(Myth of the White Mangyans)

An I-Witness documentary
Airing Monday at midnight: January 28, 2008
GMA-7 (delayed by a day or two on Pinoy Tv overseas)

Howie Severino travels to Mindoro to investigate the legend of “lost tisoys,” a tribe of Mangyans called Olandes, mountain people in Mindoro descended from shipwrecked Dutch sailors.

Various people give conflicting accounts, including a scholar who proclaims that the “white Mangyans” are a myth, along with other popular beliefs such as Mangyans with tails.

But are the white Mangyans really a myth? In a Mangyan tiangge in the remote village of Bait, Howie is told of Mangyan tisoys in the local high school. He finds them there and learns they come from a mountain community called Panaytayan.

But it is not what he expected.
Descending not from Dutch sailors from centuries ago, the tisoys are four children of a Dutch priest who married a Mangyan and has lived in splendid isolation for four decades. He is now among the foremost experts on Mangyan culture. In the village, he has set up institutions designed to teach and preserve ancient tribal practices such as the script, music, and weaving.

His daughter Anya is a 23-year-old tisay who proudly calls herself a Mangyan and is following her father’s footsteps in championing the Mangyan while presenting a new face of the tribe to the outside world.

She accompanies her bahag-clad, betel-chewing uncle Anheng as he ventures down the mountain to town, faces of the old and the new Mangyan. As Anya and her siblings age and produce families of their own, the myth of the Olandes village may yet become a reality.

Cinematography: Egay Navarro
Director: JJ Villamarin
Field producer: Rommel Bernardo
Executive producer: Ella Evangelista

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  1. that’s true… gtaduate ako sa highschool na to (its a private school exclusive for mangyan) and i am proud of it 🙂 thanks MEC

  2. Thanks Lolita for the kind words and those links. You’ve been a dynamo in spreading the word on Mangyans, and in their native script too!

    Thanks Ederic for the plug. Appreciate it.

  3. Howie Severino did a great job in featuring the Mangyans. He only interviewed the Hanunuo-Mangyans from Oriental Mindoro, who have their own pre-Hispanic script and chant ambahan (their poetry). Three original scripts are still being used today, two are Mangyan. (Check out http://www.mangyan.org for more info)
    There are eight Mangyan tribes in Mindoro, the Hanunuo being the largest. When all the groups are together, they have to speak in Tagalog to understand each other. This shows how diverse the Mangyans, and the rest of us Filipinos, are. Aren’t you proud of the richness and diversity of our cultural heritage?!
    Here’s an ambahan found carved on a bamboo pole in the forest:
    You once were passing this way
    It’s not long since you’ve been here
    Your footprints are still around.
    Instead of writing in Japanese Haiku, try this Philippine ambahan – seven syllables per line, any number of lines. It’s more romantic than any graffiti!

  4. Definitely an interesting story! If you have a link to an online copy of this video segment please do let me know. I’d like to see this for myself. Thanks for sharing! 🙂