Pagdaloy, Flow of Life

picture of Yakan


Uwang Ahadas

A Yakan Virtuoso

The Yakan inhabit the island of Basilan just off the southern tip of the Zamboanga Peninsula of western Mindanao, particularly in the municipalities of Tipo, Lamitan, Sumisip, and Tuburan, and the islands of Sacol, Malanipa, and Tumalutab east of Zamboanga. The Yakan belong to the widespread Sama group, and their culture has become too specialized to be distinguished as a distinct group.

The Yakan’s language is closely related to the Sama, but their culture is more land orientated rather than the sea based. Agriculture consists largely of upland rice, although copra is also widespread. The main religion is Islam with syncretic elements from traditional and indigenous beliefs.

The Yakan are well-known for their elaborate dress, which is similar for males and females. For instance, both wear trousers. Noteworthy articles include the kandit, a fifteen-meter-long red sash worn by men, and the pinantupan, the women’s overskirt. Textile weaving done on the backstrap loom is much sought after, especially because of the intricate and beautiful motifs. The Yakan is one of the few groups that use tapestry loom producing the sophisticatedly woven pis syabit (headscarf for men) and seputangan (head cloth for women).

The Yakan have a rich musical tradition based on the pentatonic scale. Their musical instruments are usually made of bamboo, wood, and metal. The daluppak is a digging stick with a bamboo clapper. The kopak-kopak is a bamboo clapper on a stick. The kwintangan kayu is a percussion instrument consisting of five wooden beams suspended horizontally. The ends of the beams are tapered, and these are beaten. It is associated with planting and played to enhance plant growth. The wooden tuntungan is a suspended wooden ercussion plank with jar resonators, played with a pole during the harvest season for the purpose of giving thanks. The gabbang is a bamboo xylophone with five bars. The suling is a bamboo mouth flute used by men in courting. Another used by men to express love or admiration is the kulaing. The kulintangan or kwintangan consists of five bronze gongs arranged according to size and used during celebrations. The agung is a large deep gong used in ensemble performance.

▶ Play Video 8. Uwang Ahadas A Yakan Virtuoso

Courtesy of the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan Executive Committee

<Music by National Living Treasure Uwang Ahadas and the Ahadas Family Ensemble>

  • 1. Agung No. 1 (Lagna and Kuriri) play button
  • 2. Agung No. 2 (Lagna and Kuriri) play button
  • 3. Pagbo’o Pangantinplay button
  • 4. wintangan Tumbaga (Lagna) play button
  • 5. Kwintangan Tumbaga (Kuriri) play button
  • 6. Tagungguh No. 1 (Lagna) play button
  • 7. Tagungguh No. 2 (Lagna) play button
  • 8. Tagungguh No. 1 (Kuriri)play button
  • 9. Tagungguh No. 2 (Kuriri)play button
  • 10. Meglaboan (Lagna)play button
  • 11. Meglaboan (Kuriri)play button
  • 12. Megtambol No. 1 (Lagna and Kuriri)play button
  • 13. Megtambol No. 2 (Lagna and Kuriri) play button

<Music by National Living Treasure Uwang Ahadas>

  • 1. Gabbang No. 1 (Lagna) play button
  • 2. Gabbang No. 1 (Kuriri) play button
  • 3. Gabbang No. 2 (Lagna)play button
  • 4. Gabbang (Kuriri 2) version 1play button
  • 5. Gabbang (Kuriri 2) version 2play button
  • 6. Kwintangan Kayu (Ngalagpi)play button
  • 7. Kwintangan Kayu (Kadjali)play button
  • 8. Kwintangan Kayu No. 1 (Ngeruwe) play button
  • 9. Kwintangan Kayu No. 2 (Ngeruwe) play button