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Cuachon, Julianna Frances D.

11-SJO5

REFLECTION ON “Tasaday” DOCUMENTARY BY KARA DAVID

The Tasaday are a cave-dwelling tribe who are located in an isolated section of the
rainforest in South Cotabato, Mindanao. The 2009 documentary written and hosted by Kara
David, an award-winning documentarist, follows up the report in the 1970s when they were first
discovered by media and shows us the development of the tribe after the exposure as well as
their reactions towards them being claimed as a hoax.
While I was watching the documentary, it was plain as day to see that the journey Kara
and her crew took towards the site of where the Tasaday people lived was definitely a lengthy
and exhausting progress. Upon her arrival to the site, I find it fascinating to see how they
organize their lifestyle in their small tribe. We learn that they currently reside in the town of
Tosofu in Lake Sebu, but find shelter in the caves and wilderness around them. Dul, one of the
oldest members of the tribe, does not hesitate to help tour Kara around the caves, showing us
who lives in which cave and where their previous tribal chiefs slept along with where their wives
gave birth.
However, Kara’s main objective was to understand how the Tasaday people felt when
they were accused of being a hoax. She meets with Lobo, the poster boy from the previous
Tasaday reports, who now acts as the tribe’s chieftain. He explains to us how he is frustrated that
people see them as fake and that after their media exposure, many people would come to visit
and that would frighten him as he thinks that they may harm his tribe. Lobo even explains that he
and a few other members of his tribe travelled to Manila just to show people that they truly exist,
but now Lobo’s greatest concern would be his tribe’s protection and the future generation of his
tribe.
I find it difficult to believe that even though this tribe has gained an immense boost of
popularity due to the media and controversy of them being a hoax, no one had bothered to help
them escape poverty. Although, there were some people who did help, most of them only saw
the Tasaday’s discovery as a means of valuable study. This makes me believe that they were not
treated as struggling people, but rather as subjects to study. Despite all of this, the Tasaday
people are maintaining a progressive lifestyle. The future generations of the tribe are being
taught how to read and write, all to help them survive and understand those living in modern
society.
Although I was not able to fully grasp and understand the documentary well enough due
to language barriers, I can still see how the Tasaday people are comfortable with their Paleolithic
lifestyle rather than how modern society lives. Now the real question remains, whether they are a
mere hoax for the media or are they real? I do believe that this tribe exists in the mountains, but
even if I do have some doubts, I also feel we do not need to bother them in order to truly believe
they are there.