You are on page 1of 7


The Manuvu
a. Geographic Area
i. The Dallag Plateau are is situated on the divide splitting Davao City and Cotabato. It is the
east central part of the territory occupied by the Manuvu people
1. The geographical area is sandwiched Between, Davao River(west), Pulangi(east),
Mount Sita(north) and Mount Apo(south)
2. Its neighboring tribes included:
a. Matigsalug(northeast),
b. Talaandig (northwest) or Bukidnon
c. Illianon (west)
d. Tahavawa (south) or Bilaan
e. Jangan or Attaw (southeast)
b. Economic Life
i. The Manuvus main staples were
1. Corn and Sweet Potato
2. Rice was produced but the supply usually didnt last more than 3 months after
ii. Trade
1. Animals were used mainly as trade items, raising of the bride wealth and in
payment of damages in the settlement of wrongs or delicts.
2. Barkcloth, Gongs were also used as means for exchange
iii. How the Manuvu settled disputes were greatly affected by the presence of trade
1. Before the 20th Century, where trade relationships were not yet completely
establish, the Manuvu settled their disputes using the Law of Retaliation,
a. a rule that demands an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth.
2. After trade goods were acquired, the Law of Retaliation was slowly replaced by the
Law of Damages
c. The evolution of Manuvu society could be divided into three stages : Nomadic Existence, Semi-
nomadic and Permanent Village life.
i. The Manuvu people were originally a Nomadic race however this changed as trade
prospered and populations grew.
ii. The Semi-Nomadic: Tribes moved in a circular pattern
1. They used 2 to 3 sites of rotation
2. And the tribes were governed by elders called the Apu and later bayanis who
became recognized based in their respective areas of influence
iii. Permanent Village Life
1. In the 20th Century, Datus became the leaders of the Manuvu.
2. Multi-Datu system became a characteristic of village governments
a. Each village was ruled, usually 2-3 or more Datus depending on the size of
its population
b. Traders were effective Datus because of their accumulation of wealth
which increased their influence in facilitating the settlement of disputes.
3. Datu Duyan consolidated most of the Manuvu, establishing a tribal organization
after the recent war with the use of his knowledge, experience in the pre-war and
occupation years, his benevolent policies and connections with government officials
2. Origin of the Concept of Property and Its Development
a. We now look into the concept of Property for the Manuvu
i. Since language goes to the very origin of culture, these linguistic evidence are importance in
tracing the origin of the concept of property as something that can be possessed in Manuvu
b. Language was the earliest manifestation of the concept of property since every system had a
i. Pronominal System have terminologies indicating possession
1. Terminologies indicating possession
2. Kaddi = my mine, kekaw = your yours, kandan = their theirs
ii. Theses possessive pronouns indicate ownership of both Material and non-material things
1. Kaddin u = my head, Ketan baoy = our house are examples of material possessions
2. Kekaw na gona = your warname, kandan bansa = their honor are examples of non-
material possessions
iii. The terminologies are also exclusive
1. They do not recognize any other possession by any other man except the one
indicated by the possessive noun
2. Exclude other kinds of possessors
iv. Manuvu ownership is implied in the Possessive nouns
1. For example, a tribe members gona (war name) was meant for exclusive use
2. Anyone who would attempt to use it would be laughed at or ridiculed
c. Example of early concepts of property among the Manuvu could also be seen in their economic life.
i. The Manuvu people were mainly slash and burn agriculturist but they still practice other
food gathering activites and hunting to supplement their production.
ii. Before they became slash and burn agriculturist, the Manuvu were Food Gatherers
1. One aspect of this activity is Foraging which includes not only picking nuts, fruits,
grubs and insects but also
2. Picking from the bush birds eggs or young
3. Bee-Hive Hauling
iii. They were also fishermen, employing mainly traps to capture fish
1. Traps
a. Buvu
i. bamboo strips and tubular in shape
ii. set below the surface of the river
iii. weighted by stones in the riverbed
iv. where it is inspected everyday
b. daliang
i. trellis like and set below the rapids
ii. abandoned after serving its purpose
iv. Examples of ownership could be seen in these activities
a. With regards to foraging of birds nest and bee hive hauling
b. Twigs were used to mark possession
c. Upon discovery of a birds nest or bee hive on top of a tree, a twig is placed
pointing to the location of the nest or hive,
d. this mark is called tuwos in Manuvu language
i. This serves as a Marking which indicates a claim of ownership.
From the time the tree is marked up to the time the nest or hive is
taken down, there is potential possession
1. It is only potential because the discoverer only has two
days to take the nest or hive before ownership passes
ii. Until then, the discoverer has a right to claim Payment of
Damages against anyone who takes away the nest or the hive
e. Traps
i. Fishermen gain ownership of any fish caught in their traps
2. Examples of these forms of ownership are found in the following cases
d. In Manuvu Case Law No.6, 2nd half of 19th Century
i. Datu Basu discovered a beehive in the forest of Dulis
ii. He cut a small tree and stuck it to the base making a natuwossan, a mark of ownership of the
iii. He went home to get help from companions
iv. The next morning, he found a group of people hauling the bee hive
v. Datu Basu got angry and unsheathed his blade but Bantak, who was with Datu Basu
intervened to prevent bloodshed
vi. Kag who took the beehive, gave 5 gongs as payment for settlement and an extra gong to
express his regrets
e. Manuvu Case Law No.377, 1964
i. Maggantian set his buvu fishing trap in the Masawang River
ii. Two nights the trap remained undisturbed until Makatubak saw the trap, lifted it and took
one payyat fish which he placed on his basket
iii. Then he took the trap and placed it upstream
iv. The following day Maggantian went to the river to check on his trap
v. Finding the it was no longer there, he went upstream to look for it
vi. While looking upstream, he saw Makatubak holding a buvu trap
vii. He confronted Makatubak, and Makatubak confessed that he took the trap
viii. In order to reconcile Makatubak gave Maggantian a gong as payment for damages
f. The Manavu Law principle that can be derive from the above case is that Anything a man makes
belongs to its maker
i. By products also belong to the owner
g. Another example of ownership can be seen in the Hunting activities of the Manavu
i. Batik or balatik is used to catch wild hogs and deer,
1. The trap is provided with a missile which is released when an animal triggers the
2. This trap is regarded as the property of the maker and so is any wild animal that it
3. But the balatik is also Dangerous to human life and the owner can be held liable to
harm done to humans or hunting dogs
ii. An example of this is found in
h. Manuvu Case Law No. 174, 1941
i. Alig set 100 batik traps from one end of Dallag to the other end.
ii. Datu Obo had a maharuag hunting dog
iii. The datu was hunting, when he came across a deer and followed it into Dallag where his
hunting dog accidentally triggered one of the batik traps
iv. The dog was killed and Datu Obo demanded that Alig pay damages
v. Alig gave with 4 gongs, 10 inavo(woven abaca) as payment for damages and offered 1
chicken and 1 putaw as sacrifice for the pamaas ritual, a ritual which would give Datu Obo
the gods favor when he hunts again

