The B’laan (Bilaan, Balud, Baraan, Biraan, Bilanes, Blan, Buluan, Buluanes, Koronadal, Sarangani, Taglagad, Tagalagad, Tacogon, Tumanao, Vilanes, Bubluan, Buluanes) are principally located in the province of Davao del Sur where they number about 94,885. The core areas of the group are in the municipalities of San Marcelino (10,953), Malita (7,776), J.A. Santos (7,568), and Sarangani (5,563)(NSO 1990). They are now widespread in the South Cotabao and Sultan Kudarat areas with an estimated total population of 450,000. Traditionally, the B’laan inhabit the hills behind the west coast of Davao gulf abutting the Bagobo territory to the north and the watershed of Davao and Cotabato. In very recent times they have moved toward the coastal areas. There are several subgroups: (1) Tagalagad, (2) Tagcogon, (3) Buluan, (4) Biraan, (5) Vilanes, and (6) Balud.
The basic culture is dry cultivation of a broad range of food plants including rice, supplemented by food gathering and hunting. Culture change is in an advanced stage. The B’laan language is classified in a group that includes the Tiruray and T’boli, which are distinct from the central Philippine group.
The same pattern of scattered settlements exists among the group although the houses generally remain within sight of each other near swidden fields. Rice, corn, and millet are planted. Corn is gradually supplanting rice as the staple. Gardens are planted to sugar cane, bananas, and rootcrops.
Each neighborhood is organized under a local datu who has autonomous authority over an area depending on his personal influence. The position is supposedly hereditary and follows a rule of the firstborn assuming the position. The lebe is the B’laan equivalent of the Bagobo magani.
|Distribution of Ethnic Groups by Provinces
(Arrangement: Population count)
|Total National Population||113,829
|Agusan del N.||10|
|Davao del S.||42,699
|Lanao del S.||5|
|Surigao del N.||10|