Region 10 thru the Golden Gateway

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Located four kilometers up Catarman town, this pool measures 25 meters by 40 meters. Its depth goes up to two meters deep of cold spring water sprouting from a sandy bottom. Picnic huts are available and one can ask some locals to cook your meal while you go for a refreshing swim.


Located five kilo­meters southeast of Mambajao, this waterfalls Irops 250 feet down to a pool surrounded by ground orchids, wild ferns,trees and boulders.Its cold water provides in ideal summer splash o bathers and picknick­ers.

How to get there

Take a public bus or van at Agora Terminal, Bgy. Lapasan in Cagayan de Oro for Balingoan, 88 km. away from the city.Travel time is about 2 hours. If taking a private vehicle, travel time may take only about 1.5 hours. At Balingoan, take a ferry bound for either port in Camiguin: Benoni port in Mahinog or Guinsiliban port. Ferry ride takes about 1 hour. Boat fare is about P110, one way.


Libertad Bajo, Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental
This 200-hectare park, a recipient of Galing Pook Award in 2005, serves as an aquacul- ture pro­duction center as weil as marine and wildlife sanctuary. It also has a Dolphin island, a rec­reational area off the mainland, where visitors can feed the dolphins, swim

with the turtles and fishes and go snorkeling at the Giant Clam Garden.

Other activities include diving anc kayaking. Scuba, kayak, snorkeling gea and a glass bottom boat are available for rent.There are also dining and ac­commodation facilities, and large meeting halls for meetings and seminars. For bookings: contact Janice Salvador at (0927) 2622756.
Of the regions in the Philippines, Mindanao has the most number of indigenous ethnolinguistic groups. There are about 30 or more of such communities distributed throughout the island including the outlier islands-Basilan and the Sulu archipelago.The indigenous communities are distinguished from the migrant lowland settlers, who originally came from other regions of the archipelago such as the Bisayans, Ilocanos,Tagalogs, etc., for they are called the Lumad (native) since their ancestors had lived in Mindanao from time immemorial. They had occupied their well­defined ancestral domains and maintained their cultural traditions, values, patterns and practices.

In order to understand the peopling of Mindanao, specifically north-central region, we have to trace back to where the indigenous peoples came from in the distant past. According to archaeological studies,there were several movements of human population that came through Mindanao.The earliest were the ancestors of the Aetas and Mamanua, who came around 30,000 years ago.This was followed by groups of Austronesian speakers, believed to have originally come from South China and moved down through the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, and reaching the shores of Mindanao on the southwestern region around 3,000 years ago. The earliest group of autronesian speakers that arrived was the Proto Manobo. Based on the linguistic studies of Richard Elkins,the Proto Manobo had the most variant speakers distributed throughout Mindanao and also the largest ethnolinguistic group.

It is believed that over time the Proto Manobo had dispersed throughout the island of Mindanao as they searched for resources and finally occupying different ecolo-­

gical zones-coastal, riverine, valley, and montane.The groups that went northward

(northern variant) reached the Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, and Camiguin. They inhabited the mountains and plains of Bukidnon, and the coastal areas of Misamis Oriental and Camiguin. Today, they are known by different ethnic identity, but speaking the binukid language, namely the Higaonon who are living in the highlands of northern

Bukidnon,Misamis Oriental, and Camiguin; theTalaandig are found in the municipalities of Lantapan and Talakag, Bukidnon. Other binukid speakers are also found in Agu­san

del Sur ( Esperanza, Las Nieves, San Luis [Banwaon]) and in the boundary of Agusan

deI Sur and Bukidnon, specifically along the Umayam River.The sub-variant western Ma

nobo peakers-Matigsalug,Tigwa, and Pulanginon,-are inhabiting along the SaIug,Tigwa, and Pulangi Rivers, respectively, and scattered throughout the municipali­ties in southern Bukidnon.

