a lock to fall in front of each ear. The hair is brown- 
black and generally slightly wavy, although four individuals with straight 
hair were seen. 

The forehead is high, and in about half the persons observed some- 
what retreating; however, full, vaulted foreheads are by no means un- 
common. The distance from the vertex to the tragus is uniformly 

The cheek bones are quite prominent, while the whole face tapers 
from above so as to be somewhat angular. In twenty per cent of the 
men the root of the nose seemed to be continuous with the supra- 
orbital ridge, which, in such cases, was strongly marked. In general 
the root of the nose is broad, low, and depressed, and there is a tendency 
for the ridge to be somewhat concave. The lips are thick and bowed, 
but there is little or no prognathism. 

The skin of the body is not tattooed or mutilated in any other way, 
but the eyebrows are often shaved to a thin line, and the teeth are filed 
and blackened. Filing was formerly done with small stones but im- 
ported files are now used for this purpose. The coloring is effected 

September, 1913- Wild Tribes of Davao District — Coee. 167 

by chewing the roots of the anmon vine and applying to the teeth the 
"sweat" caught on a steel blade, held above burning bark of the magawan 
tree. This practice seems to have no significance other than that of 
beautifying the person and saving the youth from the ridicule of his 
fellows. To keep the teeth black, tobacco treated with lemon juice 
which has stood on rusty iron is chewed frequently. 

Despite constant statements to the effect that the members of this 
tribe are light-colored and the assertion of one writer 1 that at least one 
division is white, observations made with the V. Iyuschan color table 
on more than fifty individuals showed that while certain persons are 
somewhat lighter than their fellows, as was also the case in other tribes, 
there is not an appreciable difference in color between this tribe and the 
others of the Gulf region. 


The ordinary man of the tribe wears a loosely fitting shirt and wide 
trousers made of white or blue cotton cloth. (Plate LXIX-LXX). 
These garments are frequently decorated with embroidered designs 
and are finished at the shoulders and knees with a cotton fringe. The 
trousers are supported at the waist by means of a belt, and below reach 
nearly to the ankles. 2 An incised silver disk is attached to the front 
of the jacket, while ornaments of beads, seeds, and alligators' teeth 
encircle the neck. 

When on the trail the man covers his head with a little palm bark 
hat (Fig. 47). This is sometimes conical, but more frequently is 
narrow and turned up at the front and back. Painted designs, betel 
wings, and chicken feathers make the hat a striking decoration which 
compensates for its lack of utility. 

A class of warriors known as bagam 3 dress in red and wear turbans 
of the same hue, while women mediums, bally an* may also make use 
of red cloth. 

Other women wear blue cotton jackets, in the fronts and back of 
which are many artistic embroidered designs. Their hemp cloth 
skirts, like those of the Bagobo, are made tube-like and are held at the 
waist by means of belts. They are very careless about the hang of 

1 Landor, The Gems of the East. It should be noted that the district from 
which the white tribe was reported is now fairly well known and there seems to be no 
reason to believe that the people residing there differ materially in color from the 
other natives of the island. 

2 Along the coast this type of garment is now seldom seen, for the men are 
adopting the close-fitting dress of the Moro. 

3 See p. 180. 

4 See p. 174. 

1 68 Field Museum op Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

Fig. 47. 
men's Hats. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 169 

FIG. 48 

these garments and one side 
may be above the calf of the 
leg while the other drags on 
the ground (Plate LXVII). 
No head coverings are worn, 
but quite elaborate combs 
Pig. 4 s - 1 are thrust into the 
knots of hair at the back of 
the head. Wooden ear plugs 
(Fig. 49) ornamented with in- 
cised silver plates and with 

bead and silver pendants fit into openings in the lobes of the ears. Like 

the men they wear necklaces of beads, sweet smelling herbs, and seeds. 

Many of the latter are considered to have medicinal 

value and are eaten to cure pains in the stomach. lAiO 

One or more silver disks are worn on the chest or over 

the breasts, while anklets, such as are used by the 

women of the other tribes, are frequently seen. 

Both sexes are fond of bracelets of brass, shell, or 

vines, as well as of finger rings of tortoise shell and 

silver (Plate LXXI). 

None of the garments contain pockets, and in 

order to make up for this deficiency the men carry 

bags (Plate LXX) suspended on their backs by 

means of bands which pass over the shoulders. In 

these they carry their betel-nut outfits, tobacco, 

and the like. Small covered waterproof baskets 

(Plate LXVIII) serve the same purpose for the 

women and are carried at the back or at the side. 


Probably no wild tribe in Mindanao has received 
so much mention in histories, reports, and books of 
travel as have the Mandaya, but these references 
have been, in the main, so vague and often so mis- 
leading that they are of little value for our pur- 
poses. Quite in contrast with this mass of ma- 
terial are the excellent reports of the late Governor 
Bolton, and Mr. Melbourne A. Maxey, 1 who for a 
number of years has been closely associated with 

1 Published in the Mindanao Herald. Bell Pendants. 

170 Field Museum oe Naturae History — Anth., Voe. XII. 

the members of the tribe residing in the vicinity of Cateel. In the 
preparation of this paper frequent use has been made of the notes 
gathered by these two gentlemen. 

When the first white men visited the tribe they found that the 
' neighboring Moro were making frequent raids on their villages and 
were carrying away women and children whom they sold to the Bagobo 
and other tribes of the Gulf. 1 At the same time it was learned that 
they, in turn, were slave holders and were eager to purchase captives 
from the Mohammedan raiders. The great distances traveled by the 
Moro in their raids make it possible that slaves from distant islands 
may thus have been introduced into the tribe. Later we shall see that 
it was difficult for a slave or a descendant of a slave to become a freeman, 
yet it was by no means impossible, and it is likely that a considerable 
part of the tribe are descendants of people brought to the district 
through purchase and capture. Another possible source of outside 
blood is suggested by well verified stories of castaways on the east coast 
of Mindanao and adjacent islands. 2 While working with the Mandaya 
in the region of Mayo bay the writer was frequently told that three 
times, in the memory of the present inhabitants, strange boats filled 
with strange people had been driven to their coasts by storms. The 
informants insisted that these newcomers were not put to death but 
that such of them as survived were taken into the tribe. These stories 
are given strong substantiation by the fact that only a few months 
prior to my visit a boat load of people from the Carolines was driven 
to the shores of Mayo bay and that their boat, as well as one survivor, 
was then at the village of Mati. (Plate LXXII). I am indebted to 
Mr. Henry Hubbel for the following explicit account of these castaways : 
"One native banca of castaways arrived at Lucatan, N. E. corner of 
Mayo Bay, Mindanao, on January 2nd, 1909. The banca left the 
Island of Uluthi for the Island of Yap, two days' journey, on December 
10th, 1908. They were blown out of their course and never sighted 
land until January 2nd, twenty-two days after setting sail. There 
were nine persons aboard, six men, two boys, and one woman, all 
natives of Yap except one man who was a Visayan from Capiz, Panay, 
P. I., who settled on the Island of Yap in 1889. These people were 
nineteen days without food or water except what water could be caught 
during rain storms. The Visayan, Victor Valenamo, died soon after 

1 Blair and Robertson. The Philippine Islands, Vol. XLIII, p. 203. 

2 Foreman. The Philippine Islands, pp. 257-9. 
Jagor. Travels in the Philippines. Ch. XX. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 171 

his arrival, as a result of starvation. The natives recovered at once 
and all traces of their starvation disappeared within two weeks. The 
men were powerfully built, nearly six feet high. Their bodies were all 
covered with tattoo work. The woman was decorated even more than 
the men. Fever soon took hold of these castaways and in a year's 
time all died except one small boy who seems to have become accli- 
mated and will become identified with the natives in Mati. I took care 
of these people until they died. 

"The clothing worn by the men and woman was nothing but the 
'lavalava,' a scarf of sea-grass fiber about 18 inches wide and five feet 
long. This was worn around the loins. 

"The banca, which was of very curious construction, was taken to 
Zamboanga last year by General Pershing, to be placed in Moro 
Province Museum." 

After the advent of the Spaniards into their territory a considerable 
number of this people were converted to the Christian faith and were 
induced to settle in villages. There they met and intermarried with 
Visayan and other emigrants who had followed the Spaniards to the 
South. During the time of the Spanish rule these settlements were 
partially destroyed by Moro raiders, and following the Spanish-American 
war these attacks became so frequent that many of the inhabitants 
deserted their homes and returning to their mountain kinsmen again 
took up the old life. The effect of this return is especially noticeable 
in the vicinity of Caraga where as late as 1885 there were 596 Mandaya 

Several attempts were also made to colonize the Mandaya near the 
mouths of the Tagum and Hijo rivers, but the restlessness of the natives 
or the hostility of the Moro was always sufficient to cause the early 
break up of the new settlements. 

