Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Davao Museum and the Mangyan Exhibit

I finally got to visit the Davao Museum after years of wondering where it was and what was inside it. A friend who works there invited me to an exhibit opening. Luckily my companion and I arrived early because the minute we walked in, it was obvious we were underdressed (jeans, rubber shoes, you get the idea). There were only a couple of guests by that time, so we were first given a tour of the tribal artifacts at the second floor. For sure, it was full of Davao's ethnic history from costumes, accessories, weaving, musical instruments to burial jars and weapons. It's almost all there and it looked wonderful in that renovated room. Further studies and researches would fill up what deficiencies we have.

Then the national anthem was sung. We joined the others downstairs for the celebration of another ethnic group from Luzon: the Mangyans.

Mangyan ExhibitHere's all the information you need about the exhibit (Source: Chi)
The Davao Museum of History and Ethnography will present Mangyan Heritage Center’s traveling exhibit “The Mangyans of Mindoro: Myth and Meaning” on September 5 until October 10.

The multimedia exhibit will feature the Mangyan’s rich cultural heritage through a display of their artifacts, images, poetry, and crafts. Guests will not only be engaged visually but will also experience hands-on lessons in writing the Hanunóo-Mangyan’s centuries-old pre-Spanish script, Surat Mangyan, and traditional Mangyan weaving and bead-working from Anya Postma, a stay-in half-Mangyan and half-Dutch whose father is the esteemed Dutch anthropologist and Mangyan historian Antoon Postma.

Mangyan is the generic name for Mindoro’s eight indigenous peoples (IPs) groups. Each tribe has its own distinct language and cultural traditions. Among them, the Hanunóo-Mangyans have retained their use of their ancient syllabic writing which they have kept practicing even today despite constant threats of foreign influences. Their preservation of their traditional writing has also enriched and upheld their literary tradition, the “ambahan”, which is widely practiced among the tribe.

Also on display are information and a copy of the tracing of the Laguna Copperplate Inscription, the oldest Philippine document found in Laguna dating from the 10th century. The Copperplate was transcribed and translated by Antoon Postma in the early '90s.

Discover the Mangyan experience at the Davao Museum. Visit the Museum at Zonta Bldg., Agusan Circle, Lanang, Davao City. For more information on the exhibit and tour schedules, please contact Davao Museum’s Information Desk at 233-1734 and look for Wilma or Chi.
And yes I know how to write my name in Mangyan now.

Photo courtesy of Dom.

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