Meeting the Mangyans in Occidental Mindoro

As we made our way through the countryside of Occidental Mindoro, we came across some of the indigenous groups on the island.


Wandering through the Countryside: Meeting the Mangyans

The Mangyans are an indigenous group which include the Iraya, Alangan, Tawbuid, Tadyawan, Hanunoo and Buhid. This group was formerly the only inhabitants of the island before the Tagalogs and Spaniards came with their foreigness, language, religion and modernity. Today, the Mangyans live in secluded areas either just outside the big towns or deep in the mountains.


The Mangyans we encountered had different temperaments (from extremely shy to friendly) and had some of the distinctions and classes of modern Philippine society.



Some of the groups we encountered chose to stay at a distance looking from afar, while others were friendlier to strangers and already spoke Filipino. It was clear that some groups were richer and more developed than others. We saw farms that lacked irrigation while others already had their own system. Some families had electricity and even television, while others did not have any so-called modern amenities.



The Mangyans and their different groups have their own language and only share approximately 40% of their vocabulary with each other. The Mangyans are a peaceful group who are quite shy when around strangers. Even the friendlier ones we met on our adventure through the countryside, were still quite shy.



Walking into some of the villages was like walking back in time. Here we are in the age of connectivity and fast-paced lives, and this group chose to keep their traditions and way of life far from what we call civilization.

Life can be so much simpler if we chose to make it that way.





The Mangyans are primarily agriculturalists planting and harvesting upland rice, taro and sweet potatoes.



The adventure we had was not just about exploring the countryside or discovering nature's beauty, we met people that gave us a different perspective.

The Sunset



Before the day ended, our driver/guide took us to a park in the city known for sunset watching. It was a fitting end (or beginning) to our adventure on the island.

We initially planned to go to Apo Island to go snorkeling but we had to change our itinerary on the fly because it was too costly to go with only two people. The change wasn't so bad as we got to explore more of the countryside and how the Mangyans lived.

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