1. Social Organization
2. Economic Organization
3. Political Organization [Click to Read]
4. Education/indigenous learning systems [Click to Read]
5. Languages/dialects[Click to Read]
6. Non-traditional cultural events and practices [Click to Read]
7. Land ownership systems [Click to Read]a
8. Forest and watershed management and protection plan [Click to Read]
9. Water resources management and protection
Water is also protected for fear that the spirit guarding it will make the people sick. The community prohibits urinating or throwing of odorous things and other trash in water sources. This is believed to cause its drying up. Cows are not also allowed near domestic water sources to avoid the pollution of the surroundings and the water source. Houses should be built away from water sources and no washing is allowed near the area. The surroundings are planted with tibel/alumit and balashang trees to protect the water source.
For irrigation water the community plans how this is shared by everybody. Paddies nearest the source are irrigated first after which water is diverted by the paddy owner to the succeeding paddies.
Other fields can have their own source of irrigation especially if these are distantly located from the other paddies.
In vegetable gardening this practice is rarely observed. Each farmer uses his own hose to connect to the source to his gardens.
10. Aquatic Resources Management
All water sources where aquatic resources are available are open to exploitation. In the past, dumping of garbage in rivers and streams was prohibited to protect food sources such as fish, snails and watercress.
The use of dynamite and electric rods is prohibited to prevent killing the young. However, this is still used in areas where tradition and community control are weak.
Fishing methods that do not destroy the entire species are manual gathering, use of fish hooks and traps and biological poison that does not kill but temporarily stun the fish.
11. Mineral Resources Management
A. Indigenous management and control systems
Simple technology was used in placer mining. Gold panning methods involve collecting gold dust from the streams with the use of an iron plate and rotated so the heavier gold dust is separated from sand and soil. Another method is to divert water from the river to a canal where the stones are separated from the sand which is collected and processed to remove the gold dust. Further processing was also simple but later miners learned to use mercury for better gold recovery.
In dog hole mining the miners dig a small tunnel and reach as far as 100 meters depending on the availability of air. They extract the ore veins which are further crushed by manual pounding and later placed in a grinder to convert these nuggets into dust. The slurry is passed through a trough covered with a jute sack which catches the heavier dust.
There were also rules that had to be observed in order that the miners could find gold. Menstruating women were not allowed near the mines so as not to scare the gold.
Other prohibitions in the past included abstinence and avoiding fish and beef. Miners were not supposed to engage in gambling and not to scatter garbage inside the mines or its surroundings.
Before a tunnel is opened a ritual is performed for the spirits guarding the gold and for the miners’ safety. A mambunong is called upon to do the ritual. If he says that the animal bile looks healthy, the people proceed with their activities.
B. Sharing systems
The gold is shared depending on the agreement between the owner of the mine or the financier and the workers. A financier may spend for the food of the workers. After the gold is processed and sold, the expenses are deducted and the money is equally shared.
Sharing also extends to neighbors and friends who are either elderly or unlucky. The elderly,especially women, are allowed to get naba or rocks mined from the tunnels to process at home. Others whose tunnels are not productive can dig in productive tunnels for a certain period in order to get some gold.
The indigenous people share their wealth through feasts and rituals. When someone strikes a rich vein, he performs a rituals as a form of thanksgiving. Friends and neighbors come to partake of the animals butchered.
C. Potential mining areas
Today the small-scale mining areas are Ansagan, Camp 3 and Camp 4. The general practice is to depend on a financier who pays for the miner’s food expenses until gold is found.
Mining technology involves the building of small tunnels to prevent cave-ins. Only the weak areas are propped with timber. The construction of tunnels on the mountain slopes has caused erosion. At the same time the use of chemicals in the processing stage has also polluted soil and water systems.
12. Indigenous health practices
Traditionally, it is believed that illness is caused by spirits whom the person has displeased. It can also be caused by ancestor spirits wanting to have rituals performed for them. A pig is butchered with a mambunong inspecting the bile to see if it is healthy enough. If the prognosis is good, the person will recover with only one pig butchered. If not, another pig is butchered until the mambunong gets a healthy bile. This activity is participated in by the sick person’s relatives, neighbors and friends who come to partake of the meat. If the sick person runs out of pigs, he asks someone to produce the animals with the agreement that he will give the financier a piece of his property. In later times the person’s family makes a loan and uses the sick person’s property as collateral.
Aside from using rituals for healing, the people make use of herbals, many of which have proven effective and beneficial especially in the absence of modern chemical preparations. The introduction of modern medicine has resulted in the decrease in use of herbals.
Today, there is now a recognition of indigenous people’s knowledge regarding medicinal and other useful plants. These are being collected and studied these can be used for commercial purposes. This is called bio prospecting. The collection of plants and the propagation of their effective properties or their reproduction without the community’s knowledge and consent is called bio-piracy or stealing biological species from other people’s territories. Bio-pirates patent these species so that they alone can profit from marketing these.
13. Indigenous Protection Systems for Resources
This is a summary of indigenous protection practices of the indigenous people in Tuba which have already been discussed in the preceding sections.
A few mechanisms for the protection of resources include the belief system which serves to control the use of resources. For instance, the belief that spirits inhabit nature and that a god owns resources like gold inhibits the abuse of the resources since people fear retribution. Illness is believed to be caused by spirits affected by human activity like cutting of trees or polluting water sources. In order to avoid illness, people observe these taboos. Communities also make rules on how resources should be treated. In the past, people only mined what they needed and made sure that the mine site was free of garbage. Trees near water sources were allowed to grow. Other beliefs prohibiting people, especially the young, from frequenting forest areas struck by lightning also allows the place to regenerate.
The indigenous socio-political system like the council of elders or impanama decides on penalties for violations of these taboos.
Resource protection practices in agriculture include allowing the land to lie fallow for a few years so it can regenerate and become productive. In the past people operate a swidden for about for years and then transfer to another swidden. They return to the old field after six years.
Protection of resources from outside exploitation among indigenous peoples, including the Ibaloy, is weak because of the indigenous people’s tradition of sharing nature’s bounty. In other places in Benguet, landowners allowed outsiders to open tunnels in their lands to find out later that these people have applied for mining claims to these areas while the landowner depended on the indigenous system of recognition of land ownership, meaning, the community knew who owned what and respected it. However, this was not respected by state law.
Because of the depletion of resources, new forms of protection and conservation are now evolving. Some people in Tuba are engaged in seed banking where indigenous seeds, especially rice, are selected and stored but shared with others during the planting season. Other indigenous plant materials are also propagated.
Another mechanism is the “free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) which more people are becoming aware of as a prerequisite before any development project within the ancestral domain is implemented.
Data Source - NCIP, Benguet