Iraya: The Mangyan Village of Mindoro { 25 images } Created 20 Sep 2016

A community of the Iraya, a subtribe of the Mangyan, live at the foot of Mt. Malasimbo, located 9 kilometers from the town proper in Barangay Talipanan and offers a glimpse of the indigenous people’s heritage, slowly catching up to the modern times.
The Mangyan people were barefoot, wore old and torn clothes, and could rarely afford to eat rice in a week, surviving by gathering lami (sweet potato). After a major battle between government forces and communist rebels in 1986, the indigenous families were forced to leave the mountain and squat in the lowlands. The foot of Mt. Malasimbo in Puerto Galera alone is home to as many as 200 Iraya-Mangyan families.
The Ayala family bought a piece of the property in 1990 and with the help of the Department of Education constructed a four-classroom elementary school for the tribe. In 2007, the rest of the 4.2-hectare land was acquired and this started the development of the Mangyan Village, complete with power and water supplies.
The center of the Mangyan Village is a large hut that serves as showroom for the hand-woven nito (native vine) baskets, beer bottle holders, place mats, laundry baskets, key chains and other trinkets. Every day, about 40 Mangyan, mostly women, gather around the showroom, wearing their uniform yellow shirts, and begin weaving into strands. This is an acquired skill many learned from their elders, and requires much patience. Their finished nito baskets carry intricate woven patterns. At the very least, each Mangyan can earn P60-P70 in a day.
To curb accidents and other modern-day disturbances, alcohol drinking, gambling and pornographic materials are strictly prohibited. The people are friendly and want tourists to buy their products, and are seemingly not too shy about having their picture taken.
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