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A Mangyan college graduate wore “bahag” to proudly represent his tribe

  • A proud Mangyan graduate wore a bahag (loincloth), their traditional tribal attire and walked barefoot as he received his college diploma
  • Anthony Suday is one of a dozen Mangyans they took from Mindoro to give an opportunity to study
  • Sausa hopes that Suday will share what he has learned to improve the farming methods in Sablayan and to inspire other Mangyans like him to go to school

In Northern Iloilo province, a proud Mangyan graduate wore a bahag (loincloth), their traditional tribal attire and walked barefoot as he received his college diploma.

A Facebook user, Mhiey Vengano, shared the photo that went viral as it garnered more than five thousand shares and reactions on the Mangyan student who attended and marched on his graduation using his bahag to represent his tribe. The proud student is Anthony Suday from Sablayan town, Occidental Mindoro, who became the first Mangyan graduate of Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (NIPSC) in Batad town who earned a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture.

To attend his graduation last April 2, Anthony’s father had taken a two-day trip from Sablayan to witness his son receiving the diploma at NIPSC’s campus in Estancia town.

His quest for having a college diploma would not be possible if not for the generosity of Rene Sausa, whose job is an educator and businessman from the town of Balasan. Sausa told Manila Bulletin in a phone interview that Anthony’s journey was not easy.

Rene and his wife really have big hearts as Suday is one of a dozen Mangyans they took from Mindoro to give an opportunity to study in Balasan, where the couples run a private school.

Unlike other Mangyans, Suday already knew how to read and write which made it easier for him to get along with other high school students. But during his third year in college, Sausa really wanted to send him back to Mindoro after he fell in love with a Mangyan girl, who later became his wife.

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“Anthony broke one of our rules, but we gave him a chance. He only had a year left. We didn’t want to destroy his future,” Sausa said.

After all the challenges he met to achieve his goals, Sausa hopes that Suday will share what he has learned to improve the farming methods in Sablayan and to inspire other Mangyans like him to go to school.

“I told him that they should be proud of their culture and never be ashamed of it,” Sausa said.


Suday and his father have returned to Sablayan, where the local government offered the new graduate a job.

Written by Rhelyn Harder

An open-minded person who seeks to inspire readers through writing. She believes that having the freedom and courage to express oneself is an opportunity to influence others.

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