By Mila D. Aguilar, October 5, 2000

Gibson, Thomas. Sacrifice and Sharing in the Philippine Highlands. London: The Athlone Press, 1986.

Sacrifice and Sharing in the Philippine Highlands, published as Monograph on Social Anthropology No 57 in 1986, was, in its original form, Thomas Gibson’s doctoral dissertation submitted to the London School of Economics in 1983. There are only two entries by Thomas Gibson at the UP Main Library, one of these being the above book, the other his doctoral dissertation. In none of the works on anthropological theory cited below is his name mentioned.

The book itself, despite its repetitiveness and generally flaccid structure – following as it does the “development of [the author’s] understanding of Buid culture and society” – is deceptively simple. (Gibson 1) Bereft of theoretical bravado, it describes the Buid of Mindoro as if the presumably British author had imbibed the simplicity and humility of his subjects, speaking for them rather than of them. “The underlying intellectual and moral assumptions about the way life is and ought to be,” he admits honestly in the first paragraph of his introduction, “are still not entirely clear to me and, perhaps, never will be.” (Ibid.) The map he draws of the location of the Buids, placed below two Mindoro tribal distribution maps, one “after Conklin (1949a)” and another “after Tweddel (1970),” tries not too obviously to contradict the findings of his predecessors by concentrating only on the Buid area. (Ibid. 232-3)

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