The Mandaya is a group of non-Christian, non-Islamic people living in Eastern Mindanao. The word “Mandaya” is derived from “man” which means “first” and “daya” which means “upstream” or “upper portion of a river”. The Mandaya are mainly located in the provinces of [Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and the eastern areas of Cotabato. They are also scattered throughout the South-Eastern ofMindanao province and northward of Lianga, Surigao del Sur and Southern Agusan.
Earlier accounts indicate that the Mandaya represented one of the most powerful tribes in these areas. The headman, known as Bagani holds political power over his territory. However, before assuming the title, each bagani had to kill seven to nine men in battle or through surprise raids upon neighboring areas. (Mandaya | Wikipilipinas)