I recently saw these handicrafts at Glorietta in Makati. I didn't have a decent camera phone then so I asked my sister to shoot the images above. Mangyan crafts are so cool.
Here are the reasons why...
The Mangyan, is a collective referral to a Philippine ethnic group living on Mindoro island. There are also some of them living in Sibuyan and Tablas in Romblon and also in Palawan, Albay, and Negros. The tribes of the north are named by social scientists as the Alangan, Iraya, and Tadyawan while those from the south are the Bangon Batangon, Buhid, and the Hanunuo Mangyan tribes.
While these peoples are collectively referred to as Mangyan, they differ hugely in terms of their culture. The tribes from the south are known to be experts weavers and potters. They even have their own system of writing. Those from the North live more simply.
The Spaniards were able to document, as early as the 16th century, that Mangyan tribes were already in existence, of course, it is believed that the Southern tribes arrived way earlier than this period. The Mangyans are also believed to be the first to trade with the Chinese among all Filipino tribes.
The Mangyan tribes have a rich heritage of the pre-colonial Philippine arts and crafts. Ambahan is a Mangyan rhythmic poem expressed with a seven-syllable meter. This is chanted or recited. A variation of the Ambahan is the Urukay which makes use of eight syllables instead of seven. Most of the original Mangyan scripts were copied from bamboo shoots.
While Baybayin became obsolete when the Spaniards introduced their own writing system, in Mindoro, the Hnunoo Mangyans and the Buhid tribes still practiced their own writing system. The National Museum cited this as a surviving system that is considered a National Cultural Treasure. The UNESCO also carved the scripts into the Memory of the World registry, thus immortalizing this unique writing system - now ain't that just cool?
Santos, J. (2018, August 05). The Culture and Art of the Mangyan : Philippine Art, Culture and Antiquities. Retrieved August 6, 2018, from http://www.artesdelasfilipinas.com/archives/139/the-culture-and-art-of-the-mangyan
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E.S. Villamor has made a career in writing for a decade now. Her online business - GIML (Gabriela Isabel & Miguel Lucas) Publishing started in 2014. She advocated for women's rights and was once enamored with imparting financial literacy through training and blogs but she is now focused on propagating all things Filipino. This site is also being groomed as a rich homeschooling resource.