A UNESCO Links Project: Loggot Tebba maka Gotom (prolonged lowtide and hunger spell)

 Impact of Climate Change, the Resilience of indigenous tradition and adaptive capacities of Sama Dilaut

Mucha-Shim Quiling Arquiza

Lumah Ma Dilaut





In 2010, the UNESCO-LINKS project supported this one-year participatory action research that sought to collate cases of climate change impact and indigenous people’s adaptive capacities as observed in events of massive migration and dispersal among sea-faring communities of Sama Dilaut in southern Philippine provinces of Basilan, Zamboanga and northern Sulu.  Data randomly collected in 2001 through 2009 through community narratives and participatory observations were updated by confirmatory spot-checks and triangulated with current key informant interviews (11) and focused groups (7) that discussed and shared during two organized consultative assemblies of elders and community leaders. Results account of rapid and periodic incidents of population and demographic changes as a consequence of migration as the ethnic community’s immediate course of adaptation. At the same time, results attested to its resultant catastrophic and alarming effects on self-instituting indigenous social structures that threatened the sustainability of subsistent economic and social practices of sea nomadism, especially in eroding the integrity of traditional social networks and endangering traditional knowledge systems by rendering extinct the long-cherished body of wisdom that used to be naturally preserved through periodic practice of living traditions. These communal resources that had always been accessible in living memory of local women leaders and elders, priestesses and female shamans, used to be readily available as survival tools for the indigenous population. Its sad demise in recent time, especially in life in diaspora and migration, however, had furthered the communities’ vulnerability and in the long term in fact may decrease their capacity for resiliency and future adaptability to the impact of worsening climatic conditions.

With discussions and analysis of results and findings separately presented in autonomous academic papers (Annex C), special reports and media articles (Annex D) presented to varied audiences and taken as advocacy stances in national and international conferences; salient results all affirm and unanimously brought into focus one of the serious and the immediate impacts of climate change that is migration and forced sedentarization of sea-nomadic communities. While migration is considered an adaptive measure, its resultant effect of  massive dispersion and diasporization of the sea-faring communities has been noted to be disastrous and detrimental to the survival of indigenous practices and living traditions, one of negative consequences being the disintegration of social networks among indigenous women and the loss of centrality of women in ritual functions, these being critical factors in the transfer of traditional wisdom and the perpetuation of living traditions. Case studies in the villages of Simariki (Zamboanga City), Tampalan (Isabela City, Basilan) and Dilaut kasamahan (Puerto Princesa, Palawan) support the findings.



Introduction: Environmental migration and climate change

In most scholarly literature and government policy papers the phenomenon is described as environmental migration or the tendency for mass movement of people and evacuation of communities as collective response to climatic change. Asian Development Bank (2011 draft) affirms that there remains a confusion and fuzziness in defining and developing exact typology for the phenomenon of peoples’ movement en masse, be it voluntary or forcible, in reaction to climatic changes.

Loggot tebba maka gotom: The Sama Dilaut in traditional homeseas

[Excerpted from the advocacy article “Treacherous Riptides, Discordant Seas: Sama Dilaut children in diaspora navigating ethnoreligious and cultural identities with Lumah Ma Dilaut”[1](Annex D)]

The Sama Dilaut

The Sama Dilaut, known generically in Southeast Asia as Bajau or Bajo, have been traditionally plying the Sulu-Sulawesi-Bornean waters. Where the Orang Bajo of Sulawesi and Borneo are noted to have been fully integrated into Islamic communities and, mostly having managed to move upstairs socially, now lead affluent lives, meanwhile, those in the Philippine seas remain to be the most marginalized and the least profited from agricultural and industrial economy because of their wide dispersal and nomadic existence. By their traditional dwelling in Sulu seas, the Sama Dilaut have been ethnographically classified as belonging to the thirteen [13] mostly Islamized ethnolinguistic groupings collectively referred to as the Bangsamoro people. The Bangsamoro people used to enjoy a lucrative and world-competitive maritime economy and an advanced form of governmentality under the two grand empires of the sultanate of Sulu and sultanate of Raja Buayan-Maguindanao from the 11th century. The Jolo and Buansa (Maimbung) ports of Sulu were global trading rendezvous, while the various provinces and principalities in mainland Mindanao enjoyed a sophisticated centralized form of governance under Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat. This was the setup, until the triumph of American colonialism in the early 20th century, hence, the present struggle for national identity to reclaim the right to Bangsamoro self-governance from the mainstream Philippine national body-politik remains to be the crucible in the present forty-year old conflict in southern Philippines.


