John Nance

John Nance has written the most about the Tasaday, visited them the most times (25 from 1971-2004), and was most knowledgeable about them. He was the AP Bureau Chief when the report of their discovery occurred.


Born December 19, 1935

1957 University of Oregon Journalism Graduate

1965-67 Vietnam correspondent

1968-72 Associated Press Manila Bureau Chief

1975 Author of The Gentle Tasaday, Based on 9 field visits from 1972-73,

1986-2004 16 more visits. Form Friends of the Tasaday to survey and secure their land base; offer clinic, immunizations, and nutrition services; provide educational scholarships and first college graduate; fund women's craft projects; and teach farming methods.

Died March 9, 2010 Nance at his home in Columbus, Ohio


Tasaday view of their origins

"Our ancestors said a person came to them in their sleep and said he was the owner and that our mountain is Tasaday mountain."

John Nance, The Gentle Tasaday p. 62

Our ancestors said ". . . that a good man would come to them at this place in Tasaday, which is on Mount Tasaday."

John Nance, The Gentle Tasaday, p. 203


Tasaday hoax issue

"I mentioned that I had met the Tasaday, visited their homesite, and believed they were authentic. With this the discussion grew heated. Salazar argued that as a newsman I had far less right to have been there than a scientist. He accused Elizalde and Fox of having used the Tasaday and people like me as playthings for self-promotion."

John Nance, 1975, p. 171

Salazar . . . challenged all of the early research, questioned claims of the length of their isolation and their lack of metal, and ridiculed the role of Dafal, . . . One of the diplomats . . . suggested that the whole Tasaday discovery had been staged: the Tasaday were merely primitive mountain people who had been put into caves for dramatic effect.

Nance, 1975, p. 171

". . . I began to wonder again if I had romanticized their unworldliness. Perhaps they were familiar with warfare . . . I could not believe they knew this aspect of life. Indeed it occurred to me that children in the sophisticated modern world were far more knowledgeable of violence than these people--how would the Tasaday react to an evening of televised war news, westerns, cops and robbers?"

John Nance, 1975, p. 252


A Message from the Stone Age

John Nance summarizes his experience with the Tasaday in a 1983 video, A Message from the Stone Age. The video shows stills taken by Nance of the Tasaday. He ends with the statement, "The Tasaday are us and we are them; all members of the human family."

To Tasaday Topics


Updated:Tuesday, 19-Feb-2013 21:04:10 PST
Court Smith, Oregon State University