Philippine indigenous peoples and their diverse and colorful cultures take the spotlight the whole month of October with the nation celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Month.

dayaw 2017

Spearheading the celebration is the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), led by its chairman, National Artist Virgilio S. Almario, executive director Rico S. Pableo, Jr., and deputy executive director Marichu G. Tellano with its annual Dayaw: Philippine Indigenous Peoples’ Festival.

This year’s festival will take place from October 8 to 10, at the Rizal Park in Manila, and other areas of Metro Manila. With the theme “Weaving Cultures,” Dayaw is a flagship event of NCCA’s Subcommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts (SCCTA), led by its head, Alphonsus Tesoro.

Meaning “to present with pride,” “to show one’s best with pride and dignity coupled with excitement” and “ to honor” in various Philippine languages, the Dayaw Festival is touted to be the biggest gathering of indigenous ethnic groups in the country, with different indigenous groups of the country joining in the celebration.

The festival presents an enriching and interesting array of activities including performances, rituals, forums, traditional cuisine demos, traditional games, arts and crafts exhibit and cultural exchanges among others.

Dayaw aims to highlight the importance and richness of indigenous cultures, to discuss issues indigenous peoples face today and facilitate interactions with other ethnic groups.

Last year, Dayaw: Philippine Indigenous Peoples Festival was staged at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City from November 22 to 24, gathering about 200 representatives from about 40 indigenous cultural communities of the Philippines including Ayta of Pampanga, Bagobo Manobo, Blaan, Bugkalot, Gad-dang, Ifugao, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Ivatan, Jama Mapun, Kalinga, Mangyan, Rombloanon, Tagalog, Panay Bukidnon, Suban-on, Tausug, Tboli, Waray and Yakan, among others. Additionally, the Dayaw has invited other ethnic groups in Asia and Australia to join the celebration including those from Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia in the advocacy for peace, highlighting traditional and local knowledge.

The international component in this year’s festival include events in other countries such as in the United States and India. In San Francisco, California, the Hinabi Project will be held with several components including the exhibit “Weaving Peace and Dreams: Textile Arts of Mindanao.” The project brings to the American and international public Philippine textile design and production from traditional to more contemporary times. It brings to fore narratives of our weaving communities and hopes to spur a discourse on sustainable preservation and development of our weaving tradition. 

The SCCTA is composed of the National Committee on Southern Cultural Communities headed by Elmalyn Abatayo, National Committee on Northern Cultural Communities headed by Federico Dalayday, and the National Committee on Central Cultural Communities headed by Alphonsus Tesoro, with support from the NCCA Secretariat led by Bernard Corpuz, chief of the Plan/Policy Formulation, and Programming Division, and Renee Talavera, head of Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts section.