Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Origin of the Dagmay Cloth of the Mandaya Tribe

A long, long time ago, when people still wore poki, there lived a man called Tamisa, an only child. He was known for his strength and prowess in hunting. Members of the community always got a share of the game he brought home.
One day as he was returning home from hunting, Tamisa passed by a pal’lpag under a budbud tree. It was located near a little marshland, in the middle of which grew a patch of libug or batukan rice. On the pal’lpag stone, he found dagum (clothings) and a piece of cloth with intricate symbols and designs in reddish-brown color and figures of buwaya (crocodile) and inutaw-otaw (man).
As this was his hunting ground, Tamisa was very familiar with the place, and he knew there was really nobody living in the area. Enchanted and moved by the beauty and wonders of the design of the cloth, Tamisa decided to bring the cloth and the clothings as well as the libug or batukan rice to his home.
As soon as Tamisa left, rain started to fall and woke Tagamaling, the spirit or goddess of the art. Immediately, Tagamaling went to the pal’lpag stone to collect her belongings, including the rice. But she found nothing. So she cursed the thief.
Upon reaching home, Tamisa turned over the cloth and the rice to Ompo Tikunol’l, the oldest leader of the tribe. Ompo Tikunol’l called all the weavers of the community including the mother of Tamisa, an expert in the art, to copy the intricate designs. However, not one of the community experts in weaving could produce anything. It was certainly quite frustrating for the best weavers of the village for they could not copy the designs. Then, people started feeling like they were sick and could not move anymore.
Reflecting on the situation, Ompo Tikunol’l called on all the elders and together they decided to ask for forgiveness from the Tagamaling because they perceived that what was happening to their community was a bidu (curse) which needed cleansing through a ritual asking for forgiveness.
The community performed the Balilig, the highest healing ritual, to cure everyone and to implore the Tagamaling’s inspiration and permission to give them the wisdom and the skill to copy the design in the cloth. After the ritual, the bidu disappeared and Tagamaling revealed, through a dream of Tamisa’s mother, that she had forgiven them all.
Proof of this forgiveness was that the weavers could already copy the designs. From then on, Tagamaling would appear through dreams or through the wisdom of the head weaver of the clan for their particular batuk or clan design, which serves as their insignia.

By: Banugan,Aiza B.

1 comment:

  1. The tedious and complicated processing of preparing Dagmay can only be done with utmost patience. However, handloom weaving of this mandaya cloth became also a way to measure the nobility of a girl before. In order to attain success in weaving, a woman must be knowledgeable, analytical, and patient and determine. Amazing!