Pawa in Tagakolu

"...inseparable connection as a tribal youth to their land..."

The first activity of the Indigenous Youth Leadership (IYL) program – Tagakolu curriculum was launched last month. The team took part in the “Pawa” in two pilot villages of Kangku and Kalatagan in Malita, Davao Occidental, last July 31 to August 3, 2015. “Pawa” is the Tagakolu term for farming.

“Pawa” starts with “pag-egba” where a ritual is offered to pay respect to “Tyumanem”, the Creator who owns the land that is lent to them. The ritual also symbolizes gratitude for the abundance of the harvest from the land. It is followed by “paggalas” or land clearing and the gathering of the trees and grass. The area is left to completely dry for 2-3 days and burned. The Tagakolu believes that the ashes are good natural fertilizer for the land. After that, they will offer one more ritual called “pag-indeg”, before the actual planting or “panggas”.

The activity served as a bridge for the Tagakolu youth to better understand their intimate and inseparable connection as a tribal youth to their land. They were able to appreciate the value of their land, community and hard work. Aside from that, the youth recognized the wisdom and knowledge that was imparted to them by their elders. The youth was appreciative that they were able to have a shared experience with other Tagakolu youth from different backgrounds. The whole community actively participated in the activity because it became a venue for both young and old to practice their indigenous way of farming.

Anjelyn Ansay from the village of Kangku shares: "Basa-basan ya lupa kay lekat asini ya migpatulin kanaten.” (Respect the land because everything that nurtures our life comes from here.)

Melissa Pagalangan added, “Dapat sanggilaen ya lupa, dili kalaten.” (It is a must to nurture the land, not to abuse it.)

Ban-ban a youth from the village of Kalatagan shares: “Migleya kay ang mga matikadeng naghatag sa ilang panahon aron kami matudloan sa pagpawa. Ug karon naa nako’ responsibilidad sa umaabot na henerasyon na mapasa ang akoang mga nakat-onan.” (I am happy that the elders gave their time so that we could learn the traditional way of farming. Now, I believe I have the responsibility to pass on what I have learned to future generations.)

*This story is written and documented by our partners in the Tagakolu community. This is their voice.