First time meeting Capt.Mapua, when we learned that he went to Mt. Mantalingajan 41years ago. Never ending conversation on his encounter with the Taawu't Bato.
To base camp Tatay Buano our guide telling us of the tales of the katutubong Tau't Bato to Perry Beaver (Left-most), Tatay Buano, Adolf Reich Palabrica (middle) Regina Palabrica, Prince Billy Datu (Right)
HOW I LEARNED OF THE TAU'T BATO
By Rafy L. Beaver
Four years ago I was asked to join a group of people for a documentary on the mountain and tribesmen of Mt. Mantalingajan, the highest peak in Palawan. Since I am from the province, I said yes.
My journey led me to meet Tumihay and Elder Buano. Since then, whenever I am around Palawan, I would make it a point to go up and visit them.
This year 2019 of April, my husband Perry joined me to visit them. Moved and blessed with the life he saw up there he offered to help in any way we could.
Tatay (Father in Tagalog) Buano, as we call him, Is regarded as an elder and also a well-seasoned guide.
his house is in need of renovation and since they now need to buy sheets of leaves we call it “pawid”, they can no longer do it since they don’t have enough materials in their area now. So they need to buy somewhere else.
16th of August same year, we came to visit again, but this time with our children. Adolf, my eldest. Regina my second child, and her fiancé, Prince.
I ask some friends to donate clothes and educational books, we also had drums that could be of use to their school among others like canned goods my family bought.
After meeting with one of the tribesman Tumihay, we learned that the solar panels the group I was with donated four years ago were no longer of use since they will need a new inverter and battery. They also need panels of hand weaved dried leaves for their common area for the ceiling and bamboo reinforcement for the flooring.
this time with the inverter and battery we don’t think we can afford it coming from our personal fund.
I would like to ask for your kind heart and thought to help us come up with the fund so our fellow Tawu’t batu may have a memorable holiday this coming Christmas season.
PROTECTING, EDUCATING AND PRESERVING A CULTURE FOR THE FUTURE
By Perry Beaver
Where do I start. Having visited the Taut’Bato recently we found them in need of various things. As much as we could do to help, we need your help. We want them to preserve as much of their culture as possible.
Although by raising awareness we are risking destroying the very thing we want to preserve. There are however very strict procedures in place to stop random tourism; You will need to apply in advance should you want to make a trip to visit them. The numbers are tightly controlled.
We are raising funds to help them with school supplies, the community nipa hut is in need of roof and flooring repair, an inverter for their solar panels and new batteries and antiseptics and first aid kits as they have been devastated by typhoons as we do.
We hope the children will be educated enough to understand the mining and deforestation companies who are “Buying” tribal land for literally peanuts. Please, please help us to preserve this important heritage.
The next generation of the people of Ransang with Regina Palabrica (bottom left) and Rafy Beaver (bottom right).
WHO ARE THE TAUT' BATO
By Adolf Reich Palabrica
Tatay Buano (left) and Adolf Reich (right).
Early August I joined my family to a hike in Palawan. For those not well versed with the archipelago that is the Philippine Islands, Palawan lies south west detached from the main island mass. It is widely considered as one of the most beautiful places in the world.
However one of its hidden gems are the mountains of Ransang where the "katutubong Taut' Bato".
Tau't (People) Bato (Rocks) are an indigenous and earliest settlers of Palawan, they are named after their lifestyle. Going up the mountain is a 3 day trip by foot as no roads lead to them. The climb to meet the tribe must a of intent and persistence. This isn't your typical nature walk.
Our trek lead us not even close to the Tau't Bato however one of their kin was able to go down the mountain to rendezvous with us in base camp. The base camp is a plateau where some of the settlers have found home for themselves.
I was fascinated that I have never heard of the tribe, as it were they kept amongst themselves far away from the lights of multimedia. What an interesting find.
The Tau't Bato based from Tatay Buano's tales weren't originally cave dwellers, long ago they lived up in the tall Manggis trees bound together in interconnected treehouses. No for reasons unclear or perhaps due to the war the tribe were split into two. The old tree dwelling group and who what we now know as the Tau't Bato. Those whom dwelt in the caves.
Suffice is to say that the tree dwelling group has long gone but their descendants as the Tau't Bato as all we know of now because just like any other Filipino indigenous tribe they pass their history through songs and by mouth.
From what I have seen they are farmers by nature, I saw fields and fields of rice, root crops and corn however they have not strayed from fishing and foraging such as berries, fruits, we even found out that a local vine in the forest was actually edible.
I feel that the Tau't Bato are one of the links we have to what we were ages ago.They should also be helped, not to teach them to move out or change their lifestyle but to reinforce their traditions, preserve their way of living and impart to them the importance of their culture.