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Alangan Mangyans, IPs of the island provinces of Mindoro

CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro -- One of the existing Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro is the Alangan Mangyan.  Most of them are living at the foot of Mt. Halcon.  According to the records of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), most of the Alangans live near the riverbank of the Alangan River.

According to history, the term 'Alangan' came from the name of the river which is located between the mountainous terrain of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro.  In other words, historians described the name Alangan literally as ‘in between.”

Nowadays, the ancestral domains of the Alangan cover the municipalities of Sablayan and Sta. Cruz in Occidental Mindoro and Victoria in Oriental Mindoro.  Due to various factors and effects on the environment, there are also Alangans in the municipalities of Naujan, Baco, and San Teodoro.

Garments of a man and a woman Alangan Mangyans in the island provinces of Oriental Mindoro. (Photo credit: NCIP’s Indigenous Cultural Communities “PAGKILALA”)

As to their clothing, the women traditionally wear the so-called 'lingeb', a kind of skirt that is made of long strips of woven nito of forest vines and wrapped around their abdomen which serves as an undergarment.  This is worn together with an abayen or skirt made usually from the bark of the barokan tree and ulango or upper covering made from the leaf of the wild buri palm.  Women sometimes wear a limbutong, similar to a red kerchief and placed over the ulango.

On the other hand, the men usually wear 'abay' or breechcloth made from the bark of the tree pounded and washed then dried.  Sometimes they also use a piece of cloth with fringes in front and a knot made from the nito and wrapped around their waist.  It comes with pisawte or knife used essentially when they are chewing betel nut or worn when they are gathering food in the forest.

A typical house known as Balaylakoy of Alangan Mangyans in the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro. (Photo credit: NCIP’s Indigenous Cultural Communities “PAGKILALA”)

Alangan Mangyans are mostly living in a Balaylakoy, a large house made of bamboo poles, cogon grass, rattan strips or vines, and the bark of the trees for outside covering of the house.  The house has only one section, wherein each one of them is occupying and composed of between 20 to 50 families.  The house is divided by poles and has a poypoyan or fireplace. The entire household of Alangan Mangyans is usually supervised by a Kuyay or an elderly person.

The council of Alangan Mangyans headed by their leader called Tanungan. (Photo credit: NCIP’s Indigenous Cultural Communities “PAGKILALA”)

The highest leader of the Alangan tribe is called Tanungan and the next authority is called a Nayon, who serves as the sitio leader and is consulted by the community members.  The Nayon always accompanies the Tanungan, especially during meetings and dialogues.  Moreover, the council, known in the vernacular as Bokal or Konsehal is the third person in authority in the community.  The Bokal executes the punishment for those who violate their customary laws.

With regard to their livelihoods, the Alangan Mangyan relies mainly on upland farming for subsistence, planting crops such as rice, corn, bananas, and other root crops.  Their harvest varies depending on the preparation and management of the farm.

The source of foods and livelihoods of Alangan Mangyan in the provinces of Mindoro. (Photo credit: NCIP’s Indigenous Cultural Communities “PAGKILALA”)

Sometimes when they come to the city, some people could hardly identify their tribe because most of them are wearing the usual garments that an ordinary person from the lowland wears because they can already adopt the styles and trends of the new technology.  They even possess cellular phones for their communications and many young ones are enrolled at the Divine Word College of Calapan (DWCC) and are mostly taking up Education, a course that eventually helps them much because most of them serve as teachers in their community.  (LTC/PIA-OrMin)

Photo above credit to NCIP

Sources of Information: NCIP’s Indigenous Cultural Communities “PAGKILALA” (Recognize Indigenous Peoples and Ancestral Domains)

About the Author

Luis Cueto


Region 4B

Information Center Manager 
Philippine Information Agency
Oriental Mindoro Information Center
2/F George Teng Bldg., corner Gozar & J.P. Rizal Sts., Camilmil, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, PH 5200

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