Mindoro Photos


Ibalik ang dangal at kaunlaran sa Roxas, Oriental Mindoro

Before the current political administration in this municipality, Roxas is considered as the TRADE CENTER OF THE SOUTH!

But the wanton disregard of its peoples' demand for sustainable development peg's it to remain a 4th class municipality despite of its temendous capability to GO FORWARD!



One hundred and forty eight (148) kilometers south of Calapan lies the small but promising town of Roxas. The name was taken from the late President Manuel A. Roxas in whose honor the proposal for the barrio’s separation from its mother town, Mansalay, was first acknowledged.

The present town was once a small settlement along the Tikling River where early settlers and immigrants from Panay and Batangas provinces set ashore. The settlement became the site of the first government of Roxas.

Through Executive Order No. 181, President Elpidio Quirino, in a proclamation dated 15 October 1948 declared Paclasan as a separate town from Mansalay. The order, however, took effect on November 15, 1948. The name Paclasan was changed to Roxas and Roxas was born as a town.

Roxas has 20 barangays – two urban, three urbanizing and fifteen rural, in a total land area of 8,526 hectares. Its present population is 43,202. Farming and fishing continue to serve as main economic activities with trade and commerce continuously gaining importance in its economic growth.

Now serving as a growth center especially of trade and commerce in the southern part of Oriental Mindoro, the Municipality of Roxas, though the smallest, has been classified as a medium town in the province’s classification of its component municipalities under the Province of Oriental Mindoro’s Physical Framework Plan. It evidently plays a significant role in the development of the entire province. Its people’s ingenuity and industry coupled with a clear and strong political will towards people empowerment serves as its major resource and stronghold to development.

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The Mangyans of Mindoro

MANILA, Philippines – Heritage covers such scope that its totality is difficult to grasp. Many of us compartmentalize heritage into one of its many components: music, dance, visual arts, architecture, literature, language, costumes, cuisine, depending on where our interests may happen to lie.

Often we fail to realize that all of the components interrelate, that each component forms a vital part that weaves into the splendid tapestry of our own national identity.

Focused (or hung up) as many of us might be on Philippine lowland Christian culture, our many cultural communities and indigenous peoples have gone unnoticed and misunderstood.

Among them are the Mangyans of Mindoro.

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a population of 84 million speaking over 120 languages.

Out of the 110 indigenous peoples (IP) groups in the country today, only four still use their original scripts. Other ethno-linguistic groups now write in the Roman alphabet of the colonizers.

The endangered script of the Hanunuo and Buhid Mangyans from Mindoro, and of the Tagbanua and Palawan tribes from Palawan were declared National Cultural Treasures in 1997, and were inscribed in the Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Memory of the World Register in 1999.

However, the Hanunuo Mangyan script is very much alive and being taught in Hanunuo Mangyan schools.

Mangyan is the generic name for the eight IP groups found in the mountainous regions of Mindoro island—the Alangan, Bangon, Buhid, Hanunuo, Iraya, Ratagnon, Tadywan and Tau-buid, a combined population of 100,000.

Distinctive heritage

Mangyans, with eight different languages and cultural traditions, possess a rich and distinctive cultural and literary heritage. One manifestation is the various traditional musical instruments used during festivities, special occasions and for courting: guitar, violin, flute, gong, and jew’s-harp.

With a pointed knife, Hanunuo Mangyans inscribe notes and poems on bamboo trees in the forests or on bamboo slats. These ambahans—written or recited in poetic language—allegorically express situations or characteristics.

The Hanunuo and Buhid Mangyans weave and embroider their own traditional attire. The Iraya and Alangan Mangyans skillfully weave nito and rattan into elaborate baskets. The other groups also produce baskets, bags, hats, hammocks and other crafts made of forest vines, and all the eight tribes practice beadwork. These are a main source of their livelihood.

Mangyans plant upland rice, corn, beans, bananas and root crops using swidden farming done in total reverence for the environment.

Mangyans have strongly retained their cultural identity. Much of their traditions and beliefs are in practice, despite some having converted to Christianity. Intermarriage with non-Mangyans is limited.

The Mangyans, considered as the first inhabitants of the island of Mindoro, believe that “land is life” and from it emanates their distinct and rich culture.

Unfortunately they do not have security of land tenure. Their unrecognized traditional right over their ancestral domain is evident in the continuous influx of so-called government development projects. Private business interests have also harassed them: mining, tourism, hydro-power, and even reforestation. Illegal titling of lands by non-Mangyans also continues.

The implementation of these projects often undermines their culture and traditional right to protect, manage and utilize the resources in their ancestral domain. More important, the Mangyans have lost their land to these projects.

Mangyan settlements are mostly found in the interior, mountainous region of Mindoro, in land classified by the government as Forest Zone and Public Domain.

The Mangyans’ subsistence-level livelihood is based on swidden cultivation: planting upland rice, sweet potatoes, corn, beans, bananas, cassava, yams and other root crops.

The few with low-lying farmland in irrigated areas have ventured into lowland farming, planting cash crops and permanent crops, particularly fruit trees. Some gather vines and firewood.

Most Mangyan settlements are not accessible by road. Rivers that flood during the rainy season separate settlements from each other, often cutting off direct access to government social services like education and health.

Mangyan education

There are few public elementary schools, no public high school, and no functional health center. Public elementary schools in Mangyan communities usually do not offer all the elementary grade levels. Classes are multi-grade. Teachers do not report regularly. There are few or no books at all for students.

Students walk for hours and make numerous river crossings to go to school, which can be dangerous for young children.

High expenses prevent attendance by Mangyans in high school, which are situated in the lowlands. Individual sponsors or nongovernment organizations support the few who do finish secondary and tertiary levels. Functional literacy for adults and out-of-school youth is continuously provided by nongovernment organizations and, lately, by the government.

Aside from educational problems, there also exists a difficulty of access to government health units or health centers, which are located in town centers or lowland communities.

Few Mangyan local government units or barangays have been established. The majority of the Mangyan population belongs to lowlander-led barangay units.
Before the last decade, no Mangyan was elected to a municipal or higher position, further limiting the indigenous people’s opportunities to be heard and to participate in decision-making. There are also very few Mangyan government employees.

Discrimination by lowlanders hinders Mangyans from attaining the development level they deserve. Lowlanders often buy their products at very low prices. Often the Mangyans are exploited.

The Mangyan situation illustrates the complexity of heritage conservation. To preserve the endangered traditional script, language, literature, crafts and lifestyle, there is need to improve their education, livelihood and governance.

However, any government or NGO assistance given to the Mangyans must not be done in an insensitive manner. Any kind of help must be granted with vision—in the framework of true understanding of the Mangyan culture, ensuring its preservation, but also giving the people the benefits of the 21st century.

Written by Augusto Villalon (Inquirer.Net)   

Mindoro Lines