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Critical Thinking Report from Iraya Mangyan tribe on Mindoro Island, Philippines

Posted: Mon, March 05, 2018 | By: Philippines



Sally Melendres - an advisor to the Brighter Brains Institute - conducted a Critical Thinking workshop recently for children in the Iraya Mangyan indigenous tribal group. The Iraya Mangyan live near San Teodora, on Mindoro Island, south of Luzon.

Participants in the Critical Thinking workshop came to realize that many of their superstitions were false. For example:

1) Traditionally, crossing paths with a “kuro” bird is viewed as a bad omen, a prediction of catastrophe if the person continues with their plan for the day. The Iraya Mangyan immediately go back to their house and postpone all errands for the day, if they see a kuro bird.

sally Melendres teaching Critical Thinking to the Iraya Mangyan
sally Melendres teaching Critical Thinking to the Iraya Mangyan

Participants in the Critical Thinking workshop say all their elders still follow this belief but the new generation is abandoning this belief.

2) Traditionally, the Iraya Mangyan are required to stay home for five days if a close relative dies. If they don’t do this, the ghost of the dead person will come to their house and haunt them. Participants in the workshop say no ghost has ever been seen and the 5-days-at-home custom is being abandoned by the younger generation.

3) To predict the future, the elders of the Irayan Mangyan behead a pig, hold the pigs organs in their hands and pray. This supposedly gives the elder the ability to predict what will happen to the community in the future, like - will there be a good harvest? Will there be a typhoon? Or an earthquake? Pigs are beheaded before making any big decisions. This tradition is still very strong but the participants in the Critical Thinking workshop are questioning it.

4) When a person is sick, a chicken is beheaded, after prayer and ritual. The chicken is buried, and food is offered at this place. The Critical Thinking participants said the Iraya Mangyan with formal education no longer believe this ritual works, because they believe illness is brought about by poor health, poor nutrition, and poor hygiene.



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