The last great influence on this tribe has come through American 
planters who have prevailed upon the more venturesome members to 
come down to the coast plantations and there adopt the life of the 
Christianized natives. Many of these adventurers have returned to 
their mountain homes, carrying with them new ideas and artifacts and, 
in some cases, wives from other tribes. With all these influences at 
work there has been considerable modification of the life in many 
districts, particularly along the Pacific coast. This description will 
attempt to give the old life of the tribe as it still exists in the more 
isolated districts, or as it was related by older people of the coast settle- 

172 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 


In order to enter into a full understanding of the social, economic, 
and aesthetic life we must have some knowledge of the mythology and 
religious beliefs, for these pervade every activity. 

Several stories accounting for natural phenomena and the origin 
of the tribe were heard. One of these relates that the sun and moon 
were married and lived happily together until many children had been 
born to them. At last they quarreled and the moon ran away from 
her husband who has since been pursuing her through the heavens. 
After the separation of their parents the children died, and the moon 
gathering up their bodies cut them into small pieces and threw them 
into space. Those fragments which fell into water became fish, those 
which fell on land were converted into snakes and animals, while "those 
which fell upward" remained in the sky as stars. 

A somewhat different version of this tale agrees that the quarrel 
and subsequent chase occurred, but denies that the children died and 
were cut up. It states that it is true that the offspring were animals, 
but they were so from the time of their birth. One of these children 
is a giant crab named iambanokaua who lives in the sea. When he 
moves about he causes the tides and high waves; when he opens his 
eyes lightning appears. For some unknown reason this animal fre- 
quently seeks to devour his mother, the moon, and when he nearly 
succeeds an eclipse occurs. At such a time the people shout, beat 
on gongs, and in other ways try to frighten the monster so that he can 
not accomplish his purpose. 1 The phases of the moon are caused by her 
putting on or taking off her garments. When the moon is full she is 
thought to be entirely naked. 

According to this tale the stars had quite a different origin than that 
just related. "In the beginning of things there was only one great star, 
who was like a man in appearance. He sought to usurp the place of 
of the sun and the result was a conflict in which the latter was vic- 
torious. He cut his rival into small bits and scattered him over the 
whole sky as a woman sows rice." 

The earth was once entirely flat but was pressed up into mountains 
by a mythical woman, Agusanan. It has always rested on the back of 
a great eel whose movements cause earthquakes. Sometimes crabs 
or other small animals annoy him until, in his rage, he attempts to 
reach them, then the earth is shaken so violently that whole mountains 
are thrown into the sea. 

1 The writer found almost identical beliefs and practices among the Batak and 
Tagbanua of Palawan. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 173 

A great lake exists in the sky and it is the spray from its waves which 
fall to the earth as rain. When angered the spirits sometimes break 
the banks of this lake and allow torrents of water to fall on the earth 

According to Mr. Maxey, the Mandaya of Cateel believe that many 
generations ago a great flood occurred which caused the death of all 
the inhabitants of the world except one pregnant woman. She prayed 
that her child might be a boy. Her prayer was answered and she 
gave birth to a son whose name was Uacatan. He, when he had grown 
up, took his mother for his wife and from this union have sprung all the 

Quite a different account is current among the people of Mayo. 
From them we learn that formerly the Mmokon, 1 although a bird, could 
talk like a man. At one time it laid two eggs, one at the mouth and 
one at the source of the Mayo river. These hatched and from the one 
at the headwaters of the river came a woman named Mag, 2 while a 
man named BEgenday" emerged from the one near the sea. For 
many years the man dwelt alone on the bank of the river, but one day, 
being lonely and dissatisfied with his location, he started to cross the 
stream. While he was in deep water a long hair was swept against his 
legs and held him so tightly that he narrowly escaped drowning. When 
he succeeded in reaching the shore he examined the hair and at once 
determined to find its owner. After wandering many days he met the 
woman and induced her to be his wife. From this union came all the 

A variant of this tale says that both eggs were laid up stream and 
that one hatched a woman, the other a snake. The snake went down 
the current until it arrived at the place where the sea and the river 
meet. There it blew up and a man emerged from its carcass. The 
balance of the tale is as just related. This close relationship of the 
limokon to the Mandaya is given as the reason why its calls are given 
such heed. A traveler on the trail hearing the cooing of this bird at 
once doubles his fist and points it in the direction from whence the 
sound came. If this causes the hand to point to the right side it is a 
sign that success will attend the journey. 3 If, however, it points to 
the left, in front., or in back, the Mandaya knows that the omen bird 
is warning him of danger or failure, and he delays or gives up his mission. 
The writer was once watching some Mandaya as they were clearing a 

1 See p. 63 note. 

2 Also known as Manway and Samay. 

3 Maxey states exactly the opposite, for the Mandaya of Cateel, i. e., the right 
side is bad, the left good. 

174 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

piece of land, preparatory to the planting. They had labored about 
two hours when the call of the limokon was heard to the left of the 
owner. Without hesitation the men gathered up their tools and left 
the plot, explaining that it was useless for them to plant there for the 
limokon had warned them that rats would eat any crop they might try 
to grow in that spot. 

The people do not make offerings to this bird, neither do they regard 
it as a spirit, but rather as a messenger from the spirit world. The old 
men were certain that anyone who molested one of these birds would 

Another bird known as wak-wak "which looks like a crow but is 
larger and only calls at night" foretells ill-fortune. Sneezing is also 
a bad omen, particularly if it occurs at the beginning of an undertaking. 
Certain words, accompanied by small offerings, may be sufficient to 
overcome the dangers foretold by these warnings. It is also possible 
to thwart the designs of ill-disposed spirits or human enemies by wearing 
a sash or charm which contains bits of fungus growth, peculiarly shaped 
stones, or the root of a plant called gam. These charms not only ward 
off ill-fortune and sickness, but give positive aid in battle and keep the 
dogs on the trail of the game. 1 

There is in each community one or more persons, generally women, 
who are known as holly an. These piiestesses, or mediums, are versed 
in all the ceremonies and dances which the ancestors have found effectual 
in overcoming evil influences, and in retaining the favor of the spirits. 
They, better than all others, understand the omens, and often through 
them the higher beings make known their desires. So far as could 
be learned the ballyan is not at any time possessed, but when in a trance 
sees and converses with the most powerful spirits as well as with the 
shades of the departed. This power to communicate with super- 
natural beings and to control the forces of nature, is not voluntarily 
sought by the future ballyan, but comes to the candidate either through 
one already occupying such a position or by her being unexpectedly 
seized with a fainting or trembling fit, in which condition she finds 
that she is able to communicate with the inhabitants of the spirit 
world. Having been thus chosen she at once becomes the pupil of 
some experienced ballyan from whom she learns all the secrets of the 
profession and the details of ceremonies to be made. 

At the time of planting or reaping, at a birth or death, when a 
great celebration is held, or when the spirits are to be invoked for the 

1 The use of these magic sashes, known as anling-anting. is widespread throughout 
the southern Philippines both with the pagan and Mohammedan tribes. 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 175 

cure of the sick, one or more of these women take charge of the cere- 
monies and for the time being are the religious heads of the community. 
At such a time the ball van wears a blood -red waist, 1 but on other 
occasions her dress is the same as that of the other women, and her life 
does not differ from their 's in any respect. 

When about to converse with the spirits the ballyan places an offering 
before her and begins to chant and wail. A distant stare comes into 
her eyes, her body begins to twitch convulsively until she is shivering 
and trembling as if seized with the ague. In this condition she receives 
the messages of the spirits and under their direction conducts the 

Rosell gives the following description of the possession of a ballyan. 2 
Nothing of this nature was seen by the writer. 

"They erect a sort of small altar on which they place the manaugs 
or images of the said gods which are made of the special wood of the 
bayog tree, which they destine exclusively for this use. When the 
unfortunate hog which is to serve as a sacrifice is placed above the said 
altar, the chief bailana approaches with balarao or dagger in hand 
which she brandishes and drives into the poor animal, which will surely 
be grunting in spite of the gods and the religious solemnity, as it is 
fearful of what is going to happen to it; and leaves the victim weltering 
in its blood. Then immediately all the bailanas drink of the blood in 
order to attract the prophetic spirit to themselves and to give their 
auguries or the supposed inspirations of their gods. Scarcely have 
they drunk the blood, when they become as though possessed by an 
infernal spirit which agitates them and makes them tremble as does 
the body of a person with the ague or like one who shivers with the 


The following spirits are known to the ballyan of the Mayo district : 
1. Diwata. A good spirit who is besought for aid against the 
machinations of evil beings. The people of Mayo claim that they do 
not now, nor have they at any time made images of their gods, but in 
the vicinity of Cateel Maxey has seen wooden images called manaog, 
which were said to represent Diwata on earth. According to his account 
"the ballyan dances for three consecutive nights before the manaog, 
invoking his aid and also holding conversation with the spirits. This 
is invariably done while the others are asleep." He further states that 

1 Pedro Rosell, writing in 1885, says that the ballyan then dressed entirely in 
red. Blair and Robertson, Vol. XLIII, p. 217. 

