Tasaday - A Hypothesis of Tasaday History before 1971

As of 1991, there are still few facts known about how the Tasaday lived in the recent past. Based on the data available, however, most anthropologists are led to accept the following tentative interpretation: it may be inferred that during the first half of the twentieth century the Tasaday were a group of foragers who lived not very differently from other hunter-gatherer groups in Southeast Asia (such as the Agta, Batak, Philippine Negritos, and Semang, who are described elsewhere in this encyclopedia). Linguistic analysis of the Tasaday language in 1989 provided strong evidence that sometime in the nineteenth century they separated from a Cotabato Manobo agricultural group and moved deeper into the rain forest of South Cotabato, near where they live today. Their economy then shifted from farming to a seminomadic foraging subsistence. They probably lived in simple huts and slept in rock shelters only during occasional overnight foraging trips. They ate wild foods, but also domestic foods, some of which they may have planted themselves in tiny gardens but most of which they secured by trading minor forest products with Manobo farmers living up to 40 kilometers away. In this hypothetical scenario, they had at least periodic interaction based on trade with other Manobo groups living in South Cotabato, especially with the people of Blit, the name of the agricultural village located in the late 1960s just 4 kilometers southwest of the Tasaday cave.

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