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The Center for Southeast Asian Studies > Projects > Ub-ufok Ad Fiallig Overview > Teaching Modules > Module 8. Tabfiad: Diaspora and Sense of Place

Module 8. Tabfiad: Diaspora and Sense of Place


This story is about the Tabfiad, a gigantic snake with legs, that terrorized Fiallig. Derived from the narrative of Arfonso Nacleo.

Tagalog Version | English Version


Tabfiad – a dragon-like monster

Chongra – a red plant

Fialikia – the old name of Barlig

Kufiang – town where the remains of the tabfiad are found

Tigkiad – flintstone

Ator – council-house

Lamu – cotton

Diaspora – the dispersion of people from their homeland.

Human Migration – the movement of people from one place to another


1. Students discuss the story.

2. Students discuss the five sources of ethical standards (Utilitarian Approach, Rights Approach, Fairness or Justice Approach, Common Good Approach, Virtue Approach) from the Markkula Applied Center for Applied Ethics.

Guiding Questions:

1. Identify the central conflict of the story? Why did the Ifiallig people leave Fiallig?

2. How did the Ifiallig deal with the problem? What do you think of their decision-making process?

  • For teachers teaching Noli Me Tangere: Show an excerpt from Noli Me Tangere, “Meeting at the Town Hall.” How is this similar or different from the governance in the Ifiallig community or in other cultures?

3. Describe the Tabfiad? How was the Tabfiad killed?

4. Why didn’t the Ifiallig stay even after the Tabfiad was killed?

5. How did you feel about the plan to defeat the tabfiad? Use the ethical framework in your answer.

5. How did the Ifiallig mark their ancestral home before they left?

6. Where is the blackened stone remains of the Tabfiad?

7. Relate this to Laika, the first dog in space. What do you think happened to her? (Article link)

Critical Thinking


The story of the Ifiallig people fleeing from the Tabfiad is reminiscent of the out-migration of many Filipinos in the Philippines. As of 2011, over 2 million sought work overseas because of high unemployment rates.  Millions more have left for good, now calling countries such as the United States “home away from home.” These Filipinos make up the Philippine Diaspora. The term “Diaspora” originally referred to the Jewish people who were forced to leave their ancestral land because of war while Filipinos left for economic reasons, vestiges of colonial rule by both the Spanish and Americans and government repression, particularly during the Marcos Regime.

Ask students the following questions:

  1. Do you have similar experiences?
  2. What would compel people to leave their homeland?
  3. If you were to leave your country, what would you use to mark your previous home?
  4. What things do you remember about your homeland and the things you left behind?
  5. How does diaspora relate to the story of the Ifiallig who were fleeing from the Tabfiad?

Have students read the following blog on Filipino diaspora as they reflect on their own family histories. Are they a product of diaspora? If not, do they know anyone who came to the United States through this method? Students discuss why people leave their ancestral home?

Source: Letanna, Edd. Retrieved from on May 11, 2018.

Culminating Activity

Option 1

Students put themselves in the shoes of immigrants. How does it feel to leave one’s homeland? How does it feel to move to a new country? What are the fears that they face? How do you think the people in their adoptive place treat them? As they reflect on these questions, as a project, have them interview an immigrant. Ask them the same questions. Do they have any regrets? Have they faced racism and xenophobia (fear of foreigners)? What are their hopes for the future? Have students share their projects in class.

Option 2

Review the various Ethical Approaches. (see Ethical Framework handout)

Divide the class into smaller groups. Assign roles to each student, for example, a village elder, farmer, child, etc. Present each group with a moral dilemma. Ask them to find a solution to the problem. Students then discuss answers to the following questions:

  1. How did you come up with your solution?
  2. What leadership qualities did you observe in the process?
  3. What problems did you encounter in the deliberation? How did you resolve these problems?
  4. Are you satisfied with the process? Are you satisfied with the decision/solution?
  5. Present your solution to the class.