Twenty-five participants from various parts of the country took their first plane ride to Manila for the 2nd Katutubo Exchange Program held in August.
The delegates, which came from various ethnic groups including the Mamanwa of Surigao, T’boli of South Cotabato, Manobo or Bagobo of Davao, Panay Bukidnon of Iloilo, Ifugao of Ifugao, Kalinga of Kalinga, Ibaloy of Benguet, and Kankanaey or Yapayao of Ilocos Norte, immersed in the exciting “Manila life.”
With the theme “Katutubong kabataan para sakasaysayan at kalinangan,” the participants aged 10 to 25 took part in a series of bonding activities, performance tours, education campaigns, courtesy calls and home stays.
They were Michelle Royo, Jeniver Palawod, Daniel Lausan and Elisa Templado of Davao; Angel Joy Tiambong, John Florence Jubasan and Luzminda Caga of Surigao; Maria Andrea Wanan, Nykee Kyla Kinan, Richard Ulo, Lance Yast
in Guay and Reden Ulo of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato; Kevin Galaez and Rolinda Gilbaliga of Iloilo; Carl Dominic Abnasan, Angelica Cabradilla, Jesli Manuel, Claudia May Dupagen and Carmelita Abnasan of Ilocos Norte; Arlene Ricardo, Brandon Aquiapao, Arlan Ricardo and Muller Honorio Bato of Benguet; Francis Janina Baluyan of Kalinga; and Mort Allen Aliguyon of Ifugao.
In return, they showcased the beauty, spirit and colors of their culture, allowing the city residents to appreciate and understand their ways.They performed dances, chants and songs, which took place during a courtesy call by the Ambassador Johny Lumintang of Indonesia.
The opening ceremony of the exchange program was held at the GSIS Museum; and was succeeded by visits to the Leandro Locsin Auditorium of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in Intramuros; University of the Philippines Diliman; a museum trip to the Malacañang Palace; Rizal Park; and the home-stay matching at the Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas, which determined their foster families represented by Maria Victoria Langit, Florinda Vaflor, Corazon Tobias, Shiera Rivera, Conchita Santos and Ivy Theresa Sanchez. These were the families who extended to the participants the warmth of their homes and shared their exciting family activities.
They also performed at the Bayview Park Hotel to celebrate International Youth Day with the National Youth Commission in the presence of Commissioner Jose Sixto “Dingdong” Dantes 3rd and executive director Shierwin Taay.
To wrap up the program, a final performance was given by the participants during a tearful closing ceremony at the St. Mary’s Academy in Pasay City where a warm welcome greeted the Katutubo Exchange Philippines team.
The Katutubo Exchange Program is organized and implemented by Katutubo Exchange Philippines, a voluntary organization of cultural workers headed by its president Dr. Edwin Antonio.
It was launched to promote cross-cultural understanding and traditional arts and to heighten public awareness on indigenous cultures. Co-heading the program this year was Dayaw Kalinaw, the Philippine contingent to the 41st Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program where Dr. Antonio is the appointed national leader.