A 1926 photograph of Bagobo (Manobo) warriors in full war regalia. The Bagobo tribe is one of the Lumad tribes in Mindanao
Manobo is the hispanized spelling of Manuvu (there is no difference between the pronunciation of orthographic ‹b› and ‹v› in Castilian Spanish; the /v/ sound was lost when translated). Its etymology is unclear; in its current form it means ‘person’ or 'people’.
The Manobo are an Australasian, indigenous agriculturalist population who neighbor the Mamanwa group in Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur (Garvan, 1931). They live in barangays like the Mamanwa, however population size is dramatically larger in the Manobo settlements (personal observation) in comparison to those of the Mamanwa. The two groups interact frequently although the amount of interaction varies between settlements and intermarriage is common between them (Reid, 2009).
The Manobo are probably the most numerous of the ethnic groups of the Philippines in the relationships and names of the groups that belong to this family of languages. Mention has been made of the numerous subgroups that comprise the Manobo group. The total national population including the subgroups is 749,042 (NM 1994); occupying core areas from Sarangani island into the Mindanao mainland in the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Davao provinces, Bukidnon, and North and South Cotabato. The groups occupy such a wide area of distribution that localized groups have assumed the character of distinctiveness as a separate ethnic grouping such as the Bagobo or the Higaonon, and the Atta. Depending on specific linguistic points of view, the membership of a dialect with a supergroup shifts.