The speech patterns of these ethnic groups are variants or sub-languages of the

Manobo linguistic stock.They share many common word cognates and thus could inte-

lligibly understand each other. However, there are many terms/words that vary among their speech patterns in the vocabulary and intonations. Linguistics attribute this to the length of time of separation wherein they developed their own language gloss as they adapted to their particular environment and interacted with other ethnic groups including the lowland migrant settlers.

Culturally, these indigenous communities in north-central Mindanao share many commonalities in their subsistence patterns, social organization, political system, reli­gion and belief system, and the aesthetic preferences. However, many of these groups attempt to claim their own ethnic and tribal identity based on the nature of ecologi­cal zone and the name of the natural feature such as rivers or plateau, valley, etc. Each of these groups has its own history of origin, where they came from, but they share a common story-the epic of Aggio found in the Ulaging of the Talaandig and Higaonon and Ulahingan of the Manobo.This appears to be indicative of a common origin. More­over, each ethnic group developed over time their own unique ways different from their other "relatives; which may be functional to a particular group, but no longer worked for the others.

Today,there are supposedly seven "tribes"in north-central Mindanao-- Talaandig, Higaonon, Bukidnon, Matigsalug,Tigwahanon, Umayamnon,and Pulangihon-who were derived from the Proto-Manobo ancestors.

The North-Central Mindanao Indigenous Communities: Brief Cultural Description.
Higaonon. This group originally inhabited the coastal area of Misamis Orien­tal and Lanao del Norte. In the past they were engaged in fishing and horticulture (kaingin).When the Spanish established their hold of Misamis Ooriental, many were converted by the missionaries (Recollects and Jesuits) and became Christianized. However, many also left the coast and moved up to the mountains/uplands of Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon because of their dislike of the Spanish occupation and the com­ing of the Dumagats from other parts of the archipelago.The people were thus named Higaonon because they came up from the coast (naghigad). Today, Higaonon commu­nities are distributed in the uplands of Misamis Oriental (from Magsaysay up to Lanao del Norte) and northern Bukidnon.

Talaandig/Bukidnon. The Talaandig/Bukidnon (people of the slope) communi­ties are distributed in southwestern part of Bukidnon, particularly the municipalities of Lantapan and Talakag, which are on the foothills of Mt. Kitanglad. The Talaandig used to occupy the plateaus of Bukidnon but retreated to the uplands of Mt. Kitanglad upon the exploitation of the plateau by the Spanish government for agriculture and ranch­ing. But there were also many who were converted by the Spanish missionaries who went up to Bukidnon to convert the natives.The Christianized communities became the bulk of the population until the coming of the migrant settlers in the early 1900s.

Umayamnon. This ethnic community is a sub-group of the eastern Manobo speakers who inhabit along the Umayam River, a tributary of the Pulangi and links with the Agusan River. Their community is within the political jurisdiction of the municipality of Cabanglasan, which borders on to Agusan del Sur Province.

Matigsalug. The Matigsalug are a sub-group of the western Manobo speak­ers who are distributed along the Salug River, a tributary of the Pulangi River. They are mostly confined in the municipalities of San Fernando and Kitaotao, Bukidnon and spread up to Marilog district of Davao City.

Tigwahanon. The Tigwahanon are also western Manobo speakers like the Matigsalug, except that they lived along the Tigwa river, another tributary of the Pulangi River in the municipality of Valencia and northern part of San Fernando.

Pulanginon. This ethnic community also belongs to the western Manobo speak­ers who lived along the Pulangi River and Plateau in southern Bukidnon. They are largely distributed in the municipalities of Maramag, Quezon, Kadingilan, Pangantucan, Dangcagan,Kibawe,and Damulog.

The cultures of these ethnic communities have similarities and differences. The similarities can be found in their way of production in the past and still is practiced by some of these groups who opted the traditional farming pattern, which is swidden cultivation/farming.They all used to hunt wild animals and fish in the rivers and forage the forest for edible plant foods.Today, many of these communities are engaged in lowland farming using the draft animals and planting lowland crops. Hunting and foraging is no longer a part of their lifestyle since they are now into domesticating animals.