The Sama Dilaut’s variant of Islam may be tentatively described as syncretic, often considered by prejudiced members among mainstream Muslims today as ‘pagan’ and ‘unislamic’ owing to a highly hybridized admixture of indigenous monistic and pantheistic belief and ritual systems and extant forms of Indo-Malayu mysticism. A less passionate viewer, however, would probably be more appreciative of the Sama Dilaut as an epitome of multi-religious followership, albeit in a more ‘pristine’ sense, as they practice a curious type of ‘multiple religions’ for the same pragmatic reason as other religious minorities elsewhere in Southeast Asia have re-coursed to in a form of cultural adaptation for economic and social survival in order to negotiate modernity and to accommodate the challenges of an expanding seamless society. For instance, the kejawen and abangan in Indonesia or other groups in Southeast Asia who still hold on to agama suku (indigenous faiths) are noted to have blended indigenous traditions into harmonious syncretic practices with mainstream religions of Islam, Catholicism or Protestant Christianity, where they have officially affiliated as a matter of government regulations.

Sama Dilaut diaspora: trade, war, and god

Subgroups of Sama Dilaut orient themselves according to a specific sea-centered locus, although not so much diversified in ethnic and material culture, their geographic specificity render some variations to their cultural and religious practices. In recent times of conflict, an increasing number of Sama Dilaut have been forced to abandon their traditional lifestyle to adventure into dry land where, living in lahat hangkut (i.e. resettlement or hamlet villages) they are converted to the mag-sandes (i.e. ‘Sundays’) who are protestant evangelical sects of either the Baptist, Alliance church or born-again Christians such as the JIL (Jesus is Lord) as these Christian denominations have been actively proselytizing among Mindanao-Sulu indigenous populations and offer handsome incentives such as free housing, cash capital to start-up a livelihood, schooling for the children or sometimes even a motorized boat (bangka maka malkina) – an ultimate dream for a Sama Dilaut – to allow him/her to pursue the old trade of fishing, or in these times where marine resources have become scarce and maritime trade is risky, at least, to engage in anuhun or diving for ‘rejects’ or scavenging for garbage refused and dumped to the murky waters by commercial mariners and coastal residents; or the boats can also be useful in their forages into the generous pockets and purses of benevolent passers-by and ships’ passengers on a begging venture called angedjo i.e. an infinitive verb corrupted from the term ‘hey, joe!’ indicating that the trade’s clients used to be exclusively foreigners, specifically, American GIs, the Thomasites and Peace Corp that were aplenty during pis-taym (peace-time) starting around the turn of 20th century.

Mitigating and adapting to impacts of climate change: Sama Dilaut in Lahat Hangkut

[From “Climate change and Cultural Insecurity as threats to Diversity of Indigenous Communities: Tossed out of the navel of Mother Sea; ripped apart by rising tides of change” (Annex D)]

In contemporary situation, the intermittent and protracted war escalating is aggravated by equally devastating and disastrous impact of climatic changes where most of the mooring areas have experienced bouts of sudden surges of hightides and prolonged lowtides resulting to extensive hunger spell, a phenomenon, though much recent, but is not completely unknown to the sea-nomads as local legends and divinations has predicted this occurrence as ‘loggot tebba’ (prolonged lowtides or draught) and ‘gotom’ (hunger spell). Compounding the periodic incidence of violent conflicts, these have been resulting to mass dispersal, turning into a highly insecure and mobile populations the conflict-prone Muslim Mindanao region whose villages, islands and cities are at the same instance constantly militarized and, as matter of government’s counter-insurgency policy, periodically hamletted into lahat hangkut (i.e. forcibly evacuated or relocated en-masse) causing massive displacements and severe disintegration of many ethnically-formed kampongs (traditional villages and clan-based communities).

The desperate search for food and secure habitat  has been sending socially fragile and dispersed nomadic societies like ethnic communities further into the fringes and, for many, force them to move into newish villages where they are not only dismembered from familiar kin-groups but are also forced into sharing fences with traditionally feuding clans or ‘tribal enemies’ and dreaded ethnic groupings like the more dominant Tausug (i.e. a non-Sinama speaking ethnic grouping probably originating from Bornean peninsula that social-anthropologists consider a migrant to Sulu waters during the expansion and dispersion of the Malay sultanate in the 15th century).

