Photographer's Note

took this shot of bells dangling from necklaces being sold in a souvenir shop in my last visit to lake sebu, a T'boli settlement in South Cotabato. Of all the indigenous people's tribes in Mindanao, the T'bolis were the most prolific users of copper cast bells in their artificats.

taken from:

The T'boli are of proto-Malayan stock and are found in the mountain ranges of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat Provinces. THey have shown their wealth of craft, elaborate traditional dresses and vivacious dances and music. They are presently known for their unusual tie-dyed and woven abaca cloth called tnalak used for dresses during ceremonies and festivities. The intricate process in making the tnalak includes dyeing and painstaking weaving on back-strap looms. They are also known for their brass casting human and animal figures, bells and metal boxes.

The T'boli women are known for their body ornaments. During ordinary days, the women can be seen wearing several sets of beaded necklaces, brass or beaded dangling earings, and a wooden comb decorated with round pieces of mirror and trimmed with beads and fibers or horse's hair. The men nowadays wear their traditional dresses made of tnalak only during special occasions. Both the men and women wear brass rings in sets of five for each finger.

T'boli have a variety of musical instruments including a drum, the agong, the kulintang, bamboo zither, flute, the hegalong, a long, slender and spindle-shaped two stringed guitar. They have also a variety of dances, which are mostly expressive imitations of their immediate environment.

The T'boli are engaged in kaingin or slash and burn method of clearing land for farming. They plant corn, upland rice, vegetables, and other rootcrops. They also raise domestic animals. Ownnership of a horse is an indicator of financial and social prestige. Much of their produce is for is for household consumption, however some use their produce to barter for other household necessities.

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