Sometimes, the most informative part of my work day comes from simply passing through the lobby (one of them) of the House of Representatives. Groups take advantage of that high traffic space to set up exhibits that aim to raise awareness about various issues. It’s not always as exciting as Philippine-made robot overlords, but it’s always educational, and sometimes even something related to Rocket Kapre.
Last Tuesday was International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, and here in the Philippines, it’s the start of a 3-month Indigenous Peoples Solidarity campaign. Awareness of the state and condition of indigenous people is of particular importance to us in the Philippines, since our archipelago is home to 110 ethnolinguistic groups, and 14 million indigenous peoples (accounting for around 16% of our population).
Despite constituting a significant percent of our population, indigenous people are some of the most marginalized sectors of our society, to a large extent because they are almost invisible to people in the power centers of the country. (Not coincidentally, a majority of these communities are found in Mindanao.) It’s hard to raise awareness about our indigenous people, partly because we have so many different and diverse communities (and we all know that the stories that make the news are usually those most susceptible to simplification/generalization), but it would be great if over the next few months we could try to learn a bit more about the problems that face the communities, or about the people themselves–especially their culture, and the need to preserve the same.
The very diversity that makes it difficult to treat our indigenous people as a homogenized whole is also what gives our country such a rich and diverse culture of myth and folklore. Whereas some countries are limited to one dominant mythic tradition, by “Philippine Mythology” we’re really talking about dozens of traditions. In the past (and in the future) I’ve tried to use Rocket Kapre to shed some light on these grand old tales, and I thought I’d use this post to review some of that content:
- The Myth List
- Philippine Pantheons
- Ateneo’s Philippine Epics and Ballads Archive is Now Online
- “Songs of Memory” Epics Conference: Video Hub
And, of course, keep your eyes peeled for the Alternative Alamat anthology, launching later this year.
[Slider image from quezon.ph]