I REMEMBER my grandfather was trying to trace if we have Mandaya roots so I can get a government scholarship for indigenous people in college, but we didn’t so we failed.

He was disappointed because we lost the opportunity.

But for me, I thought it was just fine because at least we can still get to see the beauty of the culture of Mandaya tribe in many ways that we can.

If my grandfather were still alive, he would be proud to see how Mati City has preserved and promoted Mandaya culture in the modern world.

The preservation of their colorful and rich culture remains one of the effective humanitarian efforts that aim to be passed on to the next generation.

1. Sambuokan Festival 2019

It was raining cats and dogs but the show continued. The young performers gave their heart out, showcasing the wonders of sights and sounds of Mati, Davao Oriental. Congratulations to Matiao Central Elementary School and Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy for winning the elementary and secondary category, respectively.

2. Mandaya culture

I chanced upon a room at the City Hall named Kamunaan, a Mandaya cultural exhibit and souvenir shop as part of the Sambuokan Festival 2019.

Kamunaan is from the Mandaya rootword “muna” which means “ancestors”.

The exhibit showcased the Mandaya literature, music, musical instruments, equipment, and even clothing.

3. Food

Mandaya’s traditional food are now highlighted as entrepreneur Angie M. David opened Kuzina Virginia (located along Interco Drive in Brgy. Matiao, City of Mati, Davao Oriental) which offers authentic Mandaya delicacies. It’s the first restaurant in the city that serves Mandaya cuisine.

Among my favorites were Lut Mati (rice with pork meat marinated with herbs and cooked inside a bamboo pole), Laksa sa Dagat (shrimps wrapped and cooked in banana leaves), Manok Kari Ayam (chicken cooked with curry and coconut milk), and Panggang (grilled pork belly marinated in herbs).

Preserving the culture and traditions will help protect these native viewpoints. It also lets our children appreciate and respect the values that the Mandaya tribe has.

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