TEFAG: Echoes in the Midst of Storm


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It’s been raining tigers and lions in Manila. An hour-ride on regular day traffic can stretch for longer hours. Even LRT and MRT rides have minutes of delays. Despite wearing your full rain gear, chances are, you may still end up soaked due to heavy flooding in national roads: España, Makati, EDSA, Cubao or Commonwealth Avenue. While there is the possibility of getting stranded, we nevertheless hit the road to attend TEFAG 2012: A Cultural Night for Indigenous Peoples’ Land, Life and Rights at University of the Philippines Diliman College of Engineering Covered Court.

Organized by KAMP (Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas), TABAK (Tunay na Alyansa ng Bayan alay sa Katutubo) and KATRIBU (Kabataan para sa Tribung Pilipino) in collaboration with KATRIBU Partylist and UP Diliman University Student Council, the event originally scheduled in August 3 has been reset due to bad weather. Today is not better but the organizers, being daughters and sons of Mother Nature themselves have reasons of passion to push through.

Tefag is a Bontoc tribe term for echo (Filipino: alingawngaw). From Northern Luzon to Southern Mindanao, 15 million indigenous people of the Philippines want to send a message of alarm about destructive mining, militarization, human rights violations and displacement.

The collective right to land is very fundamental for the lives of our indigenous brothers and sisters. Since the Spanish and American colonization in the country, they have been struggling for self-determination and ancestral domain. With a US-backed government, they face bogus laws and as well as development projects in the guise of development. Such example is the 1995 Mining Act and Pres. Benigno Aquino’s Executive Order 79. Up to date, there are around 507 approved mining applications that cover 1,027,358 hectares of Philippine land. An estimated 60% of all these applications covers ancestral territories (KAMP data) placing indigenous peoples at risk of displacement and human rights violations.

Salidumay chants and songs rendered by Baguio-based cultural organization DKK (Dap-ayan iti Kultura ti kordilyera) speak of the northern people’s experiences.

Ti Daga (Land) reflects on the indigenous peoples’ land of birth and heritage. Gatan is inspired by the people’s experience in Mankayan, Benguet where Lepanto mines, which have been operating for more than a decade has proven to be destructive to the lives of people and the environment ironic to its promise of progress when it first lured the natives. The recent report of rape to two 16 year old girls allegedly by Capt. Danilo Lalin of the 86th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has enraged the people of Benguet.

Lubong Ko, Danum, Daga, Hangin, Balitok, Apoy (My World: Water, Earth, Air, Gold, Fire) speaks of the simple world of people with simple dreams. Taking away any element of their world would mean war.

Kultura Salidumay is a call for artists and advocates of land, environment and indigenous peoples to continue to create songs and musics for people to cherish and practice. Remember our Children, Remember our Future is a tribute song for children of tomorrow.

To pose the challenge for calls to actions, the solidarity night closed with a  symbolic passage of streamer, cloth and gong from indigenous people to advocates.

See my videos

Ti Daga Nagtaudan Performance by Dap-ayan iti Kultura ti Kordilyera (DKK)

Gatan Performance by Dap-ayan iti Kultura ti Kordilyera (DKK)

Salidumay Kordilyera Performance by Dap-ayan iti Kultura ti Kordilyera (DKK)

Remember your Children, Remember our Future Performance by Dap-ayan iti Kultura ti Kordilyera (DKK)

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About Joanna Lerio

cultural journalist, multidisciplinary artist, educator, traveller, dreamer, yogini, vegetarian, advocate Facebook.com/JoannaLerioOfficial Youtube.com/juanalily Juanalily.wordpress.com/ Juanalilytravels.dreamtrips.com/refer Twitter.com/JoannaLerio Facebook.com/linanganng.kulturangpilipino Artistswelfare.org/join-us/
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3 Responses to TEFAG: Echoes in the Midst of Storm

  1. Pingback: Karilyo: Shadow-play and Musical Scoring Workshop | ISLANG MALAYA

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