Ethnic groups

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  • 1. The Maranao inhabit Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur in Mindanao. The name Maranao translates to mean “People of the Lake”, after their traditional territory in the area surrounding Lake Lanao in the Bukidnon-Lanao Plateau. According to the early written genealogical documents salsila, this term generally referred to the native people living around Lake Lanao. The lake area is the home-range of the Maranao which is located in North Central Mindanao, approximately 135 sq. miles in area and is situated 2,300 feet above sea level. They are one of the largest Islamic groups in the Philippines, with the core areas being Marawi City, Lumba-a-bayabao, and Bayang. The Maranao are a splinter group of the Maguindanao who took up Islam; families tracing their religious origins to Sharif Kabunsuan, who introduced the religion to the region. Communities are clustered around a mosque and a torogan, a royal house belonging to the preeminent economic household in the area. Aside from exotic textiles, metalwork, and woodcraft, the torogan structure is the most significant and spectacular example of Filipino secular architecture. As a people, the Maranao are widely distributed and contribute significantly to the market and trade industry. For instance, the awang (dugout boat) used principally in Lake Lanao is both unique and extremely ornate. Textiles, on the other hand, symbolize the socio-economic rank of the wearer through the intricacies of the design motifs woven into the fabric, as well as, the richness of the colors used. Maranao villages are composed of several families living in homes sans walls for partition. They are allowed to be members of different villages simultaneously, without fear of recrimination as outcasts due largely in part to the accepted bilateral relationships. As transients, they're found in other parts of the Archipelago. Primary subsistence consists of dry rice cultivation in hilly areas; intensive wet rice in flood plains; and some corn, sweet potato, coffee, cassava and peanuts. To supplement their agricultural harvests, they also incorporate fishing. The Ilongots are Indonesians who inhabit the southern Sierra Madre and Caraballo Mountains, on the easterly central part of Luzon Island in the Philippines. At the present time, there are about 2500 of them. The type measurements of the Ilongots are: stature, 156; forehead, 82; and shape of nose, 89. These people tend to live near the streams which furnish them much of their livelihood and transportation. On account of long isolation and varied associations with the Ainu, Negritos, and other peoples, many different dialects and customs have developed, which divide the Ilongots into three distinct groups. Along the upper waters of the Cagayan River is the Italon group which exhibits some short Mongol mixture, especially to be seen among the women. The men wear long hair with a characteristic hair net over the forehead. The Egoñgut group lives on the Tabayon River; while the primitive Abaka group inhabits the Conwap River. In each of these main groups are localities each having its varied dialect and customs. However, the salient composite features of the ancient Ilongot culture can be described. Although there is a large concentration of villages at the source of the Cagayan River, Illongot communities are generally scattered in the Southern Sierra Madre and Carballo mountains. Numerous rivers and dense tropical rain forests define Ilongot territory, covering Nueva Viscaya, and parts of Nueva Ecija and Quirino. For mutual protection, aid and association, the people in each locality are banded into a group. The chief or head of a group is called a beganganat. There are usually about eleven or more houses in the group which is called an alipian. The chief has an assistant called a macatoy. They are chosen for their leadership, ability, and age. The chief’s word is absolute and he rules for life. After his death, the assistant takes his place and a new assistant is elected. The common law enjoins that one must not: (1) Kill his companions: for the murderer must support the family of the victim; (2) Commit adultery: for the culprits are severely beaten; (3) Lie: for the liar pays a fine to the chief; (4) Work on each fifth day: for one who works pay a fine; (5) Disobey her husband: for the disobedient wife is first scolded and may be punished more severely; (6) Neglect to pay his debts; or (7) Steal: for whatever one steals will turn to hurt.
  • 2. The principal occupation is hunting and fishing. The men run after wild pigs and deer with dogs. The kill is made with spears, or bows and arrows. They are also very clever in making various traps to catch the game. The warm streams are full of fish. These are caught in trap as well as nets. The forest, where roots, seeds and fruits can be obtained, is another source of their food. The Ati, a Negrito ethnic group, are mostly found in Western and Central Visayas. Large concentrations are found in Aklan, Capiz, Antique, and Iloilo on Panay Island, and the biggest group is in Iloilo. There are also Ati populations on the islands of Guimaras and Negros (comprising Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental). Few Atis still speak their traditional language, as it has been replaced by Kinary-a, which is spoken in Antique and some parts of Iloilo. Atis cultivate a variety of crops for their livelihood. Tobacco is bartered for the products of their Visayan neighbors. During September and October, they work at the sugar plantations of Christian landowners. Other means of subsistence are hunting, fishing, handicrafts, and bow-and-arrow making; working as household help and midwives; and practicing herbal medicine as herbolarios. ATI- The dark-skinned Ati group of Panay Island are probably the best known of the Filipino Negritos (Spanish Term of Ati) being the indigenous tribe credited with welcoming history's first Malay datus from Borneo in the fourteenth century. The Ati have retained their dialect with traces of ancient times of "Kiniraya" and dialects of the present time "Iligaynon". Ati is the local term for their "dark brown" to "scooty black" skin color. They have wavy to kinky hair, pug nose, and thick lips. They are short in stature and generally below five feet tall. Their physical appearance is genetically carried up to the third or fourth generation even with mixed marriages. When the Spanish colonizers came they called the indigenous people of the island Negritoes because of their skin color and also named the Island Negros. The Atis are scattered in the provinces of Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. The biggest population is settled in Negpana, barangay Lipata, Darotac Viejo (Iloilo). Other bigger groups are found in Hanti (Antique), Malay (Aklan) and Lambunao (Iloilo). The total popultion is 63, 654 (OSCC, 1987) For economic survival, they are adept at hunting, fishing, and food gathering. Nowadays, they have become less sedentary and constantly move in panung (band). They become the "mountain people" in escaping the civilizing process of the colonists. They are perennially dependent on the yields of the forest, since they practice no permanent agriculture. Until the modern times, the Atis have used the forest for indigenous medicines as it yields medicinal roots, woodchips, shavings, gums, wines, leaves, seeds, barks and herbs for curing kinds of sickness. They apply such herbs with the corresponding rituals.