Culture

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(6) Confession

They slowly approached Pawang as hypnotized, fell down, breathed incomprehensible sounds and begun to twitch in agony.

_MG_0604They went to the confessor, to clean the body from the spirit of the devil. Just as Christians do, going to communion. Each had prepared his confession. For young people it was a love affair, that sometimes erupted too high and violated tribal’s traditions. Either it was a glance at some of the neighbor’s tribe girl, or the practice of self-love. Very often happened when dopey by alcohol, someone started to talk to himself. This has meant contacts with the own devil. The adult sins, was much more serious. It was like a social crime, and was always done on purpose. Misappropriation of another’s property, which was considered as a particularly great sin. By driving a motorcycle too fast through a neighbor’s yard, ran over the chicken, because the riders were taken over by the devil.

Thus, these scapegoats patiently stood in a line and were waiting for their turn to Pawang. Before the big game, Tarian Jathilan begun, there was a preparatory ritual. It was like a dance. Each participant dancing with gestures should to show the way, in which the crime was committed. The low drums sound, that occasionally increased in force, thoroughly infuriated dancers and led them in a trance. If a dancer with gestures were not able to portray the  committed crime, he had to take another ritual to Pawang.

Pawang was an magical man, who was able to remove the devil from the human body. Dancer slowly approached the magic circle. Occasionally, Pawang waving the whip, slammed it to the ground, creating a sharp sound. Drumbeat increasingly being taken by force. Until finally, everything stopped. Dancers were taken by convulsion attack. From the mouth, came out rattling sounds. The body was squirming in most unimaginable positions.

Into the trance state, a man no longer in control of their behavior. During this time may occur, unimaginable things. When consciousness is lost, the behavior has became rampant, people can hurt themselves and others. Suddenly, can appear insurmountable strength, that turns into aggression. Generally, trance-hit people are surrounded and their activities are limited. However, sometimes it does not work even with Pawan’s incantation, and the unconscious man, must be taken away on a stretcher. Under the trance, human behavior can be different: someone begins to utter the animal sounds, someone may not moderate the savage appetite…

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It was no longer possible to stop it. However, by some mysterious force affects, the body till approached Pawang. Finally, at the right moment Pawang made several gestures with the hands, thus by freeing the body from the spirit of the devil. Already after a short moment madman’s body appeared in a different position, which was completely helpless, and was laying  in debility on the ground. Not for all, this purging process went so easy. Sometimes it took hours to fully recover. In very rare cases, it was fatal.

Today, it is being shown as an theatrical performance, for the pleasure to visitors who sometimes have terrified of what was seen. Also the locals are sometimes surprised by the ongoing rituals, that leads people to the unconscious. However, the performance emerge ancient mythology forces, – the fight against the bad. The never-ending battle continues.

P.M. Indonesia

(5) The masks and costumes of Gods

_MG_0047 copy copyAn choreographer, artist, dancer, collective manager and, as he himself calls, God between Gods ..,  have been together for almost two decades. J.K. knows to tell a lot about the Javanese cultural treasures. With its creative group, vivid theatrical choreography he continues to acquaint the younger generation with the Indonesian divine mythology, not only in his country but far beyond its borders.

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_MG_0235” Rama, prince of Ayodhya, won the hand of the beautiful princess Sita (seen here), but was exiled with her and his brother Laksmana for 14 years through the plotting of his stepmother. In the forest Sita was abducted by Ravana, and Rama gathered an army of monkeys and bears to search for her. The allies attacked Lanka, killed Ravana, and rescued Sita. In order to prove her chastity, Sita entered fire, but was vindicated by the gods and restored to her husband. After the couple’s triumphant return to Ayodhya, Rama’s righteous rule (Ram-raj) inaugurated a golden age for all mankind…”

There are twenty photographs that reflect the characters of different costumes and masks, such as they look on stage.

This is only a small excerpt of this wonderful ballet, which winds through the ages and carry more than 8,000 years old legends and myths about how people understood the origins of the world. It can be understood only when it is seen.

 … see more costumes …

Personally, I am very grateful Purawisata Ballet administration for giving me the opportunity to photograph the show of costumes and masks.

P.M. Yogyakarta

(4) Oldest tribe, – The Aeta_MG_2656

It is difficult to say, when the man took the first steps to start dancing.

However, it can be said clearly, feelings and emotion-ridden man with gestures, voice and movements

began to show the joy of the job done, good harvest and healthy family…, on the other hand, – sorrow for the

disease or enemy attacks.

