The amazing Tasaday tribe

In 1971 Manuel Elizalde, a Philippine government minister, discovered a small Stone Age tribe living in utter isolation on the island of Mindanao. The Tasaday spoke a strange language, gathered wild food, used stone tools, lived in caves, wore leaves for clothes, and settled matters by gentle persuasion. They made love, not war, and became icons of innocence; reminders of a vanished Eden. They also made the television news headlines, the cover of National Geographic , were the subject of a bestselling book, and were visited by Charles A. Lindbergh and Gina Lollobrigida. Anthropologists tried to get a more sustained look, but President Ferdinand Marcos declared a 45,000-acre (18,210-hectare) Tasaday reserve and closed it to all visitors.

After Marcos was deposed in 1986, two journalists got in and found that the Tasaday lived in houses, traded smoked meat with local farmers, wore Levi’s T-shirts and spoke a recognisable local dialect. The Tasadays explained that they had only moved into caves, donned leaves and performed for cameras under pressure from Elizalde — who had fled the country in 1983, along with millions from a foundation set up to protect the Tasaday. Elizalde died in 1997.