Saturday, 14 February 2009



Datu Migketay Victorino L. Saway
Talaandig School of Living Traditions
Tulugan, Sungko, Lantapan, Bukidnon
Email Address:


● Indigenous knowledge is a system of knowledge that comes from within the life and cultures of peoples
● It is an identity that is naturally and culturally inherent among indigenous communities.
● It is a basic as well as instinct knowledge that one learns even without going to school, i.e., listening is instinct with the ears, talking is instinct with the mouth, feelings is instinct with the heart, thinking is instinct with the mind, etc.
● It is not because of light that the eye is able to see; it is not because of sounds that the ear is able to hear; not the odor of the food that enable the nose to smell.
● Indigenous knowledge system comes with tools and instruments such as the human senses, i.e., the brain, the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the skin and the heart
● Indigenous knowledge has no limits. It depends upon how much the brain can comprehend; how much the tongue can spell, the ears can hear, the hands can touch, the nose can smell, the heart can feel, etc.
● Indigenous knowledge is common sense knowledge. It is a common science to all. It is the conscience of human kind.
● IKSP is not acquired from books. It is acquired from cultures and traditions. IKSP is not what people learn from memorizing or from the teachings, instructions and influences of the outside world.
● It is knowledge that evolved from ground; not something that is planted or transplanted in the ground. It is a product of deep reflection and contemplation.


● It is locally and culturally based, rooted within a particular territory, environment and community and is situated within the broader cultural traditions of that people or community
● It is not easily codifiable because of its dynamic character. Codifying TK may lead to the loss of its context in time and space.
● It is transmitted orally, or through imitation and demonstration.
● It is experiential rather than theoretical.
● It is learned through repetition, a defining characteristic of tradition even when new knowledge is added.
● It is fluid, constantly flowing and changing. Indigenous knowledge evolve, adapt and transform dynamically with time.
● It is broad, comprehensive, integrated and holistic
● Its framework is based on the human senses or common sense.

How do we acquire indigenous knowledge?

● IKSP is acquired through the human senses from the natural environment and the world as the book of nature.
● It is understood from the language of nature, i.e, whisper of the rain; whistles of the wind, communication of plants, sounds of animals and insects, chirpings of the birds, formation of the clouds, heat of the sun, color of the sky, movement of the moon and stars, etc.
● It is handed down from the Elders and the cultural masters, i.e. spiritual leaders, shamans, chanters, storytellers, indigenous musician, hunters, healers, mediators, arbitrators, indigenous midwife, farmers, weavers, warriors, etc.

Indigenous Knowledge or Common Sense as a Science

● Indigenous Knowledge or Common Sense understanding involves a system and a process. It involves a systematic coordination and correlation of the human senses.
● For example, a sound that gets into the EARS build up into the MIND as a concept or idea that acquire meanings according to the context of time, event and space.
● It settles down into a principle when its positive and negative implication has been argued upon through the verification of the EYES, the NOSE, the skin of the HANDS and the HEART.
● Indigenous Knowledge is finally achieved as a Common Science when the coordination and interrelationships of the human senses has been constituted, verified and legitimized by peoples’ traditions and experiences.
● IKSP is processed orally, psychologically and physically.

What do we mean by Common Sense?

● A person who has common sense knows how to think; knows how to listen; knows how to speak; knows how to feel; knows how to touch; knows what taste is all about.
● A person who has common sense can comprehend situations and events in particular time and space.

Significance of IKSP to Formal Education

● The first keepers of knowledge, i.e. the thinkers, philosophers, teachers, engineers, builders, healers, leaders, etc. have not gone to formal schooling
● They acquired their knowledge through the human senses
● The establishment of formal education system began when the first keepers of knowledge thought of sharing their knowledge with other people
● The purpose of establishing formal education is to provide a training ground to sharpen the human senses.
● It is not intended to build machines nor to develop the dependency of human beings towards the machines
● A machine, no matter how sophisticated, is still guided by the human senses.
● Invented machines do not have IQs, not independent or liberal minded like human beings with common sense.

Relevance of Indigenous Knowledge to Globalization

● Indigenous knowledge is the basic knowledge or the basic ingredients of knowledge that constitute global knowledge and understanding.
● Indigenous knowledge is like the rivers that makes up the ocean or like the grain of sands that makes up the shore.
● It is like an individual person that makes up a family, a community, a nation, a country and a world.
● With globalization, the individual’s identity is assimilated, integrated and lost.
● The contribution of local knowledge to global understanding must be recognized and acknowledged with benefits of the global construct.
● If the small rivers and streams are lost the great ocean will not exist.
● Therefore, the development of global knowledge and understanding largely depend on our efforts to know our indigenous cultures and identity which we need to build upon with our family, community, tribe or nation and country.
● Indigenous knowledge is the key to understand the world and be part of it.

Link of IKSP to Modern Science

● Indigenous knowledge is the greatest knowledge and the mother of all sciences.
● Even without the presence of modern and sophisticated machines, human beings will still survive in the modern world for as long as they have the common senses.
● On the other hand, modern science or machines will not be able to survive without the guidance of indigenous knowledge or common sense.

