Introduction / History
The Dumagat people are of the Agta Negrito groups found in Luzon. In the past, these people lived in coastal areas of Aurora and Quezon provinces and were lords in their own domain. However, because of the coming of Filipino homesteaders into the Agta area, they were pushed into the mountains, and dispersed in small groups.
Dumagats are semi-nomadic. They move from place to place in search of better habitation. Recently, they have learned to live in permanent settlements. They are reported found scattered in different locations. They are also divided into six languages.
The Casiguran are one of the subgroups of the Dumagat. This group is also called Casiguran Agta. Many of them have light skin or straight hair - the result of children fathered by lowland men over the past generation. Many of them believe that Jesus is alive and is the Savior of the world, and He meets people's needs but this has not resulted in a great deal of change in the lives of most. Congregating them is difficult because of their semi-nomadic lifestyle.
Dumagat families are generally simple nuclear family. They live in extended family grouping. If conflicts arise among themselves, they just move away.
In the past, men wore a cloth of g-string and the women wore wrap around skirts. Now, they wear used, machine sewed lowland clothes.
Economically, they are very poor. Their livelihood ranges from hunting and gathering to having gardens and raising coconuts. These days, hunting and gathering are greatly reduced due to depletion of forest resources caused by logging operations. Many of them now work as unskilled laborers for lowland farmers near their location. Most Dumagats are tied into a patron-client relationship with one or more lowlander families. In this relationship, the Dumagats gather rattan and trade it with the lowlander or they work for the lowlander. In turn, the lowlander gives them rice, tobacco, money, or other items. In many cases, Dumagats are abused, oppressed and are always on the losing end. Most of them are unable to determine the fair equivalent of goods being exchanged or services rendered. They depend on their relationship for their daily ration of food.
Within their culture, much of the behavior is governed by rules between types of kinsmen. The family itself is the organization that undertakes all roles. Their social control system is unstructured. If conflicts arise, they just move away.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Dumagats are animist. Practices and beliefs differ from person to person. Dumagat animism has less control over the people's daily lives. In addition, they have adopted some of the beliefs of their Christian neighbors. Now, they hold to a universal belief in a single God, maybe as a result of Christian influence. Cultic groups are also working in the area. There has been a lot of mission work done in each of these Dumagat language groups.
* Pray for a wide distribution of the Dumagat Scriptures to open the hearts of the Dumagats.
* Pray that the Aeta believers as well as the Dumagat believers will take the responsibility to go ahead in the Christian groups with preaching and teaching the Gospel to reach other Negritos.
* Praise God for the fruit of the faithful missionary efforts. Praise God for the Dumagat believers. Pray that the Holy Spirit will make them grow and remain in the Lord even after the missionaries have left.
* Praise God for community aid projects done for the Dumagats. Praise God also that some of them have learned to live in permanent settlements facilitated by concerned groups. However, many agencies were unsuccessful in their attempts to help settle the Dumagats because their ways and means conflict with the Dumagat values and social organization. Pray that if anyone who wishes to help the Dumagats, assistance be given in a way that agrees with the values and present limitations of the Dumagat culture.
* The future of the Dumagats looks bleak. Serious problems include drunkenness, chronic malnutrition, decimation of wild game, loss of land to lowland homesteaders and probably ethnic disintegration. Pray that God will show mercy to these people, provide help to meet their needs.
|Profile Source: Asia Missions (AMNET)|