The Mountain Tribes of Occidental Mindoro
The Mangyan are a tribal group that formerly were the sole occupants of the Philippine island of Mindoro.
They have come from all over the island, crossing steep mountain trails and gushing torrents. For some it was a voyage of many days. Arriving at the Mangyan school of Tugdaan, in Paitan, Mindoro Occidental, the members of the different branches of the Mangyan family have one purpose -- to discuss the education of their children as Mangyans. Some of the old skills and treasures are being lost, such as the Mangyan script, which has parallels with Sanskrit, an ancient language of India. The Hanunoo Mangyan distinguish 1,600 plant species in the forest -- 400 more than those known to scientists working in the same area. So the adult Mangyan have come to the classroom to teach the children what it means to be Mangyan.At the entrance of the Mangyan school hangs a large sign that reads:
Ang aming layunin kami ay matuto,
Upang sa 'ming lugar kami makatulong
At aming ingatan ang kayamanan
Ng aming kultura't kaugalian.
Our purpose is to study
So that we might be of service in our place
And to treasure the richness
Of our culture and our customs.
Teresita and Talino belong to different sub-groups of the Mangyan tribe. Teresita can get home from school in an hour, but it takes Talino more than a day to reach the home of his parents, walking along steep, slippery trails. Teresita and Talino belong to the first generation of Mangyan to undergo formal schooling. The older generation never studied and never needed to, says Teresita. But now they often come to the school to talk to us about being Mangyan and what that means to them, Talino adds.Teresita would like to be a teacher and Talino an agriculturist so that they can "be of service and treasure the culture and customs" of the Mangyan.
Click here to find out about the Youth's outreach to Dapdap Mangyan Tribe
Click here to read more about our 2005 Annual Mission Trip
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