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by Antoon Postma

Magkunkuno ti tawo
Kang di nga liyo duyan
Kang di nga agwad sangdan
Urog kanmo pag-uman
Kawo taga-baybayan
Nakan taga-baybayan
Magbat-angan rangiran
Magsalog tinapian
Kami taga-indungan
Nakan taga-indungan
Mi dinman misugalyan
Salog patay aynayan
Atpan pudo garaban
Tagik pudo inwagan
Dapat kang di nga duyan
Ka ud aw magdamguhan
Sag-uban bala-uyan
Taasan kurokod wan
Marumpauy batyagan

Says the Mangyan from the woods:
What I like to say to you,
an expression of my thoughts,
your condition is not bad,
you, a man from the lowlands!
Because when you are from there,
all your house beams are the best
and the flooring square-cut wood.
But we, from the mountain slopes,
because we are living here
our ways are not like yours
The floor: flattened bamboo strips.
The roof: made of kogon grass,
And the ties are made of vines.
But this I have still to add:
please, don't forget that we live
at the water source, high up,
where the birds are used to drink,
a poor place and hard to stay!

From Treasure of a Minority: The Ambahan: a poetic expression of the Mangyans of Southern Mindoro, Philippines by Antoon Postma, published by Arnoldus Press in 1972. Reprinted with permission from Antoon Postma and the Mangyan Heritage Center, http://www.mangyan.org.

The interpretation of each ambahan by Antoon Postma is not just a translation, but a poetic rendering in the seven syllable rhythm, as close as possible to its original Mangyan poem.

© Antoon Postma, sketch by Waway Linsahay Saway

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