NCCA hosts Kalkali, highlighting conversations on indigenous peoples’ knowledge systems

Manila – As the highlight program for the celebration of Indigenous Peoples (IP) Month, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts is organizing a national forum on indigenous peoples knowledge dubbed Kálkalí (Kankana-ey word for ‘conversations’) which will be held at the Maryhill School of Theology, Quezon City, on 28-29 October 2019. The forum takes on the theme “Vital Wisdoms: Learning with the Indigenous Peoples” (Buháy na Dúnong: Pagkatúto Kasama Ang Mga Katutúbo).

“Vital Wisdoms” refer specifically to Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) grouped into five domains by UNESCO, namely: oral traditions and expressions; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and traditional craftsmanship. Rather than adopting the notion of “learning from,” which conjures up “unidirectionality and exotic others” spins, the theme espouses “learning with,” which marks learning as a social relational process. At the same time, it considers the diverse positionalities and agendas among actors, be they IPs or non-IPs, involved in conversations on ICH in the Philippine context.

“The forum provides a platform for indigenous peoples to assert their rights to participate in discussions on the ways and means to safeguard their intangible cultural heritage which are increasingly being undermined by the rapid social, economic, political, and ecological changes on local, regional, and global scale.” said anthropologist and Kalkali forum director Dr. Eufracio Abaya.

The eight sessions in this two-day Kálkalí will feature speakers from IP communities together with representatives from concerned sectors who will share their views and experiences pertaining to ICH in the Philippines. In the process, Kálkalí aspires to generate issues, new perspectives, and debates on, but not limited to, the aesthetic, legal, moral, ethical, and pedagogical dimensions of ICH, which will inform current and future initiatives and advocacies in safeguarding ICH in the Philippines.

The forum expects active participation of teachers, local government functionaries, researchers, mass media workers, and related practitioners from across the country.

October is National Indigenous Peoples’ Month in the Philippines by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1906 signed in 2009. Leading the celebration is the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), headed by its chairman, National Artist Virgilio S. Almario, executive director Al Ryan Alejandre, and deputy executive director Marichu Tellano. The Subcommssion responsible for the programs and month long activities for October is NCCA’s Subcommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts (SCCTA) composed of the National Committee on Central Cultural Communities headed by Commissioner Alphonsus Tesoro, the National Committee on Southern Cultural Communities headed by Elmalyn Abatayo, and the National Committee on Northern Cultural Communities headed by Federico Dalayday. He SCCTA works with support from the NCCA Secretariat through its Plan/Policy Formulation, and Programming Division (P/PFPD) led by Mr. Bernan Joseph Corpuz, and the Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts Section led by Ms. Renee Talavera. 

Interested parties may fill out the on-line form at A registration confirmation will be sent. Certificates of Attendance will be issued to participants who will attend the entire two-day forum. For inquiries on the event, please contact Ms. Annabelle Bonje at 09155477877 or at or Ms. Renee Talavera at 02-(8)4272192 loc. 524. Registration is free but for limited slots only.

For questions on this press release, you may contact Mr. Rene S. Napeñas, head of the NCCA Public Affairs and Information Section, through numbers (02) 527-5529 / (02) 527-2192 loc 628 / 625, 09285081057, or email