Proud of their roots

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

TEN tribes... One Vibe... but only one woman will be declared among the candidates the most beautiful, talented and culturally inclined will be crowned Hiyas ng Kadayawan 2011. Let's get to know them, one by one, and get a glimpse of their tribes through how they present themselves.

Leah Jane Benito, 20, a Matigsalog is being compared to Beyonce because of her skin color and hairstyle. A student of Samson Polytechnic Institute, she belongs to one of the original tribes of Davao.

Matigsalog means people of the river, where the original villages were upstream of Davao River. Being up there where the mountains interweave, the Matigsalogs share a lot of stories and legends with the Talaandigs, the Pulangion, and the Kulamanon in north-central Mindanao.


Norie Fe Licomes, 24, a Clata belongs to the branch of Manobo tribe that is among those who have resided within the city territory since time immemorial. The tribe shares this distinction with the Guiangan (pronounced as Jangans).

Bernalin Mamboo, 18, an Ata-Manobo, yet another sub-tribe of the Manobo, who are mostly residents of Paquibato District and in Marilog District just across Davao River. Mamboo is taking up Bachelor of Elementary Education at the Intercity College of Science and Technology.

Rahima Usman, a 16-year-old Maranao, is taking up Bachelor of Nursing at San Pedro College. A devout Muslim, her participation in the Hiyas has not stopped her from observing the holy month of Ramadan. Maranaos are not original residents of Davao but are wandering traders of the Lanao provinces, specifically those residing around the Lanao Lake. Maranao means people of the lake.

Judelyn Ogos an 18-year-old Tagabawa is studying at MATS college taking up Tourism and Travel Management course. The word Tagabawa means from the south, and the origins of the Tagabawas are at the southernmost end of Davao City at the borders of Davao del Sur as the bulk of Tagabawas resided in Davao del Sur down to North Cotabato.

Jehel Ann Oboc, 18, from Ovu Manobo tribe, is studying at the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) taking up Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Ovu Manobos are mostly found in the boundary villages of the third and second district, their original villages on the lower ranges extending upto the more isolated mountains of Southwest Cotabato. Ovu Manobo means Manobos from the (relative) lowlands.

Fauzia Mansuri, 20 from the Tausug Tribe, is also studying to be a nurse at John Paul II college of Davao. The Tausugs are not natives of Davao, but have long settled in just like the Maranaos. Tausugs are originally from the southernmost tip of the Philippines like Tawi-tawi and Jolo.

Mia Rose Apadan, 18 from Kagan tribe, is from the Ateneo de Davao University and is taking up Bachelor of Elementary Education. Also referred to as Kalagans, the Kalagan is the Islamized tribe of Davao and are originally from the coastal and downstream riverside areas.

Zarina Mangadta, 15, a 4th year student from Tecarro College Foundation Incorporated from Maguindanao tribe, is yet another settler from a neighboring province. Maguindanaos are from the central plains of Mindanao. Maguindanao means people of the floodplains as most of Central Mindanao are the floodplains of Mindanao's biggest river, the Rio Grande de Mindanao.

Chenee Hamid, 19-year-old is a Sama studying at University Immaculate Concepcion taking up Business Administration. The Samas are indigenous coastal residents of Mindanao, although it has not been established if they are original residents of the area now known as Davao City. But they have original settlements all over the region in enough numbers to say that while they may not be where Davao City is now, but they are from the undivided Davao.

These beautiful women had their immersion at the Philippine Women's University last August 2 and showed the designers of the school what their traditional costume means and how they are put together.

Vying for the coveted crown of Hiyas ng Kadayawan 2011, these ladies will be competing against each other and bring pride and honor to their tribe on Wednesday during the coronation night.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 17, 2011.


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