3. Land Ownership Among the Manuvu

a. In the Nomadism of their ancestors
i. They Moved about in Circles occupying one place at a time, planting whatever was useful for
their existence
1. Moved based on agricultural yield
a. When a yield became minimal or poor, they moved back to one of the
older spots
ii. No other group was allowed to occupy the old spots and if upon a groups return any they
find trespassers in the area
1. The Intrusion could result to war if the intruders do not leave the area
2. Clearly, this is one of the manifestations of land ownership among the Manuvu
b. Permanent Villages
i. Favorable Spots
ii. Kinapan, Kivang, Kitanlad, Kidapawan
iii. Which became settlements and eventually villaegs
c. As settlements became villages, the Apus
i. Which were Elder leaders of the Manuvu bands
ii. Were given the duty of Assigning plots or fields to till or areas to open while in residence
d. Marks of Ownership
i. As villages grew in population, inter-village interactions were unavoidable
1. Boundaries were established through
a. Consensus or Traditional Practices
b. But Streams or Mountain Ridges were usually used to mark these
boundaries between villages
ii. Out of these inter-village relationships, the Manuvus developed their own concept of
Corporate Ownership
1. Inter-village law did not allow trespassing from one village to another
a. If a villager cut rattan located in another village, his bolo could be
confiscated by any villager from that village
b. A hunter that chased deer across the stream-boundary is considered as a
2. Any villager could demand for damages for trespassing in their village
iii. There was another way to gain exclusive ownership of a small portion of land, this was called
1. Which is a public declaration claiming ownership of a land. Those allowed to declare
ownership included:
a. Builders who made canals and dams across streams that divert water into
a fishpond
b. Death, surviving household member could claim ownership over the place
where the member drowned or the place where the member is buried
i. In case of drowning, ownership was limited to fishing but other
people could still bathe or swim in that area
ii. In case of graves, the surrounding area could be declared as
forbidden to tread over or pass by

