On August 23, 2023, the people of Barangay Gumalang came together to commemorate the 7th annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IP Day). Guests were awed at the traditional dances and other cultural performances during the celebrations.
The people of Gumalang see this day as more than simply a reason to party; it is also a confirmation of their membership in the “tribu,” a term that describes the community's common heritage and ideals.
Gumalang, a barangay in the Baguio District of Davao, is a living symbol of the rich cultural diversity among the indigenous population of the area. When compared to its adjacent barangays, Gumalang stands out due to its long tradition of acceptance and tolerance.
At the turn of the century, Datu Moncay Maylan Lindasan and his people — including Obo Manobo, Bagobo Klata, and Ata — called this area home.
Datu Moncay Lindasan's openness to different cultures allowed the Tagabawa, Tagakaolo, Tausug, and even the Ilocanos to settle in the area through the years. These many communities have created a blend of contemporary Gumalang, creating links that represent the very definition of diversity in unity.
The IP Day celebrations exemplified this harmony. There were moving addresses from the current Datu Cresencio Oong Jr. and visiting Datus during the opening ceremonies, while remarks from the Barangay Captain, counselors, and Vice Mayor’s representatives filled the day.
As one of the guests of honor, I gave a speech on the love of culture in the young. The overarching theme of these addresses was simple: appreciate and celebrate your past and the amazing community you are a part of by displaying your heritage and traditions at all times, not just on special occasions.
There were speeches and formalities, but the day was also filled with laughter and goodwill. People at the event played games and waited anxiously for the raffle’s results. Six young ladies representing the Obo Manobo and Bagobo Klata tribes competed in the Hiyas ng Gumalang competition, which had categories for composure, cultural dance, and a rigorous question-and-answer session. In the following year, the winner will go to Davao City to compete in the Hiyas ng Kadayawan pageant.
As the day was winding down, everyone seemed more focused and dedicated than ever. The people of Gumalang have taken an oath to preserve the qualities that make their barangay special: tolerance, respect, and pride in one’s cultural background.
The 7th Indigenous People's Day in Barangay Gumalang served as a potent reminder of the power of solidarity, diversity, and cultural preservation. As the sun went down on this momentous day, it left behind a group of people who had vowed to honor their ancestors’ legacies for future generations and who shared a common heritage. Maita Rue, contributor
About the author: Maita Rue is the pen name of Maita Robillo Lu, an avid writer and artist based in Davao City. Her work may be found in the following platforms: