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This is because death reveals itself as an event so incomprehensible that this explanation is more convincing precisely because it is paradoxical. On the other hand, to reflect well, we are not immune from this need to consider death the expiation of some error of the past, because basically we have never accepted it as natural and unnatural is then the rite of a burial and its ceremonies.
We are always ready, today more than yesterday, to tie a fatal illness to a fault: From the lush, green hinterland villages of the Mamanuas in Surigao del Sur to the blue seas hugging the shores of the Tausug land in Sulu, the burial traditions of these tribal groups vary in texture, color, values and meanings.
In past centuries, for the Manobos living in the hinterland areas straddling the places now known as Davao City, Davao del Sur, Bukidnon and North Cotabato, the dead were either laid on a platform built beside a tree, or wrapped in a mat and bamboo slats and hung up a tree. After the funeral, the relatives of the deceased abandon their dwellings and clearing.
He said with the new burial practice, the Manobos no longer abandoned their dwellings and continued with the cultivation of their clearings. Wakes among the Ata-Manobos, the tribe occupying the forest areas straddling parts of Davao City and the towns of Talaingod and Kapalong in Davao del Norte, are the only occasion where antuk riddles are taught by the elders to the young people.
In an Ata-Manobo wake, a widowed husband usually lies beside his deceased wife while relatives and friends sit around them. Some pass the time telling the riddles while others chant, according to an ethnographic account in the Gimba Magazine.
During the wake chanting uwahingansinging, dancing, playing instruments tagungguan are conducted to alleviated the pervading grief. Death happens when the spirit leaves the body permanently, or is taken away by an evil spirit called busao, Burton wrote. The body is laid on a boat-shaped wooden coffin tightly sealed with a tree resin to prevent the odor of the decomposition process.
At the end of the wake, the wooden coffin will be placed over a fire but the fluid that oozes through the burning wood is collected and used as sauce for their sweet potato meals. But the interment is done only at night and that after the burial, the community partakes of a feast and leaves portions of the food in the grave.
After the burial, the mourners perform rituals to cleanse and rid themselves of evil spirits. The mourners jump over two swords fixed on the ground and later purify themselves in the river or any body of water, Burton said.
The Mamanuas in Surigao del Norte believe in the existence of two souls — one free to wander at will in the realm of dreams and in the unconscious; the other leaving the body upon death but venturing into unclear directions.
She said the Mamanuas fear that the spirit of the dead may return to harm them. Naces, who based her short ethnographic piece on the book The Culture of the Mamanua of Dr. Marcelino Maceda of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, said the tribe buries the dead on the same day the person dies.
They wrap the body in palm leaves or in a mat and place it in a coffin. The dead is buried either in a standing or sitting position.
In the past, they also practiced platform burial mainly for the chief or the warriors of the tribe. In recent times, as soon as the grave is covered with soil, relatives of the deceased leave fire, water, and food for the dead.
Among the Mamanuas living along the Lianga and Angdanan River in Surigao del Norte, the relatives of the dead return to the burial site after some time to exhume the larger bones and the skull of the dead for medicinal purposes.
Naces also wrote that the Mamanuas believe that the land of the dead lies to the west of their ancestral areas, particularly in the mountain ranges of Diwata spanning the provinces of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Compostela Valley.
The Mamanuas also believe that a forest of durian fruit trees or an island rich in fruits also attracts the dead. Bruno wrote that a Tausug grave is dug following a north-to-south direction and measures six to nine feet. At this depth, a chamber of about two feet wide, which the Tausug calls the paliyangan, is dug on its west side.
Bruno said a religious man would lower himself into such a hallow and say the tulkin or the prayer for the dead. Tausugs believe that such a practice drives evil spirits away and cleanses the final resting place of the dead. For the Badjao, the body of the dead person is laid at the center, parallel to the sacred side wall, of the floating hut, called Umboh.
During the wake there are homages to the dead, mostly food. It is repeated continuously. The funeral preparation begin with the mesured cutting of the bandages for wrapping the dead body.
These, with cords, are washed in fresh water.
All the orificies of the body are carefully cleaned. The hands covered with a white linen.Nov 30, · The Office of Public Affairs (OPA) is the single point of contact for all inquiries about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). We read every letter, fax, or e-mail we receive, and we will convey your comments to .
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