Legarda Highlights Indigenous Culture in Celebration of National IP Month

October 23, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, today highlighted the country’s cultural richness in celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples Month.


“The month of October is celebrated in the Philippines as the National IP Month and this year, we are invited by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for aCollective Celebration of the Culture of Indigenous Cultural Communities,” said Legarda.


In her privilege speech, Legarda narrated several traditional knowledge and practices of IP communities that showcase their excellence—a trait attributed by National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Chairperson Felipe de Leon, Jr. to Filipino IPs because their works are incomparable and of the highest standards.


The Senator cited the importance of weaving, embroidery, beadwork and belt-making for the T’bolis of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato to keep their tradition alive because every item they make is an important part of their life.


She also said that in Paracelis, Mountain Province, Ga’dang elders strive to pass on the traditional Ga’dang cloth weaving to their children to unleash the creativity of the youth while incorporating in them the values of hard work, patience and love of culture.


“The Panay Bukidnon community in Calinog, Iloilo employs intricate handiwork and a unique dyeing system in the creation of their traditional wear; while the Hanunuo Mangyan community in Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro continues to practice burungan to produce thread from cotton, which they use to weave ramit that they wear as skirt. These traditional practices are but a few of the many weaving traditions around the country and weaving is just one part of a very rich culture,” she narrated.


Legarda said that to preserve and promote these weaving traditions as well as Philippine tropical fabrics, she supported the expansion of the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles, the country’s first permanent textile gallery; and created the the Baybayin Gallery, which showcases the ancient and traditional scripts of the Philippines, both at the National Museum.


She also said that many other museums have featured Philippine indigenous items. The Ethnological Museum in Berlin, Germany has kept Dr. Jose Rizal’s textile collection; while the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, France featured Philippine pre-colonial artwork and artifacts through the exhibition “Philippines: An Archipelago of Exchange” from April 9 to July 14, 2013.


“Similar exhibitions in our communities would be beautiful. It is in this light that I filed Senate Bill No. 105, which seeks to preserve the country’s traditional folk arts through the regional museums of the National Museum,” Legarda said.


The regional museums will display traditional folk arts collection, archeological finds, objects of art, and other local cultural treasures as part of efforts on conservation, preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of the schools of living traditions (SLTs) found within their localities.


“To all of us who have gained so much from this ingenuity, perhaps, it would not be too much to give the fitting recognition long overdue to our IPs and to allow them to benefit from the very knowledge that had rooted from their communities. Let our common vision and values weave us together as we seek to empower those who have given meaning to our being Filipino,” Legarda concluded.