by Justine Marie Bernardo

47 different tribes from all over the country united as one in the Dayaw Festival 2012 - a once in a lifetime experience and a lucky chance for the Bulakenyos to meet these people who came from miles away down to Malolos, Bulacan, to share their rich culture, skills and products.

Dayaw Festival is a celebration for the indigenous people in the country. All indigenous people from different towns and provinces gather as one to celebrate the event. This 2012, Bulacan had a chance to be the host of the cultural event. The National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCAA) are the main coordinators for the yearly event with the support of Interskills Foundation Incorporated and also the Bulacan Provincial Government. 

The Dayaw festival is the 8th annual gathering of the indigenous people in the country. Every year, it is held in different province. Last year, it was held in Tagum City, Davao Del Norte. The province chosen and its government is responsible for the accommodations, food, place, and the other things that will be needed for the event.

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 which took place in the Mini Forest Park), Katutubong Laro (demonstration of traditional games and sports), Kwentuhan sa Sari-Sari Store (an informal forum), and Dayaw Tiangge (an arts and crafts sale which was held in the Bulacan Capitol gym).

In the Gat. Blas Ople Building just near the Capitol compound, an exhibit was placed and showed the cultural dresses, the accessories, and other more products of the “katutubos”. In the exhibit they also displayed some pictures of the known people from the different tribes. 

This year’s event opened last November 27 with the parade of indigenous people from Club Royale to the capitol, both in Malolos while the closing ceremony was held last November 29 in the historical Barasoain Church wherein several performances from the tribes took place.

It was indeed a great experience to have these different people gathered in one place. It was a once in a lifetime moment for the Bulakenyos who learned from these people and appreciate them. People should not be afraid of and discriminate them because they aren’t really different. Instead be proud, that of all the changes that had passed through brought about by a number of colonizations, these people have managed to preserve their cultures; be proud because these people are the original citizens of this country.