08 December 2011

By The Rivers of Simsimon

There are several rivers dividing the sari-sari store drop-off point and Simsimon.
The first river that a Matigsalug encounters on the way home. Also, the famous raft.
The Matigsalug people, a Manobo subgroup, derive their name from the Salug River (now the Davao River), whose mouth they had originally inhabited. Matigsalug means "people of the Salug". Of course, they would inhabit the banks, as it is much more natural an efficient for human beings to inhabit an abundant "edge" habitat, by the water. Accounts point to pirates and other lowlanders eventually driving them up from the more fertile waterway edges onto the mountain ridges-- a classic story of indigenous communities. They currently reside more than a hundred kilometers from their original 'hood. Such is history.

Fishing by a placid river nook, a benefit of riverside living, which the Matigsalug don't have, actually.
A dog making his way across. We watched him and followed his path.
The Matigsalug now have to cross several running rivers to get out into "town". The rivers constantly change their shape and course. After a few months away, our friend walking with us was greeted by an already completely different river-path altogether, with the previous waterway beds now exposed as stony earth, or sometimes, mud.

A river is moving and eating the valley up. A natural progression.
A particularly aggressive and deep river has necessitated a public raft made of bamboo, to be pulled from one side to another. The community uses it to ferry themselves and their animals to "civilization" and back. A quite serene and convivial way to cross the currents.

The raft.
"Driving" the raft, i.e.
Edible kurakdot mushrooms growing on the raft.
One of the tribal elders carrying his animals.
Said animals--passengers of a passenger.

Popular Posts