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Matigsalug is a distinct sub-group of indigenous peoples within the Manobo group inhabiting the ranges of Central Mindanao. About 50,000 in number, they are described splinter group of the Manobo immigrants (Malayo-Polynesian origin) from the highlands to mainland Sulu. Oral tradition has said that their original settlement was at the mouth of Salug River, which is now Davao City. 77,134 hectares of land was awarded to them as their ancestral domain.


In earlier years, Matigsalug practices hunting and gathering with minimal agriculture efforts. However, because of the influence of migrant farmers and businessmen from northern Philippines and the island provinces, Matigsalug shifted to sedentary land cultivation with more or less permanent villages.

Pressures from inland pirates caused the Matigsalug to move up to the highwaters of Salug river, and even further inland also when the Muslims and others of Indonesian origin came and harassed them in their lowland and mid-latitude habitation. At present, the Matigsalug are 106 kilometers from the original habitation.

What remained of their earlier lifestyle is now found in their cultural and artistic expression. This is evidenced by their costume of bright colored mid-rib blouses and short skirt, and with skillful hunting and gathering techniques. Music, songs, dances, poetry, epic, and spiritual expressions also demonstrate their early lifestyle.




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