Battle of the Bamboo 2016: B’laan Suite

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Our interpretive representation of the B’laan tribe of Southern Mindanao begins with men searching out in the distance for suitable land to provide for their families. They climb to high heights in hopes of finding a sign from the Alimukon bird.

According to folklore, the sign could mean an omen for
illness, danger, or a bad harvest.
Hearing the bird, the men move to a different area to start their harvest.

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The B’laan tribe, known to be hunters and gathers, then perform the Maba Di Alnigo ritual to prepare the land. Women come out with plates and baskets, while the men use sticks to pound and dig into the earth.

While harvesting, the villagers hear the Alimukan bird again and suddenly,
the higher power members of society invade to conquer their land.

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In this tribe, it is considered great shame and dishonor for a man not to send retaliations. Therefore, the B’laan people come attack to reclaim their land.

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In the act of retaliation, one of the village men of lower status gets severely injured and falls ill.

To heal him, the villagers come in and perform the Sbolong Di Tana ritual. Candles shoo away the evil spirit that caused this predicament.

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The tribe dances in a trance to remove the illness. With joy and happiness in the air, girls come out with malongs in celebration.

Following the successful resurrection, the village man falls in love and portrays the famous Blit B’laan courtship dance.

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The new couple is married and the village celebrates the new partnership.

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Finally, through this new partnership the birth of a child signifies a new hope for the future.

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Having explored the mysteries of life and death throughout the sequence of events, the villagers perform a finale with malongs.

Experience the entire story by video!