An almost uniform phenomena is repeatedly observed in many traditional Sama Dilaut mooring villages today from the north of Basilan to the peninsula of Zamboanga down south to the islands of Sulu. Where waves of migrations from conflict-affected areas surge, population of warring ethnic groupings, who are often of a more dominant and aggressive strain, grow, and their once makeshift resettlement structures are built more permanently. When this happens, a new way of life takes shape and new culture rules as standard, usually in the form of mainstreaming of purist Muslim practices as the norm of ‘moral’ and ‘civilized’ lifestyle. It also becomes the signature for the ‘modern’ and ‘elite’ who have the opportunities to attend school, go on pilgrimage to Arabia or to engage in leisure tourism. Since religion and sociopolitical affinity become major bases for communal cohesiveness, consequently, religious intolerance also rises, hence more and more Sama Dilaut choose to leave their flotilla-houses and flee to lahat bisaya (i.e. Christian land) and there get converted to other faiths.

Invisible and perennially marginal: Sama Dilaut of Zamboanga, Basilan and the Sulu and Tawitawi seas

[Excerpted from Arquiza, M.Q. (2008) Towards Equity in Development Financing for Minorities in Southern Philippines: A Case Study on Appropriate Education Program for the Sama Dilaut of Western Mindanao]

The Sama Dilaut has always been classified as the 13th Moro ethnolinguistic grouping, not so much by consensual self-identification but because of their traditional dwelling in the reefs and waters of Sulu islands, a predominantly Moro territory. Majority of the Sama Dilaut are animists although a sizeable number have been integrated into the mainstream religions of Islam and the Christian faiths. The Sama Dilaut considers Sulu and Borneo (Sabah state of Malaysia) as their ancestral home-seas. By “Sulu”, they refer to the unified Sulu of the pre-Martial Law era that included the islands of Tawitawi, Palawan and Basilan (i.e. in 1973, in the bid to contain the Moro uprising in Sulu, Pres. Marcos divided Sulu into three provinces of Sulu, Tawitawi and Basilan; in 1978, Tawitawi was dismembered when the Palawan strip and the Turtle islands, then fast progressing into an eco-tourism area, became part of the National Capital Region).

H. Arlo Nimmo (2001) has estimated the population of southern Sama Dilaut at 5,760. But this is based on very modest estimate. In Bongao, Tawitawi alone, Nimmo reported them to be at least 1,500, scattered among five different villages in Luuk, Tulay, Tungkalang, Lamiun, Tungbangkaw and Lioboran . In Sibutu group of islands, the Sama Dilaut population numbers approximately 3,500 heads while those in Sempurna (Sabah, Malaysia) who are predominantly house-dwellers have a combined population of 660 (Sather 1997 in Nimmo) in three communities. However, estimating population of Sama Dilaut in the rest of the northern islands in Sulu, Basilan and Zamboanga has been a very difficult task. Not only because Sama Dilaut tend to be highly mobile in this region to be conducive for a good headcount, but because of the grave prejudice and the pariah position of the Sama Dilaut, government censuses make most statistical reports on the Sama Dilaut highly unreliable. The Philippine National Statistics Office (NSO), for one, reports only demographic characteristics such as “language spoken at home” which has been arbitrarily interpreted to represent ethnicity. In the Sulu demographics, for instance, populations are asked whether they speak Tausug, Samal (sic) or other non-Suluan languages. Therefore the Sama Dilaut are more often than not lumped together with the other Sinama-speaking ethnics such as the land-dwelling Sama, Jama Mapun, Sama Yakan and Sama Palawanun, all of whom speak the Bahasa Sinama. But even then, because of existing Tausug ethnic-superiority and chauvinism against the other groups, non-Tausug population tend to report “Bahasa sug” (or “Suluan language”) which is taken to mean the “Tausug”as their mother tongue. In Jolo town, for instance, in the NSO census of 1995, of a population of 76,948, about 52,903 were reported to be speaking “Bahasa Sug” (or Tausug) and only 28 were reported to be speaking the “Samal language” (sic), despite the fact that Jolo town is home to at least three big Sama Dilaut villages and to quite a sizeable population of Sinama-speaking ethnics. Another way of estimating the Sama Dilaut population is by looking at the figures on religion. In Sulu census of 1990, where there was a total 468,856 heads, 97.66% (457,866) were reported to be Islamized while only 0.18% (867) were “Lumad” or indigenous. During the same census year in Tawi-tawi (total population of 227,731), where 92.24% of its population were classified as Muslims, only 48 people (representing 0.02%) were reported as indigenous (Rodil, 2000).  The figures from Basilan is no more encouraging with only 53 (0.34%) of 208,006 reported to be indigenous. (Note that the Zamboanga Sama Dilaut population can not be projected using religion as basis since there are also other indigenous and animist groups such as the Subanen in the province.) The Sama Dilaut communities in Tawitawi are believed to be the most advanced and sedentarised and Sama Dilaut are noted to be mostly Islamized while in Basilan island Sama Dilaut settlements tend to be less permanent with largely mobile semi nomadic populations mostly oriented towards the coasts and waters.  Just looking at the population of Sama Dilaut children alone, one could already lost count in the swarm. Nevertheless, if government figures are to be believed, there are a little less than 1,000 Sama Dilaut existing in 1990 and in 1995 in the provinces of Sulu, Basilan and Tawitawi. So that would place a very rough estimate of less than 6,000 Sama Dilaut all in all (from south to north) now living in their original home-base in southern Philippines and eastern Borneo. But rather than quoting gut-level hunches and estimates and, of course, the controversial NSO figures on religion and language spoken, it is much more accurate to say that the Sama Dilaut are invisible in the government censuses.

