The Maranaws, The Ifugaos and The Negritos

The three films I’ve seen shown different elements of culture namely religion, marriage, aesthetics, livelihood and funeral. In the 15th century, Maranaws has been influenced by Muslim faith. It was the time where the Islamic faith spread through out th place. They built Mosques painted by Maranaw artists. Each community has religioius order teaching Koran and about the life of their prophet Muhammad that’s why every Friday the whole community went to Mosque and pray. When they prayed, they must face the direction of the Mecca while they kneeled and their faces touched the floor. The people seated in ront have a high status in the community while in the back were the lower status and owmen that they obliged to wear a veil wherever they go. On the other hand, the life of the Ifugaos in Mt. Banaue has different beliefs. They don’t have specific religion because they only believed in Hindus mythology. The priests have the power to communicate to their Gods and also can engage with the spirits. The language used by priests is incomprehensible. They have different way of praying because everytime they pray there must be a sacrifice or dieties to their Gods. That’s why they killed pigs and chickens. These animals also can be given to the priest as a reward to their services. Priests cut off the pigs to examine its internal organs especially the liver and they believed that it will be shown to the liver of the pig if the owner is good when it has light color and bad when the liver of the pig has dark color. The Negritos also believed in spirits like the Ifugaos but spirits are the only they believed in. They have no formed religion, no Gods and also no deities to whom sacrifice they made. Spirits for them can enter to the men especially when he is in the jungle and it is the reason why someone gets sick. When people fell sick, they only rely on herbal medicines and chanting.

In the aspect of marriage, the women included in these three indigenous group has no participation in decision making because their parents are always the one who make decision for them. In Maranaw’ s practice of marriage, women always wear their best malong. The place of the wedding is filled of different textiles. There has a boat full of wedding guests while some children carrying toy flags. Sultan has the great part in reminding the couple about the sanctity from their ancestors. The principal people, relatives and family of the bride will receive their prizes or something valuable from the groom. Everytime if there has a wedding ceremony, Maranaw community has a traditional flag in which they hang on their houses that symbolizes a good fortune for the couple. In the case of the Negritos, marriage for them must have exchanging gifts from the families of the couple. Each of them drinks at the same vessel until it came last to the mother of the bride. There are arrangements between families and the groom-to-be must work for the family of the girl within 6-12 months to prove if the guy can already provide the needs of the family. The man also must be successful in handling bow and arrows and known as a good hunter. When they married, the couple can choose to stay or to move away and live wherever they want.

Singing, dancing, carving, weaving, decorating, tattooing/scarcing, scraping, and playing musical instruments are the aesthetics of the three indigenous groups. Carving woods are practiced by the Maranaws and Ifugaos. In Maranaw, sultans are the famous wood carvers. They carve different images especially the conspicuous image of the bird known as sarimanok of “fishiku”. In the pagan times, sarimanok has been a sacrificial cockrow but when the Islam came it became a status symbol. Ifugaos mythologies and ancestor of Kadangyans has a great influenced in wood carving. Mostly Ifugao’s wood carvers make religious figures. Male and female figures symbolize fertility. The Kadangyans figure are the one who protect the rice. That’s why they put blood of the pig to the statue while having rice grains inserted on their ears and they also put rice win in the mouth of the statues. They also display on the walls some bones of the animals they hunt and some heads of the stranger called head hunting. But when the American came head hunting was abandoned. In the case of the Negritos, they usually practice scraping the bark of the woods to make powder and colored it for decoration. They use natural things to ornaments their bodies like headbands and earplugs. Primarily decorations like scarcification are for adolescence. Eventhough the process of tatooing looks painful, scraping and piercing their skin bodies are still practice by them as the sign of beauty. Weaving is practiced by three indigenous groups. Negritos gather principal materials before weaving which are high sophisticated materials and use for decoration. In the Ifugao families, when women didn’t own any rice fields, they usually left on the house and weaving is the thing they usually do by using the old tradition of weaving. Weaving women in Maranaw has the traditional patterns that are made of natural forms of flowers, trees, highly recognizable yellow borders and other colors. The three groups also has a big interest in dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments. Maranaw group usually like singing in the Mosque having a high pitch of voice. Dancing with bamboo having different colorful costumes has been accompany by playing different kinds of musical instrument. As the same of Maranaw, the Negritos usually sing, dance and play instruments simultaneously in the time when there has a gathering. Kids alos like to dance with each other. Dancing in the Ifugao practice has a different meaning. It is not for feat or celebration but for mourning and calling out the spirits of their Gods and some relatives. Ifugao men are dancing with musical instruments on the middle of the rice fields because someone has died. Their dance movements imitate the birds which they believe that birds can communicate to the sky world. They usually dance around the wild pigs and chickens if they want to call for some spirits. Ifugaos sing in front of a house carrying rice grains on their hands that symbolizes prosperity.

