01 September, 1992


Mindanao, the Philippines' southernmost island, is the country's cultural melting pot. It houses influences from Spain, China, Indonesia, and the Middle East. Although Mindanao carries a strong flavor from other lands, there are people who have lived there before it became a breeding ground of foreign trade. Tribes such as the T'boli, Bilaan, Manobo, Bagobo, and other groups inhabit the vast regions of Mindanao.

Like their Northern Luzon counterparts, these groups honor pagan gods for the fruits and trials of daily life. What distinguishes them from other tribes in the Philippines is their intricate craftsmanship in metal, clothing, and jewelry. These tribes pride themselves in their concept of beauty and are known for creating colorful sets of jewelry and clothing out of dyed pineapple and banana fibers with are showcased in their traditional dances.

Malakas at Maganda 

Cradled amidst thick rain forest, shrouded with the mists of legend and ancient traditions, one folklore has it that a weary bird perched on a large bamboo heard strange noises inside. It pecked the bamboo, split open and from inside came the first man and woman, Malakas the strong, Maganda the beautiful, the parents of al grat peoples of the island.



Tribe: Higaonon
Origin: Agusan
    The Bagobo tribe from the central uplands of Mindanao originated this dance which imitates the movement of a hen, her banog, or baby chicks, and a hawk. The hawk is sacred, and it is believed that the hawk has the power over the well-being of the tribe. The hawk tries to capture one of the chicks and is killed by the hunters.


Tribe: Talaindig
Origin: Bukidnon
    A dance of thanksgiving.

Kadal Blelah 

Tribe: T'boli
Origin: Lemlosnon, South Cotabato
    Dancers perform a simulation of movement of birds.

Kadal Tahaw 

Tribe: T'boli
Origin: Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
    A bird dance performed by the T'boli during planting and harvesting which simulates the flights and hops of the tahaw bird.