This is not really about me, but about the people I meet, the places I visit and the stories I want to share.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mangyan ng Mindoro

This elderly Mangyan from the Alangan tribe in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro may be too old to study. But hundreds of young indigenous peoples all over Mindoro island are aspiring to be educated. They want to preserve their culture passed from generations to generations but at the same time they desire to go beyond the basics of reading and writing.

But there’s little room for them in the past. And they still suffer from discrimination, sometimes from the very people who illegally claimed their ancestral lands.

Theirs is an almost forgotten group of indigenous peoples. 8 tribes in the island. 100 000 people. All of them aspiring to be educated just like any other Filipino in the country.

Sa lunes, sa The Correspondents, kamustahin natin ang mga Mangyan ng Mindoro at ang Tugdaan – ang paaralan ng mga Mangyan, para sa mga Mangyan. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Atis of Boracay

Boracay for some people is a dream destination during summer. But for this woman and her grandchild, the white sand beach of the island is her worst nightmare.

The indigenous peoples of Boracay island called Atis are still facing threats of being kicked out of their places of birth. Before the lowlanders settled in, they say their ancestors were already there roaming the island, enjoying the pristine beauty of what they knew then as paradise.

They were all living quietly until Boracay was put on the world’s best beach resorts map. Now, they just sit there at the back of the island. Some have jobs in a few resorts as utility and construction workers. But most of them eke out a living as ambulant vendors, some even as beggars.

If only the local government of Malay, Aklan can come up with a program on how Atis can co-exist with resort owners, property developers and beach bums, Boracay may remain relevant to me every summer. These indigenous peoples can become productive residents of the island and can be employed by resort and hotel owners. I just hope they won’t be exploited. Posted by Picasa

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