Davao del Norte and
• Hijo RiverValley
• seacoasts of
Tuganay, Ising, and
derived from “man” = “first” ; “saka” = “to ascend”
the first people to ascend the mountains or go upstream
peaceful tribe today, but there was a time when they were
a warlike nomadic group who fought the Moros and
Mandayas to acquire slaves, which were essential parts of
under Manuvu linguistic
• Tagacaolo, Davaoeno, Isamal Dialects
3 phases of Mansaka racial development
From 3000 to 500 BC
Indonesians + Native women = Manobo
From 300 to 200 BC
Malays + Manobo = Mandaya-Mansaka
Chinese + Mandaya-Mansaka = developed Mandaya-
1851 – Davao was made the Fourth Military District of Mindanao
– substitution of the Muslims by the Christians
Slavery was halted (practiced by some Islamized groups)
Introduced “Spanish reduccion”
– Was partially successful
Mandaya-Mansaka were encouraged to work in coastal plantations
and adopt the lifestyle of Christianized natives
Developed abaca industry
During the Commonwealth, there were laws liberalizing Christian
migration to the settlement areas of the Mansaka
Farming; Fishing; HuntingMain Economic Activities
humay (rice) & batad (corn) = harvested and stored
coffee & hemp = cash crops
paruda (sweet potatoes) & wakag (tubers) = dug from the
backyard when they are to be consumed
Fishing Methods Yamangot
Bows & arrows
Hunting Weapons Tuklo (spear)
– Presence of pandayan (blacksmith’s shop)
other Economic Activities
– dagmay (abaca cloth with designs)
> woven with 3 types of fibers (bintok; sikarig; kanarum)
Have unwritten laws based on their traditions, customs and beliefs
These laws guides the political leaders in judicial, social, and
MATIKADONG - the leader of
has a family
an AL-LANG or servant
a council of leaders
BAGANI – a member of the warrior class
– lead the community with the help and advice of the
– protects the rights and lives of the clan members
must killed atleast 12 people who have violated the Mansaka traditions
Distinguished by a red cloth which is the official headdress (MAROGANG)
The marogang can only be worn by a Bagani
MANIKLAD – a member of the warrior class
–killed at least seven persons but falls short of the minimum
number required to be a bagani
MATADONG (old wise man) - has great influence in community
SOCIAL ORGANIZATION AND CUSTOMS
depends on kinship ties which regulate the interrelationship between
families and between members of a family
Mansaka family is patriarchal
The community assigns members to manage the farm.
• Men - tasked in farm-related jobs , fishing and hunting
• Women - tasked to produce clothing and weave mats
-help in the farm during planting, weeding and
-cultivate crops as commercial products to sell or
Men - spades to till the soil using the TUTUDAKA, a 2.1-meter-long
wooden pole, on which is attached bai (a species of coconut plant)
Women - sow the seeds
Children - use the wawaris (bamboo brooms) to cover the seeds with soil
Harvest time = merrymaking occasion
PYAGSAWITAN – first meal from their farm produce
A ceremony is performed
Families & neighbors join and witness the event
Guests bring food and wine as their contribution
Tribal dances are performed, coupled with singing & the playing of
Each guest leaves with something from the farm produce
Marriage is arranged by the parents of the bride and groom
Mansaka maiden usually marries when she reaches 15
The parent of the girl sets the amount of dowry for their daughter.
The dowry is in terms of al-langs (slaves), agongs and patakia (a
container for betel nut chew).
Daughters of Baganis command the highest dowry. It is usually from
10 to 15 al-langs with so many agongs and patakias to accompany
In more recent times, they accept the equivalent price of one al-lang,
after the amount of dowry has been agreed upon.
COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE
The wedding ceremony consists of an exchange of rice between the
parties: the man takes rice in his hand and feeds his bride and vice versa. It
is followed by a religious rite to ensure the happy future of the couple. An
elder and a tribal leader officiates the wedding ceremony and sit with
them at the table.
WOMEN - adorn their bodies with sampad, platena, balyog, and
- wear decorative combs of colourful beads and beaded hairpins.
-may have bangs or tie their long hair at the back. A portion
remains untied near the ears.
The blouse of a daughter of the nobility is full of design motifs
called pyanaigon, byatotoan, limbotong, and binawid.
Their clothes are made from abaca and saragboy, a soft cotton-like
cloth from a native shrub.
MEN - wear short pants or SYRAWTANAN also made from abaca and
woven by women of the tribe.
BALIAN (shaman) - usually female medicine person who officiates in
rituals involving sickness, death, planting and harvest.
RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND PRACTICES
believes in a supreme being whom they call Magbabaya or Yumanum
Mansaka identify themselves as utaw or people created by
Mansaka manaog or domestic gods are represented by wooden
statues standing on a parangka (pedestal)
Manaog have sexes which can be discerned on the sculpture and
ornaments on the statues
Offerings are given to the manaog after rice planting, harvest, and
Christianity has been introduced and accepted by many
Mansaka, but it has not totally eradicated the manaog cult. The
Mansaka believe in the saving grace of the Christian God but
remnants of the old religion, as in many ethnic groups, persist.
Curiously the Mansaka belong to various Christian denominations,
often at the same time.
The rituals can be either indoor or outdoor
The manaog of the balian are kept on the ceiling near the kitchen,
where they become black from the smoke.
Mansakas offer food, wine and betel nut, areca leaves and lime or
“mama” to appease the evil spirits. They believe that human ailments
are caused by displeased super beings.