2 Blair and Robertson, Vol. XLIII, p. 218. 

176 Field Museum of Natural History — Axtil, Vol. XII. 

with the aid of Dtwata the ballyan is able to foretell the future by the 
reading of palms. "If she should fail to read the future the first time, 
she dances for one night before the manaog and the following day is 
able to read it clearly, the Dtwata having revealed the hidden meaning 
to her during the night conference." 1 

Spanish writers make frequent mention of these idols, 2 and in his 
reports 3 Governor Bolton describes the image of a crocodile seen by 
him in the Mandaya country "which was carved of wood and painted 
black, was five feet long, and lifedike. The people said it was the 
likeness of their god." Lieutenant J. R. Youngblood, when near the 
headwaters of the Agusan River, saw in front of a chief's house "a 
rude wooden image of a man which seemed to be treated with some 
religious awe and respect." Mr. Robert F. Black, a missionary residing 
in Davao, writes that "the Mandaya have in their homes wooden dolls 
wmieh may be idols." 

From this testimony it appears that in a part of the Mandaya 
territory the spirit Diwata, at least, is represented by images. 

2. Asuang. This name is applied to a class of malevolent spirits 
who inhabit certain trees, cliffs and streams. They delight to trouble or 
injure the living, and sickness is usually caused by them. For this 
reason, when a person falls ill, a ballyan offers a live chicken to these 
spirits bidding them "to take and kill this chicken in place of this man, 
so that he need not die." If the patient recovers it is understood that 
the asuang have agreed to the exchange and the bird is released in the 

There are many spirits who are known as asuang but the five most 
powerful are here given according to their rank, (a) Tagbanua, (b) 
Tagamaling, (c) Sigbinan, (d) Lumaman, (e) Bigwa. The first two 
are of equal importance and are only a little less powerful than Diwata. 
They sometimes inhabit caves but generally reside in the bud-bud 
(baliti) trees. The ground beneath these trees is generally free from 
undergrowth and thus it is known that "a spirit who keeps his yard 
clean resides there." In clearing ground for a new field it sometimes 
becomes necessary to cut down one of these trees, but before it is 
disturbed an offering of betel-nut, food, and a white chicken is carried 
to the plot. The throat of the fowl is cut and its blood is allowed to 

1 In the Mayo district palmistry is practiced by several old people who make 
no claim of having the aid of the spirits. Bagani Paglambayon read the palms of 
the writer and one of his assistants, but all his predictions were of an exceedingly 
general nature and on the safe side. 

2 Blair and Robertson, Vol. XII, 269, XLIII, p. 217, etc. 

3 Filed in the office of the Governor of Davao. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 177 

fall in the roots of the tree. Meanwhile one of the older men calls 
the attention of the spirits to the offerings and begs that they be accepted 
in payment for the dwelling which they are about to destroy. This 
food is never eaten, as is customary with offerings made to other spirits. 
After a lapse of two or three days it is thought that the occupant of 
the tree has had time to move and the plot is cleared. 

In former times it was the custom for a victorious war party to place 
the corpses of their dead, together with their weapons, at the roots of 
a balitl tree. The reason for this custom stems now to be lost. 

3. Busau. Among the Mandaya at the north end of Davao Gulf 
this spirit is also known as Tuglinsau, Tagbusau, or Mandangum. He 
looks after the welfare of the bagani, or warriors, and is in many respects 
similar to Mandarangan of the Bagobo. 1 He is described as a gigantic 
man who always shows his teeth and is otherwise of ferocious aspect. 
A warrior seeing him is at once filled with a desire to kill. By making 
occasional offerings of pigs and rice it is usually possible to keep him 
from doing injury to a settlement, but at times these gifts fail of their 
purpose and many people are slain by those who serve him. 

4. Omayan, or kalaloa nang omay, is the spirit of the rice. He 
resides in the rice fields, and there offerings are made to him before the 
time of planting and reaping. 

5. MuntIanak is the spirit of a child whose mother died while preg- 
nant, and who for this reason was born in the ground. It wanders 
through the forest frightening people but seldom assailing them. 2 

6. Magbabaya. Some informants stated that this is the name 
given to the first man and woman, who emerged from the limokon 
eggs. They are now true spirits who exercise considerable influence 
over worldly affairs. Other informants, including two ballyan denied 
any knowledge of such spirits, while still others said magbabaya is a 
single spirit who was made known to them at the time of the Tiii 
movement. -5 Among the Bukidnon who inhabit the central portion 
of the island the magbabaya are the most powerful of all spirits. 

7. Kalalfa Each person has one spirit which is known by this 
name. If this kalalda leaves the body it decays, but the spirit goes to 
Dagkotanan— "a good place, probably in the sky." Such a spirit 
can return to its former haunts for a time and may aid or injure the 
living, but it never returns to dwell in anv other form. 


1 p. 106. 

2 The belief in a similar spirit known as Mantianak is widespread throughout the 
southern Philippines. 

3 P- 179- 

i; s Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

In addition to those just mentioned Governor Bolton gives the 
following list of spirits known to the Mandaya of the Tagum river 
valley. None of these were accepted by the people of Mayo district. 
According to rank they are Mangkokiman, Mongungyahn, Mibucha 
Andepit, Mibuohn, and Ebu — who made all people from the hairs 
of his head. 

For the neighboring Mangwanga he gives, Likedanum as the creator 
and chief spirit, Dagpudanum and Macguliput as gods of agriculture, 
and Manamoan — a female spirit who works the soil and presides over 
childbirth. All of these are unknown to the Mandaya of the Pacific 

While in the Salug river valley Governor Bolton witnessed a most 
interesting ceremony which, so far as the writer is aware, is quite 
unknown to the balance of the tribe. His quotation follows: "One 
religious dance contained a sleight of hand performance, considered 
by the people as a miracle, but the chiefs were evidently initiated A 
man dressed himself as a woman, and with the gongs and drums beaten 
rapidly he danced, whirling round and round upon a mat until weak 
and dizzy, so that he had to lean on a post. For a time he appeared 
to be in a trance. After resting a few minutes he stalked majestically 
around the edge of the mat, exaggerating the lifting and placing of 
his feet and putting on an arrogant manner. After walking a minute 
or two he picked up a red handkerchief, doubled it in his hand so that 
the middle of the kerchief projected in a bunch above his thumb and 
forefinger; then he thrust this into the flame of an almaciga torch. 
The music started anew and he resumed his frantic dance until the flame 
reached his hand when he slapped it out with his left hand, and stopped 
dancing; then catching the kerchief by two corners he shook it out 
showing it untouched by fire. The daughter of Bankiaoan next went 
into a trance lying down and singing the message of Tagbusau and 
other gods to the assemblage. The singing was done in a small inclosed 
room, the singer slipping in and out without my seeing her." 

The letters of Pedro Rosell written at Caraga in 1885 contain many 
references to the duties of the ballyan. In one account he records the 
following song which he says is sung by the priestesses when they 
invoke their gods Mansilatan and Badla. 1 

"Miminsad, miminsad si Mansilatan 
Opod si Badla nga magadayao nang dumia 
Bailan, managiinsayao, 
Bailan, managunliguiL" 

1 Blair and Robertson, Vol. XLIII, pp. 217-21, and Vol. XII, p. 270 

September, 1913- Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 179 

This means: 

"Mansilatan has come down, has come down. 
Later (will come) Badla, who will preserve the earth. 
Bailanas, dance; bailanas, turn ye round about." 

