Posted: Mon, February 26, 2018 | By: The Philippines
by Sally Melendres
A Critical Thinking workshop was taught to the teachers of San Lorenzo Ruiz Academy, on the island of Mindoro. The students at the school are Alangyan Mangyan - an indigenous tribal group. The Critical Thinking workshop examined superstitious beliefs of the Mangyan traditional culture.
The Mangyan believe:
1. If a certain bird enters a Mangyan house it is considered very bad luck. The family will always leave the house soon and move to another place.
2. When the Mangyans plant cassava, they believe it must NEVER be planted on a Tuesday or Friday. Cassava planted on those days will produce bitter fruit and cause the death of anyone who eats it.
3. Married women must remain unclean from day to day. If a married woman takes a bath regularly, her husband and the community will accuse her of infidelity, of having another man (that she wants to wash off the smell of).
4. When the Mangyan plant rice, they first have to measure the land with a one meter bamboo stick. The size of the land must be an odd number — to bring them good harvest.
After the Critical Thinking workshop, the following conclusions were made:
The fortunes of families that left a house because a certain bird entered were examined. It was realized that no good changes occurred after the move - they remained as poor as before. The moving from one house to another was just a waste of time.
The teachers said they cannot change the minds of their “kayaks” (parents) who will remain superstitious. The teachers said they believe what brings good fortune in life is studying hard in school and working hard at your job.
The teachers also said they will do an experiment - they will plant cassava everyday from Monday to Friday to see if any of the days will produce bitter fruit. In six months, when the cassava is harvested - an answer will be discovered.
The teachers said it is very unfair to wives and to their “budangs” (children) that the wives are regarded with deep suspicion if they bathe. The group spent an hour discussing this topic. The teachers believe hygiene and cleanliness are very important, and many reported that their mother had no other man except the father, and it was very unfair that she could not bathe.
The teachers are also going to conduct an experiment with planting rice. They will plant rice on both plots that are an even numbers of meters in length, and plots that are an odd number of meters in length, to see which of them produce the best harvest.
The teachers are thankful for what they have learned in this Critical Thinking workshop.