Bringing Pasko Fiesta closer to Lumads

FOR years, we get used to a sight of thousands of Lumads (indigenous people) visiting Davao City for their yearly exodus to celebrate the Yuletide season.

But now, the sight has changed, as the City Government of Davao has brought services to the hinterland communities, instead of having them to go down the central district of the city during the Christmas season. There are still few, though, who really came down to celebrate Christmas and avail themselves of the government services.

For this year, the City Government will expand its annual Christmas activities for the IPs dubbed as "Pasko Fiesta sa Lumad" to three IP villages.

The Davao City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) head Maria Luisa Bermudo said in an interview that the additional areas are Upper Mapula, Paquibato District; Tambobong of Baguio District; and Salaysay under Marilog District.

"We want to reach out to more Lumad communities by adding more areas to make it accessible for the Lumad," she said, adding that previously, Lumads from other barangays had to travel to other village to avail themselves of the services offered by the City Government during the Pasko Fiesta.

The three mentioned areas are in addition to the originally identified locations last year, namely, Barangay Colosas, Panyalum, Malabog in Paquibato District; Barangay Salumay, Upper Kibalang, Suawan; and Marilog Proper in Marilog District.

She said the events, in coordination with the datus, tribal leaders, deputy mayors, and barangay captains started last December 7 and ended last Wednesday, December 20.

In previous years, the IPs who came down from their communities get to stay in identified shelter areas as many of them go around the city to look for donations. Most of them are temporarily sheltered at Buhangin Gym in Davao City.

Since its launching last August during the Kadayawan festival, the tribal village at Magsaysay Park has become a sort of tourist magnet in the city. Recognizing this, the City Tourism Operations Office, in partnership with Davao's tribal leaders, launched last December 15 the Kan-anan sa Tribo.

The tribal food festival, which will be opened from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., features ethnic delicacies and array of exotic food from Davao's recognized tribes. It will run until December 30.

"We are preparing for this event since the delicacies of our tribe will be presented and showcased during the Pasko Fiesta. At least, we can show them our delicacy. As of the moment, we are really preparing for it," Ata Tribe deputy mayor Roel Arthur Ali said.

Deputy Mayor of the Iranun tribe, Datu Pamikiren Latip Arumpac Jr., told SunStar Davao that they are grateful to the City Government for initiating the food festival, as it serves as an effective program to promote their tribes.

"The people responded so well to the food fest. This event strengthens the idea that Christmas is not just for the Christians but also for the Lumads and Muslims," he said.

Every night starting December 15 until the 30th, there will be cultural presentation by the 11 tribes. For the Iranun booth, delicacies available are Amik (P10), Pastil (P15), puto (P10), Tiyatag (P30), Browa (P15), Siyagr (P35 per order) and more.

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