Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Dayaw Festival Celebrates and Aims to Learn from Indigenous Cultures

Numerous indigenous peoples from all over the country are expected to participate in Dayaw 2012: The Indigenous Peoples’ Festival from November 27 to 29, 2012, in Malolos, Bulacan

Every year, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) leads in the celebration of National Indigenous Peoples' Month in October by gathering as many Philippine indigenous groups as possible to showcase their cultures to create awareness and foster appreciation. The NCCA is the government arm that mainly gives grants to projects, sets policies and promotes arts and culture in the country.
        With this year's theme "Katutubong Pamumuhay, Halawan ng Aral sa Buhay" (Traditional way of life, source of lessons in life), Dayaw 2012: Indigenous Peoples' Festival emphasizes the many things we can learn from traditional cultures. The festival will be held from November 27 to 29, 2012, in Malolos, Bulacan, and features an enriching array of activities including performances, rituals, forums, traditional cuisine demos, traditional games, arts and crafts exhibit and cultural tours. About 700 people from all over the country are expected to attend and participate.
"A smorgasbord, a buffet of traditional cultures," described NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon Jr., who himself has been championing indigenous cultures. He is instrumental in the establishment of Schools of Living Traditions though which traditional knowledge and crafts in danger of vanishing are transferred to younger generation, and the institutionalization of the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan or National Living Treasures Award, the country's highest honor to folk artisans and craftsmen. 

People can have fun watching and joining in the traditional games and sports at the Dayaw 2012: The Indigenous Peoples’ Festival

Aside from giving us identity as Filipino, De Leon said traditional cultures are a rich source of knowledge that must be tapped. He cited the indigenous peoples' extensive knowledge of local medical plants and herbs. Joycie Dorado-Alegre, head of the NCCA's Subcommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts (SCCTA), one of the organizers of the festival, agreed adding that even the food, many of which she said is organic, is beneficial to many people. She related that the Ati still gather honey in the wild, and this is a healthy alternative to many sugary food products. She said with the trend in healthy, organic eating, many people are looking into traditional cultures. Our indigenous cultures are our future, she said.  
Aside from highlighting the importance and richness of indigenous cultures and the issues indigenous peoples face today, Dayaw 2012 also aims to mine traditional knowledge as well as draw inspiration and insight from indigenous ways of life to find solutions for modern problems as well as to enrich other groups of people especially the Tagalog people and residents of Metro Manila, according to festival director Joseph "Sonny" Cristobal of the Tourism Office of the province of Bulacan, which co-organizes the event with the SCCTA and Inter-skills Development Foundation, Inc., a non-government organization.
Indigenous peoples expected to participate include the Gaddang, Isinay, Tinggian, Itneg, Ibanag, Yogad, Itawit, Malaweg, Ivatan, Bugkalot, Isnag, Kalinga, Ifugao, Ibaloi, Kankanaey, Balangao, Bontok, Applai, Ayta, Mangyan, Palawani, Molbog, Jama Mapun, Tagbanua, Pala'wan, Batak, Cuyunon, Agta, Ati, Panay Bukidnon, Waray, Abaknon, Yakan, Subanen, Manobo, Higaonon, Bagobo, Mandaya, Mansaka, B'laan, Sangir, Ata Manobo, T'boli, Teduray, Arumanen, Mamanwa, Maranao, Magindanao, Iranun and Tausug.
They will showcase their songs, dances and rituals during the three-day festival at the Bulacan Provincial Capitol Complex. Also, there will be Sining sa Hapag-Kainan, a food festival; Katutubong Laro, a demonstration of traditional games and sports; Kuwentuhan sa Sari-Sari Store, an informal forum; and Dayaw Tyange, an arts and crafts sale. 

People can buy interesting products at the arts and crafts tiangge of Dayaw 2012: The Indigenous Peoples’ Festival

The Seryosong Usapan formal forum at the PGB Gym, to be attended by members of the academe as well as indigenous leaders, will tackle community-based tourism program that seeks to provide employment to indigenous peoples; climate change issues; and Department of Education (DepEd) curriculum for indigenous peoples.
Select indigenous groups will tour Bulacan for performances particularly at SM City Baliwag, SM City Marilao and Robinsons Pulilan. There will also be screenings at the PGB Gym of Cinemalaya films dealing with indigenous peoples. Traditional musicians will also jam with contemporary musicians including Kenyo, White Sand Band and local bands. Participants will have a chance to watch a traditional sarsuwela of Bulacan, Kakarong, to be performed by the Barasoain Kalinangan Ensemble at the Provincial Youth, Sports, Employment, Art and Culture Office (PYSEACTO).

The NCCA has been annually celebrating the National Indigenous Peoples' Month in different parts of the country through Dayaw. The festival is in consonance with Presidential Proclamation 1906, signed on October 5, 2009, declaring October as National Indigenous Peoples' Month, expanding the celebration of indigenous cultures. 
The NCCA mounted Dayaw: Philippine Cultural Communities Arts Festival at the Rizal Park from December 3 to 9, 2000, featuring performers, craftsmen, scholars, artists and cultural practitioners from cultural communities of the country, and serving as precursor to the current grand celebration. In 2007, Kalimudan: Panaghi-usa sa Mindanao (Mindanao Indigenous Peoples' Gathering) was held in Davao City in November, featuring Mindanao's ethnic groups. The following year, Timpuyog: Indigenous Peoples' Month Celebration in Luzon was held in Santiago City, Isabela, focusing on Luzon ethnic groups and featuring performances, arts and crafts workshops, cultural awareness lectures, forums, tours, and a theme-park exhibition featuring the traditional houses, cultural resources, practices/rituals, chants, music, songs and dances, stories, traditional arts and crafts, indigenous games. In 2009, the Indigenous Peoples' Festival was held in the Visayas, particularly in Roxas City, Capiz, called Dungog, with similar activities and aims. In 2010, the festival was held in Metro Manila, and in 2011 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, adopting permanently the name Dayaw, which according to Alegre they have chosen because in has different meanings in different languages but all positive. She said dayaw in her mother tongue Waray means "praise." It also means "to take pride in" in Hiligaynon, and "respect" in Iluko. All these positive meanings are brought to fore for indigenous cultures. Most of all, Dayaw, she said, is a happy, celebratory gathering, which takes pride in the cultural richness of the country through its indigenous peoples. It is hoped that the festival will foster a deep appreciation of their contributions.

From left: Dayaw festival director Joseph “Sonny” Cristobal of the Tourism Office of the province of Bulacan; NCCA Subcommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts head Joycie Dorado-Alegre; beauty queen Maria Venus Raj, endorser of Dayaw 2012; and NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon Jr.

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