Ambahan is an indigenous poetry of the Hanunoo Mangyan of the province of Mindoro.

Ambahan | Image Credit: NCCA

It is inscribed using an ancient syllabic script derived from India.

It is now listed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Registry.

The Ambahan has seven syllables and is inscribed onto bamboo segments, nodes, musical instruments, or other materials using the tip of a knife.

The poems represent Mangyan’s personal thoughts, feelings, and desires. It is recited during social occasions (without accompaniment), in courting ceremonies, or when requested.

As we celebrate this year’s National Literature Month, let us discover the indigenous chanted poetry of the Hanunuo- Mangyans of Mindoro, called ” Ambahan”. It is scribed using the Magyan Script or “Surat Mangyan”, one of the few remaining pre-colonial writing systems in the Philippines. Ambahan poems are etched using “Surat-Mangya in bamboo and wooden slabs, betel containers, instruments, plants along a trail, and woven on baskets.

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