BAGOBO-TAGABAWA, that is the tribe that dominates Sibulan village in Davao City, and the people are proud of their heritage.
Beyond just their cultural heritage, however, the people of Sibulan village have a shared responsibility: to protect and conserve the environment. Being at the foot of Mt. Apo, the residents are among the communities tapped by the Philippine Eagle Foundation Inc. to take care of the forests and the resident Philippine eagles, whose nest can be found in their forestland of their barangay.
This is where the art workshops for children was designed around, which Kinaiyahan Foundation Inc. (KFI) presented to the village council last March 7 and started last March 18.
Rosita Abalayan, village chair, allowed the group to present their program during the village council session on that day, and further advised the need for the consent from the tribal council as well.
As shared by the artists tapped for the project, the workshop aims to make the children appreciate the environment more by being able to draw the things around them and find affinity with them through their drawings.
Pushing for environmental awareness beyond the workshop is retired teacher and stalwart environmentalist Ric Obeza, who, at 71 years old, is still into organic farming and tree-planting.
For Obenza, it is never enough for a child to just plant a tree. There has to be affinity to the tree the child planted. Drawing it as a seed and as a sprout is one way, he said. A child can even be enticed to continue on sketching the tree as it grows having been made to understand the importance of trees and learned how to draw.
Joining Obenza is visual artist Philip Somozo and performance artists Dodo Karani of the Tagabawa tribe representing the Kalapati Art Group, and Lunhaw Dabaw Artists, and Tambara Group. Aside from the barangay council, the workshop also got the support of the Bagobo-Tagabawa Tribal Council, and the Langis Alliance Church.
With KFI are its chair Mila Teves, who taught the children proper solid waste management, and executive director Betty Cabazares, who also talked about the environment and its importance to the community.
The group had its last session last Saturday, April 15. The output of the children's artworks will be exhibited on Earth Day, April 22, at the village center to be opened with an indigenous ritual, a program on ecology, and a Bagobo-Tagabawa food festival.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on April 16, 2017.
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