Filipino heritage is alive and well through the efforts of our “bearers of culture,” individuals who have made it their mission to teach indigenous dance, song or chant, and skills for the future generations to inherit.
On the seventh season of Dayaw on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) starting on Sept. 19, Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda once again shares the stories of these unsung heroes, who silently yet passionately protect our national identity by preserving our and traditions.
In the first episode, viewers will meet the Dumagat of Bulacan in Luzon, whose youth are still taught about the language of leaves and other deeper aspects of music and dance. We then move on to Visayas in Negros Occidental, to find out how the Ati or Aeta are working to preserve their language and weaving as a means of livelihood.
The award-winning documentary series, which was conceptualized by Deputy Speaker Legarda herself, when she was still a Senator, then heads to Mindanao in Balut Island, where aspects of and traditions like cooking and weaving continue to be passed on.
In the remaining episodes, Deputy Speaker Legarda focuses on the new recipients of the “Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan” or National Living Treasures Award, the finest traditional artists of the land by the government through the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
They are master weaver Estelita Bantilan from Malapatan, Sarangani; healer, medium, and Blaan people matriarch Yabing Masalon Dulo from South Cotabato; and Yakan traditional artists, musician Uwang Ahadas and weaver Ambalang Ausalin of Basilan.
Legarda said it is important to get to know these bearers of culture, whose values and characteristics every Filipino should emulate as they show love and respect for the environment, their history, and their people.
“They have a profound respect for nature and for the way the natural world shapes their lives. They are very connected to the belief systems of their cultures and into their communities. We may think of them as artists/ weavers/ chanters etc., but within their communities, they are also leaders, shamans, mediators, farmers. Their creations are not separate from their societies and the multiple roles they play within their communities,” she explained.
She hopes that with the continued partnership of her Office and the NCCA for Dayaw, more Filipinos, especially the young ones, will be encouraged to appreciate and love our own cultural heritage.
“We always say we love the Philippines and the Filipinos, but do we love them enough to learn about them? By learning about them, we honor their humanity and their stories. And that should be a start towards some kind of cultural preservation,” she said.
Catch the seventh season of Dayaw every Thursday at 8:30 pm starting Sept. 19 on ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel, on abs-cbnnews.com/live and the channel’s official Facebook page (@ANCalerts).