Although the Sama Dilaut are identified by a variety of local names, throughout the Sulu archipelago, they are known as Sama Dilaut. The dominant Moro tribe, Tausug, call them “luwa-an”, a derogatory Tausug word meaning “to spit-out” or outcast. Another local name is ag’pala’u or palau, Sinama term referring to their houseboats, as Sama Dilaut are known to be sea-dwelling nomads. Bajau is also a common referent used by anthropologists. Bajau or Sama Bajau is not very popular among the Sama Dilaut of Sulu archipelago, but is common in eastern Borneo (Sabah state of Malaysia) to identify the boat-dwelling Sama, as well as all other Sinama speakers in that area (Sather, 1997 in H. Nimmo, 2001). In the Philippines, Sama Dilaut has been reported as far north as Pangasinan and Baguio City. Beggar colonies are scattered in the Metro Manila port areas and in Cavite and Batangas in southern Luzon. Not surprisingly, the most progressive Bajau communities are to be found in eastern Borneo and in eastern Indonesia. As Harry Nimmo concluded, “The greatest test (to Sama Dilaut) for survival,however, came in the 1970s with the introduction of seaweed aqua-culture and the secessionist war between Sulu Muslims and the Philippine national government that resulted in massive population shifts in the archipelago. Tawitawi Sama Dilaut culture did not survive the changes resulting from those events. The Sama Dilaut who fled Tawitawi for eastern Borbeo have retainbed their traditional culture for a few more years but those who remained in Tawitawi are being rapidly absorbed into Sulu Islamic culture”. The faith of the northern Sama Dilaut found of Sulu, Basilan and Zamboanga have been no more brighter, severed from their nuclear family and primordial ties, many have left the waters for dry-land where they join the marginalized masses and continue to roam as dispersed and diasporic herds in the highways begging for society’s refuse.

CASE STUDY – Sama Dilaut Migration: from coasts to dumpsites

[the author is indebted to Lumah Ma Dilaut center for living traditions for these information and analytical report]


Barangay Rio Hondo is a coastal district of Zamboanga City. Like most Muslim populated districts in the city, it traces its beginnings to pre-Spanish period when the Sama Sambuwangan, a tribe considered aboriginal in the area (delos Reyes, 1995) and the migrant Muslim traders from Sulu and the southern islets of the Moro province met and exchange (bartered) their wares.  Rio Hondo is known as “Pueblo Viejo” in hispanic-time Zamboanga (Orendain, 1978).

Mariki is a reclaimed area of Rio Hondo and was formally constituted as an autonomous Barangay in 1978. The barangay was planned to be a resettlement area for Muslim evacuees from Sulu, Basilan and nearby islands at the height of the Moro rebellion in the ’70s.

