Let’s get to know the Dumagat Tribe

Article contributed by Ken Michael Escamillas

Perhaps many of us don’t know anything about these people living in the mountainous area of Quezon province. These people who depend their life on nature struggling for survival and contentment. In comparison of the things that we, the urban people have, they have nothing but just improvised things built out from nature. And if you guys want to know who they are, they are the Dumagats.

Dumagat — taken from the words “gubat” (forest) and “hubad” (naked) — are nomads, who certainly don’t have permanent house to stay in. They are just one of the major groups of indigenous people living in the Southern Tagalog. Now numbering only about 30,000, we can find them inhabiting the fertile Sierra Madre Ranges on Quezon province.

A large crowd of this ethnic tribe can be found in the town of General Nakar, while a few of them can be spotted in three municipalities of Polillo Island.

Primarily, the Dumagats depend on farming, kaingin, paid labor, vending logs and other forest commodities as livelihood. Secondarily, they rely on fishing, hunting animals, gathering crops and other natural bounties for survival. Loan dependence (usury) has reduced many of them to dismal poverty.

The government allocated more than 47 settlement areas as their home. There are four settlements within the area of General Nakar. Dinigman Settlement at Barangay Canaway, Lamutan Settlement at Barangay Lamutan, Tamala Settlement at Barangay San Marcelino, and
Cynthia Village of Barangay Umiray are officially supervised by the Office for Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC) of Social Services and Development. However, given this opportunity, the Dumagats are having still the tendency to become nomads which still brings them to the inner part of Sierra Madre.

But what’s alarming is the increasing cases of brutal killings committed against members of tribal communities. More so, the Dumagats are in a struggle for ancestral domain claim inside the more than 50,000 hectares of landmass in General Nakar.

To sum up, nature has been the source of life for Dumagat Tribe. They should not be deprived of land and life for losing all of these will definitely lose their identity.

We should let the Dumagat Tribe have a peaceful life. They, too, are in need.

Online Source: Bulatlat.com

Photo Credit: filamnation.com



    the Dumagats should benefit from the resources within their ancestral domain… who would help them make sure this happens…

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