The Hla’alua people are formed by the Paiciana, Vilanganʉ, Talicia, and Hlihlara communities. They mainly settle in Gaozhong Village and Taoyuan Village in Taoyuan District and Maya Village in Namaxia District, Kaohsiung City. They call themselves “Hla’alua,” but the meaning of this term is unknown.
It is said that Hla’alua ancestors originally lived in Hlasʉnga in the east with the dwarves. The kavurua (dwarves) reckoned that the “Takiarʉ” (Sacred Shell) is where “Taizu” (Shell God) resides. Every year, they held a grand ritual to pray for peace, good harvest, good catch, and community prosperity. When the Hla’alua people left the place of origin, the short people gave them an urn of Takiaru (Sacred Shells). The Hla’alua people also held the “Miatungusu” (Sacred Shell Ritual) like that of the short people. “Marinating Sacred Shells in wine” was the most important part of the ritual. In this process, the Hla’alua people marinated Sacred Shells in wine and watched the change of colors. If they turned red, this meant the Taizu was dead drunk, suggesting the ritual was a success.
According to the records in the Chronicles of Taiwan, the Hla’alua people were called Neiyou Community or Meilong Community. In the late Qing Dynasty, the Han people called them “Dingsishe” (Top Four Communities). The Japanese adopted this term and called them “Shangsishe” (Upper Four Communities). Thereafter, the Hla’alua people were also collectively called the Four-Community or the Upper Four-Community. These four communities include:
1. Paiciana: The village is located on the table land at the mountain foot in the north of the drainage basin of the Laonong River and Putou River. Today, it is a school site. Village people mainly lived in three settlements: Village I, Village II, and Caoshui Checkpoint.
2. Vilanganʉ: The village is located on the table land across from the estuary of the Taluoliu River on the east bank of the Laonong River. Village people mainly distributed in the spacious drainage basin between the Laonong River and the Baolai River. In modern times, some village people migrated to Maya Village in Namaxia.
3. Tararahluvu (or Talicia): The village is located at the mountain top on the north bank of the Taluoliu River. As transportation is inconvenient, all villagepeople migrated to the Paiciana Village.
4. Hlihlala: The village is located in the river terrace on the west bank of the Laonong River. Kalʉvʉnga is its village name, called Hlihlala. During Japanese colonization, village people lived scatteredly on farmlands on the west bank of the Laonong River. Later on, they returned and lived in the original location and where the district office was.