Photo showing ambahans inscribed on three green bamboo stems
Ambahans inscribed on plants in a bamboo grove [Source: Antoon Postma]

The ambahan is the traditional poetry of the Hanunuo Mangyans of Oriental Mindoro. It is usually written on bamboo in the Surat Mangyan, a centuries-old pre-Spanish script. The syllabic script and the ambahan poetry have complemented each other, contributing to their continued existence today.

Reproduced here are three extracts from the work of Antoon Postma, anthropologist and Mangyan historian, and an ambahan anthology arranged according to the Hanunuo-Mangyan lifecycle.