Wednesday, July 2, 2008

KAPWA 2: Of Culture and Chants

Last week, KAPWA 2 was celebrated in the grounds of UP Visayas. This is a gathering of people from the Tribes- the Sulodnon of Iloilo Highlands, the Ati, T'boli, Mangyans etc. This event was also a gathering of the culture and spirituality of these culture rich Tribes.

I attended the event Friday. It was a time where traditions from all of these tribes were shared. Dances and drumbeats were enjoyed by the audience as people from the different Lumad showcased their rituals and songs. Led by the Elders of the respective Tribes, Chants echoed across the walls of the UPV Auditorium. Everybody fell silent as the songs of the spirits were sang and the rituals commenced.

There were participation from out friends from the Ananda Marga, UP Faculty and Students as well as children from the Iloilo National Highschool School of the Arts and the Dagyaw Dance Troupe where they presented excerpts of the epic Hinalawod. The Friday event was closed by a Blessing Chant and Ritual led by an elder.

Some aspects of Filipino Psychology where also discussed and topics like the view of the Indegenous people on God. This topic really amazed me as different Tribes have different views about the Bathala or the Maka-Ako (as it is called here).

We were invited last Sunday to the Pugaran ("Nest"), an art sanctuary located in Oton. Here we see the works of Boy M and his friends. These artworks are made of natural materials such as rocks, barks and roots. This is also the site of his installation art and a lot of Tree Houses and Pugad around the site. This event was supposed to be the gathering of the Rural Shamans 0r the Babaylans however they were not able to go down the mountains ewspecially because of the effect of the bagyo "Frank". So the participants of the conference was just toured around the place.

However, there has been a very wonderful turn of event as Mindong, a T'boli wisewoman and Chanter sang a very emotional chant about thanking the Spirits of the Rocks, the Trees, the Birds and Nature. I was not able to listen to the first one since I was not with her on the Treehouse. The first chant was a spontaeneous chant about the treehouses which reminds her of the old T'boli treehouses which serves as storage and a place of safety for the T'bolis. Mindong is a wisewoman and the chant teacher of Grace Nono. She talked about the Creation Myth of the T'boli and the origin of the 7 Lakes of Mindanao.

The event was very educational and spiritually strong. Personally, I realized a lot of stuff. Iam thinking, why study the culture of other civilzation when here in our country we have a very rich folklore, mythos and legends all untold. I will try my best to bring these lores to the hearts and minds of the new generation.

Sa aton Tagtuga, sa Mahal ng Diyos kag Diyosa,
sa Espiritu sang Talon, sang busay, sang suba kag sang Kabukiran
kabay nga ang amon kinaadman kag kaalam magalapta sa tanan,
sa Aminhan, Nabagatnan, Sidlangan kag Nakatungdan.

- To our Creator, our loved God and Goddess
to the Spirits of the Wild, the waterfalls, the rivers and the mountains
may our skills and knowledge spread to all
to the North, South, East and West.

Chant for the Spirits and the Blessing Ritual
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