While Tausug informants claim that the early appearance of Sama Dilaut (Bajau) lepa or boathouses was only in 1960’s, the Sama Dilaut themselves claim to be originally inhabiting the coasts and mangrove areas as early as the pre-war times prior to the “incursion” of Tausugs to Rio Hondo. Although there seems to be no way of verifying these conflicting claims, early historical sources (Combes, Warren, delos Reyes and Malcampo) suggest of the presence of boat-dwelling Sama-speaking groups manifesting the features and lifestyle of the Sama Dilaut mooring along the coasts and mangrove areas of Zamboanga, especially in Rio Hondo, Arena Blanco and Taluksangay, as early as pre-colonial times. However, anthropological sources (Nimmo, Arong, Kurais) account for an observed massive exodus of Bajaus up north into the interior islands of southern Philippines during the 17th and 18th century after the Spanish blockade of the trading port of Jolo in 1770’s (Blair and Robertsons, 1903)          ).

Perennially Migrant

The present community of Sama Dilaut still consider themselves as “migrants” in Rio Hondo and Zamboanga City despite their claim of the early ancestors already frequenting the coastal Zamboanga as early as pre-colonial times. This is because, to the Sama Dilaut, their only known home-shore is the Sulu seas. Most of the respondent families trace their roots to “Tanah Suk” or Jolo island (note: the entire island of Jolo as well as the islets surrounding are generally referred to by the Sama Dilaut as “Tanah Suk”. Present geographical division consider “Jolo” as only the town of Jolo which is only about one-eight on the whole island.). Otherwise, respondents identify specific islands such as Laminusa, Kabingaan, Siasi or Tawitawi as places of origin. Not a few of the families also claim to be originally from Basilan province. However, earlier studies (Arquiza, Alojamiento, Enriquez 1999) observed that even supposed Basilan-based Sama Dilaut were originally from the southern islands (Jolo and Tawitawi).

Key informants relate that the first settled families in Rio Hondo and what is now Mariki were Sama Bangingi families of Hadji Tahir, Hadji Latif and Hadji Umar. They were supposed to be the ones who have built the first mosque on piles of rocks. Hadji Tahir’s clan were from Taluksangay who decided to build a small settlement in Zamboanga (Rio Hondo) as market-place with bartering people from the sea. Those who bring in farm products from Basilan (most likely of Yakan or Sama Bangingi group) also temporarily landed in the shores of Rio Hondo.

During the MNLF uprising in 1968- early 70’s, Rio Hondo became a hotbed of insurgency as armed elements were suspected to have sought sanctuary in the community. Rio Hondo also became notorious as the “backdoor” for piratical and smuggling activities, guns and illegally imported goods were brought in by high-speed boats and sometimes motor-less outriggers in the dark cover of the night. In time, the peace-loving Sama Bangingi were driven back to Taluksangay and Arena Blanco, others went back to Basilan or sought refuge in the urban district of Zamboanga. The Sama Dilaut were, of course, the first one to move out upon smelling danger. It was only in the late 70’s when peace slowly resettled in Rio Hondo and the Sama Dilaut and Sama Bangingi started to return in trickles hoping to rebuild their homes and regain old commerce. But, by this time, Tausug families had started putting up semi-permanent settlements in the area and started their own commercial activities. Since then, Sama Dilaut claim that Rio Hondo and Mariki have never been the same as in the olden days’ district. Outright oppression and discrimination against the Sama Dilaut by the Tausug are happening. Sometimes open conflict ensued.

The once majority Sama Bangingi population have also thinned and have become marginalized. The economic life has since become dominated by Tausug, such as the in the Partida system, most of the capitalists are Tausugs. Another important development during the post-MNLF rebellion is the increasing number of Christian (Chavacano, Ilongo and Bisayan) settlers most of whom are also evacuees from Jolo and Basilan islands.

From 1980 to 1990, Rio Hondo experienced a negative growth rate of at least 35 per cent. NSO report shows that from 9,226 in 1980 Rio Hondo population dropped off to 6,034 in 1990; while Mariki from 4,739 in 1980 to 2,973 in 1990. One of the reasons of this was the feuding between contending Tausug families and politicians.

Part of the Marcos administration’s Rebel Returnee Rehabilitation Program was the Diwa ng Bagong Lipunan project of the First Lady. Rio Hondo was a beneficiary of the Bagong Lipunan Housing project, but even this has not totally lured the old inhabitants with their old lively commercial activity in the district back to normalize life in Rio Hondo again.

