IT WAS heartwarming to see one community gathered together in celebrating the beauty of culture, traditions, and music.
This year’s theme “Ang kinaiyahan duyog sa kulturanhong pagdumala ug panaghiusa dalan sa kalambuan” commemorates the importance of nature in keeping the tribe’s culture alive and united among its people towards sustainable development.
For how many years, the Bagobo Tagabawa has been one of the front liners in Mt. Apo forest protection and management. They continue to embody the culture and ways of living through their beliefs that nature is the root and source of life.
The presence of Philippine Eagle in their ancestral domain even strengthens their desire to keep the forest intact by organizing together the forest guards. This is with support from the Philippine Eagle Foundation together with its partner agencies such as the City Mayor’s Office, National Commission on Indigenous People, Department of Agriculture, Davao City Agriculture, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
To celebrate this year’s achievement and accomplishment, the Bagobo Tagabawa held its 3rd IP Day, a two-day celebration participated by community members and stakeholders.
During the first day of the activity, residents received free haircut from the Armed Forces of the Philippines 3rd Infantry Battalion, and free medical and dental checkup conducted by City Health Office through the District Health Office. The Sibulan Ancestral Domain Organic Producer Cooperative with assistance from the Farm Cooperative also opened its booth where they sold banana chips, tablea, and other organic products.
On the opening of the 2nd day, guests and participants were entertained by a series of presentation performed by the tribal leaders, women, and forest guards who were wearing their traditional clothes and accessories. They proudly presented their own version of Lupang Hinirang using their own dialect. They also did a musical performance using a bamboo instrument called kombeng, standing kulintang, and two sting lutes called kudlong.
This IP Day started way back in 2016 as part of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act anniversary. Every October, locals here look forward to this occasion because it provides venue for them to interact with other members of the tribe and expose the younger generation to the culture and practices of their elders.
Bagobo Tagabawa ritual shows their strong connection with Mt. Apo which reflects the importance of nature for them.
During the induction of the new set of tribal leaders for their Indigenous Political Structure called Gammawan, they performed a short ritual using different materials they acquired from the sacred place of Mt. Apo which include a wild flower they called Salise, the sacred water, and sulfur.
“All of this materials, we gathered them from a sacred place in Mt. Apo. This is not just a random plant we pick in the backyard. We believed that Manama provided us with all these blessings for us to use and to take care,” said Matanum Delfin Emao.
A five peso coin offering was also given by the Matanum (Tribal leaders) which symbolized the five fingers forming a fist for a strong grasp of responsibilities. “Importante na singko ang amo i-halad isip simbolo sa lima ka tudlo na hugot ug lig-on mo kumkom ug responsibilidad,” added Emao.
For them, being an IP doesn’t mean they have to stick to their old ways of living life, instead they have to go with the development and use it to continue cultivate and enrich their culture. “Dili pwede nga magpabiya ta sa development, mo sabay ta apan dili nato kalimtan ang atong kultura. Atoa kining gamiton aron mas mapalambo pa ang atoang tribo,” said Matanum Hernan Ambe.