A glimpse into the life and customs of Alangan Mangyan

The Alangan Mangyan tribe is one of the indigenous peoples (IPs) residing in the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro. They are mostly situated at the base of Mount Halcon, with their homes close to the Alangan River.

According to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the Alangan tribe’s ancestral domains cover the municipalities of Sablayan and Sta. Cruz in Occidental Mindoro and Victoria in Oriental Mindoro. There are also Alangan communities in the municipalities of Naujan, Baco, and San Teodoro.

The Alangan Mangyan tribe is known for their traditional clothing, with women wearing a ‘lingeb’ skirt made of woven nito of forest vines, an abayen skirt made of the barokan tree bark, and an ulango upper covering made from the wild buri palm leaf. The men, on the other hand, wear an abay or breechcloth made of tree bark and a pisawte knife used for chewing betel nut or gathering food in the forest.

house of Alangan Mangyan
A typical house known as Balaylakoy of Alangan Mangyans in the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro. (Photo credit: NCIP’s Indigenous Cultural Communities “PAGKILALA”)

Their way of life revolves around upland farming, where they plant crops like rice, corn, bananas, and other root crops. They also rely on fishing and hunting for additional sustenance.

The Alangan tribe’s traditional homes, called Balaylakoy, are large bamboo houses divided into sections that house around 20 to 50 families. They are led by a Kuyay or an elderly person, and the highest authority is the Tanungan, followed by the Nayon and Bokal.

Despite their isolated way of living, many Alangan Mangyan have adapted to the modern lifestyle and can be seen wearing modern clothes and using cellular phones. Many young Alangans are also enrolled in college, particularly in education, to become teachers in their community.

Through their unique culture and way of life, the Alangan Mangyan tribe remains an integral part of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro’s rich history and heritage.

Based on the feature story written by Luis T. Cueto, Ph.D./PIA

Alangan Mangyan
Garments of a man and a woman Alangan Mangyans in the island provinces of Oriental Mindoro. (Photo credit: NCIP’s Indigenous Cultural Communities “PAGKILALA”)

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