Tasaday History

Eyes and cameras focused on the Tasaday after a June 1971 report of their discovery on the Island of Mindanao in the Philippines. The Tasaday are subject to considerable debate regarding their origin, length of existance as foragers, and influence from neighbors. The objective of this page is to provide brief and general background on the major elements of Tasaday history.

You will hear the Tasaday name as TAW saw dye or Ta SAH dye.

[Tasaday photographer]

Supplemental sections and pages include:

Lobo with camera, 1972. Photo from Discovery of the Tasaday, p. 204, copyright by John Nance, used with permission.

Tasaday Chronology

Ethnographic Present*Prior to ~1960
Dafal's Influence~1960-1971
Elizalde's Primary InfluenceJune 1971- March 1973
Little Contact1973 - 1986
Renewed Limelight1986 to present

* Ethnographic present means the time period before extensive outside contact. This is the major issue with Tasaday history. When and of what kind was the contact that they have had with outsiders

Film Summaries of the Tasaday

1971 Last Tribes of Mindanao is a National Geographic film showing the first contact with the Tasaday in June of 1971. The film is about Manuel Elizalde's work among tribal peoples on the Island of Mindanao.
1972Cave People of the Philippines is an NBC film showing the Tasaday at the caves in August of 1972.
1983A Message from the Stone Age gives a general view of Tasaday and John Nance's interpretation of their importance. A Message is from stills taken by John Nance.
1986The Tribe that Never Was gives ABC's interpretation that the Tasaday are a hoax. It has Tom Jarriel's interview with them in 1986.
1989Trial in the Jungle tries to resolve the hoax issue. Much of it is the basis for the NOVA program, The Lost Tribe.
1992Twilight of the Tasaday was done in the Philippines and gives a perspective from the point of view of the Tasaday.
1993The Lost Tribe is a NOVA special that evaluates the evidence. It says that the period out of contact was more like 150 years, that the hoax evidence is weak, and that cultural loss is the most likely explanation.

Updated:Tuesday, 19-Feb-2013 20:52:34 PST
Court Smith, Oregon State University