Feature: Saving cultural heritage, empowering Davao Norte IPs
By Noel Baguio
Davao City (15 October) -- Davao del Norte received a major boost in ensuring the survival and integrity of the cultural heritage and traditions of its Indigenous Peoples with the start of the Cultural Village Project and Schools of Living Traditions in three municipalities.
The Department of Tourism – XI and the Provincial Government of Davao del Norte, together with the recipient local government units, signed the memorandum of agreement for the implementation of the Cultural Village Project in the tribal town of Talaingod and the Schools of Living Traditions in the municipalities of Kapalong and San Isidro.
DOT-XI Regional Director Sonia Garcia and Governor Rodolfo Del Rosario led the signing of the MOA last October 9, 2009 at the JBL Village in Sto. Niño, Talaingod, along with Mayor Pilar Libayao, Kapalong Mayor Edgardo Timbol and San Isidro Mayor Tomas Abelito.
Seventy-two percent of the inhabitants of Talaingod belong to the Ata-Manobo tribe, while the hinterlands of Kapalong and San Isidro are home of the Dibabawon, Manguangan and Ata-Manobo tribes.
Dir. Garcia said the MOA signing activity is in keeping with the celebration of the Indigenous Peoples Month this October.
She explained the Cultural Village Project is a community-based culture tourism-oriented project that aims to uplift the quality of life of the IPs, promote social commission and culture of peace, as well as energize the tourism industry in the province.
The DOT-initiated project gained the support of the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, who provided a grant of P8-million for the establishment of 10 cultural villages throughout the Davao region. Some P2 million is available for the implementation of the project in Davao del Norte.
The project is a significant component of cultural tourism, which was identified as an important marketing strategy for the tourism industry of Davao del Norte, along with historical tour, banana biz tour, eco-adventure tourism and culinary tourism.
Garcia revealed the cultural village will actually become a cultural destination showcasing the unique indigenous products, such as weaves, beadings and other native handicrafts that the IP community produced themselves.
However, she stressed the project is not just about tourism, but more importantly about the preservation and enrichment of the culture and identity of the indigenous peoples in the province.
Gov. Del Rosario said the project is a big boost to a number of programs and projects that his administration has established in order to uplift the living condition of the Lumads and protect the integrity of their culture and traditions.
He also cited the significance of Talaingod, not only as a gateway to the Davao region"s cultural tourism development, but as a threshold to tremendous socio-economic opportunities as well, particularly with the forthcoming opening of the P1.6 billion Talaingod-Bukidnon Road hopefully late this year.
Del Rosario, who was the one who hatched the idea of connecting Davao del Norte to Bukidnon through a connecting road passing through Talaingod, said aside from spelling socio-economic development, the Talaingod-Bukidnon Road project is also a vital component in peace-building efforts along the hinterland boundary of the two provinces.
Witnessing the MOA signing ceremony were event were Board Member Antonio Lagunzad, Provincial Administrator Rufo Peligro, and Vice Mayor Alex Sibugan. (PGO-ID) [top]