Subic Bay Freeport: Over a hundred Aeta “warriors” from the six tribal villages here converged at the Pastolan area for this year’s “Haribol Katutubo,” a sports festival using indigenous weapons.
The male participants from Aeta tribal communities Iram, Old Cabalan, New Cabalan, and Mampueng in Olongapo City, Tribong Ayta in Angeles City and the host tribe – Ambala – at Pastolan in Hermosa, Bataan took part in the marksmanship competitions wearing traditional bahag or G-strings.
According to Col. Jeff Tamayo, president of the National College Athletic Association and Haribol Katutubo organizer, the event is similar to the World Indigenous Games (WIG), the indigenous peoples’ sports festival held in Brazil last year.
“Aside from Pastolan, there will also be other Haribol Katutubo, protecting the natural Heritage games to be held in other areas,”| Tamayo said.
Tamayo said the primary purpose of holding the event is to bring together all the tribal groups in an event like this so the young generations could blend with the adults for them to see and appreciate their traditions.
“They, the young and the adults in the tribes, could have a common area to transfer the heritage from the adults, such as the protection of the forests,” he said.
Tamayo cited the need for the young generations to see what their ancestors did to protect their traditional heritage.
Included in the “Aeta sportsfest” are bow and arrow competitions that require the participant to hit the target in different distances while, standing, sitting, squatting; while standing bull’s eye, on the branch of a tree, and while running.
There are also blowgun shooting and spear throwing contests.
Winners of this competition will converge in UP Diliman in Quezon City with participants from indigenous communities from the North Luzon and other parts of the country.
This is in preparation for the WIG to be held this year in Colombia.
“When you enable an Aeta boy to participate in this kind of sports, he is not only joining the game but also learning what his ancestors did to hunt for food. Then we, are also taking care of those heritage,” Tamayo said.