Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Lumad’s Struggle in the Face of Globalization

Books of Note / March 2002

The Lumad’s Struggle in the Face of Globalization
Karl M. Gaspar, C.Ss.R.
Davao City / Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao / 2000

by Ishii Masako

Lumad is the local term used to refer to indigenous ethno-linguistic groups in the Philippines who were neither Christianized nor Islamized. Karl Gaspar’s book, which was published at the turn of this century, starts with the question, “What might this millennium bring to the lumad?” As the reader is led through their historical struggle since the turn of the last century, she may come to share the author’s anxiety over the daunting challenge facing the lumad in preventing the withering away of their cultures.

The book is a collection of three essays which originated as papers written for the author’s doctoral thesis at the University of the Philippines. Essay One sets out the historical impact of colonialism, neo-colonialism, and globalization. The area of inquiry includes how indigenous peoples’ mode of production was affected by the exogenous concept of land ownership and control, trade and commerce of unequal exchange, and the development of primary industries. In the second essay, the author explores the lumad’s concept of land use and analyzes how and why it is incompatible with national land laws. Since Philippine land law does not recognize the validity of customary land use, he argues, indigenous peoples are disenfranchised in their own ancestral domain. Essay Three looks into changes in the social fabric, focusing especially on the leadership structure called the datu (or timuay) system. Through the cases of two indigenous peoples of Mindanao, the Manobos and the Subanens, the essay shows that newly emerging leaders from non-datu families are expected to have more negotiating power in Philippine lowland society than the traditional leadership.

What is unique about this book is that it contains many case studies of indigenous groups across the Philippines. Though much of the data derives from secondary sources, no other book has presented such a comprehensive overview of the different groups. For those interested in expanding their knowledge of Philippine indigenous peoples in general, this is the book to start with. Another characteristic is that the author highlights cases in which lumad actually resist the asymmetrical forces of globalization. This may be because the author is not only a researcher but also a practitioner committed to working to improve the lives of indigenous peoples, especially the Manobos and Subanens.

Over all, this book is rich in information on Philippine lumad, ranging from community-level data to the institutional development of the Philippine nation-state vis-à-vis indigenous peoples. Less well analyzed, however, is the structural dimension of globalization. By focusing primarily on similarities in lumad struggles in the face of globalization, the reader is left to wonder how these similar experiences have been created, given the communities’ diverse geographical settings and the different time frames of the penetration of globalization. Also, the author treats globalization as a stage in the linear development of capitalism, following from colonialism and neo-colonialism, but does not examine the differences between them. Nevertheless, this book is a valuable contribution to the scarce literature on indigenous peoples in the Philippines, as well as to the understanding of the lumad’s dynamic struggle in this century.

The author is an assistant professor at The Japan Center for Area Studies, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Speech of a Subanen Child named Jope M. Galleto

Mabuhay ang Kabataan, Mabuhay ang Kinaiyahan
Speech of a Subanen Child named Jope M. Galleto during the
Earth Day Celebration in Ozamiz City Cotta Square.

Gampyak Sisalam dal yu rin! Maayong buntag sa tanan!

Isip usa ka bata nga nagtubo ug naningkamot pag-amping sa
atong kinaiyahan resulta bya kini sa sayo nako nga pagkaamgo
sa kabililhon niini. Sayod kita nga nag-antos kita sa kanihit
sa tubig nga kaniadto abunda kita niini. Looy lang ko sa akong
mga masig kabata nga sa sayo sa buntag nagpas-an na og gallon
nga may sulod tubig. Kon padayon ang atong mga sitwason
nabalaka ko nga moabot ang panahon nga walay nay tubig ang
atong atabay kung padayon ang atong mga ginikanan sa walay
pagpakabana busa akong hagiton ang namunuan sa barangay,
lungsod ug probinsya nga magtinabangay kita sa pag-amping
sa kinaiyahan. Kay kung dili kita kinsa pa man, kay kun dili
karon, kanus-a pa man. Ang kalibutan himalatyon na,
apan ang katawhan wala gayod nabalaka. Daghang salamat

Akong usbon, Maayong Buntag.

