GAMABA 2023: 7 Mindanao cultural masters named National Living Treasures
SEVEN out of nine cultural masters from Mindanao have been honored as Manlilikha ng Bayan (National Living Treasures), according to Presidential Proclamation No. 427, Series of 2023.
This esteemed group includes Bundos Bansil Fara for Tboli brass casting; Barbara Kibed Ofong for Tboli textile weaving; and Rosie Godwino Sula for Tboli chanting. The three cultural masters are from Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
Other Mindanao cultural masters are Abina Tawide Coguit for Agusan Manobo embroidery from La Paz, Agusan del Sur; Marife Ravidas Ganahon for Higaonon mat weaving from Malaybalay, Bukidnon; Samporonia Pagsac Madanlo for Mandaya textile weaving from Caraga, Davao Oriental; and Haja Sakinur-ain Mugong Delasas for Sama dance from Bongao, Tawi-tawi.
The list also includes Adelita Romualdo Bagcal for Ilocano oral traditions from Banna, Ilocos Norte; and Amparo Balansi Mabanag for Ga’dang beadworks and embroidery from Paracelis, Mt. Province.
The rigorous selection process for this award has identified nine cultural masters who embody the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the Philippines. Their exceptional skills and expertise form an integral part of the country’s intangible cultural heritage. Their recognition serves as a significant reminder of the immense value of traditional art forms in shaping the identity and fostering the pride of the Filipino people.
Commissioner Reden Ulo, the Head of the NCCA-Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (Gamaba) Executive Council, has stated that this recognition significantly contributes to the indigenous cultural communities. He believes that acknowledging these cultural masters not only enhances tourism promotion but also serves as a source of inspiration for all, aiding in the restoration of culture. Furthermore, he expressed that the younger generation would look up to these Gamabas, prompting a cultural retrospection.
Commissioner Ulo underscored the importance of community preparedness in light of this recognition, which extends from cultural workers to the local government. He noted that this recognition brings a wealth of opportunities to their respective towns.
Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda expressed her delight at the recognition of nine individuals as new cultural luminaries.
Senator Legarda expressed her delight upon learning about the induction of the nine talented Filipino artists, who were recognized by the State for their unwavering contribution to the country’s rich and diverse art and culture. She further stated that their works serve as a constant reminder of their significance to the country’s intangible cultural heritage. She believes that their works are worthy of admiration and emulation by every Filipino.
She expressed her optimism for an increase in the number of Manlilikha ng Bayan awardees in future years. She emphasized the importance of acknowledging their contributions and facilitating the transfer of their knowledge to the younger generations.
Sen. Legarda has been a strong advocate for the Gamaba Award. She has played a significant role in promoting and preserving Philippine arts and culture through various initiatives.
Established through Republic Act No. 7355, the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan is the highest state recognition bestowed upon traditional and folk artists whose distinctive skills have achieved a remarkable level of technical and artistic excellence.
As envisioned under R.A. 7355, “Manlilikha ng Bayan” shall mean a citizen engaged in any traditional art uniquely Filipino whose distinctive skills have reached such a high level of technical and artistic excellence and have been passed on to and widely practiced by the present generation in his or her community with the same degree of technical and artistic competence. By Genory Vanz Alfasain