Manobo Tribe of Sultan Kudarat: A Testament of Courage and Artistry

The high reach of Mt. Ogis is one of the majestic sight in the Municipality of Esperanza. The mountain itself is shrouded with mystery as it seems to glow when its sides glisten in the right angle of the sun’s rays kissing it’s cheeks. This wonder is not the only attraction you can marvel in this part of the Daguma Range. It is because these mountains are also home to the proud Manobo Tribe, an indegenous tribe in the province of Sultan Kudarat.


The Manobo tribe were residents of the land since time immemorial. When migrants came to settle in the province of Sultan Kudarat, these people opted to move into the mountainous regions to distance themselves from new tribes. The name “Manobo” came from the terms, “man soba,” which literally means “man of the river.” Ancestors of these tribes opted to stay away than be dominated by other culture. Their flight is for survival since most of their needs are from the forest through foraging and hunting.


The Manobo Tribe are excellent crafters. They weave sturdy baskets for different needs. They are using bamboo as their primary raw material, and other vines they can salvage from the remaining forests in the mountain.

They are also great performers. Their unique dances are accompanied by different indigenous musical instruments. One particular instrument they have is the “tugo” or bamboo zither. Just like most of the musical instruments of our indigenous people, the “tugo” doesn’t have a musical scale or follow the so-fa syllables. They are played depending on the harmonic mood of the musician. It is made entirely of bamboo. 

The skin is carved to produced the strings around the instrument. Musicians of the tribe are highly valued by the community. They are summoned when important rites and rituals take place in the community.


The Manobo tribe is famous for their carfted accessories and skin art. The raw material for their accessories are mainly beads made of seeds and other materials they can find in the forest. One famous accessory is the red bracelet. It is worn by babies to shield them from negative energies such as “usog” or the evil eye.

Originally, this bracelet is made of rosary pea, a red with black spot seed found in the forest. However, the rosary pea is highly poisonous and can be harmful to babies. That is why, the modern version of this charm is made out of plastic beads.

The beauty of the women is equated with the number of accessories they have in their body. The more rings or bracelets they have, the more attractive and valued they are.

Skin art or tattoo is also known to this tribe. The men usually have tattoos to document their hunting prowess. The more tattoo a person has in his body, they are deemed braver and stronger.

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Like most of the tribes in the Philippines, the Manobo Tribe have a high priestess. They are called “Babaylan.” They are usually the gifted member of the community. It is believed that their role are given to them by the spirits themselves.

The “Babaylans” are gifted healers and dream interpreters. When there is illness in the community, they are usually sought for healing. They also lead important rituals in the community. Their advices are valued not only by the community but by the “Datu” or Tribal Chieftain themselves.

In the moderns communities, the role of the “Babaylan” is usually infused in the role of the “Datu.” This is because being born with special gifts is a rare occurrence in the community. That is why in some.communities, when someone is sick or in trouble, the “Datu” is the one who addresses their problem.


There are several sub tribe of the Manobo. The one located in the province of Sultan Kudarat are the Dulangan Manobo. They lived in the municipalities that is in the Daguma Mountain Ranges.

These are the Municipality of Esperanza, Municipality of Senator Ninoy Aquino, Municipality of Isulan, Municipality of Bagumbayan and Municipality of Kalamansig. Most of them lived in far flung areas where they can be at peace with their environment.

Manobo Tribe Frequently Asked Questions

The Manobo People of Sultan Kudarat is just one of the many native groups in the Philippines. They are known for their abundant society and customs, which have actually been given from generation to generation.

The Manobo People of Sultan Kudarat resides in the province of Sultan Kudarat, which lies in the southern part of the Philippines. Sultan Kudarat is a mountainous district with a rich biodiversity. The Manobo people have actually generally lived in little neighborhoods spread throughout the province.

The Manobo People of Sultan Kudarat speaks a number of different languages, depending upon the details group. Some of the most usual Manobo languages include Binukid, Manobo Cotabato, and Tboli. These languages are all part of the Austronesian language household.

The Manobo People of Sultan Kudarat traditionally complies with a religious beliefs called Anitism. Anitism is a belief system that venerates spirits and forefathers. The Manobo people think that the globe has lots of spirits, and they make offerings to these spirits in order to make certain healthiness, excellent crops, and good luck.

The Manobo Tribe of Sultan Kudarat deals with a variety of difficulties, including deforestation, logging, and mining. These tasks have ruined the Manobo individuals's traditional lifestyle and have led to the variation of numerous Manobo areas. The Manobo people are also struggling to maintain their society and customs when faced with globalization and innovation.

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