Minan Tetina

Minan Tetina is a relative from my paternal grandmother's side. She was the daughter of a Babaylan and became one after her mother's demise. These were the last memories I have of her.

Tagbanua Word of The Day:

      Minan/Menan= Aunt

The Tagbanua Tribe

Posting some of the images from the Kabaraan 2011. As posted from before, the tribe celebrates various festivals and the Kabaraan, the Babalyan's year-end festivity, is one of these celebrations.  The songs and dances of the Tagbanua are distinct from other tribes and minority groups in the Philippines. The beat and rhythm sets it apart from other Indigenous Peoples dances.

The Tagbanua

A Tagbanua from Gogognan, Aborlan. The Tagbanwa have different subcultures depending on the place that they originated from. People from Gogognan are known to be serious, but jovial if the situation needs be.


The Tagbanua

An Article about  the Tagbanua by Fe Tria Fernandez.


The Tagbanuas are original race of people inhabiting Palawan. They are by far the most numerous of the ethnic groups that inhabited Palawan during the pre-Hispanic times. They are the most cultured of the original people because they have an alphabet of their own.

Tagbanua music basically makes use of three kinds of musical instrument. Agong is a brass instrument 1½ feet in diameter with a fist-sized node at the center. It is played by beating the node with a stick wrapped with strips of cloth.

Babandil, another kind of musical instrument, is similar to the agong but only about four inches in depth. It is played with the use of the beater made of soft wood. The sound is mellower than the gong.

The third kind of musical instrument is the gimbal similar to the snare drum. It is a hollow wood 1½ feet tall, five to 10 inches in diameter and covered at one end with dried goat-skin. It is played by tapping the four fingers together alternately. In some instances, a pair of bamboo sticks 10 inches long and one inch wide is used alternately.

These instruments provide the rhythm for the dance. They are also played for song accompaniment.

There are two kinds of Tagbanua songs — the oiman or ballad and the dagoy or love songs.

The general term for a dance is kendar. There are different kinds of dances for every occasion. They perform occupational dances which are interpretative -- pulling up the camote vines, digging the roots, and putting the roots in the basket over the shoulder.

Pagdiwata, a ceremonial dance of the Tagbanua is a religious rite of the native — either of thanksgiving or of healing sick people. This has been adapted by the Bayanihan Dance Troupe for stage performances and has been popularized not only here in the Philippines but also overseas.

The ronsay is another ritual performed during the full moon of December as a thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest and led by the head of the tribe or barangay captain. This ritual is performed at the seaside because at the climax of the dance, the leader, followed by other participants, offer a white chicken and rice to the diwata. Tobacco wrapped in nipa leaves are also included. After these have been collected, they are placed on a small raft and pushed out to sea. The dance festival continues until dawn.

The Tagbanua

Here is a short description of the Tagbanua taken from the Palawan website.


Tagbanua tribes are found in central and northern Palawan. They practice shifting cultivation of upland rice, which is considered a divine gift, and are known for their rice wine ritual called Pagdiwata. The Tagbanua belong to the large Manobo-based linguistic groups of the southern Philippines. Their original homes were located in the interior regions of South Apuruan on the West Coast and south of Abo-Abo on the East Coast.

Tagbanua is a contraction of the words taga which means inhabitant and banua which refers to village or town. Its ethnic meaning denotes a group of people whose abode were the coastal plains of central Palawan and the Calamianes group of islands that include the towns of Coron and Busuanga .

Believed to be a highly developed group, the Tagbanuas have their own religion, philosophy, dialect, system of writing and socio-political organization maintained by a complex system of laws. The Tagbanuas have four prominent and equally important rituals which correspond to the four units of their society: the Pagdiwata (the relatives or affairs of the clan), Bilang (family), Lambay (the community or village, basically a homage to nature gods) and Runsay (the supernatural).

