U.S. Library of Congress preserving Hanunuo-Mangyan Poems

Calapan City, Sept. 18, 2014. In a simple but historic ceremony, Anthropologist Antoon Postma and Hanunuo Mangyan Peoples Organization representative Layon Sagangsang handed over to the Library of Congress Field Director Dr. Carol Mitchell a copy of over 20,000 audio recordings of Mangyan poems for preservation at the Library of Congress, the biggest American Library based in Washington D.C.

These Hanunuo Mangyan traditional poetry (ambahan, urukay, adahiyo) represent the richness of the Mangyan literary heritage. Postma began documenting them in 1965 when he was assigned in the Mangyan village of Panaytayan, Oriental Mindoro as a full time missionary priest. He established the Mangyan Research Center (MRC) in Panaytayan on the same year. In the 1990s to early 2000, he recorded in cassette tapes the Ambahan Sessions participated in by Hanunuo Mangyan elders from Panaytayan and nearby communities held at the MRC. These recordings from 1994-2002 Ambahan Sessions were edited and digitized by the Mangyan Heritage Center (MHC) in MP3 format in 2009-2010, through a grant from the Netherlands Embassy in Manila.

Future generations of scholars, and others seeking knowledge of their own cultural heritage, will benefit from these cultural materials. However, because these are intellectual property of the Hanunuo Mangyan tribe of Oriental Mindoro, copying or reproducing the digitized recordings in parts or the entirety, requires the consent of the Mangyan Peoples Organization – Pinagkausahan sa Hanunuo Daga Ginurang (PHADAG) through the MHC (www.mangyan.org).

These audio recordings, copied in 20 DVDs will be part of the LOC's collection of Mangyan materials which include hundreds of bamboo inscriptions collected by American Dr. Fletcher Gardner in Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro in 1904.