Mamanwa tribe is considered to be one of the oldest tribe that is still existing in some of the Philippine regions and is believed to be the descendants of the original settlers of the Philippine Archipelago. They are sometimes probably mistaken to be called as Negritos due to its almost the same physical appearance. These indigenous people, though called as it is, can be an asset to the tourism loop of a certain place where they are residing.
Mamanwas in Samar province, specifically those who are residing in Basey, Samar, are rooted from the land of Surigao who migrated 6 years ago due to the armed conflict on the said place. Since they have been integrated to the community and a part of the tourism of the town, many agencies have been visiting the tribe. But the only thing that concerns them, according to the statement of Cabadungga, their tribe leader, there were agencies visiting the tribe that promised to help, took pictures of them and did some recording, but did not come back to help the tribe.
Based on the previous tallied data of the Cebu-Philippines.net on Mamanwas’ population, there were 21 families and over 70 individuals, but currently, its population hiked up to 31 families and at approximately 150 individuals. And due to this increase in population and with their source of income-farming, which have gone through a difficult situation due to drought and changes on climate, the tribe has been thriving, and they only have a minimum amount of food and water supply. Also, these basically affected the nutritional status of the children.
On the other hand, as a part of the tourism loop of Basey, the Mamanwas, using their creativity, are also making some sort of souvenirs like necklaces, bracelets, containers and others all made from native materials known in waray waray dialect as ‘ratan/uway’, abaća, seeds from large trees and some other things, and they sell these products as a secondary source of income at the tourism center of the town at the eco-lodge of Sohoton, a famous tourist spot of Samar. But these products are not eventually bought; it all depends on the visitors coming to the center. Therefore, they can’t easily earn from this source of income due to lack of demand.
This tribe is hence in need of those helping hands who are willing to help and assist them in their livelihood to uplift their tribe; to promote local tourism; and of course as the main point, to elevate children from poverty and give them the right to basic educational needs, health and sanitation.
Paglaum: Pagkaurusa Para Han Mga Mamanwa
It is someone’s honor to help uplift those in need and the best trade to this good deed is the smile of the children and their sweet voices saying ‘thank you!’
It was indeed a success! In partnership with Hope in Dough, we’ve successfully conducted an outreach program at Basey, Samar, at our fellow Filipinos, the Mamanwa Tribe last May 26, 2019. It was themed ‘Paglaum: Pagkaurusa Para Han Mga Mamanwa’ and staffs from Hope in Dough spearheaded the sequence of events. This is an annual outreach program of Comradeship Philippines to the indigenous communities in Eastern Visayas. School supplies and slippers were donated to the children of the Mamanwas to start the school year off. And of course through the said activity, seeing the smiles of our fellows, makes it all worthwhile. ‘Til our next fellowship! And cheers to more help for children!