‘Hiyas sa Kadayawan’ up close and personal-A A +A
Friday, August 23, 2013
NOTICED her bangs?
Meet this year's Hiyas sa Kadayawan -- Noemi "Me-me" Mongcal Abregana, 20, of the Matigsalug tribe.
Aside from her wit and bearing, Abregana was very effective in introducing and taking pride in her tribe during the finals night held at the Almendras Gym Davao City Recreation Center (DCRC) on August 16.
Her bangs have made her distinct from the other candidates this year. She has delivered a very clear message on the history of their tribe, especially of the women.
"Our elders, the women, cut their own bangs to protect their datu’s wives from their enemies. Our bangs were our weapon against them," Abregana said. How? By looking all the same from afar, their enemies cannot identify who is who.
Davao City has 10 indigenous tribes-- five Muslims (Tausog, maguindanao, Maranao, Kagan and Sama) and five lumads (Ata, Matigsalug, Klata-Djangan, Tagabawa, Ovu-Manovo).
Abregana said among the five lumads, one can easily identify a Matigsalug woman, the one who wears bangs.
Matigsalug which means "of the river", salug meaning river. They have called the banks of Davao River, where it meets its tributaries, their home.
"Winning the Hiyas sa Kadayawan will serve as an avenue, not for myself, but, for our culture. To promote our culture," Abregana said.
"Sa six years na nangagi sa Hiyas sa Kadayawan, nakab-ot gyud sa among tribo nga makadaug mi (We finally bring home the title of Hiyas sa Kadayawan after six years)," she said. The Matigsalug tribe was formally recognized through the appointment of a deputy mayor for the tribe only in 2007. Before that, they were inadvertently classified along with the Manobo and the Ata and the Clata, depending on which tribe was nearest them.
Abregana graduated from Holy Cross of Calinan with a degree of Bachelor of Elementary Education (BeED).
"My greatest dream in life is to become a successful and effective teacher of our community in Marilog District," she said. "I want to help my fellowmen by educating their children for a better future."
Her parents -- Neofrendo Lidot Abregana and Melecia Antolin Mongcal -- are very proud of her.
"Bisag nagtubo ko sa Baguio District, love gyud nako akong tribe (Although I was raised in Baguio District, I really love my tribe)," Abregana said.
She said one way of loving her tribe is by fully understanding their history and culture and that's what set her apart from the other candidates.
"Love kaayo nako akong tribo, ug nasayod gyud ko sa kung unsa ang dapat masayran sa among tribo ug labaw sa tanan importante gyud ang salig sa Ginoo (I really love my tribe and I am knowledgeable of our culture and above all, to trust the Lord is very important)," Abregana said.
"Wala gyud ko nag aim nga makadug, ang akoa lang ato kay ma present ang among kultura dili lang maulawan ang among tribo. Naa pud koy something nga maimpart nga mataas-taas pud ang tan-aw sa among tribo (I did not expect to win, all I wanted was to represent our culture and to impart something that would bring pride to our tribe)," she said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 24, 2013.