This Rosell takes as "a confirmation of the most transcendental 
questions of our true religion," for in Mansilatan he finds the principal 
god and father of Balda, "who descended from the heavens where he 
dwells, in order to create the world. Afterwards his only son Badla 
came down also to preserve and protect the world — that is men and 
things — against the povver and trickery of the evil spirits Pudaugnon 
and Malimbung." The writer made persistent inquiry among the 
Mandaya to the south of Caraga, but could not find a trace of a belief 
in any one of the four spirits named ; neither are these spirits mentioned 
in the notes of Governor Bolton, nor in the excellent description of the 
people about Cateel, furnished by such a careful observer as Mr. Maxey. 
It seems that this account, together with the song and its translation, 
must have been gathered from other than Mandayan sources. Long 
before 1885 the town of Caraga had become one of the strongholds of 
the church on the east coast of Mindanao, and Christianized settlers 
from all the southern islands had come to the vicinity. 1 It is probable 
that Rosell's information was secured from Christianized or Moro 
emigrants, and the first spirits named refer to Badhala — Bathala, or 
Batala — "the all powerful," and Dian Mansalanta — "the patron of 
lovers and generation." 2 


In 1908 a religious movement known as tungud started among the 
Manobo 3 at the source of the Bio Libaganon. Soon it had spread over 
practically the whole southeastern portion of Mindanao, and finally 
reached the Mandaya of the Pacific Coast. According to Mr. J. M. 
Garvan, of the Philippine Bureau of Science, the movement was 
instigated by a Manobo named Mapakla. This man was taken ill, 
probably with cholera, and was left for dead by his kinsmen. Three 
days later he appeared among the terrified people and explained, that 
a powerful spirit named Magbabaya had entered his body and cured 
him. He further stated that the world was about to be destroyed 

1 They are often referred to as Caracas in the early writings. 

- Further information regarding these spirits will he found in the Relations of 
Loarca, 1582 (Blair and Robertson, Vol. V, p. 171), and the Relation of Juan de 
Plasencia, 15S9 (ibid, Vol. VII, pp. 189-96, Vol. XII, p. 265). It is worthy of note 
that the Bagobo spirit Toglai, who is one of the pair responsible for marriages and 
births, is sometimes addressed as Maniladan. 

3 Not the Kulaman. 

i8o Field Museum of Naturae History — Anth., Voe. XII. 

and that only those persons who gave heed to liis instructions would 
survive. These instructions bade all to cease planting and to kill 
theii animals for, he said, "if they survive to the end they will eat you." 
A religious house or shrine was to he built in every settlement, and 
was to be looked after by divinely appointed ministers. Those persons 
who were at first inclined to be skeptical as to the truth of the message, 
were soon convinced by seeing the Magbabaya enter the bodies of 
the ministers, causing them to perform new, frantic dances, interrupted 
only by trembling fits during which their eyes protruded and gave 
them the semblance of dead men. 

By the time the tungud had reached the Mayo district it had lost 
most of its striking features, but was still powerful enough to cause 
many of the Mandaya to kill their animals and hold religious dances 
The coast Moro, who at that time were restless, took advantage of 
the movement to further a plan to drive American planters and 
Christianized natives from the district. The leading Mandaya were 
invited to the house of the Moro pandita 1 "to see the spirit Diwata " 
During several nights the son of the pandUa impersonated the spirit 
and appeared in the darkened room. Over his chest and forehead he 
had stretched thin gauze and beneath this had placed many fire-flies, 
which to the imaginative people made him appear superhuman. His 
entrance into the room was attended by a vigorous shaking of the 
house, caused by a younger brother stationed below. A weird dance 
followed and then the spirit advised the people to rise and wipe out 
the whole Christianized population. The Mandaya had become so 
impressed by the nightly appearance of Diwata that it is more than 
probable they would have joined the Moro in their project had not an 
American planter at Mayo learned of the plot. He imprisoned the 
leaders, thus ending a scheme which, if successful, would have given 
new attributes to at least one of the spirits. 


The before-mentioned ballyan direct the religious observances of 
the tribe. Their mysterious powers give them great influence among 
their fellows but, nevertheless, they are subservient to the local ruler. 

The tribe is divided into many small groups, each of which is 
governed by a bagani. To reach this coveted position a man must have 
distinguished himself as a warrior and have killed at least ten persons 

1 The religious head of the settlement. 

September, 1913- Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 181 

with his own hand. 1 The victims need not be killed in warfare and may 
be of any sex or age so long as they come from a hostile village. When 
the required number of lives has been taken, the aspirant appeals to 
the neighboring bagani for the right to be numbered in their select 
company. They will assemble to partake of a feast prepared by the 
candidate and then solemnly discuss the merits of his case. The 
petition may be disregarded entirely, or it may be decided that the 
exploits related are sufficient only to allow the warrior to be known as 
a half bagani. In this case he may wear trousers of red cloth, but if he 
is granted the full title he is permitted to don a blood-red suit and to 
wear a turban of the same hue. This distinction is eagerly sought by 
the more vigorous men of the tribe and, as a result, many lives are 
taken each year. 

A short time ago a candidate entered the district of Bungalung on 
the east coast of Davao and killed thirty-two persons. In that same 
section are now living five bagani who have gained this title by similar 
exploits."' Whole communities become involved in feuds as a result 
of these individual raids, for it is the duty of a murdered man's family 
to seek revenge for his death. It is not necessary that they kill the 
offender, as any member of his family or settlement will suffice. In 
some districts the unmarried relatives of a murdered person are not 
allowed to wed until the death is avenged. 

Instances are known where the old men have conferred the title of 
bagani upon the son of some deceased warrior. In such a case the 
recipient of the honor starts at once to fulfil the requirements of election, 
for otherwise he brings disgrace to himself and family. In his own 
settlement the oldest of the bagani becomes supreme ruler, and if 
powerful enough he may extend his influence to a considerable distance. 
In a few cases on the East coast the holders of the title have so instilled 
fear of themselves into the neighboring districts that they have been 
able to levy blackmail, even on the Christianized natives. War parties 
are led by these wearers of the red garments, and they also enforce 
the laws handed down from their forefathers. 

The day a warrior is elevated to this order he is in a large measure 
cut away from his fellows. He no longer associates with them as 
equals but eats his meals alone, unless it happens that other bagani 
are present. 

1 At Mayo it was said that it is necessary to kill only six, but the two baginii 
living there had each killed more than twice that number. Among the Mansaka 
the number required is often as high as thirty. 

2 These are Maclingtong at Pandisan; Pankard at Tagauanan; Kasicknan, 
Lewanan, and Malarigvt, in the mountains between Taguanan and Piso. 

i82 Field Museum of Natural History Anth., Vol. XII. 

Below the bagani in rank come the warriors, a class which includes 
practically all the able-bodied free men; and still below them are the 
slaves. Slavery was an ancient institution with this people when the 
Spaniards first visited their country, and it has continued to flourish 
up to the present, in all districts a little removed from the influence 
of the white man. The great majority of slaves are secured by capture, 
but until recent years the Moro of the coast have carried on a lucrative 
slave trade with this tribe. Girls and women become members of 
their master's household, but their children are treated as slaves. 
Captive boys and men aid their masters in the chase and in the fields, 
and in most cases it would be hard indeed for a stranger to pick servant 
from master. Sometimes the people of a neighboring village ransom 
one of their fellows and in such a case the freed slave may return to his 
old home or he may become a free member of the community in which 
he has been serving. 


The insecurity of life resulting from the conditions described has 
caused the people to build their homes high in the branches of trees, 
often so situated on the edge of cliffs that they can be approached only 
from one direction (Plates LXXIII-LXXIV). 

Two sorts of dwellings are commonly seen. Of these, the rudest 
rest on the limbs of trees, and conform in size and shape to the nature 
of the supporting branches. Some few houses of this kind have 
horizontal sides and sloping roofs, but more frequently a roof which 
slopes directly from a central ridge pole to the edges of the platform 
does away with the necessity of side walls. 

The second and more common type of house is shown in Plate 
LXXIV. Here the top of the tree has been cut off some fifteen or 
twenty feet above the ground leaving a stump to serve as a part of the 
foundation. Many smaller poles help support the floor and then extend 
upward to form the wall and roof stays. The upper flooring of beaten 
bark rests on cross-beams which have been lashed to the uprights. 
Above it are occasional horizontal poles, forming a skeleton to which 
the walls of nipa palm are fastened. In some houses two or three of 
the foundation poles extend above the floor to such a height that they 
are used as the supports for the ridge pole. In others true king posts 
rest on the beams, which in turn are supported by the corner poles. 
From the ridge a number of smaller rods extend to or project out over 
the side walls, and on them rests the roofing of nipa palm. A space 
of several inches often intervenes between the roof and the side walls. 

September, 1913- Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 183 

The whole structure is so firmly lashed together with rattan that it is 
capable of withstanding severe storms, despite the fact that it gives and 
creaks with every wind. During violent storms the house is further 
secured by anchoring it with rattan lines to nearby trees. 

Entrance to the dwelling is gained by means of bamboo or rattan 
ladders. These are drawn up at night, and with all means of access 
thus removed the inhabitants need have little fear of a surprise attack. 
If enemies do attempt to dislodge them the defenders have the advantage 
of their elevated position in the use of their weapons. 