The three groups of indigenous people has different way in order to survive. Maranaw’s primary livelihood are fishing and planting rice. Their ancestors planted rices in the region of Mindanao. They have a river which they called Tenaka River named from Maranaw founding ancestors and a Lake of Lanao that has been not dominated by the Spanish. Women and children make sleeping mats made with split twigs. Children especially girl made them having an abstract designs and geometric pattern with color yellow, red and green. Ifugao groups are dependent in planting rices. That’s why rainy season is the hungry time of the year for them. They have to borrow food for Kadangyans and paid it double. Thjey also plant kamote to privde them food and to have something to eat to survive through out the rainy season. Rice needs complication irrigation and constant care. Planting rice for them is a work of women while men are in charge for soil care. Ifugaos manage to produce finest rice in the country and Mt. Rice Terraces of Banaue is one of the finest tourist spots in the Philippines. Ifugaos are also enage in market and commercial purposes. They weaved for clothings, carved woods for decoration souvenirs, sold fresh vegetables, sweet potatoes, cabbages chickens and pigs that usually used for sacrifice purposes. The primary way of surviving of the Negritos is hunting animals in the forest. Negritos are good hunters. They make and use spears, bow and arrows to hunt wild animals. They also make bird traps. Negritos are living in an isolated areas and they are not settled at the villages. Wherever they go they gather leaves and branches from the trees to make shelter. Negritos used folded leaves and make it as a protection from the weather. Negritos children usually work as a team. They catch small fishes in the river and learning how to catch fish effectively and learn how to work together. Each boy carries their fishes and divide them all. After that they lies on the hot stone to regain their body heat lost while swimming in the river.

Funeral ceremony in Maranaw group is about to begin when it is accompanied by music. They shouted and cried loudly. The children carry the money on their heads as offering to the family of dead person. White is the official color mourning and token of sympathy handed over to the grieving family. The number of umbrellas are the indication that the dead person was belong to the noble family. They believe that the spirit will continue up to the heaven. On the other hand, when one of the Ifugaos die on the natural death, they put the body inside the coffin and covered by blankets with different colors having symbols which determine their status. Ifugao men known as Mumbaki dance while playing musical instruments on the rice fields when someone die unjustly. The priest perform a ceremony and sacrifice pigs for the God of revenge. They also talk to the dead body and tell to open his eyes, wake up and revenge himself. Mumbaki will continue dancing until the reach of the house of the dead person. The animals like pigs and chickens were offered and placed underneath the dead.

As I described the different elements of culture of the Negritos, Maranaws and Ifugaos. I found out that the practices of them and where I grew up are far away different from each other. I have different religion practices compared to them. I also have a choice and can decide what kind of man who am I going to marry. Parents as of these days give opportunity for their children to make decision by themselves. I have my own preference in aesthetics. Singing, dancing and playing musical instruments are done in a different manner. Now, there are different types of music that we can sing like pop, rock, alternative, r & b, and rap. We also have modern dance, social dance and other kinds of dances. Musical instruments like organ and electric guitar need electricity in order to function. As of now, farming and fishing are still the primary livelihood but because of technology it has been easier and many people are involved now in industrial works like in a factory of clothes, toys and others. I can say that making money is very important in these generation because it is the way we can buy and have things w need like foods, clothes, and houses. When someone died, the body will be place inside the coffin. The family have several days to mourn and grieve. Relatives and friends give flowers and put it beside the coffin. Foods like candies, juices, coffee, biscuits, and breads are usually distributed to the people who sympathize to them. At the time of the burial, the family, relatives and friends accompany the dead and burry it in the cemetery. I can say that living in a different kind of environment has a big influence on how I practice the elements of culture.