Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wild food and tribal games featured in first Negrito festival

They are known by many names – Aeta in Luzon, Ati in the Visayas, Agta in Mindanao and the Sierra Madre, and Batak in Palawan – but they share one thing in common: from pre-colonial times up to the present, they have preserved many aspects of their indigenous culture and are still striving to assert their identity in modern-day Philippines. Collectively known as Negritos, they came from various parts of the country to take part in Tebewen, their first national festival held last week as part of the celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Month in the Philippines in October. The three-day festival, held from October 14 to 16 in General Nakar in Quezon Province, highlighted the cultural revival and education efforts of the various Negrito communities in the country. Officials from the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples, Department of Education, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the National Anti-Poverty Commission joined the celebration. On the first day of the festival, retired Col. Jeff Tamayo from the Philippine Olympic Committee facilitated the tribal games, which showcased the skills of Negritos from various parts of the country, according to a statement from the organizers. The program also included "gourmet wild food tasting" and cultural presentations from the various Negrito groups. The advocacy group Non-Timber Forest Products – Exchange Programme provided the documentary film below, which shows the food and lifestyles of the Aeta and Agta in Luzon