Introduction / History Located in North Cotabato, the Tala-andig group themselves by clan which is headed by a Datu. Men provide food for their families through subsistence farming. Women help in food-gathering to augment their meager harvest. A "datu " heads the tribe and together with a council they form the timuay (governing body" which is the highest class in their society. The other four are the walian or "shaman" (Spiritual leaders), the warrior, and the commoner. They still practice rituals like the Samaya-an Festival, a thanksgiving celebration.
They speak three-quarters Binukid and are found along the Eastern Bukidnon and Agusan del Sur boundary, specifically on the Pantaron-Sumapay-Kubatungan and Minala mountain ranges. Men spend most of their time in the forest hunting, trapping and gathering firewood. Women stay close to home taking care of the children and other household chores, digging root crops and weaving. They have three kinds of houses, a) a multilayered house where they do their cooking , b) tree houses as lookouts, and c) a shack near their cultivated fields where they stay during planting and harvesting season. Their diet consists mainly of tubers and root crops and whatever their hunts yield.
Marriages are arranged with the girl's parents. Education is informal through demonstration by the elders. They are taught their proper roles in their society. A transfer of values and customs occurs from one generation to the next. Each settlement is ruled by a council of elders.
These people are known for their art. They tattoo their bodies in red, black and purple. Their handicrafts are characterized with geometric patterns. Chanting their everyday experience is their most popular form of entertainment.
Largely animistic, they bury their dead below their houses which are then abandoned. Geographically they are very isolated and the water source is a thousand feet away from their settlement. Red eyes, headaches, stomach disorders, fever and skin diseases are very rampant.
Unlike the dominant Muslim tribes, they have failed to consolidate themselves and thus have no significant voice in politics. Because of their unattended grievances, they are prey to the communist rebels and other dissident movements who wish to use them against the government.
Effective ministries are those that combine evangelism with discipleship and community development. Upland farm technologies are in demand to help uplift the economic situation of the people. Education and medical assistance are other basic needs in the area.
Hindrances to the Gospel include the bitterness of hill tribes at being dispossessed of their ancestral lands by Catholic lowlanders, whom they collectively lump with other Christians.
Prayer Points * Pray that more Manobo pastors and church leaders will be raised up to reach out to their own people.
* Pray for wisdom for those who are ministering to them right now. That they will be able to clearly present Christ to these people.
* Pray for improved living conditions
* Pray that the surge of materialism (due to lowlander influence) will be stopped by the gospel
* Pray that their efforts to hold on to their land will be successful. That they will not deceived by opportunistic lowlanders with offers of money.