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tiruray image


The word “Tiruray” comes from “tiru,” signifying “place of origin, birth, or residence,” and “ray” from “daya” meaning “upper part of a stream or river.” The Tiruray are a traditional hill people of southwestern Mindanao. They live in the upper portion of a river-drained area in the northwestern part of South Cotabato, where the mountainous terrain of the Cotabato Cordillera faces the Celebes Sea. The Tiruray call themselves etew teduray or Tiruray people, but also classify themselves according to their geographic location: etew rotor, mountain people; etew dogot, coastal people; etew teran, Tran people; and etew awang, Awang people,or etew ufi, Upi people (Schlegel 1970:5).


Tiruray women, in general, wore a sarong called emut, made from abaca fiber. They wore shirts like the men, which was nearly of the same general cut, except that the women’s blouse was form fitting, while the men’s shirt hung more loosely. Since Tiruray women never developed the art of weaving cloth, their dress material came from outside sources. The women also wore rinti, a series of brass bracelets of different sizes, extending from the wrist and up the forearm; a brass cord and belt decorated with small jingling bells which they wore around the wrists; brass anklet rings, necklaces of glass beads and colored crystals; and the kemagi, a necklace made of gold. They also sported wire earrings from which hung small shell ornaments. The Tiruray women were never without a knife and a small basket which they carried wherever they went. Both men and women wore the sayaf, a shallow conical hat made from buri, worn as a protection against the heat of the sun (Schlegel 1970).