Davao IPs fight to revive culture: Embracing heritage every day

Datu Cresencio Oong, Gumalang IPMR
Datu Cresencio Oong, Gumalang IPMRPhoto by Jeffrey Jimenez of OneSpak

IN THE center of Davao City, numerous indigenous people (IP) communities are working to revitalize their traditions and culture. Their concern extends beyond the boundaries of  Indigenous People's Day, as they insist vehemently that their heritage should be commemorated every day, because, in reality, aren't we all indigenous to our own land?

It is a sad fact that many ancient customs and beliefs are fading away. 

Infatuated with K-Pop, Anime, streaming sites, and social media drama, the younger generation frequently overlooks their mother languages and the richness of their heritage. 

Datu Etil, a respected leader of the Bagobo Klata IPMR from Sirip, emphasizes that children under the age of seven frequently don't have fundamental cultural knowledge.

Datu Dador, another prominent IPMR leader from Baguio District and a Bagobo Klata, emphasizes the significance of remembering one's origins, especially in this digital era when globalization threatens to obscure unique identities. He wonders if the commemoration of events such as Kadayawan and IP Day is sufficient to resound the culture's chorus.

Datu Oong, the IPMR of Gumalang, whose ancestry is Bagobo Klata and Ovu Manovu, ardently desires that all IPs within his territory adopt traditional attire on a daily basis. He hopes fervently that sponsors will facilitate the hiring of instructors committed to instructing children in their mother languages once again.

Collaborations between the author and various IP organizations have reignited interest in identifying young talents that can be nurtured. All datus in the region hope to see children aspiring to imitate their ancestors rather than K-pop idols, to dance to indigenous rhythms rather than global pop sounds, and to uphold age-old customs rather than adopting foreign practices.

The indigenous people fight to preserve their heritage not only through ceremonies and events, but also through their daily lives and decisions. It is a cry for a cultural renaissance in which traditions are incorporated into the very fabric of daily life. 

For the IPs of Davao, the fight to revitalize their cultures is more than a struggle; it is a conviction to honor their progenitors and ensure their legacy endures in the souls of future generations. By Maita Rue/Contributor


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