Monday, November 17, 2008

SUBANO Manggahat the lies and the truth about it.

Stories are told about the Subano manggahat but nobody really knows for sure if there really were manggahats. There is no equivalent term for the character in the lowland. But they were believed to be vengeful characters from a Subano tribe out to avenge the death of a member of their tribe whether of natural cause or in a fight or in a murder among themselves. They are sent out by their tribal head or they go on their own to kill anybody they find, bring home the body as offering to their gods, whether a fellow Subano of another tribe or a lowlander. The manggahat leaves home with a provision of cooked aromatic rice preserved to last more than a week by sesame oil wrapped with the green leaves of binonga, a forest tree frequented by small birds of thrush and starling families for its fruit the tree bears the whole year round. Nobody really took chances on a manggahat that they either believed as truth or laughed at as untrue. Mothers tell tales about manggahats to lull them in their afternoon sleep. They were believed to tie red cloth around their heads with big knife like a man about to go on amok. Police in the municipalities around the Zamboanga peninsula has not recorded any killing incident perpetrated by a Subano manggahat. Except for the killing of a boatmaker in the public forest of Manukan, Zamboanga del Norte which was attibuted to Subano manggahats but later turned out to be a plane murder by Subanos due to an old grudge.

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