National Geographic : 1971 Aug
From a crude forge, a work of art. With craftsmanship nurtured for generations, Ubos fashion ornate brass sword hilts, each wrought in the finest detail (left). As an artisan adds embers to his fire (below), a woman works moplike pistons inside twin bamboo cylinders. These force air through pipes to fan the fire and melt the tough alloy in a crucible buried under the coals. To mold their famed hilts, Ubos employ the ancient lost-wax process. Carving a fac simile in beeswax, they cover it with clay, which takes on the intricate pattern. Then they heat the clay and pour out the wax, leaving a cavity to receive the molten brass. Frugally melting down their old hilts when they make new ones, the tribesmen often augment their brass supply with empty World War II shell casings. 249 KODACHROMES ANDEKTACHROME(BELOW)© N.G.5. Eyes outflashing his sword, a Ubo man burlesques a war dance. Delighted audience yells cadenced approval during the festivi ties that accompanied Secretary Elizalde's stay with Datu Ma Falen. A Ubo smith fashioned the dancer's sword from steel that may once have been a truck spring. Possessing few guns, the for est people employ simpler weapons, each tribe having its favorites. Ubos and T'bolis prefer swords and bows and also hunt with poisoned arrows. Higaonons wield spears, while Mansakas use blowguns. Heightening the peril of forests infested with snakes, insects, and poisonous plants, hunters line animal paths with snares, dead falls, and spring-loaded spears. When hu man enemies threaten, the tribes guard trails with larger set-spears.