Cultural Motifs in Blaan Flalok: Revitalization of Oral Lore for Preservation, Development, and Sustainability


cultural motifs
oral lore
the Philippines

How to Cite

Trocio, J. V., Campos, E., & Yu, A. L. (2023). Cultural Motifs in Blaan Flalok: Revitalization of Oral Lore for Preservation, Development, and Sustainability. Southeastern Philippines Journal of Research and Development, 28(2), 13-25.


This study analyzes the culture of the Blaan indigenous peoples (IPs) in General Santos, Sarangani, and South Cotabato, Philippines, as reflected in their flalok (oral lore). Utilizing qualitative-descriptive methods, it discusses patterns of traditional beliefs in myths, legends, and folktales as retold by Blaan ancestors. Thompson’s Motif-Index Theory was used to codify recurring concepts in selected Blaan folk narratives. Frequent Blaan cultural motifs in the flalok include familial relationships, domestic work, tribal war, competitions, animal trapping, and agricultural farming. The research contributes to the continuous enrichment of Philippine Studies and delineates Mindanao Studies as a significant aspect of that work. It provides a reference for cultural workers, researchers, and academics to understand how the lives and works of Mindanaoan Tri-people (IPs, Bangsamoro, and Christian settlers) sustain broader Filipino cultural perspectives. Specifically, it provides more inclusive starting points for enduring cultural motifs to be part of the broader cultural appreciation reflected in Philippine theater, film, creative writing, dance, music, and other arts.


Agbas, M.G.Z., Cenojas, L.A., Galvez, L.S., Ingilan, S.S., Ortiz, G.F., Risonar, J.R. (2017). Disaster preparedness and climate change: The indigenous knowledge of selected IP groups in the Davao Region. The University of Southeastern Philippines & The Office of Senator Loren B. Legarda.

Bell, S. (2009). Anti-semitic folklore motif index. All Graduate Theses and Dissertations, p. 229.

Bresnahan, M.I. (1979). English in the Philippines. Journal of Communication, 29(2), 64-71.

Demetrio, F.R. (Ed.). (1975). Dialogue for development: Papers from the first national congress of Philippine folklore and other scholars, Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro, December 27-30, 1972 (No. 28). Xavier University.

Demetrio, F.R. (1979). From the Grimm Brothers to Heda Jason: An overview of folkloristics. Philippines Quarterly of Culture and Society, 7(1/2), 3-50.

Dino, N., Guinto-Sali, M.J., Matolo, A.H.L., Amat, A., & Ingilan, S. (2023). Uncovering the unsung hero of Sulu: Panglima Sayyadi’s character archetypes in kissa. Southeastern Journal of Research and Development, 28(1), 49-68.

Elbanbuena, E. (2016). Tagabawa bagobo folktales [Unpublished Master’s Thesis, University of Southeastern Philippines]. Davao, Philippines.

Eugenio, D.L. (Ed.). (2007). Philippine folk literature: An anthology (Vol. 1). University of the Philippines Press.

Francisco, M.S.A., Pauya, D.E., & Ambayon, C. (2021). Cultural practices and academic performance of B’laan pupils in Sinapulan Elementary School. Budapest International Research and Critics in Linguistics and Education (BirLE) Journal, 4(2), 784-797.

Gloria, H.K., Josephine, L.C., Joseph, M.F.S., Maribeth, F., & Jocelyn, C. (2006). Sarangani peoples and culture. Indigenous Peoples Development Program, Sarangani Province.

Guéguen, C. (2010). Sacredness, death, and landscapes among the B’laan (Mindanao): A cultural geography study. Philippine quarterly of culture and society, 38(1), 37–54.

Harun, H., Othman, A., & Annamalai, S. (2021). Malaysian folktales: An understanding of the motif- index of folk literature applicability in the local folktales’ context. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 17(2), 1013-1022.

Kothari, K. (1981). Myths, tales, and folklore: Exploring the substratum of cinema. India International Centre Quarterly, 8(1), 31–42.

Lutero, C.D. (1986). B’laan folk literature [Doctoral dissertation, University of the Philippines].

Martin, P. (2007). Stith Thompson: His life and his role in folklore scholarship, with a bibliography.

Orellana, S.L. (1975). Folk literature of the Tzutujil Maya. Anthropos, (H. 5./6), 839-876.

Sumaljag, M.V.O. (2009). B’laan oral narratives and their educational implications. JPAIR Multidisciplinary Research Journal, 2(1), 1-1.

Thompson, S. (1955). Motif-index of folk-literature, Volume 4: A Classification of Narrative Elements in Folk Tales, Ballads, Myths, Fables, Mediaeval Romances, Exempla, Fabliaux, Jest-Books, and Local Legends (Vol. 4). Indiana University Press.

Thompson, S. (2016). Mudjikiwis (Plains; cree; ojibwa). Folk Heroes and Heroines around the World, 109.

Thompson, S. (2022). The folktale. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Rosenhuber, S. (1926). Märchen, Fabeln, Rätsel und Sprichwörter der Neger in Kamerun: Ges. uf dt Kinder bearb. Kongregation der Pallottiner.

Tuban, M.R. (1996). Tausug folk narratives. Southeastern Philippine Journal of Research and Development, 3(2), 40–80.

Tuban, M. R. (1977). Tausug folk literature [Unpublished Master’s Thesis, University of the Philippines]. Diliman.

Yu, A.L.E., & De Catalina, J.Z. (2022). Symbolic actions of cultural characters in Davao folk narratives. Recoletos Multidisciplinary Research Journal, 10(2), 87-98.

Yu, A.L., Manidoc, E., & Tsuji, T. (2022). The Kagan folktales in Mindanao Island of the Philippines. Southeastern Philippines Journal of Research and Development, 27(2), 47-60.


Download data is not yet available.