The Talaandig Framework and Structure of Indigenous Knowledge

● Structure of the Human Body- Indigenous knowledge begins by understanding the structure and parts human body, i.e. the head, the brain, the mouth, stomach, the legs and arms, bones and veins, blood, etc.

● The House – the structure of the indigenous house is perfectly related to the structure of the body of a person, i.e. the windows (eyes), the pillars (legs and feet), the doors (mouth), etc.

● The Family – the structure of the family is equivalent to the personality and structure of the human body and the house, i.e., parents (head), elders (brain and spirits), mother (the flesh), the youth and children (the blood), men (the pillars), etc.

● The community – The structure of the community is similar to the structure of the human body, the house and the family, i.e., the leaders (head), the shamans (soul and spirits), the farmers (stomach), the young men (feet and force), the women (food and farm), etc.

● The Culture – the structure and personality of indigenous cultures is equivalent to the structure and personality of the human self, i.e. language and history (the mouth), customary laws and leadership (the head and eyes), defense system (the arms and legs), economy (the stomach), religious beliefs (the brain and spirits), health systems and medicines (the body), etc.

● The Earth (World) – the structure of the earth is similar to the structure of the human body, i.e. the sun (eyes), the waters (blood), the trees and viens (the bones and veins), the earth (the flesh), the grasses (the hairs), sounds (the language), the spirits (the brain and the heart).

The Talaandig IKSP Principle

● A particular knowledge has relatives, i.e. brothers, sisters, cousins, in-laws
● It has trademark or identity, i.e., age, sex, time, place, events, forms and shapes, height, color, sound, balance and contrast, spirits
● It has origin or source, i.e. father, mother, grandparents, ancestors, the Creator
● It has life, i.e., living, moving, growing and changing physically and psychologically
● The Talaandig formula for the expansion of knowledge is simply identifying the brothers and sisters of that knowledge, its parents, relatives, in-laws according to their age, sex, time, place, forms, shapes, colors, language, etc.

Summary and Conclusion

● Common Sense is a measure of Human Intelligence. Intelligence quotient or IQ of human beings does not simply means that the person has gone to school. It means that the person has developed the ability to understand through the use of the human senses.
● Indigenous knowledge is the source of wisdom, authority and power.
● It is the principle of self governance and self determination.
● It is an identity, a trademark, a strength, an energy and a web for human survival.

“A science without a common sense or IKSP is like a machine without a conscience” – Datu Migketay

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Common Sense




Knowledge provides a system that enables humanity to comprehend events and situations about life. It is not a commerce or trade. It is a solution about the complexities of human existence. It is an integrated light that enables human beings to see the world. It is holistic. Thus, become an instrument to fill gaps concerning the survival of humanity.

Knowledge in the world today is becoming complex. With commerce or trade, it has become expensive and exclusive. The utilization of knowledge as an instrument of authority and power has lead to specialization of knowledge that eventually created gaps not only among experts but among people and society.

Science is aimed to make knowledge simple and comprehensible. The ultimate science that could resolve the complexities of knowledge in the world today is common sense. As a science, common sense is not expensive, non exclusive but integrated, comprehensive and inclusive. It is liberal and free but more than sufficient to generate survival of humanity in the world.

Common sense as a common science promotes and develops a system that is logical, practical and universal to human understanding and survival. As a system, the common sense begins with concepts and ideas to philosophies and principles that are verified by hearing, seeing, touching, and smelling, feeling and tasting. An individual who develops the common sense knows how to think, hear, see, touch, smell, taste and feel.

The expansion of knowledge based on the common sense is developed according to frameworks that explain the integrity of the human body and its relationship with nature. Through the integrity of life ways that defines the cultural personality and identity of every society, understanding of human and cultural diversity in the whole world is achieved.

Common sense provides a system of analyzing and evaluating situations or events that enable an individual or society to provide appropriate responses or resolutions to conflicts or situations. It provides analytical and logical thinking that lead the simple mind to scientific discoveries and inventions.

Common sense is not a crude knowledge. It is not an obsolete or backward system. It is the father of wisdom that leads to the discoveries of knowledge that is indirectly comprehensible by the ordinary mind.

The knowledge based on the common sense is holistic, integrated, comprehensive and well organized. Its integrity provides explanation about the relationships of the elements of nature and its laws that regulates the physical and beyond physical existence of living and non-living things.

Finally, common sense constitutes the analytical and logical processes that are necessary to reconcile the diversity of human knowledge and understanding. The significance of common sense cannot be undermined by modern science because any science that is not based on common sense is equivalent to a machine without a conscience.

Datu Migketay Victorino L. Saway is the custodian of the indigenous knowledge and practices of the Talaandig People of Bukidnon Province, Mindanao Island, in the Philippines. He finished anthropology at Silliman University in Dumaguete City and has developed his field of expertise as a master and practitioner of indigenous and local cultures. He has been promoting the common sense as a science that enabled human civilization to survive for generations without the constraints of modern machines and technologies.