One thing that really captured my attention during Bukidnon’s Kaamulan Festival were the native handicrafts that the tribespeople were wearing: Beads, bags and even brass belts and bells.
Mindanao, the Philippines’s second largest island has a veil of mystery draped around her. Feared by the uninformed but loved by those who know her true worth and beauty. This series is my tribute for Mindanao, where I’ve been crisscrossing over the years and where a part of me also comes from.
These come in different colors and different patterns. The beads were worn in different parts of the body but primarily as headwear, earings or necklaces for the women while the men decorate their native caps with beadwork.
In one of the tribes represented in the Kaamulan Festival, the Manobo-Tigwahanon, I noticed that one man with shaggy and long hair was wearing a brass belt with circular bells hanging from chains (below). The bells and chains make noises whenever the man moved or danced. At his side is a small knife sheathed with meticulously woven abaca.
Still another, a bag was worn by another man with really interesting beadwork and patterns. Different colors: red, white, blue, yellow, orange and green. The patterns are X’s, diamonds and rectangles.
There were other interesting trinkets like headgear for the men with sequines, brass rings and anklets for the men, shell bracelets for the women. Really, very interesting body decor.
These handicrafts weren’t only limited to one tribe. It’s not even exclusive to Bukidnon’s seven tribes but is also present in many indigenous peoples groups in Mindanao, across the Philippines and Asia.
It’s a shared artwork that only varies in patterns and colors depending on the tribe. Truly, interaction, trade and shared cultures has made this almost universal.