Zamboanga del Sur Culture

Filed under Province

The two predominant cultures present in Zamboanga del Sur are the Subanons (or Subanens) and the Muslims. Although there are inter-marriages between the settlers across the decades, the distinction of each of their cultures have been well-documented, both in their arts and dance, as well as in the artifacts that have been preserved and passed down to their descendants today. The same thing can be said for the other settlers that have made Zamboanga del Sur their home in the beginning. In short, Zamboanga’s culture pot manages to avoid becoming a complete mix of all the settlers, instead becoming a distinct collection of cultural heritages.

The cultures of each of the ethnic groups are made more manifest through the celebrations and practices that are still observed until now. For Subanens, no celebration is more grand than what is known as buklog, a rite that they observe after a happy event, such as a good harvest for example. The buklog is a celebration that goes on until the wee hours in the morning, consisting of a movable stage that slowly gets lowered by the motion of the dancers, accompanied by the synchronized shouts of the participants. Other dances such as the mangalay and the sothalek, on the other hand, are usually performed during fiestas.

The Muslims also have their own unique dances such as the kapa malong malong, where a malong, a simple tubular but functional piece of cloth, is used. The singkil is also another truly unique dance, utilizing criss-crossed bamboos, beautiful attires, fans, and ladies-in-waiting holding beautifully-decorated umbrellas. Certain customs, especially regarding wedding and courtship, are also among the unique culture of Muslims, and they are usually pretty elaborate and traditional.

The other settlers also brought with them their own songs, traditions, and celebrations. The Maguindanaoans, for example, brought with them the practice of unday-unday, where a man and a woman try to beat each other with witty repartees between the one advocating the love, and his object of affection.


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