We stopped at a dirt road just before a beautiful wooden bridge made from bamboo. Beyond it, were native bamboo houses neatly lined up in one part and another just beside the river. To the left were other bamboo buildings that were bigger in size, more open and there was a beehive of activity.
There on the bamboo floor were several Mangyan men, women and children of different ages, busily weaving handicrafts that this Mangyan Village in Sitio Talipanan, Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental is known for. Some were in a huddle, talking and laughing and some got quite, oblivious of our presence as some of us started to take photos. We were greeted with smiles and afternoon greetings.
Mindoro is home to the indigenous Mangyan people and, depending on the location within this big island, further subdivided into eight ethnic groups. In the Talipanan Mangyan Village, it is the Iraya Mangyan that inhabits this part and is just at the foothills of Mt. Malasimbo.
It was through the efforts of the philanthropists Beatriz and Jaime Zobel de Ayala, the latter, heads one of the country’s big business conglomerates, who organized the Iraya Mangyans in this village in 1989 thru the Ayala Foundation. There were several projects that were implemented, from education, housing, health and livelihood development.
What we actually saw when we arrived was one of the fruits of that project. Weaving, like most tribes in the Philippines is one of the traditions of the Mangyans. The main material is nito, a kind of low vine found in many parts of the country and is rather common in Talipanan. Most of the products that the Iraya Mangyans make are baskets and other receptacles that are functional for the home as well as an item of trade.
Other than reviving that weaving tradition and giving the Iraya Mangyans a means of livelihood, the products, actually prized crafts, have found their way in affluent homes here and abroad. Thanx to the efforts of the foundation.
Interested to have a piece of indigenous craft that at the same time help uplift the lives of these indigenous tribes? Check the details below for contacts.
Iraya-Mangyan Nito Products
Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
Greenbelt 5, 3/F &
Glorietta 3, 2/F