In Mindanao there are 18 tribal groups. The most well-known indigenous groups are the T’boli and B’laan. The B’laan culture is peculiarly fascinating in the differentiation of patterns that totally continue its psycho dynamics. The extent of practice rests in cultural homogeneity, the interaction of the B’laan with other ethnic groups or the christian culture. In this respect the elder B’laans are more cohesive in their ways and the young, greatly influenced by outside elements, traditional beliefs and value systems other impede or enhance developmental possibilities depending on the strategic interplay of factors in the environment, socio economic, political technological and etc. Culture change as also affected by geography and physical conditions. The following are cultural values of major impact to the B’laan existing way of life and the road ahead for them.
The B’laan is one of the major indigenous cultural communities in Koronadal and Gensan.
Their name could have derived from ” bla” meaning “opponent and the suffix “an” meaning people.Other terms used to refer to this group are B’laan,Bira-an,Vilanes,and Bilanes.
B’laans have rituals for everything that they do,from selecting a place from a farm planting,harvest and post harvest because of their belief on the supremacy of the great creator. B’laan religious belief and practice range between customs and traditions directly associated with the established christian churches in the areas to highly traditional animistic beliefs which encompass both natural and supernatural elements from the environment in which they live. Evidence of syn-creation of christian and traditional B’laan beliefs and practice appear evident in some instance; many similarities between the following indigenous creation myth and the Biblical account of creation can be seen.
According to the B’laan myth or legend about creation, the first man (To) was created by God (Dawata). One day, lightning flashed in the sky and the heaven were shaken and the rains fill and watered the face of the earth, from the wet ground. God (Dawata) molded the first man, but God saw that man was tough and rugged and decided to make another one. He again took a portion of the ground and mold it and mold a finer and fairer one and was created the first woman from the two, all tribes descended.
The B’laan believe in the existence of a supreme being known as God (Dawata). He is the planters (Mele) of heaven (langit) and earth (tana) and everything thereof. Under Him and other supernatural beings with lower ranks of power or authority- the guardian spirit (L’nilong). To the B’laans nature is entrusted for safekeeping. The guardian spirit are not creator, since creator belong to God. As guardians (snalig), they are often referred as the owner of nature (M-fun). Thus, there is the owner of the sea (M’fun mabin), with owner of the forests (M’fun D’lag), God is the creator and the guardian spirit are guardians and man as the user (occupier).
One B’laan explain…..The highest spirit is God (Dawata). The Lord when we praise, take mercy on us and make us healthy. God is his name. God is God. God is the strongest of them all. He is higher than them all. He is good, we all pray to him and he help us. His children will get angry with us, but he created everything. He created everything when he come down from heaven (langit). Heaven is God’s place where there are many houses.. Their livelihood are farming,weaving(the males weave, baskets and females weave,mats),fishing,hunting,food gathering and tool-land weapon making.