From Dreams to the Woven Fabric: A Cultural Legacy of the Mandaya and the Tboli


In Mindanao, the southern island of the Philippines, two provinces Davao Oriental and South Cotabato, are homes to indigenous communities known for their dream-weavers, the Mandaya and the Tboli respectively. The dream-weavers are mostly women who have continued the tradition of weaving using the abaca fiber. This paper discusses how the dagmay of the Mandaya and the Tnalak of the Tboli embody their folklore and cultural traditions. The specific objectives of the research are: 1. To describe the role of the dream-weavers; 2. To analyze how folklore influences the designs on the woven fabric, and 3. To discuss how dream-weaving helps preserve the communities’ culture and traditions. Ethnography was used in the conduct of this research which adopted the following data collection methods: 1. Visits to the Mandaya and Tboli communities; 2. Face to face interviews with the knowledge-bearers and material culture keepers from both communities, the narratives of which were used as basis for the data analysis. The influence of folklore in the culture and the arts of the Mandaya and the Tboli is significantly evident in the designs of the dagmay and the tnalak. As the dream-weavers weave the dagmay and the tnalak, these woven fabrics will be preserved for posterity and will continue to be embodiments of the Mandaya and Tboli cultural legacies.

Author Information
Genevieve Quintero, University of the Philippines, Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: BAMC2023
Stream: Cultural Studies

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon