A Tboli girl playing a native instrument
The Tboli tribe of Lake Sebu is one of the indigenous people in Southern Mindanao. Known for their excellent skills in weaving and metal works, they are able to produce their one of a kind Tboli cloth, the Tinalak and fine metal works from musical instruments to swords. Most of them also has talents in making wooden collectibles from beads to bracelets and other bling-blings you might think. Indeed, the Tbolis is one culturally rich and talented tribe if not also, one of the most colorful in the country.
A cultural presentation
Knowing this, I know we have to see Tbolis in their fully garbed glory. But it would seem that most Tbolis no longer dress as they used to be, they wear casual clothes now like regular folks and only wear their traditional clothes on special events. Good thing Punta Isla Resort have this cultural presentations where native Tbolis perform their native songs, music and arts. Finally we get to see them in their colorful wears and was able to watch their culturally rich show.
Popular Tboli personality, Lola Mundi Ba-ay
Outside the resort, we also looked for a native Tiboli village where we could find, actual weaving of Tinalak being done. It was a bit tricky looking for one but we indeed found a nice Tboli village and met quite a popular Tboli personality, Lola Mundi Ba-ay. Lola Mundi,, amusingly, seems to be used to projecting at cameras and we found out later she had guested on some TV shows in Manila. She can only speak on her native tongue, but fortunately, her daughter, Milagros was there to help us interpret and give us some information.
Lola Mundi and her weaved Tinalak
Lola Mundi showed us her place where she weaves her Tinalak. A Tinalak cloth is one of the tribes traditional properties usually exchanged during marriages and used as coverings to a newly born. It is made of fine abacca strands and usually takes weeks to months just to finish weaving a whole yard, after which they would dye the cloth with their designs. Lately, this traditional cloth has been used commercially for different purposes. High grade Tinalak are usually sold from 400-800 pesos.
Leaving the village, we also passed by some native houses where kids were curiously peeking by the door. At first they were amusingly shy, hiding in their houses, but soon they have warmed up and started smiling at our cameras.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.