Most of the indigenous groups of the Philippines will gather together from October to November to celebrate their traditional cultures and heritage in celebration of National Indigenous Peoples’ Month.
Said to be biggest gathering of Philippine indigenous peoples (IP) by far, “Dayaw 2014: The Indigenous Peoples Festival,” annually held by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), will showcase traditional cuisines, games, rituals, dances, songs, practices and crafts in an effort to engender wider awareness and appreciation for indigenous cultures, which are constantly under threat of vanishing. It will also serve as a venue for different indigenous groups to interact with each other and to learn from one another as well as to express their views on issues concerning them.
In previous years, Dayaw gathered indigenous peoples in one venue. This year, it will be held in three different venues in the three major island clusters of the country.
Organized by the Subcommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts (SCCTA), one of the four subcommissions of the NCCA, in partnerships with different government agencies, local governments, non-governmental organizations and private companies, Dayaw 2014 will have the theme “Katutubong Filipino Para sa Kalikasan at Kapayapaan,” or indigenous Filipino for the environment and peace, to emphasize the effects of environmental degradation and conflicts on indigenous peoples.
“It is sad to note that while our IPs contribute the least with respect to carbon emissions due to their simple and sustainable lifestyles and practices, they are most affected by the consequences of climate change. As we work on measures to better protect the environment and conserve our biodiversity, I urge our IPs to continue to be the primary guardians of the environment,” said Sen. Loren Legarda at a news conference for the activity on September 29.
The chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, Legarda has been supportive of indigenous cultures, and she expressed support for the Dayaw festival.
“Our indigenous peoples never fail to amaze me. Whenever I visit a province and go to IP communities, I always discover marvelous things about our culture and heritage like intricately woven fabrics, cultural songs, chants and dances that narrate the story of our ancestors, and the distinct way of life that our indigenous peoples, who are our culture-bearers, strive to preserve,” she related. “We have a very rich culture. I salute our indigenous peoples for preserving our culture and I thank the NCCA, led by chair Felipe de Leon Jr., for always showcasing our indigenous heritage through the Dayaw Festival.”
Legarda also assured that she is working on other measures that will benefit indigenous peoples and their communities such as bills filed in the senate for the welfare of IPs and for cultural preservation including the Ethnic Origin Act; Department of Culture Act; Traditional Property Rights of IPs Act; Equal Employment Opportunities for IPs Act; Resource Centers for IPs Act; and Anti-Religious and Racial Profiling Act. She also works hand in hand with the National Museum of the Philippines in highlighting traditional crafts. In particularly, she is supportive of the country’s weaving traditions, helping create the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: Traditional Philippine Textile Gallery at the National
Museum, which opened in 2012.
Traditional textile weaving will be seen live at the Dayaw events as well as the making of other crafts and more.
In Luzon, Dayaw will be held from October 22 to 23 at the Baguio Convention Center in Baguio City, organized in partnership with Negros Cultural Foundation Inc. This leg will be overseen by the one of SCCTA’s three committees, the National Committee on Northern Cultural Communities headed by Edwin Antonio. For two days, different ethnic groups of northern Philippines will do demonstrations of traditional crafts and cuisines as well as perform ethnic songs and dances in outreach programs. A forum will be held to discuss issues and concerns and an exhibit of photographs and crafts will be mounted. Expected to attend are the Gaddang, Isinay, Tinggian, Itneg, Ibanag, Yogad, Itawit, Malaweg, Kasiguran, Ivatan, Itbayat, Bugkalot, Isnag, Kalinga, Ifugao, Ibaloi, Kankanaey, Balangao, Bontok, Applai, Ilocano, Bolinao, Pangasinan, Tagalog, Sambal, Pampangan, Ayta, Agta, Mangyan, Palawani, Molbog, Jama Mapun, Tagbanua, Pala’wan, Agutaynen, Bicolano, Batak and Cuyunon.
Under the auspices of the National Committee on Central Cultural Communities, headed by Alphonsus Tesoro, the Dayaw in the Visayas will be held from November 10 to 11 in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, also in partnership with Negros Cultural Foundation Inc. It will highlight the indigenous groups of central Philippines including the Ati, Panay Bukidnon, Waray, Abaknon, Hiligaynon and Cebuano.
In Mindanao, Dayaw will be held from November 6 to 7 in Zamboanga City, in partnership with the Zamboanga City Indigenous Peoples Council of Leaders and under the auspices of the National Committee on Southern Cultural Communities, headed by Al-Anwar Anzar, who is also the head of the SCCTA. It will be participated in by indigenous groups of southern Philippines including the Yakan, Subanen, Manobo, Higaonon, Bagobo, Mandaya, Mansaka, B’laan, Sangir, Ata Manobo, T’boli, Teduray, Arumanen, Mamanwa, Maranao, Magindanao, Iranun and Tausug.
The signing of Presidential Proclamation 1906 in October 5, 2009, declaring October as National Indigenous Peoples’ Month, expanded the Indigenous Peoples’ Week celebration, and the NCCA has been celebrating indigenous cultures in different parts of the country.
Dayaw: Philippine Cultural Communities Arts Festival, for example, was mounted at the Rizal Park from December 3 to 9, 2000, featuring performers, craftsmen, scholars, artists and cultural practitioners from cultural communities of the country. The current Dayaw Festival as NCCA’s flagship event traced its roots with the Kalimudan: Panaghi-usa sa Mindanao (Mindanao Indigenous Peoples’ Gathering), held in Davao City in November 2007 and 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. Dayaw 2010 was held in Metro Manila, and in 2011, it was held in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. In 2013, Dayaw graced the province of Bulacan.
In 2013, Dayaw was meant to be held in Tacloban City but Super Typhoon Yolanda hit the region. It was reprogrammed into psychosocial and arts for healing activities in Leyte, Bohol, Aklan and Cebu.