A SOLEMN ritual with a Datu offering a live pig ushered the start of the Indigenous People's (IP) Games at the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum City last April 27.
Datu Marcial B. Lig-onan at first, apologized to some Muslim tribal leaders and participants present before proceeding with the ritual dubbed as “Sayaw ng Pag-abi-abi sa Davao del Norte, which culminated with the stabbing of the animal sacrifice by a Lumad using a bangkaw, a weapon often used by the IP in different areas of their lives.
Davao del Norte Provincial Tribal Council chief Datu Angelito Osmos Jr., in an interview with SunStar Davao, said the ritual aimed to get permission from their Mambabaya or Creator.
“We want to seek approval for these activities, for it to be successful and at the same time show gratitude for the lives we have been given,” he said in the vernacular.
Datu Osmos explained that for big events such as the IP Games, animals with four legs are required as sacrifice for the ritual while chickens are for smaller gatherings.
Some 400 participants from the tribes of Ata-Manobo, Sama, Dibabawon, Mandaya, Mangguangan, and Mansaka formed part of the IP Games launch. They represented the local government units of New Corella, Talaingod, Carmen, Panabo City, Sto. Tomas, Asuncion, Kapalong, Tagum City, Dujali, Island Garden City of Samal and San Isidro.
The provincial tribal chieftain said of all the events entered in the IP Games, kadang, dagan (run), bayo and bangkaw are still being used and practiced to this day.
Kadang or stilts on coconut shell or bamboo are being used to cross rivers and muddy roads while young male or female Lumads, for their part, also use the kadang for games.
All male Lumads, according to Osmos, are taught to run early in their elementary years.
“Ginatrain ang mga kalalakihan na kusog mudagan para gamiton siya alang sa pangayaw, dinalian nga panginahanglan... kaaway og kahadlukan. Tanang IP kinahanglan paspas mudagan (Young boys are trained to run fast from the start so they can be move fast during tribal war or when doing errands. All IP children must run fast),” he said.
Bangkaw, for its part, is used in the forests to hunt. It can also be used for self-defense, games and war dance.
Bayo or lubok sa humay is part of the IPs’ way of life in processing their rice for consumption and is also being conducted as ritual or dance during special occasions like weddings.
Butong sa lubid is likened to the classic game of tug-of-war and may involve children and adults alike.
Pana (target) also formed part of the IP Games organized by the Philippine Sports Commission and the provincial government of Davao del Norte along with basket sa likod or a basketball game with a mobile basketball ring placed on a player’s back.
Osmos added, “Kining mga dulaa ni part sa among kultura og tradisyon. Dili ra ni dula-dula kundili pagpabalik sa among mga kultura og tradisyon. Dako among kalipay nga ang gobyerno nakahuna-huna sa pag-revive ani (All these events are part of our culture and tradition and reviving it through the IP Games with the support of government is something worth celebrating).”
He also said that they were inspired to further hone their skills in their native games. “Malay mo makaapil mi sa international games (Who knows we might qualify to the international games),” he said.
PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, who represented PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, said that an international IP Games is being conducted every after Olympics. He, thus, urged the participants to compete in the best of their abilities as the IP Games might usher them to the world stage.
PSC Commissioner Charles Raymond A. Maxey, oversight commissioner in charge of the IP Games, bared that the IP Games will have five more stops this year - Bukidnon, Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, Ifugao, Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya.
Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario, on the other hand, was upbeat about hosting a National IP Games although Maxey said they will consider it once the PSC Board agrees to expanding the Games perhaps next year. (MLSA)