Generally, each house contains only one room which varies in size 
according to the number of inhabitants. Frequently two or three 
families are found living in one house, for it is the custom for the suitors, 
and often for the husbands of the married daughters, to live with the 
girls' people. 

Near the door, or in one corner of the room, is a small box of earth 
in which several stones are imbedded. This constitutes the hearth, 
about which is found a miscellany of pots, jars, and other kitchen 
vessels. The smoke finds its way out through a small opening at each 
end of the roof, or through the narrow space under the eaves. There 
is no recognized arrangement of the room. Utensils 1 are scattered 
promiscuously about and when the inhabitants are ready to sleep they 
occupy such parts of the floor as are free or can be most easily cleared. 

The people of a community build their houses within a short distance 
of one another, yet seldom so close together as to form a village. How- 
ever, village life is not entirely unknown, for in the vicinity of Cateel 
Governor Bolton found six houses, partially surrounded by palisades, 
perched on the top of a conical hill. 

Lieutenant Youngblood gives the following description of the 
people and dwellings seen by him near the upper waters of the Agusan 
river : 

"The people seemed to be living in an atmosphere of fear as far 
as intercourse with the world outside their crater-like valley was con- 
cerned. They believed it was death to look upon the sea, of which 
they had heard disjointed tales, but which none of them had ever seen. 
They feared the coast people with a mortal fear, justified perhaps by 
the experiences of occasional meetings in times gone by. They fear 
each other to a certain extent, especially men who live further north 
of the headwaters of the Agusan. This ever-present state of fear gives 
coloring to their whole life. They take to the brush at the least 

1 These consist of baskets, rice mortars, and winnowers, weaving outfits, bark 
dye vats, as well as traps and weapons, nearly all of which are so similar to those 
already described for the Bagobo that they do not call for special notice here. 

184 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

unwonted sound. They make their clearings on the steep mountain- 
sides and in these build two or three of their houses in strategic posi- 
tions. In the very construction of their dwellings the idea of security 
in case of attack is predominant. 

"The houses in this section are generally built in clearings on the 
sawn-off trunk of some giant tree and placed from the ground some 
forty or fifty feet. Numerous posts help support the structure, entrance 
to which is gained by a notched pole firmly set in the ground and held 
in place by tightly wound bejuca. Oftentimes this stair pole is bowed 
outwards slightly, which gives it a peculiar appearance and requires 
a considerable amount of skill in climbing. The front and only door 
to these houses consists of a section of the floor composed of hewn 
plank, hinged at one end. One end of this is raised by a bejuca rope 
during the day, while at night it is let down forming a solid floor 
throughout the house. 

"The roof is of shingles made from mountain cane; the floor and 
sides of hand-hewn logs and planks; the roof is at no place more than 
seven feet from the floor and is blackened on the inside from smoke. 
The largest house visited in this locality was that of Chief Leuanan, 
and this was some twenty feet square. These houses consist of one 
room and are inhabited by two or more families." 


About the settlements are the fields in which rice, corn, camotes, 
sugar-cane, and a small amount of tobacco, cotton and hemp are raised. 
However, the crops are usually so small that even with the addition of 
game and forest products there is, each year, a period closely bordering 
on starvation. New clearings are frequently made near to the old, for 
the primitive tools 1 with which the people work are ill -fitted to combat 
the incursion into the open land of the rank cogon grass. Only the 
exhaustion of suitable timber land for a new clearing, the prevalence 
of an epidemic, or the near approach of a powerful enemy will cause 
the people to move their homes from one district to another. 

We have already referred to the important part the limokon plays 
in the selection and clearing of a new plot of ground, 2 and to the offer- 
ings made to the spirits when it becomes necessary to cut down certain 
trees. 3 The crops, aside from the rice, are planted and harvested 

1 These consist of a mall axe, working knife, and planting stick. 

2 See pages 173 and 177. 

3 Near Cateel the wishes of the spirits are learned by means of cords. A number 
of strings are tied together in the center and the knot is buried. The loose ends are 
then joined and if it happens that the two ends of a cord have been tied together it 
is taken as a sign that the spirits give their consent to the. proposed clearing. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 185 

without further reference to the spirit world, but the cultivation and 

care of this cereal can only be carried on according to certain fixed 


About November first, when a group of seven stars called poyo poyo 

appears in the west, it is a signal for all who expect to clear new land 

to begin their labors. By December first this constellation rises 

straight above and it is then time to plant. This is further confirmed 

by the appearance of a star known as sabak. If any have delayed their 

planting until the middle of December they are given a last warning 

when the stars forming Bayatik 1 appear. 

As soon as the land has been cleared a pole is placed in the center 

of the field and is surrounded by a fence. This is known as tagbinlan 

and seems to be erected in honor of the spirit Omayan, although by 

some it is insisted that it is intended for his residence. The seed rice 

is deposited inside the enclosure 2 and the men begin to prepare the 

soil about it. This they do by thrusting sharpened sticks into the 

ground, thus making holes an inch or two in depth. Taking rice from 

the tagbtman the women follow, dropping seeds into the holes. 

When the harvest time is near at hand the men repair the old 

granaries or build new and then, when all is ready for the crop, an old 

man or woman goes alone, in the middle of the night, to the fields and 

there cuts a few stalks of the rice. Should this be neglected the crop 

is sure to be small and will vanish quickly. This grain is not used as 

an offering, nor are any gifts made to the spirits until the crop has been 

harvested and the people are ready to eat of the new rice. At that 

time a little of the recently harvested grain is placed on a dish, together 

with other food and betel-nut, and is carried to the granary, where it 

is presented to the spirit "in order that the 

granary may always be full." When the 

grain is needed for use it is removed from the 

straw by pounding it with wooden pestles , it 

is then placed in a wooden mortar and is 

again pounded until the husks are loosened. 

This accomplished, the grain is freed from 

chaff by tossing it in a winnower. If a greater 

amount has been cleared than is needed it is 

stored in gourds or water-proof baskets 

(Fig. 50). A month or two after the harvest 
1 This is the same as balatik, page 62. 
J Maxey relates that at planting and harvest 
time the Mandaya of Cateel carry offerings to the 
baltti trees and there offer it to Diwata, in suppli- 
cation or thanks for an abundant crop. 

FIG. 50. 

i86 Field Museum of Naturae History — Axtii., Vol. XII. 

a great celebration is held, the principal features of which are a feast 
and dance but no offerings are then made to the spirits. 

The small crop of sugar-cane is made into an alcoholic drink, which 
is sometimes indulged in at meal time but is generally reserved for 
festive occasions. The juice is boiled with a plant called palba, similar 
to ginger, and is stored away in bamboo tubes until it has reached a 
suitable stage of fermentation. Another drink is made by boiling 
strained honey with the palba and allowing it to ferment. 

A considerable portion of the food supply is secured by hunting 
and fishing. Small birds are captured by placing a sticky substance 
on bare limbs of fruit-bearing trees, or by fastening gummed sticks 
in places frequented by birds. When a victim alights on this it is held 
securely until captured by the hunter. Fig. 5 1 shows another method 
small ?ame. A cord with a noose at one end is 

of securing such 

FIG. 51. 

Bird Snare. 

attached to a bent limb. In the center of this cord is tied a short 
stick which acts as a trigger. This trigger is placed with the top end 
pressing against an arched twig a, while the other end draws b against 
the sides of the arch. Other sticks rest on b and on them is a covering 
of leaves on which is placed bait and the open noose. The weight of 
a bird or small animal on the cross-piece is sufficient to release the 
trigger and then the bent limb draws the noose taut. 

The series of slip nooses attached to a central cord which surrounds 
a tame decoy is also found in use here, and boys frequently secure 
birds by means of blow-guns. The latter do not differ from those 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 187 

-already described on p. 73, but with this tribe they are regarded 
only as a boy's plaything. 

Deer and pig are sometimes hunted by large parties with the aid 
of dogs. In such cases an attempt is made to drive the animals past 
concealed hunters, or to dispatch them with spears when brought to 
bay by the dogs. The more successful method, however, is by means 
of traps several types of which were seen by the writer. The first 
and most common is a dead fall consisting of a heavy log so arranged 
in the runway of the game that a passing animal will cause it to fall 
Next in favor with the hunters is the bayatik. One end of a sapling 
is tied horizontally to a tree and is then bent back like a spring. It is 
held in place by means of a trigger which is released when an animal 
disturbs a vine stretched across the runway. Against the free end of 
the spring a long bamboo- spear or arrow is placed in such a manner 
that it is thrown with great force against the animal which has released 
the trigger. This trap is frequently used in warfare to protect the 
retreat of a war party, or to surprise an enemy. 

