You’re looking at a costume of a tribesman from southern Philippines, the Tigwahanon Manobo of Bukidnon. Click on the photo for a close up and you’ll notice the intricate details of the jacket.
You have to understand, clothes such as this were woven by hand, and the designs/applique were certainly not made by machine.
Photographer Ceasar Amirhassan Nimor had the privilege to capture these various costumes of the Philippines, and he shares them with us. I believe Ceasar used the dance troupes as models for his shoot, so the men and women pictured below would not be the actual tribes members, but the costumes are accurately portrayed. I added some more information about the tribes featured.
The Kalinga are called the “peacocks of the north” because of their attention to appearance and dressing. Kalinga is a landlocked province of northern Cordillera, Philippines. “Kalinga” means enemy, a name that the bordering inhabitants called this tribe because of their headhunting attacks. The name stuck and became accepted by the natives themselves.
The Philippines’ aboriginal inhabitants called the Aetas provided the pattern for these rough cotton costumes. The Aetas or Negritos are nomads, scattered among the isolated mountainous parts of central Luzon. They are thought to be the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines.
The Matigsalug are the Bukidnon groups who are found in the Tigwa-Salug Valley in San Fernando, Bukidnon. “Matigsalug ” is a term, which means “people along the River Salug”. The Matigsalug men wear short tight-fitting pants that are of knee length and are hem and turbans for the head decorated with beads and fringed with goat’s/horse’s hair.
Typical Muslim Maranaw costumes (far left). The attire of Maranaw prince and princess. “Maranaw” means ‘people of the lake’, referring to lands surrounding Lake Lanao. Descending from Muslim Malays, the royal families within this tribe are a mix of Arab, Malaysian and Chinese ancestry. They are famous for their artwork, sophisticated weaving, wood and metal craft, and their epic literature.
These are just a sampling of the diverse tribes of the Philippines, in their native costumes. The last three tribes featured above live in proximity to each other, and yet their clothing, their way of life and cultures are so different from one another. In the past, each tribe was separate and independent from others, but recent development practices have forced them to form loose groups and mingle with one another.
Know more about the indigenous groups of the Philippines here.
Images used with permission by Ceasar Amirhassan Nimor