Untold Stories of Manticao
By Tito Mike
The municipality of Manticao in West Misamis Oriental has been historically dominated by the Higaonon tribe which reside within it as part of their ancestral domain since time immemorial.
This can be gleaned from the name of its villages and adjacent areas. Barangay Linangcayan, for instance, is derived from the Higaonon word naglangkay which means an important venue where Datus, Baylans, and elders, can perform a ritual especially during an imminent war or other threats. Apog, buyo, and bunga for the big ritual to protect the village-tribe from the war or other threats.
Barangay Pagawan, is known to the Higaonon as the place where one can find Pughaw (or pagaw) birds chirping “paghaw, paghaw” indicating a long dry spell is coming.
In like manner, Brgy Cabalantian is named after the Higaonon word Cabalanti, a local medicinal tree that thrive in the area, while Brgy Balintad, means a valley or a place surrounded by hills and mountains such is the landscape of the village.
Tales like these, and many others can be found in MANTUKAW (Untold Stories of Manticao), a special edition magazine of the history and significant events of Mantikaw-mantukaw in the last 300 years self-published by Lawyer Carl Cesar Rebuta of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, Inc.- Friends of the Earth Philippines (Kasama sa Kalikas).
My parents are both Manticaonon, but I wasn’t born and schooled there. I was longing for the town’s identity, to share its story with my friends. I started with oral stories my parents told me then I gathered primary references here and abroad,” he relates. “I thought I would start with the year when our town was chartered, but lo and behold! The back story of Manticao is even more worth sharing!”
“MANTUKAW, a Higaonon oral tradition of chanting , is one of their important traditional practices. Higaonon are inclined not to share stories without first seeking the permission of their ancestors’ spirits through religious rituals. History for them is sacred and valued as one of their few treasures,” Rebuta shares.
It may longer be practiced by the Higaonon tribe in Manticao, but what remains now live through their descendants who live peacefully in the hinterland villages of Upper Malubog, Mahayahay, and Digkilaan, Manticao, Misamis Oriental, he added.
“This is a compilation of at least 50 untold stories from the pre-colonial , colonial, World War II, and liberation of the small village of Manticao, Misamis Oriental,” Rebuta disclosed. “This special edition 50-page, full color magazine is made in collaboration with the local artists who interpreted the historical accounts of the village.”
For instance, the cover page is done by Rex J Sinco, grandson of Isyong Jabiguero, lumad Manticaonon. Rex has mild cerebral palsy, and is a student of the renowned painter Carlo Magno.
He was a Grand Caprice Champion in 1999, an Art Exhibitor of Cagayan De Oro City from 2000 to 2009; became a Metro Bank Artist in 2008 to 2009; and became an Art Commissioner of Dynasty Court Hotel in 2007. Until now, Sinco keeps exploring new art techniques for World Class Competitions.
Rebuta is the brains behind a 10-hectare farm dubbed as the Birds’ Nest Sanctuary, located at Barangay Pagawan, Manticao , Misamis Oriental where he maintains a repository of endemic trees native to the Philippines.
The 1.6 hectare Mindanaw Arboretum now has over 200 varieties of hardwood, fruit, and flowering trees that could most probably be the most found within one area in Mindanao.
Aside from the arboretum, visitors to can also view their demo farm with farmers from nearby villages, avail of the use of their Mantukaw Event Hall, rent one of the six replicas of indigenous people’s houses in Mindanao, or visit their bee farm, World War II museum, and Butterfly Garden.