"He forced us to live in the caves so we’d become better cavemen."
In 1962, a local hunter encountered a primitive group while laying wild pig traps deep in the mountains of South Cotabato in the Philippines. According to veteran photographer John Nance, the hunter followed a trail of footprints and eventually saw three small men. They wore leaves to cover their loins and nothing else.
Although the hunter spoke Tasaday, the men could not understand him. Thus, he communicated thru sign language. He said to have described these people as cave-dwellers, isolated, “unaware that there were other people in the planet.”
In 1971, the local hunter apparently told amateur anthropologist Manuel Elizalde Jr. about them. Elizalde was the appointed Presidential Assistant on National Minorities (PANAMIN), an agency founded in 1968–during the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos—to protect the interest of cultural minorities.
Elizalde immediately went to see this remarkable discovery, and introduced the Tasadays to the world–a community of at least 25 people who didn’t even know about the country.
They openly welcomed him, and treated him as a hero, a savior. The tribe called him, “Momo Dakel Diwata Tasayador,” which translates to “Great Bringer of Good Fortune to the Tasaday.”
National media outlets from around the world immediately feasted on the discovery. Most of the news carries a bit of exaggeration, like the Tasaday spoke no known languages, dressed in animal fur, lived in a cave for centuries, and had no contact from the outside world until then.
The New York Times even ran a story about the Tasaday, describing how they were such savages they had no word for the sea because they have never seen it.
According to Elizalde, the tribe lived in caves since the pre-historic era, and had no knowledge of agriculture.
“They have no words for weapons, hostility, or war,” said Elizalde. “They didn’t even realize there was a country. They didn’t realize there was a sea. They did not even know what rice was.”
Elizalde painted this picture of Eden, inhabited by these “Noble Savages,” and consequently drew local and international attention. Anthropologists, foreign media, even the American conservationist Charles A. Lindbergh flew to the country to investigate the ethnic group.
As outsiders began to invade the once peaceful community, Elizalde decided to restrict public access to protect them and their homes. This happened at the same time President Marcos declared Martial Law.
However, many were still skeptical. They believed Elizalde and Marcos were using the Tasadays to cover up significant political issues such as corruption and human rights violations. Both men were accused of land grabbing as well.
The Marcos Regime, on the other hand, ended in the 1986 revolution. As Filipinos celebrated their independence, Swiss journalist Oswald Iten took the opportunity to visit the Tasadays and check their authenticity.
“They lived in houses, they didn’t live in caves and they told me they were in fact not a separate tribe called Tasaday. They told me it was the idea of Elizalde to make them pose as cavemen and Stone Age people in order to become famous,” Oswald Iten wrote in ” The Lost Tribe.”
According to Iten’s report, a member of the tribe said they lived in huts on the other side of the mountain. They also farmed.
Elizalde forced us to live in the caves so that we’d be better cavemen.
Someone tried to open the door from the outside. Fortunately, she remembered her dad's tip!
"You know when they say that kids are natural artists? I think she’s the perfect…
Meanwhile, in Australia...
Would you buy this?!
“Please. She died a few days ago. I cannot lose those photos as well.”
Under all the prosthetic makeup is this beautiful woman!