The Bagobo (Manobo, Manuvu, Obbo, Obo) may be thought of as several groups of people, each of whom speak one of three Bagobo languages; these languages belong to the Manobo Family. Until sometime in this century, there were two major groups, which were distinguished from each other by geographic separation and by several cultural distinctions. The upland Bagobo live in the very mountainous region between the upper Pulangi and Davao rivers on Mindanao in the Philippines, whereas the coastal Bagobo once lived in the hills south and east of Mount Apo. The coastal Bagobo were influenced by Christianity, plantations, and resettlement among coastal Bisayans; they now reside either with the upland Bagobo or with the Bisayans and do not exist as a separate group.
Upland Bagobo numbered 30,000 in 1962. Their traditional subsistence is derived approximately 75 percent from swidden fields that yield rice, maize, sweet potatoes, and other crops. Twenty-five percent of their diet comes from hunting, fishing, and gathering. Some villages consist of only a few families on a hilltop and are impermanent owing to the needs of swidden farming. In larger valleys, up to 100 families may live together in more permanent villages. They are organized by bilateral kindreds that work together to pay bride-wealth, for wergild, and to form vengeance groups. Bilateral kinship reckoning, a strict incest prohibition, and small villages together make most villages exogamous. Residence is matrilocal. Until World War II, villages were autonomous and were governed by one or more datus, who were wealthy legal authorities and negotiators. After World War II, a single datu gained control over the entire area, in response to intrusions by loggers and Christian Filipinos.
The Bagobo believe in a supreme being who inhabits the sky world, as well as a deity who brings sickness and death to incestuous couples. The Bagobo are also known for their long epic poems, tuwaang.
Manuel, E. Arsenio (1975). "Upland Bagobo (Manuvu)." In Ethnic Groups of Insular Southeast Asia , edited by Frank M. LeBar. Vol. 2, Philippines and Formosa, 47-50. New Havei HRAF Press.