Practices and Beliefs

Marriage practices among these groups also have similarities in the past. Generally the marriage pattern was by arrangement (buya) between two families even when the prospective groom and bride were still children. The groom's family was expected to prepare the bride­-price/wealth to be given to the bride's family during the betrothal. Among some of these communities such as the Higaonon and Talaandig, before the wedding takes place,there was haggling or bargaining of bridewealth (carabao, money, sacks of rice, etc) between the relatives of the couple until such agreement was reached.The ceremony was always officiated by the chieftain (datu) or shaman (baylan), which was done by the couple feeding each other with a ball of rice, signifying union. Among all of these communities, feasting would follow. After the sacrife wedding, the new couple would reside with the bride's parents (matrilocal) or with the groom's family (patrilo­cal) for a year or so until they are able to build their own residence.Today, many of the young people from these communities follow the lowland ways of getting married, that is selecting their spouse and married in the church, although some of the commu­nities still adhere to the traditional ways.

Polygyny (having more than one wife) or duay used to be practiced by those who could afford to support more than wife. Sometimes a wife may encourage a husband to get another wife to help her with the house and farm chores.The wife selects the woman for the husband and would help her husband in obtaining brideprice to be given to the family of the woman.The second wife lives in the same household with the first wife as the manager. Since many of the indigenous communities had been Christianized and educated, the duay system is hardly practiced, except for the older generation.

In the past these indigenous groups were animists who believed in nature spirits called diwata. They were perceived to dwell in different places such as the forest, mountains, rivers, trees, soil, and the sky. Their supreme deity was Magbabaya (Hi­gaonon and Talaandig) and Manama (Matigsalug and Tigwa) and the diwatas were his aides and guardians of the environment.These diwatas were believed to impose taboos on the people and should be careful not to breach them.They had to perform a ritual by offering a sacrifice (chicken or pig) to appease a diwata whose taboos were violated lest he would become sick. Thanksgiving is celebrated through the Kaamulan of the Higaonon and the Talaandig or the Kahimunan of the Manobo when someone becomes well from illness, or when giving thanks for post-conflict victory.The Baylan ((shaman), who served as a medium between the diwatas and the people, performed most of the rituals for different occasions-during illness, planting and harvest, hunt­ing and fishing, and settlement of conflict.

Today, many indigenous communities have been converted to different Christian

faiths and had abandoned their indigenous religion.The baylan has lost her/his function in the community and as the repository of traditional knowledge. However, there are still some members of these communities who persisted to follow their indigenous beliefs and practices or even when they are Christians they continued to believe in their traditional religion and blended or syncretized the two belief systems.

Political Hierarchy

These indigenous communities have their own way of governance, which is under the leadership of the Datu or Igbuyag (Matigsalug) and recognized by the Philipine government. In the past, the power of a Datu was encompassing for he served many functions: chief warrior, arbitrator/settler of intratribal conflict; he was assisted and guided by the council of elders. Under the Datu were his warriors called Bagani by the Manobo groups and Alimaong by the Talaandig and Higaonon.These warriors were believed to be protected by their own patron diwatas during warfare.

The Datu's leadership and authority today is mostly confined within his ancestral domain and his function is respected by the Philippine authority.The political structure had changed in that the warriors no longer exist, except in one Talaandig community of Sungco. The Datu and his council of elders are allowed to exercise their customary laws over concerns of their community. The Indigenous People's Rights Act (IPRA) has mandated for the indigenous communities to have rights to their ancestral domain, some of which have already been titled.
Arts and Crafts

The arts and crafts of these communities show some comparable similarities espe­cially in the woven crafts made into baskets, containers for different kinds of foodstuff. These are usually made of bamboo, rattan and tikos vine. In the past, they used to make their own tools for cutting, weeding, and for warfare; they had the knowledge of blacksmithing.The easy access to obtain blade implements in the market led to the stoppage of the practice of iron smithing.

