conflict settled through ‘tampuda’ ritual
By John Mark Ladaga
Posted 25 July 2006
Meloy (right) and Datu Matagun during the 'tampuda' ritual.
THE conflict that resulted to
the death of several people from two opposing clans in the villages
of Madaguing and Minalwang in Claveria, Misamis Oriental was finally
resolved through the time-tested tampuda ritual, the Higaonon
way of conflict resolution, last May.
The conflict was originally
between the Humaynon clan of Madaguing and the Asapons of Minalwang.
But since the conflict had lasted for generations, as in many ridos
among the Lumads, many had been dragged into the conflict -- their
children and grandchildren and other relatives.
When the Higaonons finally
realized they were better off ending the conflict, the ones who sat
at the negotiating table were Tatay Meloy (a.k.a. Datu Pignauwan) of
Minalwang and Datu Matagun of the Humaynons of Madaguing. It was
Tatay Meloy who initiated the tampuda.
Initial talks started during a cultural seminar among tribal leaders in April 2006 in the Tribal Hall of Barangay Sangalan, Gingoog City. The two datus were part of the seminar not knowing that they will meet each other there. One of them got sick.
It was only then that they realized of each other's presence and the conflict they (and their fathers) were
involved in for many years. For the cultural seminar to be continued, Tatay Meloy gave a datu headress as a peace offering to Datu Matagun as a sign of openness and willingness to settle their dispute. At that time,
when they knew about the blessing of the Tribal Hall in Madaguing, they immediately set the tampuda. And it was done a day before the inauguration of the new tulugan.
The ritual started with a
dialogue between the two feuding clans. The history of the conflict
was tackled and how they were reminded by their grandfathers to be
always on the guard against the kin of the other clan because the
conflict had been around for generations.
The highlight of the ritual
was the cutting of the chickens’ heads which was laid over the
wood. The two datus exchanged their jungle bolos and took turns
cutting the heads of the two chickens. It is believed that if the
heads of the chickens were cut, then it means they have the blessing
of the spirits in resolving the conflict. They also dug a whole in
the ground and placed in it one plate with mama-on (betelnut,
which the Higaonons love to chew), three candles, galang
(bronze rod formed into a bracelet) and one chicken. This was done
in order to stop the curses that was said before by their
More than the resolution of
the conflict was the strengthening of the
Higaonon culture, not just in Barangays Madaguing and Minalwang, but also in the ancestral territories or "talugans"
which the lumads claim and live around the Odiongan and Kabulig Rivers.
Through the tampuda, the people have
witnessed a ritual that is almost forgotten and somehow brought back
memories of old. It also showcased the Higaonon way of resolving
conflict. Through the avenues created by Balay Mindanaw for people to come together, conflict like this are not forgotten but are being talked about and somehow resolved.