Dayaw Festival in Baguio Highlights Northern Philippines Indigenous Cultures

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the prime government agency for arts and culture headed by its chairman Felipe M. De Leon Jr., will be holding the Luzon leg of its Dayaw 2014: The Indigenous Peoples Festival, touted to be biggest gathering of Philippine indigenous peoples, from October 22 to 23, 2014, in Baguio City.

The two-day festival will feature forums on issues and concerns of the indigenous peoples; demonstrations of traditional crafts and cuisines; recognition of cultural masters; an exhibit of photographs and crafts; and outreach performances of ethnic songs and dances.

The Dayaw Festival in Baguio is organized by the NCCA, the Negros Cultural Foundation, Inc. and the city government of Baguio in partnership with the Department of Tourism – Cordillera Administrative Region (DOT-CAR), the provincial government of Benguet, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA-CAR), SM City Baguio, Onjon ni Ivadoy Association, the University of the Philippines Baguio and the Benguet State University.

It will be participated in by indigenous groups of northern Philippines including 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.

The Balangao of Mountain Province

The Baguio celebration is part of the nationwide celebration of Dayaw 2014: The Indigenous Peoples Festival, which will have events in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Organized by NCCA’s Subcommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts (SCCTA), headed by commissioner Al-Anwar Anzar, Dayaw is annually held in celebration of National Indigenous Peoples’ Month observed every October, showcasing the different indigenous groups of the country, and an enriching and interesting array of activities including performances, rituals, forums, traditional cuisine demos, traditional games, arts and crafts exhibit and cultural tours, among others.

Dayaw aims to highlight the importance and richness of indigenous cultures, to discuss issues indigenous peoples face today and facilitate interactions with other indigenous peoples. It also aims to mine traditional knowledge as well as draw inspiration and insight from indigenous ways of life to find solutions for modern problems.

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. It will have the theme “Katutubong Filipino Para sa Kalikasan at Kapayapaan” (Indigenous Filipino for the Environment and Peace).

In the Visayas, Dayaw will be held from November 10 to 11, 2014, in Bacolod City, also in partnership with Negros Cultural Foundation, Inc. It will be participated in by indigenous groups of central Philippines including Ati, Panay Bukidnon, Waray, Abaknon, Hiligaynon, and Cebuano.

In Mindanao, Dayaw will be held from November 6 to 7, 2014, in Zamboanga City, also in partnership with Zamboanga City Indigenous Peoples Council of Leaders. It will be participated in by indigenous groups of southern Philippines including Yakan, Subanen, Manobo, Higaonon, Bagobo, Mandaya, Mansaka, B’laan, Sangir, Ata Manobo, T’boli, Teduray, Arumanen, Mamanwa, Maranao, Magindanao, Iranun and Tausug.

Sen. Loren Legarda (center) with NCCA officials (from left) the National Committee on Central Cultural Communities head Alphonsus Tesoro; NCCA chairman Felipe M. de Leon Jr.; the National Committee on Southern Cultural Communities and SCCTA head Al-Anwar Anzar; and National Committee on Northern Cultural Communities head Edwin V. Antonio
Senator Loren Legarda, who is the chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, expressed her support for the 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 said during the press conference of Dayaw. “We have a very rich culture. I salute our indigenous peoples for preserving our culture and I thank the NCCA, led by chair Jun De Leon, for always showcasing our indigenous heritage through the Dayaw Festival.”

In line with this year’s Dayaw theme, Sen. Legarda commented: “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.”

Legarda also assured that she is working on other measures that will benefit indigenous peoples and their communities. Among the bills filed in the Senate for the welfare of IPs and for cultural preservation are: Ethnic Origin Act; Department of Culture Act; Traditional folk arts preservation through National Museum’s regional branches; Traditional Property Rights of IPs Act; Equal Employment Opportunities for IPs Act; Resource Centers for IPs Act; and Anti-Religious and Racial Profiling Act.

Legarda is particularly supportive of the country’s weaving traditions. She helped create the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino textile gallery at the National Museum as well as promote indigenous weaves.

The Itneg of Abra

Since the signing of Presidential Proclamation 1906, declaring October as National Indigenous Peoples’ Month, the NCCA has been annually celebrating the occasion in different parts of the country through Dayaw. 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. 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. Last year, Dayaw was slated 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.

The SCCTA is composed of the National Committee on Northern Cultural Communities headed by Edwin V. Antonio, the National Committee on Central Cultural Communities headed by Alphonsus Tesoro, and the National Committee on Southern Cultural Communities headed by Al-Anwar Anzar. They are assisted by Marichu Tellano, chief of the Plan/Policy Formulation, and Programming Division and Renee Talavera, SCCTA section head of the NCCA secretariat.