November 5, 2012, 6:30 P.M.
Room 203, Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Avenue
>click here for
directions / link to campus map
"The River of Exchange
Music of Agusan Manobo and Visayan Relations
in Caraga, Mindanao, Philippines"
discussion with Filmmaker,
José S. Buenconsejo
Dean, College of Music, University
of the Philippines, Diliman
In English, some Manobo and Cebuano with English subtitles
This is a story of the encounter and consequent cultural exchanges between
inland, aboriginal Manobos and coastal, Visayan settlers in an "out-of-the-way"
place in Agusan Valley, Caraga, Mindanao Island, Philippines.
It explores, in particular, the varied embodiments of this social history
in traditional Manobo song and ritual and in performances of recent, Visayan-brought
In Manobo ritual, spirits possess the body of the medium as a means of
divination for curing, but these spirits indicate as well Manobo imaginative
perceptions of their relationships with outsiders, including the Visayan
spirit whose voice is incorporated in the Manobo body. With the introduction
of modern cultural practices, Manobo rituals have been erased and displaced
to the margins but some are altered, as in the incarnation of the Visayan
spirit, to accommodate the unassailable Visayan presence that is felt
in Manobo day to day life.
This spirit is addressed as a friend, a form of recognition that resonates
with the Christian compadrazgo social relation.
Cultural exchanges come full circle with the performance of Manobo heritage
in recent street ethnic dancing competitions with Visayans mimicking Manobos.
Whether a spirit is incarnated in these festivals or not is a moot question.
The mimicry seems instead to reproduce a mere pictorial representation
of heritage minus its really real links to the world.
Review by Antonette Adiova, University
of Michigan for Asian Music