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THE B'LAAN TRIBE
Transcript of THE B'LAAN TRIBE
They are famous for their rich and colourful cultural heritage, ethnic art and handcrafts like the brass ornaments and traditional beadwork. Colourful native costumes woven from abaca and decorated with embroidery, buttons, beads and heavy brass belts with numerous tiny bells are worn by the women of the Bilaan, making their approach heard, even from a far distance. The sequin-like capiz shells called takmon are used to give a distinct design and colour to their clothes, among the women, the intricately beaded wooden comb, the swat san salah is a must.
Musical instruments, like wooden lutes, flutes and bamboo tubes with strings are used extensively with their rituals and dances.
The B’laans have their own system of weaving using abaca fibre, before weaving the typical patterns, rituals are held in accordance with the Bilaan culture, but only the weavers know about these rituals and before making any pattern or design divine guidance is first sought. It is believed that the designs were imparted to the dreamer through the l'nilong (fairies), who are considered guardians of nature. Their handicraft and traditional attires are being brought to almost every ceremony and are considered as priceless possessions that are offered as dowries during weddings and used as payment for crimes committed against a person or clan or for settling disputes among warring clans.
What is B'laan?
B'laan- The Creation Story
THE B'LAAN TRIBE
The B'laan are one of the indigenous people of Southern Mindanao in the Philippines. Their name could have derived from
and the suffix
. Other terms used to refer to this group are Blaan, Bira-an, Baraan, Vilanes, and Bilanes.
The B'laan culture is one of the most colorful and exotic tribes in Mindanao. B'laans are said to have originated from the Malayan people.
The B'laan who are one of the minority ethnic groups, currently comprise the third largest cultural minority living within the Island of Mindanao
The B'laan are neighbors of the T'boli, and live in Lake Sebu and T'boli municipalities of South Cotabato, Sarangani, General Santos City, the southeastern part of Davao and around Lake Buluan in North Cotabato. Some B'laan natives were displaced when General Santos City was founded in 1939. Others settled in the city.
One of the well-known ritual dances is the Blit B'laan. (bliht-bih-LAH-ahn) A courtship dance of the Bilaan of Davao del Sur imitating forest birds during the mating season. Two richly-plumed male birds eye three female birds. The females scurry to safety, burying their heads under their wings (represented by the malong, a tubular cloth), but the aggressive males follow them wherever they go.
A Bilaan community is organized under a local Fulong who has sovereign authority over an area depending on his own influence. This position is heritable by the firstborn. Close family ties have always been recognized as one of the core values of Bilaan families and are deeply embedded in their culture, the life of the Bilaan evolves around their family that usually lives within one compound, consisting of more than one spouse and extended relatives living together.
Traditionally, the B'laan have several ways of disposing of their dead. Burial in the ground, hanging the corpse up in tree branches, inserting the cadaver into the trunk of a tree, abandoning the body in the house where the person died (the house is also abandoned), or just abandoning the body where the person died. In each case, there is the element of respect and/or love for the departed. There is also a fear that evil first may have brought about the death of their relative.
Before finally laying the dead to rest, all the relatives gather and talk to his soul. Once the relatives have buried their dead, they count nine (9) days, after which they prepare a feast. Then they count another forty (40) days) and prepare another feast. This is done to ward off any bad luck from befalling the family of the deceased.