by Kattryn Erryc Sayo
Dayaw festival, the 8th annual gathering of the indigenous people of the country, is held in connection with the celebration of the national month of the indigenous people every October.
This year’s event which was themed “Katutubong Pamumuhay, Halawan ng Aral sa Buhay” was pioneered by the National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA) together with the provincial government of Bulacan.
Hundreds of representatives from different provinces participated in the event, as they shared culture and belief, exposed ethnic talents and rituals and showcased handicrafts and cuisines, in the Sining sa Hapag-Kainan (a food festival and cooking demo), Katutubong Laro (demonstration of traditional games and sports), Kwentuhan sa Sari-Sari Store (an informal forum), and Dayaw Tiangge (an arts and crafts sale).
Mike Abad, the Cluster Head of the Iranon, Maranao and Maguindanao tribe from Maguindanao province, and a participant of the Indigenous People Festival for eight years, believes that the main goal of the annual event is to unite the ethno-linguistic groups in the Philippines, and to appreciate and understand each other’s culture.
“Ang Dayaw kasi, ang layunin nito unang-una ay ang pagkakaisa ng mga ethno-linguistic groups ng Pilipinas. Napakaraming tribo sa bansa, at sa pamamagitan ng Dayaw, nakikita natin ang kultura ng bawat tribo sa buong Pilipinas, at na-a-appreciate natin ‘yong kanilang ginagawa, at kung saan naman eh nirerespeto natin ang bawat kultura ng bawat Pilipino,” he said.
In addition, Abad also said that the festival is a successful way of achieving peace and unity among the Filipinos. “Kapag nagkakaintindihan tayong lahat, nagkakaroon ng kapayapaan. ‘Yon naman ang pinakabuod ng pagdiriwang na ito, ‘yong kapayapaan ng mga Pilipino,” he continued.
However, there is an indigenous group who had gotten into the event for the first time- the Yakan Tribe from Basilan. Rowena Salahuddin, one of the tribe’s delegates, said, “Actually first time ng tribe namin sa Dayaw Festival, dahil ‘yong cluster head namin dati hindi siya active, kaya wala masyadong koneksyon. ”
“Dito sa event na ito, nakikita namin na maganda pala talaga na may ganito kasi nagkakaroon ng understanding sa bawat kultura ng mga katutubo. Nakakapag-share kami sa karamihan kung ano ang klase ng pamumuhay namin,” Salahuddin continued, pointing out the benefits of the festival.
Mildred Enriquez, a Tourism student of Bulacan State University (BulSU) and a volunteer staff of Dayaw Festival believes that this kind of event should be looked up to by the Filipinos, “Maganda ‘yong ganito lalo na para sa’ting mga Tagalog para mabigyang pansin naman natin at ma-realize kung gaano ka-rich ang kultura natin, lalo na ‘yong mga katutubo. Ang ganda, kasi napagsama-sama nila lahat ng grupo sa Pilipinas at sana maraming naka-appreciate at natuto.”
The chief objective of the three-day celebration is to establish camaraderie among the different ethnic groups in the country as well as to unite and educate the Filipinos who misjudge the way of living of the indigenous people.