Sharpened bamboo sticks, two or three feet long, planted at points 
where animals are accustomed to jump or run down steep inclines, are 
wonderfully efficient in securing game. Sticks and leaves cover pits 
in which sharpened poles are planted and into these unsuspecting 
animals or members of a hostile party often fall. All these last named 
devices are exceedingly dangerous and it is unadvisable for a traveler 
in the jungle to try to penetrate a strange region unless accompanied 
b>y a native who knows the position of the traps and pits. 

Fish are secured by means of bamboo traps through which a part 
of the water of a stream is diverted. These traps do not differ in any 
respect from those shown in Fig. 19. Along the coast metal fish- 
hooks and dip and throw nets are in common use, but these are at 
present largely obtained from the Moro. The easiest and hence the 
most popular method of securing fish is to mash together the poisonous 
roots of the tobli tree and the fruit of the oliskEb. The pulp is then 
sunk into still pools of water and in a short time the stupified fish 
begin to float to the surface, where they are quickly seized by the 


Mention has already been made of the use of pits and traps in 
warfare. In addition to these it is customary for a returning war party 
to conceal in the trail many saonag, small stiletto-shaped bamboo 

1 88 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 




i -1 



M a 

\ \' 



FIG. 52. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes ok Davao District — Coee. 189 


sticks, which pierce the feet of those in pursuit. A night camp is 
effectively protected in the same manner against barefooted enemies. 

The arms used are spears, fighting knives with wide bellied blades, 
daggers, narrow shields with which weapons are deflected (Fig. 52), 
and in some sections bows and arrows. The fighting knives and 
daggers (Plates LXXV-LXXVI) deserve more than casual notice. 
The heavy bellied blades of the knives are highly tempered, and not 
infrequently are bored through and inlaid with silver, in which instances 
they are known as binuta, — blind (Plate LXXVa). The sheaths, with 
their sharply upturned ends, are made of light wood on which are 
carved decorations, attached or inlaid bands of silver, or stained 
designs. The handles of the weapons are also decorated with incised 
silver bands. 

Much as the fighting knives are prized, the dagger, bayadan or 
bddau, is in even greater favor. It is worn on the front left-hand part 
of the body in ready reach of the right hand, and is never removed 
unless the owner is in the company of trusted relatives. A light thread, 
easily broken, holds the dagger in its sheath and the slightest disturbance 
is enough to cause the owner to draw his weapon. 

The older warriors claim that it formerly was their custom to 
protect themselves with strips of hemp cloth, limbotimg, which they 
wound many times around their bodies in order to ward off knife 
thrusts, but this method of protection seems to have fallen into disuse. 1 

Individual warriors lie in ambush for their foes, but when a great 
raid is planned the party is under the command of a bagani. These 
attacks are arranged to take place during the full moon and the 
warriors usually assault a settlement which they think can be taken by 
surprise, and hence unprepared. It is very seldom that these people 
fight in the open, and invaders do not attempt a combat unless they 
feel sure of the outcome. If they find a house well protected they may 
attempt to fire it by attaching a torch to an arrow and shooting it 
into the grass roof, the occupants being slaughtered as they rush out. 
If one of the enemy puts up an especially good fight his body is opened 
and the warriors eat a portion of his heart and liver, thinking thus to 
gain in valor. 

Mr. Maxey mentions the use of poisoned weapons in the neighbor- 
hood of Cateel, but the Mandaya of the south seem to be entirelv 
ignorant of this custom. Maxey's account of the preparation of the 
poison is as follows: 

1 This type of protective armor is still used by the Bukidnon of Central Min- 

190 Field Museum of Naturae History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

"The poison is, according to the writer's informant, prepared as 
follows: A long bamboo is cut and carried to a tree called camandag. 1 
The bamboo must be long enough to reach to the limit of the shadow 
cast by the tree to the trunk of the same, as the tree is so poisonous 
that it even affects those who stand beneath it. The bamboo has a 
sharp point which is stuck into the tree and receives the milk which 
exudes from the cut. After several days the bamboo is removed and 
the contents emptied into another bamboo which serves for a sheath 
or quiver for the arrows, these being placed in it point down. The 
slightest scratch will cause death. A peculiar thing about the tree 
from which the poison is extracted, is that the person extracting must 
not only not get under the tree, but must approach it from the windward, 
as the effects of even the odor are unpleasant and dangerous." 


In the description of the tribe up to this point we have touched 
upon those pursuits which engross the greater part of the time. In 
addition to these, it falls to the lot of the women to manufacture and 
decorate all the clothing worn by members of the tribe. Some cotton 
is grown and is used in the manufacture of jackets, but the bulk of the 
garments are of hemp. In the description of the Decorative Art we 
shall deal with the decoration of the hemp cloth skirts worn by the 
women. Here it is only necessary for us to observe that this cloth is 
produced and colored by exactly the same process as is employed by 
the Bagobo women. 2 

A very little brass casting is done by the Mandaya of one district, 
but it is evidently a crude copy of Moro work. By far the greater 
part of the brass betel boxes, and ornaments of that metal, as well 
as spear heads, are purchased from the coast Mohammedans. 

Iron working is an ancient art with this people and the beauty and 
temper of their knives and daggers is not excelled by the output of any 
other Philippine tribe. In the manufacture of these weapons they 
employ the same methods as their neighbors to the south and west. 

No wild tribe in the archipelago has made so much use of silver in 
the production of ornaments as has the Mandaya. Thin silver plates 
are rolled into small tubes and are attached to the woman's ear plugs 
(Fig. 49), finger rings of the same metal are produced in great numbers, 
but the finest work appears in the large silver ornaments worn on the 
breasts by both sexes (Fig. 53). Silver coins are beaten into thin 

1 Crolon tiglium L. 

2 See p. 79. 

September, 1913- Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 191 

disks, in the center of which a hole is cut. About this opening appear 
beautiful intricate designs, some engraved, others stamped with metal 

All work in metal is limited to a few skilled men, but many lesser 
industries, such as shaping tortoise shell rings and shell bracelets, 
carving of spoons, and making baskets, are carried on by other members 
of the tribe during their leisure hours. 


In each district there are one or two midwives, known as managdmon. 
They are women past middle life who are versed in the medicines and 
rites which should be employed at the time of birth. They are not 
considered as ballyan, yet they talk to the spirits upon certain occasions. 

When a pregnant woman is about to be delivered the midwife 
crushes the bark of the dap-dap tree and makes a medicine called 

FIG. 53. 
Silver Breast Ornaments. 

tagaumo, which she gives to the patient. It is claimed that this causes 
the muscles to relax so that they allow an easy delivery. The umbilical 
cord is cut with a bamboo knife and as soon as the child has been 
bathed it is given to the mother. The afterbirth is placed in a specially 
prepared basket and is either hung against the side of the house or in 
a nearby tree. For a few days the midwife assists about the house and 
then, if all is well with the child, she takes her payment of rice, chicken, 
and fish, and returns to her home. Should the child be ailing she will 
return, and having placed rice and betel-nut on banana leaves she 
carries these to the top of the house and there offers them to the 
1 Erythrina indica Lam. 

192 Field Museum of Natural History- A nth., Vol. XII. 

asuang, 1 meanwhile asking those spirits to accept the offering and to 
cease troubling the child. No ceremony takes place at the time of 
naming or at the age of puberty, but at the latter period the teeth are 
filed and blackened so that the young person may be more beautiful 
and, therefore, able to contract a suitable marriage. 


Frequently parents arrange matches for their children while they 
are still very young, but in the majority of cases the matter is left until 
after the age of puberty when the wishes of the young people are taken 
into consideration. The youth or his father having chosen a suitable 
girl takes or sends a spear, knife, or other acceptable present to her 
father. If this offering is accepted it indicates approval of the match, 
and soon thereafter a feast is prepared to which friends of both families 
are invited. At this feast the price to be paid for the girl and the time 
of marriage are agreed upon, and at least partial payment is made. 
As is the case with the neighboring tribes, a part of the value of this 
gift is returned. Following the agreement the boy enters the service 
of his fiancee's father and for a year or more lives as a member of the 
family. Even after the marriage a considerable amount of service is 
expected from him at the time of planting, harvesting, or building. 

The marriage ceremony proper follows a feast, and consists of the 
young couple feeding each other with rice and drinking from a common 

Should anything occur to prevent the marriage, after the payment 
for the girl has been made, the gifts must be returned or service equal 
to their value must be rendered. 

