Manobo, Ilianen in Philippines

Manobo, Ilianen
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Map Source:  Mark Stevens
People Name: Manobo, Ilianen
Country: Philippines
10/40 Window: No
Population: 22,000
World Population: 22,000
Primary Language: Manobo, Ilianen
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 11.00 %
Evangelicals: 4.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Filipino, Tribal
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Located in North Cotabato, the Arumanen Manobo (Erumanen ne Menuvu') group themselves by clans, which are headed by a Datu. They claim to be direct descendants of Apu Agyu and his kinsmen. There are a number of sub-tribes including Sinimburanen, Dungguanen, Simuniyen, Derupuwanen, Ilianen, Lehitanen, Isuruken, Ilentungen, Kirinteken, Mulitaan and Livunganen.

Where Are they Located?

They are found in the following areas:
In Central Mindanao: the villages of Pikit, Aleosan, Midsayap, Libungan, Pigkawayan, Alamada, Banisilan, Carmen, Pres. Roxas, Antipas, Arakan, Matalam, Kabacan;
In the southern part of Bukidnon: Damulog, Kibawe, Dangcagan, Kadingilan, Pangantucan, Quezon, Kalilangan, Don Carlos, Maramag, Valencia City;
In Lanao del Sur: along the Maridagaoi River; and
In Maguindanao: Buldon

What Are Their Lives Like?

Men provide food for their families through subsistence farming. Women help in food-gathering to augment their meager harvest. A "datu " heads the tribe and together with a council they form the timuay (governing body" which is the highest class in their society. The other four are the walian or "shaman" (spiritual leaders), the warrior, and the commoner. They still practice rituals like the Samaya-an Festival, a thanksgiving celebration .

The areas where the tribes live are generally underdeveloped with poor infrastructure. Dispossessed of their tribal lands, they have little control over their lands. They practice swidden agriculture and live off the forest. They are driven off the land by loggers and corporate plantations.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Originally they were animists but with the advent of Christian missionaries some of them converted to different Christianity or other religions.

What Are Their Needs?

Unlike the dominant Muslim tribes, they have failed to consolidate themselves and thus have no significant voice in politics. Because of their unattended grievances, they are prey to the communist rebels and other dissident movements who wish to use them against the government.

They claim that they have been deprived of the proper delineation of their ancestral domain/territory which they estimate to be around 500,000 hectares.

Effective ministries are those that combine evangelism with discipleship and community development. Upland farm technologies are in demand to help uplift the economic situation of the people. Education and medical assistance are other basic needs in the area.

Hindrances to the Gospel include the bitterness of hill tribes at being dispossessed of their ancestral lands by Catholic lowlanders, whom they collectively lump with other Christians.

Prayer Points

Pray that more Manobo pastors and church leaders will be raised up to reach out to their own people.
Pray for wisdom for those who are ministering to them right now. That they will be able to clearly present Christ to these people.
Pray for improved living conditions
Pray that the surge of materialism (due to lowlander influence) will be stopped by the gospel
Pray that their efforts to hold on to their land will be successful. That they will not deceived by opportunistic lowlanders with offers of money.
Pray for the availability of the JESUS Film in the primary language of this people.

Text Source:   Asia Missions (AMNET)