Gods, Spirits, and Rituals: Amplifying Mangyans’ Indigenous Wisdom and Resilience in the Age of Pandemic and Ecological Catastrophes
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Gods, Spirits, and Rituals: Amplifying Mangyans’ Indigenous Wisdom and Resilience in the Age of Pandemic and Ecological Catastrophes

Authors: Aldrin R. Logdat


Like mostly Filipinos, Mangyans have to face various ecological conundrums and sicknesses in order to survive. In these challenging times, it is the fear of life that grasps so alarmingly that even indigenous communities are not excused. Given this reality, this paper deals with the local cultural knowledge and customs of Mangyans, the indigenous people in the island of Mindoro, Philippines, that let them face calamities and crises with great resolve. For the Mangyans, their collective wisdom and tradition of resilience make them survive the stiffest challenges that come in their lives. The Mangyans believe in the existence of one Supreme Being, Ambuwaw, who created them and the world and who is continually sustaining their existence. The presence of the divine is experienced in terms of his omnipotence, pervading their everyday life, and manifesting himself in physically observable phenomena such as deliverance from calamities or sicknesses, blessing of the harvest, and other forms. They believe that there are bad spirits roaming the land called Bukaw in the spirit-world. Ecological catastrophes are regarded as being caused by these bad spirits. To drive away these, Mangyans perform a ritual called Tawtaw. Knowing how Mangyans steadfastly confront challenges in life and how they prosper despite having meager means and being significantly less equipped for and dependent on contemporary technologies is enlightening. Their worldview (pananaw) which shapes and informs their customs and traditions (kaugalian) is what they refer to as their indigenous survival wisdom and it is actualized through unique communal behaviors (kinagawian).

Keywords: Indigenous survival wisdom, Mangyans, resilience, tradition and customs.

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