Friday, December 23, 2011

Lake Sebu: A Peek Into the Life of a Tiboli National Artist

with National Artist Lang Dulay
I felt so honored to have a homestay arranged with one of our National Artists, Lang Dulay. Beh (grandmother) Lang, as she is fondly called by her populous grand children, is hailed national artist for t'nalak weaving (indigenous loomweaving out of abaca fibers). Since I couldn't speak with her in her native tongue, I chatted with her grandchildren.

Perhaps one of the most interesting conversations in my life, I learned that in the early days, T'boli men can have many wives. The main reason for that is they had to enlarge their clan. That way, the head of the family can become a datu. How can a man be a datu if he has no constituents (or a small family)? 

with Lang Dulay's grandchild and daughter-in-law

So, from only 2 sons of Lang Dulay, one son married 6 wives, the other 9. Just think of how many grand children and great grandchildren she has now. They also practiced arranged marriages. So a teenage girl can already get married, have kids, and populate the clan. Can a woman marry out of love? Sadly, arrangements can only be turned down if you're rich enough to return back the dowry which the male's family has given--which is very rare.

Asked how the younger generation are taking it: they're sick and tired of the tradition and would want to find love by choice. The same goes with t'nalak weaving. To them, the entire weaving is a tedious process and is too complicated for them to keep. Most of them would rather get good education and become professionals. Does it mean that as they turn their back, their tribe's culture would die a slow death? I hope not. As I've personally witnessed, their culture is pretty much well preserved as they pass on T'boli dance and singing to the next generation. 

Stand by for media posts on the Tiboli music.

Original journal entry written in 2007


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