Occasional family feud, problems with smuggling and drug-trafficking have been causing massive evacuation of residents since 1990’s. Many a times, ruling local politicians are linked to drug-syndicates and illegal activities in the area. Rio Hondo and Mariki became notorious and reputed to become perhaps the most dreaded district in Zamboanga City. [From Lumah Ma Dilaut files (2005-2007)]


SPECIAL FOCUS – Adaptive capacities of Sama Dilaut women

The gender issues and concerns became most apparent in this study since most of the endangered indigenous practices, beliefs and knowledge encountered in the study were traditionally women-centered, that, naturally, the negative impact of climate change (i.e. forced migration and sedentarization of sea-nomadic communities) sharply brought other gender-related issues into focus – where process of globalization and urban-modernity rendered more power through mobility to men, women and children, on the other hand, became the first and ultimate family structures to be domesticated and sedentarized and hence immobilized by modernity (see islam, childhoods and identity negotiation). This was also true, since indigenous women were keepers of tradition and propagators of both tangible and intangible heritage of the community (see for instance case study of woman shaman and healer in migrant land).

In the same case study, it is also made apparent that forced migration from sea-based (rural) to city-based (urban) environments resulted to the regrettable shift from ‘folk’ ways to more cosmopolitan individualized religious practices that removed the centrality of women and rituals mostly performed through food and embodied rituals where women are focal and primary agencies. These also signalled the shift from religious heterodoxy to orthodoxy in which men-and-scripture have replaced women-and-nature as manifestation and agencies of indigenous spirituality.

The new insights and findings in the study coincidentally brought gender issues into focus as partly evolved out of the research process, for example, as discussed in details in one of the academic papers (i.e. islam, childhoods and identity negotiation) were gender and identity are interlinked and affirmed, as one of the major finding showed, that as one drastic impacts of climate change is migration (as form of adaptation) and forced sedentarization, which have in turn brought negative consequences such as the shift from domestic/subsistence economies (actively participated in by women) to industrial and global economies that now relied more on the resources and skills provided by men. On the more positive aspects of such changes (i.e. again, see featured case study of indigenous women migrant workers), initial data also point out that with the ecological and environmental changes in topography is also the complementary changes in demography where in facing new culture and new environment women appear to be more resilient and easily adaptable than men (and children than adults/elders), especially as concerns the adaptability to new ways of life, to technological innovations, and, because of the multiplicity of womanly skills and their psychical pliancy where women appeared to be less resistant, less prone to violent and antagonistic reaction and, hence, less inhibited by a new environment (as men do). Hence, women are easily able to establish amicable relationship with strangers and easily able to ‘domesticate’ strange environment. In this sense indigenous women appeared to exhibit more resilience and adaptability in the face of change against men.

Other major findings of the study:

— Out-migration of key sectors of society during droughts or similar catastorphic onsets of Climate Change may alter the demographic and social composition of communities they left behind, resulting in an overall decline in adaptive capacity to the impacts of climate change (see McLeman et.al. 2008) – [case of Hongkong village of Si mariki]

— …climate adaptations by women in many cultures is very different from that of men, and any changes in the composition or resilience of social networks in which women participate can have significant impacts on overall household and community well-being (Nelson et.al. 2002) – a case in point is the practice of ‘Pagsanda’ among Si Mariki women [story of Janna Maria and Rosita as documented by Sattol Abba 2008] and ‘Pagtuhon’ and ‘Pagtarget’ among subsistent fishermen and women of Tampalan.

— since learning of traditional skills in migrant places is no longer possible, adaptive capacities for climate change is eroded because children no longer get the opportunity for renewing social ties and participating in social and economic activities that are usually conducted as a community activity during particular seasons (e.g. fishing season; pag-maulud; pag-omboh). Yet more positively, in case where innovation and change is inevitable, children and women appear to be more pliant and adaptable to changes…

–population demographic change- before: more younger people with almost balanced distribution of male and female; after: more elederlies with more women being left in the homeshores and more men in migrant communities resulting to a shift in social activities…less food-rituals are being conducted; male-dominated communities tend to omit most of the elaborate rituals and are more and more becoming scriptural (male priests and Muslim imams are valued more to take a central part in ceremonies over women prisetesses and shamans) — case of Omboh Kuraysiya in Tulay-tabako and Omboh Bissiya and Antanani Felicitos in Mambaling, Cebu.

–traditional and historically long-drawn discrimination against the ethnic communities makes collective action less promising and makes it imperative that indigenous communities  stick together and rely on each other or train to be more individually self-reliant.


By Mucha-Shim Quiling Arquiza

30 April 2011








[1] Presented at the International Conference on Islam, Childhoods and Building Culture of Peace in Southeast Asia, September 29-30, 2010, Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.

About Mucha Q. Arquiza
Supports the preservation and promotion of indigenous knowledge systems

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