bukidnon_native_2

Beautiful native bead work in Kaamulan Festival

Old Higaonon tribeswoman in full regalia. Headband and earings are beautiful beadworks

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.

Native brass belt with bells

Native bag made from beads

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.

I’m very much grateful to Bonzenti and Earl for accommodating me in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

Ang Langyaw’s trip made possible by Airphilexpress, the fastest growing budget airline in the Philippines!

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

9 Comments

  1. Edmaration
    March 31, 2012 @ 11:08

    You’ve keenly observed it Sir! At first look, I am contrasting it to Igorot clothes’ prominently red. Pero there you have the beads! Parang additional spice sa putahe. ang ganda!

  2. Earl
    April 1, 2012 @ 18:49

    You’re welcome bai Estan. It was an honor for us to meet our idol. Angayan man diay ka sa TV bai. Kita ko sa Jessica Soho last night. : )

  3. estancabigas
    April 1, 2012 @ 19:47

    Salamat bai! Hehehe 🙂

  4. estancabigas
    April 1, 2012 @ 19:47

    Thanx Ed. Yes, the beads and the brass belts. 🙂

  5. Bonzenti | Con Tour Blog
    April 4, 2012 @ 15:51

    Master Estan. Kaya pala nung mag shoot ka nun, titig na titig ka sa mga beads sa mga costumes ng mga tribe people. Looking forward for your return bai. Thanks also for your humble visit. Sayang lang nga hindi na tayo nagkita sa Manila dahil you’re heading to Apayao yata. Congrats din at na feature ka sa Jessica Soho.:-).

  6. estancabigas
    April 5, 2012 @ 19:01

    thanx bai. until next time 🙂

  7. Karl
    April 9, 2012 @ 20:10

    it’s interesting that the concept for using the belt was already around a long time ago coz I also managed to watch a local documentary one time when they unearthed belt jewelry from an excavation site.

  8. estancabigas
    April 9, 2012 @ 21:13

    I think its common in asian cultures which are basically shared

  9. ailyne dela cruz
    November 1, 2015 @ 23:37

    balak ko po sanang umorder ng native bag made from beads,may delivery po ba kayo?magkano po isa niyan?dito po ako quezon city nakatira?

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