Visiting the 1st AHPADA International Arts & Crafts Expo last Saturday was another enriching experience for me as a Filipino. All ASEAN countries participated in the expo, as well as countries like USA, Maldives, India, Nepal and Nigeria. In a booth called "Kalilimodan" (a gathering) was a visual art exhibit of the Philippines' indigenous people organized by Kalinawa Art Foundation, a non profit organization with a mission to help develop the Indigenous Peoples' art sector.
But I was most interested in the NCCA (Philippines’ National Commission for Culture & Arts) booth where they exhibited traditional musical instruments, wood carvings and a T’boli weaver of tnalak or tboli cloth. NCCA also featured the awardees of the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan.
There’s a musician from the highlands of Southern Palawan, Masino Intaray who uses traditional musical instruments. A Mangyan ambahan poet from Mindoro named Ginaw Bilog, Lang Dulay, a T’boli weaver from Lake Sebu, Salinta Monon, a Bagobo weaver from Davao del Sur, Alonzo Saclag, a Kalinga master of dance and performing arts, a folklorist from Panay, Federico Caballero, Uwang Ahadas, an instrumentalist from Lamitan, Basilan, Darhata Sawabi, a weaver of pis syabit, the traditional cloth tapestry worn as a head covering by the Tausog of Jolo.
Eduardo Mutuc, a sculptor and wood carver from Pampanga, Samaon Sulaiman, a kutyapi (two-stringed plucked lute) and kulintang (gong-chime) player from Maguindanao, and a master mat-weaver from Tawi-Tawi, Haja Amina Appi.
The artistry and dedication of these living treasures prove just how rich the Filipino culture is. Let’s be proud of our heritage…