It was a special, emotional ritual, which was further highlighted by a variety of attributes and colorful outfits.

Perhaps this synthesis of emotion, was the root of the – what we call today – Folk Dance

P.M.

They were quite restrained by sharing negotiations and reluctant to photograph. It was not religious prejudices, as it tends to be in Islamic culture. It is characterized by wild tribes, expressions of awe, that serves as a protection to prevent damage to the primitive nature gain originality.

_MG_2297 copy copy  The Aeta, were among the first tribes, that arrived from the Asian continent,  about 10,000 to 14,000 years ago.
So far, archaeologists and anthropologists can not really agree, who is Aetas tribal ancestors and where they came from. One of the theories suggests that, the Aetas tribe belonging to the Filipinas orginal inhabitants and their roots lie in Australia’s indigenous people – Aborigines. One other theory says that Aeta tribe arrived from Asia by land, and it belongs to the Austronesian ancestors.

At the present time, The Aeta tribe lives scattered in the whole – in isolated mountain areas, – North of Philippines. This tribe strictly practiced and maintain ancestral traditions and believe in supernatural forces of nature. Aetas people are difficult to assimilate, they are opposed to modern life and live in isolation. These trends are characterized by their primitive traditional attire. They are both, the color and shape very easily. Facing with the Aetas’ tribal people, no specific evidence showing wide variations between tribes in the same region. The only indication exists, the primitive clothing and curly hair, like Australian Aboriginal tribal people.

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Traditional cloth

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Female

A simple linen shirt, covering a body, and extends slightly over the knees. The fabric can be different colors, but without any specific features. Ornament range is quite poor. Normally made of simple materials. Small diameter earrings, complemented with jewels. Neck beads, sometimes extending up to the stomach.

Male

Man’s body is almost completely uncovered. As the only apparel and ornament, can be considered thick, about two meters long scarf. It is painted in bright (red or blue) colors. Shawls first part is wrapped around the waist, then ran between the legs covering the genitals, and the remainder, freely hanging covering the buttocks.

P.M. Cordilleras region

 


(3) Mango Festival

It seems that Filipinos eat nothing but sweet mango fruits, wherever you go, they smile, put on colorful costumes and dance. Well, at least in this Mango Festival, definitely, that’s it.

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Hm… what a sweet mango!

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A small leisure time…

It is the sweetest in the world. Do not believe, then look
at their faces. They are so happy, beautiful and sweet as mango fruit .., which, as the Guinness Book of World Records writes – the most sweetest fruit in the world, and only in the province of Zambales, Philippines. It is a wonderful land, rich in cultural diversity and natural contrasts, wealth, kept by the Philippines as the sanctity and transferred to the next generation. There must be a witness to see and hear it, and only then will form a true picture of this magnificent land.

The Philippines, carefully accumulates these values proudly displaying colorful range of folk costumes and graceful dance. Mango Festival is not only a rich harvest display, it is more like a traditional performance. From all Zambales and its surrounding provinces arrive  many tribes. Each with its own uniqueness that reveals the character and habits.  Accompanied by drumbeat and trumpets, National Guard begins the solemn procession. Behind the formal profession, comes the traditional costume and folk dance performance. As the festival’s main attribute is displayed sweetest mango fruit that, on that day, and in any style eateries can be found in any menu.  National Guards’ stately guys are always on guard. Not for a moment losing vigilance. Monochrome suits highlights soldiers gracefulness and discipline, which particularly stands out during marching through the city.

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For a moment in a peace posture

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National Guard marching

 

 

 

  

 The official part is over and the festival gradually occupies a different hue. City streets are taken over by glamorous adorned folklore ensembles. From distant villages of the Cordilleras mountain areas, once a year, Mango Festival brings bushy number of participants. Each region is distinguished by its identity, which is seen in different costumes and other performances. Participants teams competing against each other for valuable awards. What is this award,  – Come, and you will see!

Filipinos are always happy. They love their country and its culture and keep alive ancestral traditions. But if ever fails, then they remember the sweet mango, and all grief is sweetened.

P.M. Zambales

(2) An white spot

 It is a fabulous place on earth where life goes on its primeval glory. Where nature and man speak the same language, – an white spot, on the earth.