c. Trees were also used to indicate land ownership

i. The Manuvu were betel-nut chewers and they planted betel-nut
trees wherever they reside. Eventually, these were treated as
landmarks of land ownership.
ii. Another similar situation happened with the Kinarom trees, as
Manuvu traded and inter-married with the Attaw tribe to the
southeast, the Manuvu incorporated the Attaw tribes weaving
techniques. And in order to dye the abaca cloth, they planted dye
trees like the Kinarom and these eventually became landmarks of
land ownership.
iv. An example of this individual family ownership is seen in Manuvu Case Law 22 (last years of
the 19th Century)
1. Datu Tivayon who resided in Kiunapan Village, having moved from Saysay village
had gone back to Saysay village to search for food.
2. He came upon an old field with plants growing and rearing fruits belonging to
3. It was a period of hunger and upon seeing a bundle of bananas, he took it and
brought it home however he triggered a balatik trap in the process which injured
his foot
4. Sindw was informed but he did not demand for damages; instead he provided a
tapuk ta langossa because blood was spilled
4. Classifications of Manuvu Property and Observations
a. Things that are considered as property
1. Everything a Manuvu gathers or catches from the ground
a. These included fruits, snails, fish, eggs and birds
2. Everything a Manuvu catches with traps or hunting gears
a. These include birds, lizards, snakes, deer, wild hog, fish and other living
3. Everything a Manuvu manufactures
a. Such as pots, bamboo utensils, spears, shields, charmstones, baskets etc.
4. Anything that he plants and produces
a. Rice, corn, tubers, sweet potato, betelnut trees and other similar items
5. Anything that is received as a gift
a. Usually in given to reconcile or in exchange of favors
6. Any animal raised
a. Limited to dog, cat and chicken
i. Dog and cats were partitioned among relatives
ii. Chickens were used as food or sacrifice
7. Anything acquired by exchange, barter
a. Usually exchange of food supplies between villages
8. Anything acquired by trading
a. Usually practices by Datus going from town to town or village to village,
exchanging horses or carabaos for gongs
9. Portions of streams owned by law
a. This property can be passed on to heirs and may also include exclusive
hunting rights
10. Land owned by occupancy in pioneer areas or assigned by old men
a. Lands marked by betelnut, coconut or dye-yielding trees
11. Damages are sources of wealth
a. Preferred to pay damages since retaliation disturbed the peace and order
12. Seizure of property is recognized in the custom law
a. Dampas (Seizure of property) is recognized in the Manuvu long, as long as
i. The item taken is more or less of equivalent value
13. Dakop, when a person is indebted
a. A persons may be seized for failure to live up to the contract with the
intention to hasten payment
14. Persons captured during little wars
a. The Manuvu practices slavery.
15. Anything a person acquires for services done properly
a. Fees given to midwifes, medicine man, datus
16. Properties acquired in special ways
a. Attainment of the rank bahani which entitles on to wear a special
i. Cannot be sold nor worn by other warriors
17. Properties acquired by inheritance
a. Lands, animals, goods, articles
b. Language
i. No general term for property
ii. Terms for Special kind of property
1. Laag na pinamua (wild or uncultivated plants)
2. Laag na mannanap (wild animals)
3. Lavuta (land)
4. Baoy (house)
5. Pinamua (cultivated plants)
6. Mannanap (domesticated animals)
7. Butang (household articles)
8. Tamuk (trade goods)
9. Pusaka (greater portion of inheritance given to the chosen son)
c. Observations from Language and Classification of Property
i. From the previous discussion we can say that
ii. Origin of the concept of property comes from the general belief that everything in nature
belongs to Manama, the Manuvu supreme god
1. Created diwatas and other dieties to keep watch over his creations
2. Creations were made to benefit man
a. While the fish and the wild animals remain in their habitat, they belong to
b. The moment they are caught, they belong to man
d. In Summary, There are three words in the Manuvu language that act as Development Markers of the
concept of property
i. Development Markers in Language
1. Impon which refers to articles that are worn on the body such as clothing, jewelry,
armaments signified the
a. Nomadism or Semi-Nomadism because these referred to light materials
that were easily carried on the body those that were brought from place to
2. Butang includes household articles such as kitchenware, mortar and pestle, water
tubes and domesticated animals. These pointed to some of kind of permanency of
a. which indicated a settled way of existence as the Manuvu started to
establish Settlements
3. Tamuk which are traded goods. This term emerged from the 19 th century, when
marginalized Manuvu started to trade with the more modern society, exchanging
articles, fish and venison for trade goods
a. Trade
ii. These three terms marked the evolution of the Manuvus concept of property with respect
to man made articles. Early stages of Manuvu culture already showed examples of Individual
1. In the family there was separation of property between husband and wife
2. During Marriage, the bridewealth was distributed among the brides parents and
close relatives
3. Wealth accumulated could be transferred to their offspring
iii. Evolution of Land Ownership
1. Divine Ownership
2. Group Ownership when the Manuvu practiced Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic
3. Corporate Ownership when the Manuvu started to build settlements and villages

Related Interests