PHOTO ESSAY: The Talaandigs of Bukidnon

The Talaandigs of Bukidnon, blessed with a beautiful place and a cool climate conducive for farming, are facing difficulty as their farmlands, which used to be so fertile, now need chemicals to get good produce.

Found mostly in the slopes (“andig” in the vernacular means “slope”) of Mindanao’s highest mountains – the Kitanglad and Kalatungan ranges in the municipalities of Talakag and Lantapan – the Talaandigs bear the brunt of deforestation and overfarming by people from the lowlands and, lately, by their own kin, who rely heavily on chemicals and fertilizers.

Thus, harvests have dwindled in the Talaandig areas, known as among the major sources of vegetables of Northern Mindanao. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews, with support from Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines)

Members of the Miarayon Lapok Lirongan Tinaytayan Talaandig Tribal Association (MILALITTRA) in Barangay Miarayon in Talakag participate in a motorcade to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the issuance of their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) on 29 October 2021. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Talaandigs in Barangay Songco, Lantapan, sacrifice chickens during a ritual for their supreme deity, Magbabago. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Talaandig women in Barangay Songco, Lantapan place coins during a ritual for their supreme deity, Magbabago. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Talaandig farmer Adolfo Santos tills his farm in Barangay Miarayon in Talakag. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Talaandig women help out in the farm in Barangay Miarayon, Talakag. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Talaandig farmers in Barangay Miarayon in Talakag apply chemicals on their vegetable farm for a good harvest. Decades ago, they didn’t need fertilizers at all. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
For the Talaandigs, farming is a family affair. Children help their parents in the farm in Barangay Miarayon, Talakag. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
A farmer brings his harvest of corn on his horse in Barangay Miarayon, Talakag. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
A vegetable buying station in Barangay Songco in Lantapan. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Buyers weigh boxes of vegetables in Barangay Miarayon, Talakag. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Workers in Barangay Miarayon, Talakag carry boxes full of vegetables to be transported to markets in other parts of Mindanao. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
A truck laden with a cargo of vegetables from Barangay Miarayon, Talakag town in Bukidnon negotiates a highway to Cagayan de Oro City. On the background is Mt. Kalatungan. Photo by Froilan Gallardo