THE National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), led by its chairman National Artist Virgilio Almario, executive director Al Ryan Alejandre, and deputy executive director Marichu Tellano, through its Subcommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts (SCCTA) headed by Commissioner Alphonsus Tesoro, wrapped up the national celebration of indigenous peoples with a national forum dubbed as Kálkalí (Kankana-ey word for “conversations”) at the Maryhill School of Theology, Quezon City on October 28 and 29, 2019.
Pursuant to the Presidential Proclamation no. 1906 signed in 2009 declaring every October of the year as the National Indigenous Peoples Month, this year’s celebration bannered the theme “Vital Wisdoms: Learning with the Indigenous Peoples” or Buháy na Dúnong: Pagkatúto Kasama Ang Mga Katutúbo.
The two-day forum was composed of eight sessions which tackled the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Philippines featuring various speakers from Indigenous Peoples communities and representatives from concerned sectors.
The forum kicked off with a performance from Matigsalug of Bukidnon, followed by messages from the director of Center for Mission Studies of Maryhill School of Theology and SCCTA commissioner Alphonsus Tesoro. NCCA chairman Virgilio Almario also shared a special message to the participants. The overview of the forum was delivered by the forum director Dr. Eufracio Abaya.
During the first session or unang kálkalí which discussed the perspective of the IP communities on their language, the speakers were Fulong Dan Alim from National Anti-Poverty Commission-Indigenous People Sector Council, Suwod Ronin Sandad of Summer Institute of Linguistics, and Edwin Winston Valientes from University of the Philippine (UP)-Diliman. The commentators were Phyllis Jacqueline Codamon-Anudon, NCCA Ifugao/ Kalanguya Cluster Head and Virginia Estrada, NCCA Bolinao/Pangasinense Cluster Head.
The ikalawang kálkalí talked about the traditional craftsmanship. The speakers were Bernadeth Ofong from South Cotabato School of Living Traditions, Sublito Tiblak from Palawan School of Living Traditions, and Basiliza Carantes-Lim from Benguet Living Traditions. The commentators were Delia Pauden, NCCA Tagbanua/Pal’awan/ Batak Cluster Head and Heather Janet Gate, NCCA Ibaloy, Kankana-ey Cluster Head.
The ikatlong kálkalí talked about performance arts, rituals, and festivals as inspiration in cultural productions. The speakers were Peter Alcedo Jr. from UP Filipiniana Dance Group, Pepito Sumayon of Sining Kambayoka, and Evem Ganila from Guimaras School of Living Traditions. The commentator was National Artist for Music Ramon Santos.
Before the fourth session, NCCA Executive Director Al Ryan Alejandre shared a special message and his personal experience as a public servant on safeguarding ICH, which is in relation with ikaapat na kálkalí tackling the institutional support for safeguarding ICH. The speakers on this session were Carlos P. Buasen Jr. from National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Education, Culture and Health Office and Darwin Don Mallo Dacles of Saint Mary’s University-Bayombong. The commentators were Michael Yambok of NCCA T’boli Cluster and Melanie Joy Seville of NCCA Bagobo/Kalagan/Tagakaolo Cluster.
To the wrap up the first day of forum, NCCA chairman National Artist Virgilio Almario led the book launch of Ang Epikong-bayan at iba pang Araling Folklore ni E. Arsenio Manuel and Buhay ni Lam-ang.
On the second day, the ikalimang kálkalí feature the oral traditions and expressions. The speakers were Jonas Baes, UP Diliman; Nilda Mahalidan-Mangilay, Subanen School of Living Traditions; Ruben Gumangan, Hudhud Chanter from Ifugao; and Bai Labi Riwarung, Mindanao State University. The commentator was NCCA Iranun/ Maguindanao Cluster head Abubacar M. Datumanong.
For the ikaanim na kálkalí that featured indigenous learning systems, the speakers were Marvin Astovesa, NCCA Committee on Central Cultural Communities; Stanley Anongos Jr., Benguet State University; and Joel Mallari, NCCA Committee on Northern Cultural Communities. The commentators were Elmalyn Abatayo, NCCA Teduray/Arumanen Cluster and Rebecca Sugdan, NCCA Manobo/ Matigsalug/ Tigwahanon/ Ummayamnon Cluster.
The ikapitong kálkalí tackled the indigenous ecological knowledges and practices. The speakers were Loida Sanches, Aeta from Pampanga; Benny Cumatang, Higaonon from Bukidnon; Leonor Atencio, Rizal School of Living Traditions; and Christopher Cruz, De La Salle university-Manila. The commentators were Rodne Galicha of NCCA Rombloanon/Tagalog Cluster and Luzminda Caga, NCCA Mamanwa Cluster.
And for the last kálkalí, the speaker tackled institutional support for safeguarding ICH. They were Cecilia Dela Paz from UP Diliman, Kennedy Costales from Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, and lawyer Marie Rafael of Presidential Communications Operations Office. The commentator was SCCTA commissioner Alphonsus Tesoro.