Tag Archives: Mindanao

#304 Balanghai

Remnants of a balanghai exhibited in Butuan

The balanghai is a large boat used by Malay settlers of the Philippines in pre-Hispanic times. The vessel, first excavated in Butuan province in Mindanao, was about 18 meters in length and could carry a small clan or a large family.

Since the 10th century, Butuan appeared to have good relations with the Srivijayan Empire. Balanghais often docked in Butuan Bay and the shipping route has stimulated  business between the local people of Butuan and traders from the neighboring empire. The balanghais were first excavated in the 1970s and carbon-dating showed that the boats were almost a thousand years old.

Building a  balanghai requires teamwork and the word balanghai later on evolved into the word ‘barangay,’ which us the smallest politica (grassroots) unit in the Philippines.  The balanghais, thus, did not  just denote a wooden boat but also stood as a symbol for social unit (Source: My Secret Philippines blog and other sources).

Mabuhay ang balanghai!

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#299 Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary

Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary is an area in the Philippines declared as protected by the Ramos administration. The marshland acts like a sponge, as it is nestled in the mid-waters of the Agusan River drainage basin. Within its lakes, several floating communities can be found.

Agusan Marsh is one of the most ecologically significant wetlands in the Philippines. Located in the heart of Mindanao’s Agusan Basin, this vast expanse of marsh covers an area roughly the size of Metro Manila. It contains nearly 15% of the nation’s fresh water resources in the form of swamp forests.

During the rainy season, when the water rises to create large lakes, vast number of ducks come to Agusan Marsh to nest. In the dry months, thousands of birds come from as faraway as Japan, China and Russia to escape the chilly winter winds of Northern Asia. Over 200 individual species have been known to spend at least part of the year in the marsh, making it one of Asia’s most important transit points for wild birds (Source: Wikipedia).

Mabuhay ang Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary!

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#284 Lami-Lamihan Festival

Lami-Lamihan Festival (WikiPedia Photo)

Lami-Lamihan Festival is the premier festival in Basilan Island, the northernmost and biggest  island province in the Sulu Archipelago in Mindanao, southern Philippines.

The festival is celebrated during the Feast of St. Peter (Fiesta San Pedro) on June 29 in Lamitan City, Basilan. The festival is highlighted by the participation of the native  or ethnic Yakan tribe who attend the festivities in full regalia, selling wares and produce brought in from their farms in the interior. Celebration of the event rekindles the native Yakans culture and diversity. Townspeople are dressed in colorful costumes and  take part in horse races, parades, and other activities.

The festival also displays Yakan music, games, and Yakan hand-weaving competition. Authentic Yakan rituals are performed such as  the peggunting or baptism, pegtimbang or weighing, magtammat or graduation, and the pegkawin, the Yakan wedding as the main attraction. The festival is said to have originated in the 1980s and the word “Lami-Lamihan” means merry-making.

Long live Yakan culture!

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#279 Kulintang

Kulintang is a modern term for an ancient instrumental form of music composed on a row of small, horizontally-laid gongs that function melodically, accompanied by larger, suspended gongs and drums.

As part of the larger gong-chime culture of Southeast Asia, kulintang music ensembles have been playing for many centuries in regions of the Eastern Malay Archipelago — the Southern Philippines, Eastern Indonesia, Eastern Malaysia, Brunei and Timor.

The Philippine kulintang traces its roots to the traditions of the Maranao and Maguindanao peoples in particular. Kulintang evolved from a simple native signalling tradition, and developed into its present form with the incorporation of knobbed gongs. It’s importance stems from its association with the indigenous cultures that inhabited these islands prior to the influences of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity or the West, making kulintang the most developed tradition of Southeast Asian archaic gong-chime ensembles.

The kulintang is played by striking the bosses of the gongs with two wooden beaters. Due to its use across a wide variety og groups and languages, the kulintang is also called kolintang by the Maranao and those in Sulawesi, kulintangan, gulintangan by those in Sabah and the Sulu Archipelago and totobuang by those in central Maluku (Source: Wikipedia).

Mabuhay ang Philippine kulintang!


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#213 Philippine Flying Lemur

The Philippine Flying Lemur (Cynocephalus volans) is one of two species of flying lemurs, the only two species in the order Dermoptera. The Philippine Flying Lemur is endemic to the Philippines and is found  in the Mindanao region and Bohol.

Although called a flying lemur, it cannot fly and is not a lemur.  An average Philippine Flying Lemur weighs about 1 to 1.7 kilograms and is 14 to 17 inches long. It has a wide head, small ears and big eyes. Its clawed feet are large and webbed for fast climbing and for gliding. Its 12-inch tail is connected to the forelimbs via a patagium. This membrane helps it glide distances of 100 meters or more, useful for finding food and escaping predators such as the Philippine Eagle. Its 34 teeth resemble that of a carnivore but the Philippine Flying Lemur eats mainly fruits, flowers and leaves.

The Philippine Flying Lemur is an evening creature and stays in hollow trees or cling on dense foliage during daytime. The female Philippine Flying Lemur usually gives birth to one young after a two-month gestation period. The young is helpless and attaches itself to its mother’s belly, in a pouch fashioned from the mother’s skin flaps. (From: Wikipedia)

Mabuhay ang Philippine Flying Lemur!

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