Unfaithfulness on the part of the woman seems to be the one cause 
for a separation and this is uncommon, for unless her admirer purchases 
her for a sum equal to the amount her husband spent in obtaining her, 
the divorced woman remains as a slave in the home of her former 

Polygamy is permitted and is quite common, but a man may not 
take a second wife until a child has been born to the first. In addition 
to his wives a man may have as many concubines as he can afford to 

It is said to be a grave offense for a man to embrace a married woman, 
or even to touch the breasts, elbows, or heels of any woman he does 
not intend to marry. An unmarried woman who permits such familiar- 
ities is considered as good as married. Despite this assertion, the 

1 See p. 176. 

September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 193 

writer knows of several eases where young people openly lived together 
without being considered married, and later the parents arranged 
marriages between these girls and other suitors. 

According to several informants, incest is punished by the sacrifice 
of the guilty parties. They are tied to a tree with their hands drawn 
backward around the trunks and are then speared to death. This 
seems to be the one and only occasion when human sacrifice is practiced 
by members of this tribe. 

When a person is seriously ill a ballyan is summoned and she, after 
securing prepared rice, betel-nuts, and a live chicken, enters into com- 
munication with the spirits. First she converses with the dead father 
or other deceased relative of the sick person and requests his aid in 
effecting a cure, next she presents food to Diwata and implores his 
aid, and finally calls upon the asuang to whom she offers the live fowl 
on the condition that they will cease trying to injure the patient. 
Having thus done all in her power to influence the spirits she may 
administer some simple remedy, after which she begins to dance contra- 
clockwise, around a bamboo pole on which leaves and betel-nut have 
been hung. 1 

If this treatment proves to be of no avail and the patient dies his 
body is placed in the center of the house and for two days and nights 
is guarded by relatives and friends. During the time that the body 
remains in the dwelling the family is required to fast and all the people 
of the settlement are prohibited from playing on agongs, from singing 
or indulging in other signs of merriment. Finally, the body is wrapped 
in a mat and in buried in the forest. 2 

Returning from the burial all the people partake of a feast and then 
set fire to the dwelling "because we do not like the asuang which killed 
the man in that house." During the ensuing nine days the spouse of 

1 This ceremony usually takes place in the house, but if the man was taken ill 
in the forest or in his field it may be conducted there. 

- Maxey gives the following account of burial near Cateel: "The dead person 
is dressed in his best clothes, wrapped in a piece of abaca cloth, and placed in a coffin 
of bamboo poles, or one hewn from a solid log, if the person was one of means, and 
buried. If of the poorer class he is merely wrapped in a piece of matting, and either 
buried or covered over with stones, sticks, and the like. If of high rank, the body 
is not buried, but after preparation is taken into the forest and placed in a small 
hut under a balete tree. Food, spears, bolos, hats, shields, and some articles of 
furniture are placed on the graves to placate the spirits who might otherwise bring 
harm to the surviving members of the clan or family. There is no fixed period of 
mourning, but the members of the family must wear black for some time after the 
death. The sick are never abandoned prior to death, but slaves nearing death are 
sometimes killed to stop their sufferings. The owner, however, must first consult 
with others of the clan." 

194 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

FIG. 54 E. 

FIG. 54G. 

FIG. 54F 

FIG. 54H. 

September. 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 195 

the dead dresses in black and for a month following, or until they can 
purchase a slave, the whole family is barred from merry-making. 
Two reasons for the purchase of this slave were advanced by members 
of the tribe. One was that the family could be happy if they were 
still rich enough to purchase a slave. The second, that they thus 
replaced the dead man with another, "for the slaves are like members 
of our own family." 


The decorative art of the Mandaya is similar in many respects to 
that of the Bagobo and Bila-an, yet in part it differs greatly from both. 
As is true with the other tribes, the weavers make use of many figures 
which they do not associate with any living forms, but which, neverthe- 
less, strongly suggest that they may have been derived from realistic 
designs. In addition to such patterns they frequently employ figures 
which are intentional copies of human or animal forms. Of these the 
most common are those representing a man and a crocodile; these 
sometimes appear together, sometimes alone. The requirements of 
the space to be filled, as well as readiness of the worker to alter any 
part in order to give a more pleasing effect to the design have resulted 
in many distorted and conventionalized figures which can only be 
explained by the artist. The accompanying drawings are taken from 
articles collected by the writer and now in the Field Museum of 
Natural History. 

Patterns A to H in Fig. 54 appear in hemp cloth skirts. These 
show the steps in the conventionalization of the human figure, 1 as 
explained by the weavers. In the first four the forms are so realistic 
that they need no explanation, but E is more complicated. Here two 
greatly conventionalized figures have been used, one erect, the other 
with head down. The size of the head has been increased while the 
body is represented by a small diamond-shaped pattern with out- 
stretched arms attached. The legs and feet of both figures help to 
form a pattern similar to a head, except that it lacks the "hair" shown 
in the end designs. F resembles the preceding quite closely. In it 
the central head-like pattern does not appear and the legs and feet of 
one figure help to form the head of the other. This design has been 
doubled, thus necessitating some alteration of the figures at the points 
of union. In G and H nearly all the realistic elements have vanished, 
yet certain resemblance to D and E can be discerned. 

1 One weaver insisted that this figure represents a frog, because of its webbed 
feet, but none of the others agreed with her. 

196 Field Museum oe Natural History — Antil, Vol. XII. 












55H. 551. 



September, 1913. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 197 

We have already learned that the crocodile is held in great regard 
and in some sections there is evidence of its more or less sacred char- 
acter. Its importance in the minds of the people is well shown by the 
frequency with which it appears in their decorative designs. Fig. 55 A 
shows one of these animals which has just eaten a man. Both 
figures are so realistic that the intention of the weaver is apparent. 
In B, D, E, and F, the animal is still realistic, but the man disappears, 
and in his place is a formless object or straight lines which are identified 
as "something eaten." 

The pattern G is given as the next step in the conventionalization. 
Here the legs, feet, and "something eaten" have assumed undue pro- 
portions, while nearly every trace of likeness has vanished. This 

FIG. 56. 
Crocodile design. 




FIG. 57. 

figure is multiplied five times to obtain the highly conventionalized form 
shown in H. 

By referring to G it is possible to see how the complicated designs 
in I and / have been derived, although they bear little resemblance 
to the original crocodile form. 

Fig. 56 was identified as a crocodile but was not regarded as a step 
in the conventionalization shown. Many other figures such as 57 
appear so closely related to the designs just described that it seems 
certain they must have had a common origin, yet this was denied by 
all the weavers, who insisted that such decorations were added only 
to make the garments pretty. 

198 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

Going from weaving to designs cut in wood, something of the same 
state of affairs is encountered. Pattern a on the bamboo comb (Fig. 

FIG. 58. 

Incised designs on a bamboo lime holder. 

48) is identified as the crocodile, yet the very similar figures shown on 
a bamboo lime holder (Fig. 58) and on a wooden clothes-hanger (Fig. 

59) are not so recognized. 

Figs. 60 and 61 show charac- 
teristic designs which are em- 
broidered on jackets or carrying 
bags. All these are added with 
the one idea of beautifying the 
garment, without any thought of 
copying some living form. This is 
true also of the incised zigzag lines, 
scrolls, and meander patterns seen 
on the silver breast disks (Fig. 53), 
and those stained on palm bark 
hats (Fig. 47). 

Tobacco pouches (Fig. 62) are 
often completely covered with 
bright colored geometrical designs 
embroidered in trade yarn. This 
work, which is quite unlike the 
other decoration used by this 
people, was probably introduced 
along with trade yarn and an aline 

FIG. 59. 1 

Clothes Hanger. - V0, 

September, i 9 i 3 . Wild Tribes of Davao District. — Cole. 199 

cnj . 

U. 3 









C3 >- 






200 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 


From the material now at our disposal certain general conclusions 
can be drawn. 

A comparison of the physical measurements indicates that no group 
is of pure race. There are significant variations between members of 
different tribes, but these occur also between individuals of the same 
village. The average person in each group is short-headed, yet long- 
headed individuals are found in every tribe and variations just as great 
as this appear in the other measurements and observations. 

We have previously noted the evidences of an aboriginal pygmy 
population, that has been partially absorbed by intermarriage with the 
later comers. 1 In all the groups, except the Bila-an, the percentage of 
individuals showing evidences of Negrito blood increases as we go from 
the coasts toward the interior, until in such divisions as the Obo and 
Tigdapaya of the Bagobo, and the Tugauanum of the Ata, practically 
all the people show traces of this admixture. 