Subanen Food Offering


Updated May 29, 2008

Brief History

Dipolog started as a tribal settlement of Subanos or river people who were part of the second wave of Malay migration to the Philippines. In 1834, when a civil government was established by the Spanish Provincial Government of Misamis under which Dipolog as a town belong, a Spanish Recollect Missionary arrived in the town and upon meeting a native asked, "Donde esta el Capitan? The native understanding only the word "Capitan", pointed to the West and said in Subano word: DI…PAG" meaning across the river. The Padre guided by his muchacho went to the place pointed by the native and named it DIPAG. Through the years, this was corrupted by mispronunciation and the intermingling of Visayan and Subano words into what it is today…………..DIPOLOG.

Dipolog was declared as a municipality on July 1, 1913 by then Governor Mindanao, General john J. Pershing and became a full pledged City on January 1, 1970 after President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed Rep. Act No. 5520 into law on June 21, 1969.

The warm hospitality of the Dipolognons is recognized throughout thus, the official name, "ORCHID CITY", the symbol of achievement and magnetic beauty that compels people to flock to it. Moreover, Dipolognons are also famous for their artistic talents, deep religiosity, and easygoing nature.


Dipolog City is the capital of the Province of Zamboanga del Norte and it is situated in the northwestern part of the province. It is facing Cebu and Negros provinces and sits of the tip of Western Mindanao and is known as the "Gateway to Western Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula". Dipolog has an area of (13,598) 24,113 hectares mostly rolling hills with wide lowlands along its western coast facing Sulu Sea. It is composed of 21 barangays. Income classification is 2nd class.

Land Use:

Agriculture 9,787.0375

Forest land 676.0000 has.

Shrub land 329.8735 has.

Residential 1,920.0000 has.

Commercial 225.0000 has.

Institutional 165.5200 has.

Industrial 200.0000 has.

Parks & Recreation 56.6300 has.

Transport & Utility Zone 69.2200 has.

Planned Unit Development 15.0000 has.

Open Spaces (thoroughfares) 153.7190 has.

Climate / Topography

Dipolog has a mild and moderate climate where rainfall is more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. It has a distinct dry and rainy season. The dry season begins from February to April and the Wet season starts from June to January. The hottest month is April at 30 degree Celsius and the coolest month is December at 19 degree Celsius. The prevailing wind is northeast. Wind with velocity of 2 degrees and 7% exposure to typhoon. Mean temperature is 26.68 degrees Celsius.

Population / Languages & Dialects

The city has over 100,000 residents (108,570 as of 2002 projected) speaking mainly Cebuano/Visayan. English and Filipino (Tagalog) are also widely spoken. The original Subanon dialect is used in the highlands. Population density is 8 persons/hectare.

Religious Sects

Roman Catholic has the highest number of followers, which accounts 95% of the population. The remaining 5% comprise Christians of different denominations.

Ethnic Groups

The inhabitants of Dipolog are mostly migrants from Visayas, particularly from the Provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental, Bohol, Siquijor, Leyte and Samar. There are few Ilonggos, Tausug and Pampagueños in the city. A significant number of Chinese also reside in the city. People from highland/tribal community are mostly Subanens.

Major Industries
Dipolog is basically an agricultural city. A few of its large agro-industrial establishments deal I rice and corn, fish, livestock and processing plants.

A great majority of the small manufacturing establishments are also agro-industrial such as saw mills, bakeries as well as small and medium scale cottage industry. NACIDA cottage industries activities involve metal craft, woodcraft, rattan craft, ceramic and food processing.

Major products are coconut, rice, corn, fish, and sardines in oil. Major source of livelihood are construction, fishing, agriculture and services.

Social and Health Facilities

Social & Health Indicators

Literacy Rate 99.00%

Mortality Rate 5.8

Morbidity Rate 158.

Infant Mortality 14.0

Maternal Mortality Rate 0.0

Crude Birth Rate 26.2

Crude Death Rate 5.85

No. and Percentage of malnourished children (0 preschoolers)

Mild 4,431 23.64%

Moderate 510 2.72%

Severe 48 0.26%

Flora Gemelina, Mahogany, Teakwood, Acacia,
Narra, Ipil-Ipil, Molave, Herbs & Shrubs
Fauna Livestock, Hogs, Dogs, Horses, Cats, Birds
Revenue / Income

Tax Revenue Php 174,766,160.85
Operating & Miscellaneous Revenue 9,826,728.92
Economic Enterprise Operation 18,743,252.09


Hon. EVELYN T. UY City Mayor

Hon. SENEN O. ANGELES City Vice Mayor


Hon. Peter Y. Co

Hon. Horacio B. Velasco

Hon. Raul C. Barbaso

Hon. Marvelita N. Pinsoy

Hon. Dante G. Bagarinao

Hon. Julius C. Napigquit

Hon. James P. Verduguez

Hon. Romulo P. Soliva

Hon. Praxides P. Rubia

Hon. Kenny Val U. Ong

Hon. Janus Yu - ABC President

Hon. Soliva - SK President

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dowry bride price DOES exist here!

