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Dayaw festival celebrates indigenous people’s cultures

/ 11:44 PM November 04, 2012

EDWIN Antonio, secretary of the National Committee on Northern Cultural Communities; Al-Anwar Anzar, head of the National Committee on Southern Cultural Communities; Sonny Cristobal, festival director; NCCA commissioner Joycie Dorado-Alegre; Maria Venus Raj, Dayaw ambassador; NCCA chair Felipe M. de Leon Jr.; NCCA planning head Marichu Tellano; Antonio Cayyog, NCNCC vice head; Reden Ulo, NCSCC secretary

Dayaw, the biggest celebration of indigenous Filipino culture, is not only a meeting of different traditions but a reflection of Filipino identity, organizers said during a press conference held at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts lobby last Oct. 24.

“Ang Dayaw ay isang magandang pagdiriwang ng ating pinaka-katauhan, katauhang pinagmulan at katauhang pinakaugat ng ating pagka-Pilipino,” NCCA chair   Felipe de Leon Jr., said. “Lahat naman tayo ay katutubo. Iba’t ibang degree lang ng pagiging katutubo.”


Dayaw is the annual gathering of the country’s indigenous people in connection with October as Indigenous People’s Month. NCCA extends the celebration as it holds Dayaw 2012 in  Bulacan on Nov. 27-29.

De Leon said the people must be aware of their culture and must take pride in being Filipinos. He lamented that there were Filipinos who subscribed to the ideals and thinking of Western culture and forgot to see the beauty and worth of their own cultures and traditions.


“Our indigenous resources are inexhaustible. They are an asset,” he said. “Hindi lang cultural, kung hindi economical din. We are not utilizing our traditional medicine. Import tayo nang import ng mga drugs. Ganoon din ’yung concept of beauty natin, iniimport mula sa Kanluran. Kailangan maputi at kailangan matangos ang ilong. Eh, ang gaganda naman ng kulay natin, ang gaganda naman ng porma natin.”

About 700 participants from different indigenous communities all over the Philippines are expected to join this year’s Dayaw. Groups such as the Bontok, Ayta, Ifugao and T’boli will be attending the event.

Beauty in Dayaw

Venus Raj, 2010 Miss Universe 4th Runner-up, has been tapped by the NCCA as Dayaw ambassador. The beauty queen is delighted that she would get to represent the indigenous people because she considers herself one of them.

Raj  recalled her childhood experiences in Bicol. She said that in Manila “organic food” was very expensive while everything that they ate in the province was all organic but cheap.

Commissioner Joycie Dorado-Alegre, head of the NCCA’s Subcommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts, said that Raj was the perfect celebrity to be the representative of Dayaw because of her Bicol roots, and most especially because of her native beauty.

Meaning of ‘dayaw’


Alegre said that the NCCA had been assembling indigenous people together before. But the previous gatherings were not called “Dayaw” because the name of the event always depended on its host community.

In 2007, the celebration was called “Kalimudan” and was held in Davao City. The following year, it was named “Timpuyog” in Isabela. In 2009, it was “Dungog” in Capiz.

Dayaw was adopted in 2010 and 2011, in Manila and Davao del Norte.

Alegre explained that NCCA chose Dayaw because dayaw in Waray means “papuri” or “praise”; in Hiligaynon, “to take pride”; and in the Ilocos, “respect.”

Dayaw 2012 will be the biggest feast of the indigenous people. It is a venue for discussions between the government and the communities; a showcase of traditional arts and culture; and a learning experience for both the indigenous people and the people from the lowland.

“Dayaw is a venue for exchanges between the indigenous communities,” said  Marichu Tellano, planning head of the NCCA,”

De Leon said that “this will be a smorgasbord and a buffet of traditional culture,” and “with Dayaw, we will begin to respect more our indigenous cultures, kasi ipapakita dito ang galing Pinoy, na nakasalalay talaga sa katutubong karunungan at kultura.”

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TAGS: Dayaw Festival, Indigenous Culture, Lifestyle, NCCA
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