BUKIDNON VIEWS: Misrepresenting ethnic groups

By Loreta Sol L. Dinlayan

MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/13 March 2017) Lately, I discovered some literature that misrepresented some ethnic groups in Bukidnon.

A certain study on maternal and child health care practices in one of the remote communities of Matigsalug in Simsimon, Kalagangan was declared as part of Valencia, Bukidnon. Kalagangan is part of the municipality of San Fernando; and not of Valencia. This error in geographic location of the study is misleading and misrepresenting the mentioned ethnic group as much as it is confusing the researchers or readers who employ the literature as reference.

In any research work, the geographical location is associated with the participants involved in the research. Geographical location is as significant as the analyzed and interpreted acquired data. Exactness is a value in research.

UNANG HABI (The Philippine Ancestral Weave)

Another misrepresentation of an ethnic group in Bukidnon is in a literature on Philippine Ancestral Weave published in 1991. In page 103, the author wrote:

Cole was moved to comment that Talaandig women “resemble animated

bed quilts…”

with a footnote pointing to page 24 of Fay-Cooper Cole’s book The Bukidnon of Mindanao. The page 24 of that book, published in 1956, never mentioned of Talaandig. Instead, Cole mentioned Bukidnon. The author of the Philippine Ancestral Weave perhaps equated Bukidnon with Talaandig which is not right because it misleads.

The ethnic groups recognized during those years (1950s) in the province of Bukidnon were Manobo and Bukidnon. The first was known of their use of bow and arrow and the practice of circumcision and the latter was known of their language Binukid.

This recognition stretched towards 1960s through the work of William Biernatzki on Datuship in the Upper Pulangi River Valley. Biernatzki mentioned only two ethnic groups, Bukidnon and Manobo that represent the Bukidnon province that time though he concluded that Higaonon (hinterland dweller) denotes exactly the Bukidnon. The employing of Talaandig by the author in that literature I mentioned earlier is a misrepresentation of a prestigious ethnic group whose culture is attached with Mt. Kitanglad. Misrepresenting the Talaandig is disrespecting the Talaandig.

As the other researchers and advocates of Bukidnon culture will continue to explore, may they will not find misrepresentations of groups of people. Authors and writers should remember that misrepresentation is an act of disrespect, may it be mis-quoting or mis-locating.

Note: The other groups in Bukidnon such as Matigsalug, Tigwahanon, Umayamnon and Talaandig were formally employed during the time of the Presidential Assistance on National Minorities (PANAMIN) in facilitating the cultural affairs of the indigenous peoples. The mentioned ethnic groups though their names not formally mentioned until the 70s already existed as a people with distinct culture since time immemorial.

(BUKIDNON VIEWS is the opinion section of Bukidnon News.Net. Loreta Sol Dinlayan is a social science instructor at Bukidnon State University, where she also works as in-charge of the university’s museum. A version of this piece first appeared on the author’s blog “Balugto”, Binukid for “rainbow”).