Arts & Culture

Art & Culture: ‘Tabawan, The Island of Pre-Islamic Rituals and Traditional Practices in Tawi-Tawi’ a photography exhibition by Paul Quiambao

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – As part of the celebration of the National Heritage Month this May, and joining Muslim brothers and sisters in commemorating the Eid’l Fitr, the #NationalMuseumPH will virtually launch “Tabawan: The Island of Pre-Islamic Rituals and Traditional Practices in Tawi-Tawi”, a photo exhibition by Paul Quiambao, on 15 May 2021, Saturday at 2:00 PM. View the launching here at the National Museum of the Philippines’ Facebook page, or their YouTube Channel.

Showcasing the photos taken by Quiambao in the island of Tabawan, Tawi-Tawi in 2019 and 2020, the exhibition highlights the blend of indigenous traditions and Islamic beliefs as practiced by the Sama-Tabawan in their seven rituals from paggunting, pagtubas, pagkawin, pai baha’u, pagduwata, pagjamu bohe’ deya, to pagkambo’an. These rituals are interconnected and experienced from cradle to the grave, marking the passage of life for the Sama-Tabawan.


The exhibit begins with an overview and introduction on Tabawan Island and its inhabitants, followed by seven sections that feature a ritual each. These contents provide a glimpse of the worldview and cosmological beliefs of the Sama-Tabawan that influence their rich culture and heritage as Muslim Filipinos. Highlighting the balance between nature and the spiritual realm, the remembrance of ancestors, and the importance of thanksgiving and strong kinship ties, among others, the traditions captured in the photos emphasize how the Sama-Tabawan inculcate into their consciousness respect and peaceful co-existence among and between communities.


The “Tabawan: The Island of Pre-Islamic Rituals and Traditional Practices in Tawi-Tawi” Photo Exhibition will run from 16 May 2021 until 02 January 2022 at the Reception Room, 4F, National Museum of Anthropology. While we #StaySafe at home due to the community quarantine restrictions, you may still view the exhibition through a virtual tour.

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