Weaving is still practiced in these communities, done mostly by women, using

hemp/abaca fiber made into material purposely to make bags like the kamuyot of the

Talaandig and Higaonon. It is believed though that they had cotton veaving in the distant past but was not preserved by the succeeding generation of women. The Matigsalug Manobo of upper Kalagan­gan, San Fernando composed of Simsimon, Dapiluan, and Maluna­say settlements, still possess the knowledge of cotton weaving and preserved by the old women. It is imperative that this indigenous knowledge be transferred to the younger women for continuity of cultural heritage. Bead making is a common livelihood occupation among the women for they can sell these during the Kaamulan festival or during town fiesta.

Music and Dances

These ethnic communities have different musical instruments. The Higaonon and

Talaandig share common types of instruments, such as the kubing, saluray, kudlong,

agong, and gimba, which also are found among the Manobo groups. However, the

Matigsalug Manobo has a unique instrument, the bangkakaw, which is a hollowed log

slightly suspended on two wooden poles and pounded by players using the butt end of the poles to make a drum-like sound while men and women dance to the tune.

The communities have dances, though some differ from each other, yet there are similarities in others. Most of their dances depict occupational activities such as planting and harvesting, hunting, fishing or foraging; imitation of deni­zens in the forest, like the monkeys, frogs, birds, etc.; and cul­tural events such as warfare, marriage, religious beliefs. The Higaonon and Talaandig are famous for their dance called dugso, which is

associated with farming and danced only by the women. The Manobo groups, on the other hand, a couple-man and woman- sing and dance together, with the man playing the kudlong while the woman dances and sings to the tune of the kudlong.

These communities have preserved some of theiroral traditions, which are recited through chanting-olaging in the Talaandig and Higaonon, and ulahing among the Manobo. Men and women in these communities sing the limbay (lullaby) to their children; and the young men would sing the bayok (courtship song) to a young woman, the object of his admiration.The dasang (de­bate), which is recited by two men composing the issue to be debated upon is strong popular among some Higaonon groups, but no longer practiced by other Bukidnon and Manobo groups.

Fuerte de la Conception y del Triunfo
This solid, rectangular fort, popularly known as "Triunfo"fort was built in 1756. It formed part of a network of fortifications in Mindanao, particularly, in Iligan, Cagayan, Tandag and Zamboanga.

The fort was constructed upon an elevated platform strategically located at the mouth of Panguil Bay. It was planned and constructed by Fr. Joseph Ducos,S.J.and Fr. Paver. Fr. Ducos was a Jesuit missionary who also had the title of Captain General as the leader of an armada that patrolled the Mindanao Sea against Muslim pirates. In one of the sea battles, Fr. Ducos lost one eye. He is the same man who had led the people of Iligan in a successful defense of their town against a Muslim raid.

The fort's name "Conception"referred to Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception while the "Triunfo"was in honor of Father Du­cos's flagship in the armada, a galley called "Triunfo."

This fort, as in other forts, was a key instrument in the establishment of Christianity in the islands of the Philippines, from Luzon to Mindanao.

The Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of the immaculate Conception is the Patroness both of the fort and of the town of Misamis.

Her image on the wall continues to be a vener­ated shrine to which many people make a pilgrimage on July 16, to honor her as Virgin del Triunfo" or"Vir­gin sa Cota"(the"Virgin of t he fort").

In Spain, it is said that this date also marks the special commemoration of the "Triumph"of the Cross" in the Battle of Las Navas deTolosa of 1212, when the united Chris­tian armies under the command of king (later Saint) Fernando of Castille defeated the Moors and drove them out of Anda­lucia, with only Granada remaining in Moorish hands.

Its significance to the Culture History of Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao
Mindanao Island has a place of importance in Philippine culture history for it served as a corridor for the early human populations in their movement from mainland Asia via a land bridge about 30,000 years ago. Over time later different human groups followed and occupied different ecological niches in the archipelago.The vestiges of their culture were imprinted on their material things (artifacts) interred in caves, or left embed­ded in ruined settlements and abandoned by time.

