Visiting Lamlifew Village Museum in Sarangani Province

I have seen various traditions, practices, and ways of life in my many years of traveling. However, since most of the places I have been to are very big cities, I rarely experience a smaller, more close-to-nature way of life and culture. And in my visit to Sarangani Province along with PHILTOA members, I was able to finally see these firsthand.

Blaan Performing indigenous song
Blaan Performing indigenous song

After visiting Lemlunay Dive Center in Maasim, Sarangani, we proceeded to Malungon to visit one of the most important tribal villages in Mindanao, the Lamlifew Village Museum.

Warm welcome from Blaan People
Warm welcome from Blaan People

People who want to visit Lamlifew can choose to either hike for an hour, or walk for five minutes and cross a river. Our group chose the latter option.


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Celebrating the Life of Helen Lumbos - the founding President of Lamlifew Tribal Women's Association. Photo credit: Paul Fernandez Llanos
Celebrating the Life of Helen Lumbos – the founding President of Lamlifew Tribal Women’s Association. Photo credit: Paul Fernandez Llanos

Just like our visit to the other T’boli villages, we were welcomed warmly in the Blaan tribal community. A group of Blaan children serenaded us with traditional songs, while another group performed a local folk dance as we neared the center of the Village Museum.

A warm welcome from Blaan Community of Sarangani
A warm welcome from Blaan Community of Sarangani
Playing wooden drums to welcome guests
Playing wooden drums to welcome guests

The Lamlifew Village Museum is, just as the name suggests, a small museum housed in a small village located in Malungon, Sarangani province. The museum is the only one of its kind in the Philippines. It is not as grandiose as what most people’s perception of a museum is, but within its rectangular and humble bamboo-and-rattan enclave is a treasure that the people of Lamlifew are proud of — their culture.

Beaded Blaan Dress on Display
Beaded Blaan Dress on Display

The first thing that we saw when we went inside the museum were the displays of antique Blaan attire, one for a woman and another for a man. Beside that were ancient weapons and the accessories that came with the attires.

Blaan Kid at the Weaving Center
Blaan Kid at the Weaving Center

There was a platform inside the museum, and we were told that it is where the women gather to do their beadworks. The museum does not only function as a gallery to exhibit the Blaan culture, but also as a cultural center where the locals could gather to create beautiful beadworks.

Beaded Accessories made by Blaan Community Members
Beaded Accessories made by Blaan Community Members

After the museum, we proceeded to the weaving center, which was just nearby. The B’laan produce hand-woven abaca fiber tapestries called Tabih. Batches of these, with their intricate, layered designs, were displayed in the small gallery near the weaving center. Also in display were beaded jewelries and other accessories made from beads.

Blaan Women weaving traditional skirt
Blaan Women weaving traditional skirt
Blaan Women weaving abaca fiber tapestries called Tabih
Blaan Women weaving abaca fiber tapestries called Tabih
Blaan Women inside the weaving center
Blaan Women inside the weaving center
Blaan Kid playing at the wooden ladder
Blaan Kid playing at the wooden ladder

We were able to watch the Lamlifew women weave live. They worked in a very delicate process that no machine could ever replicate. We were told that each design had a deeper meaning, and I found it very interesting how the locals were able to pass on the weaving tradition from one generation after the next. The village was only a small one, and the museum was not large or air-conditioned, like the ones we usually see in big, urbanized cities, yet I felt like the B’laan way of life was so preserved, intact, and pure… I contemplated on these as we sampled local treats for lunch.

We sampled these typical Blaan Food
We sampled these delicious Blaan Cuisine for Lunch
Selfie with Blaan Kids
Selfie with Blaan Kids
Blaan Tribe in Sarangani Province
Blaan Tribe in Sarangani Province

How to get to Lamlifew Village Museum

Our Group Shot before leaving the Village
Our Group Shot before leaving the Village
Group shot with Blaan Community
Group shot with Blaan Community

Lamlifew is reachable via a motorcycle or tricycle. A minibus from the capital city Alabel from General Santos City is preferable for people who wish to travel in groups. A jeepney can also be used to get to the nearest point from the village, and the ride on the way is more open and fun. A jeepney ride takes about 30-45 minutes depending on the time of the year. Prior to your visit, please contact Laarnie Lumbos Espra (+63-998-537-9513) or Maribeth Ditan (+63-975-486-3996).

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