The Mandaya tribes refers to a number of indigenous groups found along the mountain ranges of Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur. They are also recorded to be present in Mount Kampalili, in the highlands of eastern Mindanao.
“Mandaya” derives from the prefix man meaning “inhabitant of” and “daya” meaning upstream” or “upper portion of a river,” and therefore means “people living upstream. In 1988, the total number of registered Mandaya was about 33,000, with about 22,000 of them living in Davao Oriental alone.
Some of Mandaya’s features are high foreheads, prominent cheekbones, broad noses, thick lips and angular features.
There are 5 principal groups of Mandaya: Mansaka (living in mountain clearings), Manwaga (living in forested mountain areas), Pagsupan (living in swampy banks of Tagum and Hijo rivers, Managusan (living near the water) and Divavaogan (found in the southern and western parts of Compostela valley).