The influx of Christian settlers all over the province triggered the movement of the Tagbanua and other cultural minorities into the hinterlands. Other groups had to cross rugged mountains and find shelter in the west coast. The Tagbanuas can be found in northeastern and southern barangays of Puerto Princesa City. Some also settled in southern municipalities like Aborlan, Narra and Quezon. While some are in the Calamianes islands in the north.

There are two types of Tagbanuas, those living in the east and those residing in the west coasts of Puerto Princesa City. The west includes Napsan, Apurawan, Bualbualan, Lamani Berong and the town of Quezon. This group asserts that their forefathers came from Sitio Iratag, Barangay Irawan, Puerto Princesa City.

The Tagbanuas of the east live in Bacungan, Bahile, Maruyogon, Manalo, San Rafael, Langogan and other barrios in northeastern Puerto Princesa and those living in the towns of Aborlan and Narra. The Tagbanua of the east honors the Masicampo of Aborlan as their tribal chief, even though every community maintains autonomy of its government. It is said that the original abode of the Masicampo was in Barangay Inagawan, part of Puerto Princesa City before transferring to Aborlan during the American regime. The Tagbanua of Aborlan have the privilege of being looked upon by the rest of the Tagbanua of Palawan because the town has been the seat of the tribe’s political organization.

In the past, a large number of the Tagbanua embraced the Muslim faith because the Tagbanua of Aborlan controlled the whole Tagbanua society for several decades while under the protectorate of the Sultanate of Sulu. Despite the Islamization of many Tagbanua especially those in the east coast, the Tagbanua of the west was able to preserve their traditions and customs because they experienced less intrusion from the world outside their domain.

The Tagbanua

Life is hard for the Tagbanua. Majority of the tribe members engage in slash-and-burn farming on the boondocks. The Tagbanua in Bubusawen, Apurawan work as fishermen half of the year and as farmers the rest of the year.  

The Tagbanua

Sardines and cigarettes.
I heard from people of old that they lost their ancestral lands from the 'diwan' who traded it for sardines and cigarettes. The root then was ignorance and poverty. As I see it, if they'd been prudent and wise, a lot of the tribe members would still be living on the valleys. There is a cycle then. Will everything turn around for good?


Indigenous People Of Palawan

This is an image of a Palawano woman from Aramaywan in the municipality of Narra, Palawan. The tribe members are basically farmers with but a few earning a livelihood as fishermen or laborers.


The Tagbanwa Musical Instruments

an elderly member of the tribe playing the Babandil

Babandil and Gimbal

Gimbal. A wooden drum made of monitor lizard's hide

Here are some of the musical instruments used during Tagbanua festivals. I will post some more soon. Thanks for the visit!


The Tagbanwa: Kabaraan 2009

It has been a while since I posted here. Anyway, Happy New Year, Y'all:-)) Just a glimpse of what transpired from last year's Kabaraan held in Aborlan Plaza. Will post some more photos and videos soon.

Thanks for the visit!


The Tagbanua Festivals: Kabaraan

The Kabaraan is the year-end festivity celebrated by the Tagbanua tribe. With dances, songs and Tabad drinking (rice wine), this is one of the many festivals of the Tagbanua. Posted here are the videos from last year's Kabaraan in Baranggay Sagpangan, Aborlan Palawan. On December 23, 2009, the Kabaraan will be celebrated at the Aborlan Town Plaza.


The Tagbanua: Babaylan

The Tagbanua tribe believes in animism. The Babaylan, or priestess, serves as the medium for the spirits. This is the 101-year old Babaylan in Aborlan, Palawan. Such a sweet lady.


The Tagbanua: Masicampo Ruben C. Joya

Masicampo Ruben C. Joya, the 18th annointed Tagbanua Masicampo, giving his speech about the vanishing "adat" or traditions of the tribe. Over the years, the influence of the outside world on the beliefs of the tribe molded a different breed and generation of Tagbanua. The speech basically exhorts the old tribal members to teach their children and the younger generation about the culture and traditions of Tagbanua.


The Tagbanua

This is the blog to chronicle the plight of the Tagbanua tribe in the Philippine archipelago. Lambos Camo!