The economy of Teduray is agriculturally based. Farming is their basic means of livelihood. Their other subsistence are fishing, hunting and mini handicraft production. Most of the farmers still practice swidden cultivation or slash-and-burn (kaingin) in farming. Thus, most of them get marginal production which is not enough to cater the wants and needs of their families.
Planting star is one of the traditions still practiced by the Tedurays. This is observed during the months of December to January, which is the period for upland farming. The signal for the farmers to start farming is the visibility of the planting star. To a fenuwo where the first rice field to be planted, the spiritual leader performs the ritual planting prayers assisted by four Fintailans at the bagong/tudaor center of the farms. After performing the rituals, the palays seeds are disseminated to the women planters with a spokesman giving the signal to start planting.
TEDURAY CULTURAL PRACTICES
Tedurays still practice and observe these following traditional ways of life:
In the courtship and marriage among the Teduray, the parental wish is obeyed. The mother of the man leads the search for the kenogon. Even the grandparents of the man help in this arrangement by seeking help on relatives to search for a suitable wife. After some careful background checks on the woman, the man’s side then sends out a spokesman to meet with the woman’s parents and relatives and duly offers the tising, a marriage contract. If the woman’s parents accept the tising, within a week, they will send their own spokesman with the bantingan over to the future groom’s house. A person between each side will then state the amount of flasa for the marriage of the woman.
Another one is Tudon or sumbaken, which means baptismal. This is officiated by the Tribal Chieftain as assisted by two pairs of kefeduwans and Fintailans spokesmen for both grandparents. If the child is a boy, the grandparents of the man on the mother’s side prepare the food. The paternal grandparents, on the other hand, give a pair of dilek, sundang, and P100.00 pesos with other assorted valuables or tamok to the officiating chieftain through the spokesman for the child to sit on.
However, if the child is a girl, the paternal grandparents give a pair of kemagi, gold necklace, sutra muot, dress, P100.00 place on a sinutaran and sukob ulew plates. The maternal grandparents, on the other hand, give the food to the assisting fintailans to be eaten by the child first, and later, to be shared by everyone. After the rituals, the officiating chieftain turns over all the items to the maternal grandparents through the spokesman. This tamok is called ensaran which serve as the point of reference to the amount of flasa or bantingan being asked for the marriage of the child.
For the Teduray’s Burial or Temlogon, they observe the seven days of prayers and offering before and until the internment. On the burial day before the cadaver is finally brought to the cemetery, the wife or husband and children pay the last respect to the deceased by going around the coffin seven times. The wife or the husband then sits on one end of the coffin with the children gathered around it. The chieftain spokesman gives the fituwa and Togodon as part of the final parting ceremony for the deceased.
Teduray’s indigenous beliefs and practices, customs and rituals are animistic. Tedurays’ religion was susceptible with Islam faith because of their close contact with the Muslim Maguindanao. The Tedurays are a non-Muslim cultural community. However, they are going through the process of Islamization. The Roman Catholics and the Episcopalian church have been working among them for a long time and many modernized Tedurays were influenced to believe. However many of them still keep the old beliefs and still practice indigenous rituals.
Teduray’s knowledge of Christianity comes largely from Roman Catholics, partly from Episcopal influence, and partly from other agencies. Many have
turned away from animistic beliefs and were won to the Lord, discipled, and trained. Several churches have been established which are pure Teduray churches and some have Teduray pastors.
Kalagan are self-sufficient farmers, producing nearly all their own food. While some of them receive salaries for labor, others are swidden cultivators or “slash and burn” farmers. Maize is the major crop grown and is harvested twice or thrice a year. The Kalagan who live along the coast are also fishermen, and some are plantation workers. Crops that are grown in the lowlands are wet rice, and in the mountainous areas are dry rice and corn. Some staple crops include yams and sweet potatoes. Various kinds of fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, squash, and beans are grown too.
Kalagan are Tagakaolo who have converted to Islam, either through intermarriage or contact with their close neighbors, the Maguindanao. Islamization is a relatively recent development among the Tagakaolo and many older Kalagan still retain traditional beliefs. Their lifestyle and culture are very similar to that of the Maguindanao. Their language, also called Kalagan, resembles a number of other languages in the region.
Kalagan practice monogamy or having only one spouse. Although polygyny or having more than one wife is permitted, it is practiced only by those of high rank and wealth. There is a strong preference for marriage between related families, especially to second cousins. After marriage, the couples usually live in the husband’s community, although today, young couples may form their own independent households.
Islam was not introduced to the Kalagan until Muslim missionaries arrived in the area during the 15th century. About half of the whole group of Kalagan was susceptible with the Islamic influence at that time. However, animism or the belief in spirits remained to be practiced by them. In the current time, many of them are still ethnic religionists, believing in the traditions and religions of their forefathers. They continue to believe in a variety of “environmental spirits”. Tales about magic, sorcery, and supernatural beings are also told and passed on to several generations until now. Imams and panditas, muslim religious leaders and teachers, direct religious life and teach young boys to read and memorize the Qur’an, the Islam’s holy book. Muslim holidays and other observances are celebrated to varying degrees.