Subanen -Philippine Flag unity

Culture, Custom and belief

Subanen Social Organization and Customs

Subanen people treated everyone equal and does not practice a division of labor through gender. Men and women could work in the fields, carpentry and both could be also be a cook and care of children when necessary. This is still being practiced in the Subanen remote communities which are mostly in the hinterlands, the place which preserved the Subanen culture.

Due to the continues migration of the Cebuanos and Muslim groups to the Subanen territory and influenced the new generation Subanen; younger people have changed specially for those who are living in the developed places. Girls would now avoid field works and exposure to sunlight and instead to just stay at home doing home chores while boys are destined to be in the fields to do the harder and heavier jobs. 

It was a culture also to have prefer to  have more daughters than sons because the father will be able to recover the dowry he paid for his wife but these recent times, dowry are no longer practice.

It was a culture that the marriage is arranged through parental understanding called "bou'ia"or "Bu'ya" even before the parties reach the age of puberty or even after they birth they are already married and would be introduced only once they are already at their legal age. But customary practice were no longer followed by the new generations.

In the old practices, after the marriage ceremonies have been held, and the wedding feast celebrated, the newlyweds stay with the girl's household. The man is required to render service to his wife's parents, mainly in doing house chores, cooking, preparing woods to make fire and at the production of food or farming. After a certain period of matrilocal residence, the couple can select their own place of residence, which is usually determined by proximity to the swidden fields. But the new generation who are already educated would no longer do the same practice. They are free to go wherever they want to go and live close to their respective business, work or offices. Though Subanen who are still living in the intact Subanen community in the hinterlands are still following these practices but majority of the new generations are already educated and preferred to work or do business instead of doing the traditional way of living.

Since it is a Subanen principle that no one should own the land or territory but the people within or called commonwealth practice, then no one hold any title of lots as property. The only properties that they considered as their owned are the movable properties such as Chinese jars, gongs, jewelry, and, in later times, currency. But in the modern times, Subanen who are blending with the migrant Cebuanos are no longer following the old practice. Their land has been grabbed by the migrants were able to titled them as their owned therefore to protect their land they also titled it but the government allowed the Subanen people to have their Ancestral domains.

The family couple could end its ties through divorce, abduction of the wife, or death of either spouse. But it can be immediately reconstituted through remarriage. The surviving widow can be married to a brother, married or not, of the deceased husband, or the parents of the deceased wife almost immediately marries off to the widower one of their unmarried daughters or nieces.

In the hinterlands, traditional practice permits to any Subanen man who wants to have more than one wives to without limit to marry several times  and collect all his women in one roof as long as each wives would be able to live together harmoniously under a one roof. However Subanen people who adapted Christianity stopped the traditional practice as it is not allowed in Christianity.

Traditionally, the education among Subanen people was limited to instruction by the Tim'uay head to a future husband and wife regarding love, respect and treatment of each other, parents, and in-laws. As the modernization already invaded the heart of the tribe's territories, many of the people were already highly educated. Many of the new generations already got their bachelors, masters and doctoral in the high standard universities both local and abroad. Some of them are already working in the Philippine government offices.

In marriage, the parents of the man look for a woman he will marry and both sets of parents set the wedding date. Polygamy and polyandry are practiced but separation is not allowed nor is marrying nearest relatives. family planning is also practiced for those who do not want to have so many children. An herb which could be found at the forest name benayan would help for family planning. For birth spacing a woman should eats 2 herbs, and if no more children are desired she needs to eats more benayan herbs. 

Another type of birth control is practiced by the midwife who "manipulates" the woman after delivery. Various methods are practiced to predetermine a child's sex. Pregnant women must abide by many regulations including placing a piece of wood across her path before going in a doorway. It is considered a blessing to have more daughters than sons because the father will be able to recover the dowry he paid for his wife. There is a general belief that all human beings should marry. 

Religious beliefs and practices

Traditional Subanen believes in a supreme being call "Diwata Migbebaya" and have had a holy book at one time but the said book were no longer be found after the Spanish invasion. the holy book was probably burned to brought as as loot. Traditional Subanen which are still practicing the traditional beliefs in the Subanen communities in the hinterlands communicate to the supreme being though the incantation and rituals conducted by the shaman called "Balian" which are usually men but there are women balians too.

Though in modern times new generations have already adapted Christianity in different sectors  including the Church of God (pure bible based teachings),  Catholicism, or Evangelical Protestantism, while others in Basilan Island and some in Siocon adapted Islam.

Majority of Subanen preferred to follow Christianity over Islam because of the food restriction in Islam and the history in which most Subanen believes that Islam is just a later religion founded on year 0610 or more than 500 years after the death of Jesus Christ while Christianity was already practiced and taught even by Moses since 1500 BCE. Most Subanen preferred to follow the Church of God religion as it is told in the Bible that it was the religion of Jesus Christ and his disciples while they were on earth.