I hate to disagree with all the "experts" here but bridal dowry does
exist among certain cultural groups here. This almost entirely
happens in Mindanao among the Muslims and several of the indigenous
groups who have lived in close association with the Muslims for the
last 400 years.

My wife is pure blood Subanen, one of these cultural groups. When she
was 18, a Muslim business associate of her family asked for her as
wife. The family didn’t like the idea so specified a dowry of 3 kg of
gold, 50 sacks of rice, a breeding pair of cows and 20 hectares of
coco land. The prospective groom thanked them for politely
considering him but his family declined. When I asked, the price was
given as PhP500,000 because she is beautiful and college educated. It
was agreed that PhP496,000 was to be given to her as wedding gifts
which she then returned to me. In the community the family was thus
covered in glory for getting such a price and for being able to set up
their daughter so well and she is so respected she is often addressed
as "Ate", unusual for a woman under 30.

A Muslim friend of one of my sisters-in-law was recently married with
a dowry of PhP500,000 which was paid in full. The high price was
based on her being college educated with a good job.

In other cases, the price is deeply discounted but never ignored
completely. My wife’s older sister was already pregnant and her
husband to be was an orphan who already supported some of his
siblings. Her dowry was discounted down to PhP127, the family’s
"lucky" number.

Among the Subanen, disputes are settled by a "Thimuai" or judge,
selected by the elders and holding the position for life or until
voluntary retirement. My wife’s father is a Thimuai and he says he
has often been asked to formally discount a dowry when the groom is
unable to pay. This preserves the dignity and pride of the bride’s
family while permitting "love" matches.

John in Valencia, N.O.

Pangasi: Subanen Sacred Drink

Friday, February 22, 2008


The most colorful and expensive of the Subanen celebrations is the buklog(Subanens pronounce it as gbecklug), a rite observed after a happy event, such as good harvest. Up to the 1950’s, many buklogs were held, sponsored by rich families or those with the largest landholdings. However, as the traditional Subanen chieftains began to become impoverished, having sold or lost their lands to the migrants, or have them divided by many heirs, buklogs are held occasionally. Nowadays, even in such Subanen bastions as Lapuyan, buklogs are held only during very special events, like the visits of VIP’s or politicians, and the activities are now limited to the ceremonial or merry – making aspects, minus the sumptuous feast and drinking.

In the early days, when a powerful Subanen hosted a buklog, there was along preparation to raise and fatten pigs, cows, carabaos and chicken. Other renowned and rich Subanen and relatives from afar were also invited.

An open rectangular stage, called a buklog, is constructed with round timbers, about five fathoms in diameter. It has split bamboo flooring supported by timbers which are chosen for their pliability. Beneath the center of the floor is a big pole which is positioned to pass through a hole carved on a rounded piece of log. Dancers, both men, women and children take turns in going up to the buklog to dance. They jump and dance in unison, so that their combined weight would move the stage downward, resulting in the pole striking the hollowed log, thus producing rhythmic sounds which reverberate even to the distant hills. Each sound is accompanied by joyful, synchronized shouts from the participants. The dancing lasts up to the wee hours of the morning. A sumptuous feast is served to everybody around the clock. Adult males and even some women sit on the floor of the house in a circle, at the middle of which is an expensive porcelain jar, filled with basi wine, made from fermented rice. Only one bamboo straw is used for drinking, which is passed around. Sumptuous foods are eaten without let up.

During fiestas and other festivities, such dances as the sothalek and mangalay with all their intricate movements are also performed. Women, carrying palm fronds and men, carrying wooden shields and lances, gracefully strut, advance or sidle up in measured steps.

In the past, Subanen chieftains practiced polygamy. The number of wives depended on the chieftains’s wealth or influence.