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Wae Rebo village

  About a four-hour walk from the nearest village, along the steep rocky slopes, crossing the fast mountain river, the path leads to a small mountain valley. Early in the morning, when the first wind blows away the fog of whales, in front of the eyes reveals the pristine village, – Wae Rebo.
For hundreds of years old, cone-shaped houses, where the tribe has been living in countless generations. They spoke their own dialect which you will not hear anywhere in Indonesia.

Clothing which is decorated with a variety of bindings, where each has its own explanation, made of coarse cotton cloth, and is enriched with bright colors. Houses made of logs, whose corners are fixed with pins. Thatched roof which extends almost to the ground forming a cone shape. Thus, forming a shaded shelter in which, to make a variety of homework.

Today there are eight houses, each inhabited by a single family. At the entrance to the home created extended roof neckline, revealing the steps leading inside. Home’s inside is quite dark. The only source of light is the smoke fireplace, and small cut-outs in the wall. There is no furniture, if some chairs for guests’ use. Simple rough planed plank floor, covered with carpets and furs that serve as seats. Meal times, conversations, going in the heart of room, sitting cross-legged, creating a closed circle. On the north side of room, there is a kitchen, which is separated by the stairs. Most of its area is occupied by the stove. On the wall hangs a large-sized saucepans and spoons.

Gatherings usually take place the central house, that is bigger in size. Here it is also discussed the events and decisions taken by the village elder.

Location on the map of Indonesia

Flores. East Nusa Tenggara

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The mountains and the surrounding nature preserves their existence and the tribe continues to live in honoring the legacy of ancestral traditions.

Traditional costume (Towe Songke) of Wae Rebo

Embroidery names

_MG_3672 copy1  Sapu

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2  Selendang

3  Baju Bakok

4  Towe songke

5  Baju Bakok

6  Selendang

Man

  It is possible to observe close-up characters, both on the male and female clothing. At first glance, the garment design looks so variegated that it is difficult to see any difference in them. However, by looking closely, we see a different ornament features. Whether it is an imitation of natural splendor, or other symbols of the male skirt, they are connected and form a continuous line. Symbols in any form of embroidery are linked together. Last (described) embroidery form will not be found on the women’s skirts.

Women

  Embroidered symbols and ornament design on women’s skirts is more tenuous. They are not linked to each other. Also ornaments dimensions are slightly larger. The only thing that is common to men and women’s clothing is, the skirt edging embroidery, which form a continuous line. In practical terms, this indicates that the edge of the skirt must always be at the front.

The ethnic groups / tribes living in the mountainous areas in any part of the world, are characterized by the rich colors of the traditional costumes. 

P.M. Flores. Indonesia

… see more traditional costumes …

 


(1) A trip to the Beyond

Well who would’t like to go to Heaven to enjoy everlasting bliss, and spend time at the right hand of God. However, not all have chances. Sometimes everlasting-bed should be sought on the ground, in a dark cool place. Who are these chosen ones, and who knows the answer …?

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Coffins found in cave

Death – this is chastity of the soul and body, to which man is going for a lifetime. When physical death occurs, for the human body is prepared coffin, where the dead are being laid in. Before the body is laid in the coffin, it is fractured. The arms and legs are mutilated, or detached from the body and placed next to the dead. It is kind of execution in order to ascertain whether a person is really dead.

Similarly, as it is done in a modern worlds’ morgues. However, contrary to the Christian tradition, when the coffin is buried in the ground, residents of the Mountain Provinces of Cordillera, places it on a steep rock wall, hard to reach places. However, even in ancient times funeral process has been a kind of business. Delivering heavy coffin with the dead, it was associated with some risk. Not everyone could afford to pay the “chosen” place. Sometimes it was impossible to find relatives make funeral. Then they either place was designed for a mountain cave. Also there, the deceased were buried, depending on the possibilities to cover expenses.

Deep and dark corners, on top of which was shifted hard stones were intended richer. The poorer were left near the entrance to the caves and their coffins were stacked like firewood stack. Therefore, creating the opportunity for thieves and vandals, undisturbed access to the holy places. Next to the dead, in the coffin, were the relics and other memorials, which was bequeathed to the total journey to the divine kingdom. Mountain provinces which are home to many tribes, even today keep practiced ancestral traditions. The Philippine believes that he will return, to continue to live in the next life.

If your secular life has been full of anxiety, then a comfortable and quiet resting place will be in the very top of the hill, hard to reach places. As if to say, away from the black forces. Get started thinking about life-home, today.

P.M. Cordillera. Philippines