A structured interrriew protocol to draw out the

traditional knowledge of the Aeta on bees, honey
collection and beekeeping was used. It also aimed to
draw out local understanding ofthe population on bees,
or apiculture, agriculhrre and economics of
bees among the natives.
Results and I)iscuosion
l- The native bees used by the Aeta for subsistence
a. Alabat-Lopez
The natives can recognize three species
ofbees for honey hunting. These are pisukan,
ligwan, and lukutan or lukot. The pisukan are
big and build their single comb on tree branches.
Scientifically, they are classified as lp is dorsata
and are commonly called giant honeybees.
This kind ofbees produces the greatest amount
and quality ofhoney according to the natives.
However, they see it also as the fiercest of the
three kinds ofbees. They refer to it as ka-ag in
their native 1z ayta langaage. There are two kinds
of pisukan according to the color of its body.
One is puti that is whitish to brown in color,
and the other is bulikthat is skiped with black
to dark brown and yellow to dark orange color.
Except for the color, there is no other significant
difference between the two kinds of pisukan,
but they somehow believe that the bulik isless
productive and much fiercer than the puti v aiety.
Another kind of honey bee familiar among
the Aeta is ligwan or what is locally known as
laimot.Its scientific classification is Apis ceranct
or commonly referred to as Asian honeybee.
The natives describe this kind of honey bee as b.
relatively smaller than thepisukan.It also builds
its combs in the cracks and holes in trees and
in the cracks ofthe earth and in between rocks,
usually along rivers and streams. Similar to the
pisukan, there are two kinds of ligwan based on
color. There is one variety which is described
as madiklum or dark in color which they say
is somewhat similar to bulik pisukan even as
the light-colored ligwan is similar to putiang
pisukan. Similarly, the two kinds of ligwan
display no differences in characteristics with
one another, except for the color oftheir body.
Lukot or lukutan is the smallest in size
among the three. It is dark in color and usually
builds it nest in rotten tree kunks or in leaves of
plants. This kind ofbee belongs to the Trigona
qpp. species. The Aeta do not usually gather
honey from this kind of bees for they only
produce a small amount and the bees themselves
axe very difficult to handle. The natives say the
lukothaveno sting but they are very irritable and
may enter every part ofthe body, particularly the
head and its holes, when they attack.
All the bees in a colony are refenedlo as ina
or inqhin by the Aeta. They cannot differentiate
the bees as to the queen, drones and workers.
They say that they see no difference among all
the bees in the colony in terms oftheir size or role
and of other characteristics. Nonetheless, they
have an idea that a lead bee (which is somehow
referred to asthe reyna or hariby lhe natives) is
present in every colony. They also believe that
the lead bee is the one being followed by all the
bees in the colony. That is, wherever the lead
bee flies, the others also fly. They also believe
that there are males among the bees in a colony.
They reason that there are male bees since the
bees cannot reproduce if there are only females
among them. Still the natives say they cannot tell
which is which among the bees in the colony.
For the natives, all ofthe bees in the colony look
similar to one another.
The Aeta of Tayabas also recognize three
species of bees for honey hunting. These are
pulcyutan, laywan, and lulattan or lukot. Pulrytan
corresponds to the kind ofbee theAlabat-Lopez
Aeta call the pisukan (A. dorsata). It is the
biggest honeybee in terms of size according
to the natives. It builds a single comb on tree
branches in the open up high in tall trees. It
produces the most quantity of honey but it
also the most aggressive of the three kinds of
bees. The Aeta of Tayabas also know two kinds
of pulqtutan similar to the classification and
description ofAlabat-Lopez natives. They are the
common pulryutan and the kamabuy pulqtutan.
The latter is differentiated from the common
pulEutan by its color. Kamabuy coffesponds to
the bulik pisukan classifi.cation among Alabat-
Lopez Aeta. Aside for their color, the Aeta says
the kamabuy is different from the common
pulqtutan because the first produces relatively
less honey than the iatter.
Another kind of honey bee the Tayabas Aeta
knows is laywan (A. cerana), which matches
the ligwan of the Alabat-Lopez peoples. They
describe it as much smaller and less aggressive
thanthe pulEutan.lt also produces more combs
in a hive, which numbers about five to ten, which
are built in less exposed environments like cracks
in the trees and in between rocks or small caverns
in the ground. They are usually located along
streams and rivers. Honey produced by laywan
is also said to be less flavorful but much sweeter
than that of the pulqtutan's.
Lukot or lukutan (Trigona spp.) is also
known among the Aeta but it has no use to them
except for its honey produce which, at times, they
utilize as cough medicine. They describe it as the
smallest in size among the three kinds of bees. It
is dark in color and usually builds it nest in rotten
tree trunks or in leaves of plants such as palqak
lawin or paypay am6.It only produces a small
amount of honey and the bees themselves are
very difficult to handle. They say the lukothave
no sting but they are very irritable and may enter
every part ofthe body, particularly the head and
its holes, when they attack. They recognize two
varieties - the common lukot (Trigona biroi) and
lhe mungo-mungo (Trigona iridepennis). They
do not see any difference between the two kinds
regarding the biology of the bees but the stnicture
of their respective colonies or hives. The hive
of the first is much bigger and heavier while the
latter's combs are composed ofweb-like clusters
of honey pots the size of mung beans (thus the
natr]e lnungo-mungo). Although most of the Aeta
inTayabas still seeno definite economic benefits
from this kind of honey bee, some of them collect
lukot hiv es nowadays because ofmarket demand.
The population of a colony is referred to
by the Aeta as tao, ina or inahin They do not
differentiate the bees as to the queen, drones
and workers" They say all the bees in a colony
are the same in terms oftheir size or role for the
colony. Similar to the knowledge of the Alabat-
Lopez natives, they know that a reyna or hari is
present in every colony which all the other bees
in the colony follow. Still they say they cannot
really identifr the reyna,the &arl, or the workers,
in terms of characteristics. According to them,
the reyna or hari is always on alert and is very
difficult to find.
2. The indigenous practices of collecting honey and
harvesting beehives
The ancestral
ofhoney hunting is an act of
bravery among the Aeta since selected members of
the said kibe can make this act. In addition, it is not
only the activity for survival but also the courage to
find sweet honey, or pulot, and brood, or anida,from
wild bees to the varied risks not only from painful
bee sting but also the tenacity to cling to towering
trees to collect the by-products from the pulqrutan
or giant honey bee (Apis dorsata); ligwan/layvan or
Asian hive bee (Apis cerana); and lukot/lukotan or
stingless bee (Trigona biroi).
This part illustrates the description of indigenous
tools utilized in hunting and the biological
identification of floral species used for honey
collection and medication against bee sting.
a. Alabat
Male and female Aeta have knowledge of honey
hunting. Honey hunters can be male or female, but
hunting is done most\ by males, regardless of age
and position in the community.
They follow no particular time or day for honey

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