In addition to the types already described there are found in each 
tribe individuals who in all but color might readily pass as white men. 
These persons freely intermarry with the rest of the population, and 
it is no uncommon thing to find in one family children of this sort as 
well as those showing Negrito characteristics or those conforming to 
the average type. 2 

The facts indicate that the tribes now found in Davao District 
did not reach the coasts of Mindanao at the same time, but rather that 
they represent several periods of migration, of which the Kulaman is 
the last. This tribe, which only a few generations ago seems to have 
been made up of seafarers, has not yet entirely adapted itself to a 
settled existence and it is only within the lifetime of the present genera- 
tion that its members have taken seriously to agriculture. 

It appears that the Bila-an once inhabited the district about Lake 
Buluan, but the pressure of the Moro has forced most of them from that 
region toward the mountains to the south and east. They have taken 
possession of both sides of this mountain range, except for the lower 
eastern slopes where they have encountered the Tagakaolo. 

The other tribes probably landed on the southern or southeastern 
coast of the Island, from whence they have gradually moved to their 
present habitats. 

1 Negrito are reported from the Samal Islands in the Gulf of Davao. 

2 This will be discussed in a forthcoming publication on Physical Types. That 
paper will present a full series of measurements accompanied by photographs, 
including the Bukidnon of North Central Mindanao in which tribe this type is more 
frequently seen than in Davao District. 

September, 19 13 Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 201 

Intermarriage between the tribes, Moro raids, warfare with the 
accompanying capture of slaves, and the possible influence of boat-loads 
of castaways, all have to be considered in dealing with the types found 
in Davao District. We have already seen that the physical measure- 
ments indicate a complex racial history. 

After giving full credit to all these influences, however, it does not 
appear to the writer that such radical differences exist between the 
tribes as will justify us in assigning to them different ancestry or places 
of origin. The summarized description of the Bagobo given on page 56 
would, with only slight modification, apply to all the other tribes, with 
the exception of certain groups of the Ata in which the Negrito element 
is very pronounced. In brief, the various influences that have been 
at work on one group have influenced all the others, since their arrival 
on the island of Mindanao. 

This conclusion is further justified by the language in which a large 
per cent of the words in daily use are common to all the groups. Even 
the Bila-an dialect, which differs more from all the others than do any 
of those from one another, has so many words in common with the 
coast tongues and is so similar in structure that one of my native boys, 
who never before had seen a Bila-an, was able freely to carry on a con- 
versation within a few days after his arrival in one of their most isolated 

Similar as are the people and their dialects, the cultural agreements 
are even more noticeable. Taking the Bagobo as a starting point, we 
find a highly developed culture which, with a few minor changes, holds 
good for the tribes immediately surrounding. These in turn differ 
little from their neighbors, although from time to time some new forms 
appear. The Cibolan type of dwelling, with its raised platform at one 
end and box-like enclosures along the side walls, is met with until the 
Mandaya territory is approached, while, with little variation, the house 
furnishings and utensils in daily use are the same throughout the 
District. The same complicated method of overtying, dyeing, and 
weaving of hemp employed in the manufacture of women's skirts is 
in use from Cateel in the north to Sarangani Bay in the south, while 
in the manufacture of weapons the iron worker in Cibolan differs not 
at all from his fellow-craftsman among the Mandaya. Here we are 
confronted by the objection that, so far as is known, no iron work is 
done by the Bila-an and Ata, but this is a condition which is encountered 
throughout the archipelago. In the interior of Luzon are found 
isolated villages, the inhabitants of which are expert workers in iron 

202 Field Museum of Natural History — Anth., Vol. XII. 

and steel, while their neighbors seem to be ignorant of the process. 1 
The writer holds to the opinion that iron working is an ancient art 
throughout the Philippine archipelago and that its use for various 
reasons, such as lack of material, has died out in certain sections. 
Brass workers are found among most of the tribes, but, as was observed 
earlier in this paper, there is sufficient evidence that the industry is 
of recent introduction, and the amount and excellence of the work 
done by the brass casters is governed by the nearness or remoteness of 
Moro settlements. 

Except for the cotton garments recently adopted by the Kagan 
branch of the Tagakaolo, and the suits worn by the Mandaya men, 
the clothing seen throughout the District is very similar. A few orna- 
ments, such as the silver rings and breast disks of the Mandaya, have 
only a limited distribution, but for the most part the decorations worn 
by the different tribes differ only in the number of beads, bells, and shell 
disks used in their manufacture. 

In the ornamentation of their garments certain groups have special- 
ized until the bead work of the Bagobo excels all such work found in 
the Philippines. The same can be said of the intricate and beautifully 
embroidered designs seen in the garments of the Bila-an or the oversewed 
fabrics of the Kulaman, while the crudely embroidered patterns of the 
Mandaya are wonderfully effective. Yet, despite apparent dissimilar- 
ities, there is such a likeness in many forms of ornamentation, as well 
as in the technique of the methods of production, that there seems to 
be ample proof of free borrowing, or of a common origin. 

On the non-material side the similarities between the groups are 
even more marked. In each tribe the warriors gain distinction among 
their fellows, the protection of certain spirits, and the privilege of 
wearing red garments, by killing a certain number of persons. Except 
among the Kulaman, mediums much like the mabalian of the Bagobo 
make known the wishes of the superior beings and direct the cere- 
monies. The people are instructed when to plant by the spirits who 
place certain constellations in the skies. These are the same for all 
the groups, although often known by different names. The limokon 
warns or encourages the traveler, while certain acts of the individual, 
such as sneezing, are looked upon as warnings from unseen beings. 
Many of these beings having like attributes, although often bearing 
different names, are known to each group. The idea of one or more 
spirits dwelling in different parts of a man's body is widespread, while 

1 The process used in Northern Luzon is very similar to that employed in Southern 

September, 19 13. Wild Tribes of Davao District — Cole. 203 

the belief that the right side of the body is under the care of good 
influences and the left subject to the bad, is well nigh universal in the 

In conclusion note should be made of oft repeated assertions to the 
effect that a part of the people of Davao District are white, and that 
they are also cannibals and headhunters. The first can be dismissed 
with the statement that so far as the writer has been able to observe 
or to learn from trustworthy sources, there is no justification for such 
a story. It can be just as positively stated that neither the Mandaya 
nor any other tribe here described practice cannabalism. Warriors 
do eat a part of the livers and hearts of men who have shown great 
valor, the eaters thus securing some of the good qualities of the victims. 
The Kulaman warriors always taste of the liver of the slain "in order 
to become like Mandalangan," but they expressed the greatest disgust 
when it was suggested that the balance of the body might make good 

While it is true that the Kulaman take the heads, and sometimes 
the arms, 1 of slain foes, and that the same custom is sometimes followed 
by individual warriors of the other tribes, head-hunting for the sake of 
the trophy is not practiced here, as is the case in Northern Luzon. 
The skull or other portions of the body are kept only long enough to 
prove the murder, or until they can be mutilated by the women and 
children, "who thus become brave." 

1 This is also the custom of the Bukidnon. 


































































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Although the hair is Oiled and Combed Straight Back, Stray locks are 

continually creeping out. 



































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a. Dried hemp. 

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c. Dyed threads with overtying removed. 

d. Colored threads ready for the loom. 




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(Photo from Philippine Bureau of Science.) 




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A and B — Men's working knives and sheaths. 
C — Small knife used by both sexes. 
D — Woman's knife (gE lat.) 


plate xxx. 

a. — Playing the agongs. 

b. — The kodlon or native guitar. 


(Photo (b) from Philippine'Bureau of Science.) 

1 1 


man's Suit decorated with Beads, Shell disks and applique. 







b— sheaths for the Small working knives. 


a. Bamboo basket woven in two colors. The central rim design (X) is 
identified as a crocodile. 

b. The basket rim has been decorated by sewing in designs with fern cuticle. 



Plate XXXV. 

a — Decorated tobacco boxes. The front of No. 2 is inlaid with yellow orchid 

b— Wooden tops of tobacco boxes inlaid with beads. 




























Typical specimens of weaving in hemp Cloth. 


Center Panel in a woman's hemp Cloth Skirt. 





























































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a and b — Men's trousers decorated with embroidery and shell disks. 
-Boys' trousers. The decoration is secured by oversewing the cloth before dyeing. 



























































Kulaman MEN. 

^r & / 



f; W 




Suit worn by a mabolot. 



Mandaya Men. 

(Photo (a) from Philippine Bureau of Science. )' 











(Photo from Philippine Bureau of Science.) 


Customary Dress of the men. 

{Photo from Philippine Bureau of Science.) 




(Photo from Philippine Bureau of Science.) 




bags which Serve as Pockets hang Against the Backs of the men, 

(Photo from Philippine Bureau of Science.) 





Caroline Island Boat at Mayo Bay. 


mandaya Tree house. 

{Photo from Philippine Bureau of Science.) 

















































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