Today, August 9, we celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. The Department of Education of the Philippines states:
“DepEd remains steadfast in its commitment to provide access to an inclusive and culture-based education to every indigenous learner in the country through continued efforts in enhancing the implementation of the Indigenous Peoples (IPEd) Program and strengthening the capacity of our public schools and learning programs to deliver such services.” (from http://www.deped.gov.ph)
Preserving Tradition through Literature
As an educator, I agree with DepEd that no learner or child should be left behind – we all have the right to preserve our identity and cultural heritage. This should not have to suffer when we enter school. One of the best ways to do this is to keep local culture and traditions alive through stories.
One of my favorite local books is Guardians of Tradition written by Mae Astrid Tobias.
The Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan was established in 1992 to recognize Filipinos who dedicated their lives to preserving Filipino culture through art. In this book, you will meet eleven of these amazing individuals or as Tobias has named them – Guardians of Tradition.
My personal favorites from her list are: Ginaw Bilog, the Engraver of Rhymes from Oriental Mindoro, Lang Dulay, the Dream Weaver from South Cotabato, and Federico Caballero, the Storyteller of Memories from Panay.
Reading this book will surely give you a sense of pride because there is so much beauty in our local traditions and culture. I hope that we continue to honor and value these because they are very much part of our nation’s collective identity.
Guardians of Tradition is available at local bookstores or through Adarna Publishing, Inc.