Archaeological sites,where past material culture are found,have been discovered in different regions of the Philippines including Mindanao, a few of which were investigated by the National Museum of the Philippines, but many of these sites were disturbed and destroyed by treasure seekers in search of Yamashita's gold. The de­struction of the sites has negative implication-the loss of the local cultural heritage of the region, which is the hubris of the country's patrimony.

Discovery of the Huluga Site Complex

In 1969, a resident of sitio Tagwanao, Pedrito Baccaro reported to Fr. Francisco R.Demetrio, S.J. of Xavier University about a cave, which he found on the cliff of a prom­ontory about 100 feet above the waters of Cagayan River. He showed some of the arti­facts from the cave and showed him the location. Fr. Demetrio, who had just opened a small museum, reported the site to the National Museum in Manila. The latter sent two archaeologists in 1971 to investigate the caves in the Himologan or Huluga vicinity and also conducted reconnaissance survey of other sites around the area.

The cave, which was of limestone material, when initially surveyed by the archaeol­ogists revealed physical human remains (parts of a skeleton) such as the cranium and pieces of bone fragments from the upper and lower extremities. Associated with these remains were funerary goods, which included broken pieces of pottery, small stone adze, and shell ornament (armlet).The cave, apparently, was used as a burial place. About 100 meters away from the cave, part of the promontory lies the open site, which the archaeologists also investigated.The site was littered with potsherds and obsidian (volcanic glass) flakes and chips, and shards of porcelain. The presence of such material culture was indicative of human activities, i.e., people must have settled and inhabited the area.

In the summer of 1975, Fr. Demetrio had invited the writer, an archaeologist, to train some students of Xavier University who had organized an archaeological society, in field archaeology. Pedrito Baccaro reported another burial in the Huluga cliff a few meters away from the main cave. It was more of a hole on the cliff which contained skeletal remains (skull, arm and leg bones and some ribs) in association with funerary goods such as a small broken pot, polished stone adze, tip of iron implement (knife or spear), shell ornaments, and a few carnelian beads. In 1977, a small bone sample was sent to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at La Jolla, California to be dated through the amino acid racemization calibration to determine when the person had Iived.The result gave a date of 1,600 B.P. (Before the Present).

Included in the training was the exploratory excavation in the open site.Trenches and pits were layed out to determine deposition of material culture and also the horizon levels of occupation. Surface materials were systematically collected according to qua- drant (eg. NW, NE), which included potsherds, obsidian flakes, chert flakes, and porcelain shards.The open site was badly disturbed since it had been used as a farm and had been plowed many times over. Therefore, it was impossible to determine the stratification of occupation.

The presence of obsidian (volcanic glass) flakes/chips, some of which were worked, is an interesting phenomenon for northern Mindanao archaeology because it is only in Cagayan de Oro sites where obsidian had been found. Although volcanic activi-ties were quite obvious to have taken in these parts many thousands of years ago, it needs further intensive study to locate the source or provenance,which could be outside of Mindanao or the Philippines.

There had been further archaeological reconnaissance surveys conducted by the National Museum archaeologists around Cagayan de Oro City area and vicinities, specifically along the Cagayan River and plateaus in the 1980s, which revealed several archaeological sites, some of them were rockshelters and burials. Unfortunately, many of these have been destroyed by road construction, putting up housing subdivisions and other infrastructures, and by treasure hunters.

In 2003,the City of Cagayan de Oro constructed a road from Macasandig up to Tagwanao cutting the open site into half and built a bridge over Cagayan River con­necting to Barangay Balulang. While shifting through the debris of dirt, a member of the Heritage Conservation Advocate found a segment of a metal harpoon (iron) and a Spanish coin minted between 1788 and 1808 during the reign of Charles the 4th the king of Spain.

On the lower western slope of the open site lies the kitchen midden (garbage pile) where a good number of pottery shards with various designs and animals bones, both domesticated and feral, were uncovered. Different species of mollusks were also as­sociated.The contents of the midden gave good information on the diet of the people. It is unfortunate, though, that the construction has destroyed the open site and the material culture therein.

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