Introduction / History
The Ayta Abellen live in the mountains of western Tarlac province and across the border into Zambales province. The Abellen are semi-nomadic. Their primary sources of income are charcoal production and raising upland rice. Some also get hired to work in the fields of lowlanders while still others are hunters.
Because of the influx of Hambali Ayta into their area after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and intermarriage with Ilokano lowlanders, the Ayta Abellen describe themselves as being mixed and scattered. While there are a fair number of very small settlements of Abellen deep in the mountains which are still relatively pure, there are now only one or two barangays which are predominately Abellen.
Most Abellen who have settled with lowlanders in barangays have at least one family member who is literate. Very few Abellen in the mountains are literate.
Most of the barangays where Abellen have settled with lowlanders have an evangelical church established but very few Abellen attend regularly. Except for three churches pastored by Abellen men, there is little vision for reaching the Abellen in the mountains with the gospel.
It is recognized that translated Scripture will need to be made available to non-literate Abellen in audio form. Literacy materials are also being field tested.
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