Pueblo Montubio is an ethnic group of 1.5 million people on the Ecuadorian coast, specifically in the provinces of Guayas, Manabí, Los Rios, El Oro, and in subtropical regions in Bolivar, Azuay, Chimborazo, and Loja. Pueblo Montubio is a mixed heritage group of Spanish, Indigenous, and Afro-Ecuadorian cultures. They are a proud people with a colorful oral tradition, Indian rodeos, and sets of amorfinos.
Their culture is tied to farm life and a great respect for nature. They spend most of their waking hours looking after their cattle and crops. Both men and women follow three Montubio virtues: courage, perseverance, and labor. Their machete is a proud symbol of Montubio heritage.
Montubios are romantics too. Amorfinos is poetry, a declaration of love. Amorfinos can be humorous or sarcastic depending on the context of the lovers. When a Montubio recite his amorfinos, a Montubia responds with her set of amorfinos to test his art of poetry, love and courage. She can turn him down or accept his invitation, but he has to prove his courage through improvisation and word play. This is a tradition that has been passed down since the beginning of the mixed society.
Here are some amorfinos translated in English. Maybe you can try them out for a potential lover!
Montubio: Desde aqui te estoy mirando/cara a cara/ frente a frente/ para decirte en amorfino que mi corazon siente.
“From here I see you/face to face/eye to eye/ to tell you in amorfino what my heart truly feels.”
Montubia: Rio bajo va mi amor/partido en cuatro pedazos/pero el consuelo que tengo es de morir en tus brazos.
“My love flows down the river/ broken in four different pieces/ but the best comfort I have/ is to die in your arms.”
Montubio Song: Asi lo decia mi abuelo en un juegito de rueda/ diga un amorfino para ver si asi se queda.
“That is how my grandfather used to tell us in a game of spinning wheel/ recite a amorfino to see if he/she will stay.”
Montubios also characterize themselves with their rich variety of oral tradition, legends, myths, prayers, and chants. Because of this, they preserved Indigenous oral tradition like the story of Maria Guare, Tigre y Leon, El Tin Tin, San Isidrio Labrador, la Canoa de la Parida, and el Diablo y las Espuelas de Oro. Montubios also love to go to rodeo and compete with each other in the arena. Girls and boys as young as seven years old participate in competitions to demonstrate their astounding ability to tame a horse thrice their size.
As I mentioned before, Pueblo Montubio is a mix of African, Spanish, and Indigenous ancestry. The Indigenous ancestry is also a mix, too, ever since some people of the Guancavilca, Manta, Puna, and Chono people mixed with each other as a result of Spanish colonization in the 17th century. Unlike the Guankavilca people in Santa Elena Peninsula,, Montubios come from a mixed Indigenous background which makes it difficult for them to trace their lineage to a specific or specific tribes.
Most Ecuadorians view Montubios as unintelligent and dirty countrymen who contribute nothing to society. Also, since Ecuadorians are rooted in classism, Montubios and Cholos rank at the bottom of the social pyramid. Beginning in the 1980s, Pueblo Montubio made an effort to push for national recognition as a people with their ethnic culture that sets them apart from their Indigenous coastal relatives and Andean communities.