MAMANWA in the Philippines
The Little Mamanuas
The Oldest Living Populations In Surigao City
Mindanao is the second largest of the three islands in the Philippines. Unlike Luzon, Mindanao is not overcrowded and populated. There are still Virgin Islands and isolated areas in different parts of Mindanao.
Many people say that Mindanao is widely known as a sort of “rebel” and “war” between people living there especially muslims and MILF, it is actually a quite peaceful place with beautiful white beaches and natural virgin forests, unless you visit the isolated pockets of the island
where there are active insurgent groups, primarily Muslim and rebels. However, for the most people especially foreigners Mindanao is a nice place that is still close to nature,
somewhat unexplored, and many parts are sparsely inhabited.
I would like to introduce my hometown which is actually where I was born in, the SurigaoCity. Surigao is divided into Surigao del norte and del sur. I was born in Surigao del Norte which lies at the Northeastern side of Mindanao. You can travel to Visayas and Luzon through a ferry service in Lipata, SurigaoCity. Surigao del Norte is not visited by typhoons because it is outside the typhoon belt, unlike the other provinces facing the Pacific Ocean. But, the province still experiencing plenty of rainfall. Surigao Del Norte is considered by geologists as the most unstable zone in the whole world. My mother was originally from SurigaoCity so, when she got married luckily I became part of her hometown.
SURIGAO CITY- my hometown is the Gateway to Mindanao. It is the capital of Surigao del Norte and is part of the CARAGA region. It is a small developed city in the province. It is located at the north-eastern tip of Mindanao, and faces the Philippine Deep, deepest ocean in the world. Surigao City was once a municipality but became a city because of its fast development,
Today, SurigaoCity became a mining city because of some companies who discover its natural sources, producing ore and mainly nickel.
Surigao City celebrated annually the "Bonok Bonok Maradjao Karadjao Festival", held every 9th of September, in celebration of our fiesta day held every 10th of September. The main feature is the Bonok-Bonok, an ethnic Mamanua Dance performed by the natives during harvest time and wedding ceremonies. Every time fiesta is celebrated, I was really amazed of the beauty of our culture. The dance introduces the Mamanua’s rich culture of living. My uncle always wins in the said contest. The Mamanua of Surigao del Norte are among of the oldest living populations of the Philippines, older even than the popular designated Negritos. The Mamanua is also a Negrito tribe often grouped together with those Lumads. They produce genuine winnowing baskets, rattan hammocks, and other materials for households. If the Manobos are considered as the first people in Cantilan, the Mamanuas could also claim the same title. However, the difference between the two cultural tribes is that the Mamanuas are lesser in number and more scattered than the Manobos. They are a different breed of people in their looks and physical appearances compared to the living Manobos. Presently, there are still few Mamanuas who, on fiesta days, roam Cantilan streets ( I’ve been there in Cantilan when my friend invited me last year to her niece’s wedding ), Surigao City Streets and its barangays. In modern days, they are a vanishing tribe who could be traced only in the deep and distant mountains like the other tribes in the Philippines.
They had been rooted for centuries in the indigenous culture. They speak their own dialect. They do not go to schools to learn either Pilipino or English. Some old Mamanuas of today tell of their ancestors’ early habitats along river, seashores, islets and islands. They cannot pinpoint particular areas as their permanent place for they did not have any. They transfer from place to place and travel as far as they could by only walking. Today, you can find mamanuas in each town of Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur during fiesta in all barangays and cities. So, if you wanna see them personally take note all the dates of fiesta celebration in Surigao. Maybe you can visit one time in one of the cities. I recommend you to visit my hometown SurigaoCity because I have plenty to write about its many beautiful stories that people should explore and discover. See you there!