Iraya

Photo of a Mangyan man and to his right, a woman holding a baby
An Iraya-Mangyan family [Source: Mangyan Mission]

The Iraya Mangyans live in the municipalities of Puerto Galera, San Teodoro and Baco in Oriental Mindoro but most are in Occidental Mindoro, particularly in the municipalities of Abra de Ilog, Paluan, Mamburao and Santa Cruz.

Estel (1952) described the Iraya as having curly or deep wavy hair and dark skin but not as dark as that of the Negrito.

During ancient times, the Iraya traditional attire was made of dry tree bark, pounded to make it flat and soft. The women usually wore a blouse and a skirt and the men wore g-strings made of cloth. Today, however, the Iraya are dressed just like the lowland people. Ready-to-wear clothes are easier to find than their traditional costume [Uyan, 2002].

The Irayas are also skilled in nito-weaving. Handicrafts such as jars, trays, plates and cups of different sizes and design are being marketed to the lowlanders.

They subsist on rice, banana, sweet potato, and other root crops.