New coffee table books to showcase rich culture, heritage of Bicol indigenous peoples

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples – Bicol will launch three coffee table books under Project “Epanaw” or “Journey” on March 21 at the SM City Legazpi and on March 29 at SM City Naga to showcase the rich culture and heritage of the IP communities in the region.

“The regional launch of the NCIP Epanaw coffee table books and two-week photo exhibit is conducted as a way to recognize, preserve, promote and protect the rights of the indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) all over the Philippines,” NCIP Bicol Director Lee T. Arroyo said.

The first book, “Pagkilala” (Recognition) showcases the community profile. It contains information on their history, location, and overview of their social and daily lives.

The second coffee table book, “Paggalang” (Respect), features festivals and rituals that the ICCs/IPs practice in relation to important events such as birth and death, agricultural cycle, and the sacred and profane.

While the third coffee table book, "Pagtaguyod" (Promote), contains travel destinations in ancestral domains for eco-tourism.

The promotion of these sites will not only generate livelihood but also highlights the significance of protecting and asserting the rights of the IP groups to their ancestral domains.

Bridging the gap

Atty. Leo Imperial, NCIP Bicol regional legal officer, stressed the need to recognize and respect the rights of IP groups in the region.

“Kung hindi po natin sila kilala, paano po natin sila marerespeto? Sila po ang original na naniirahan sa ating bansa, kaya they deserve our utmost respect(If we don't know them, how can we extend our respect to them? They are the original inhabitants of our country, so they deserve our utmost respect),” he said at the Ugnayan sa Bicol radio program of the Philippine Information Agency.

Imperial cited the strengthening of collaboration with private stakeholders and other government agencies for future projects to further capacitate and render various services for the IPs.

“In a way, we see an opportunity to recognize the capacities of IP farmers to secure food production. All the government has to do is to support them for food provision since ancestral domains are very reach for food production,” he said.

Furthermore, the event will feature the photo exhibit highlighting the Agta and Kabihug/Manide ethnic groups of the Bicol region to be displayed at SM Legazpi on March 21 to April 4, 2021, and at SM Naga on March 29 to April 10, 2021. Their products will also be displayed during this period.

The IP communities will also showcase their culture and arts in their performances every Saturday and Sunday. (PIA5/Albay)