ANGELES CITY -- Dayaw 2015 began Thursday its three-day festivities by gathering 400 indigenous peoples from 60 cultural communities all over the country at the Bayanihan Park here.
The festival, which will run from October 15 to 17, 2015, is aimed at raising awareness and appreciation of Filipino culture and its diversity.
A highlight of this year’s Dayaw is the parade at the opening ceremony where IP participants walked around the Bayanihan Park in their traditional clothing.
The interactive exhibit, workshops and demonstrations will also be accessible to the public.
As the 2015 Dayaw Indigenous Peoples’ Festival kicks off, Senator Loren Legarda underscored the importance of indigenous knowledge systems and practices in ensuring sustainable development.
“The Dayaw IP festival is a very important event because it gives ordinary people a glimpse on the lives of Filipino IPs. It serves as a reminder that regardless of ethnicity, we are one people,” said Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on cultural communities.
She added that the theme of this year’s Dayaw Festival,Katutubong Kaalaman para sa Kalikasan at Kapayapaan, “is not only a source of pride, it leads to the right path which puts the spotlight on how indigenous knowledge must be merged with science and technology to allow us to live prosperously in the future.”
The senator, who graced the opening ceremonies, cited examples of successful environment conservation methods based on indigenous knowledge systems.
The Ifugaos continue to employ indigenous farming practices in nurturing the Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Cordillera Region is home to a number of indigenous forest conservation systems, like the muyung in Ifugao, batangan in Mountain Province, imong in Kalinga, chontog in Benguet, and lapat in Abra and Apayao.
These forest management practices are farming systems made distinct by the traditions of each indigenous community and exemplify the values that these culture-bearers keep.
In San Remigio town in Antique, a cluster of rice terraces was discovered. It is being maintained by the IP group Iraynon-Bukidnon, which has a rich cultural heritage and tradition best exemplified in their unique knowledge of nature.
The preservation of the Antique rice terraces is attributed to the Iraynon-Bukidnon families who are assigned as stewards of the parcels of land where they apply their indigenous agricultural knowledge and practices, passed on through several generations.
“The indigenous peoples of the world are the greatest environmentalists and peacekeepers. Had we listened to our IPs, sought their examples, studied indigenous knowledge and continued their traditions while merging development, the world would have been a better place instead of one that is in constant threat because of global warming, poverty, and environmental degradation,” Legarda said.
The senator said she hopes that this year’s Dayaw IP Festival would further highlight the significance of indigenous knowledge systems and practices.
On October 16, there will be an IP Summit, a forum to be attended by IP leaders, government officials and legislators to discuss IP issues and opportunities that need to be tackled.
Closing ceremonies will be on October 17 and this will be a venue in which Schools of Living Traditions, and the Best Students of the Manlilikha ng Bayan will be recognized.