A voluntary group of cultural workers called Katutubo eXchange Philippines (KXP) headed by its president Dr. Edwin Antonio held the first-ever Katutubo Exchange for indigenous youth and children.
The cultural exchange program was held on August 10-14, 2013 in Manila to celebrate the International Youth Day and the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples with the theme “Katutubong Kalinangang Filipino: Ipagbunyi sa Mundo!”
Thirteen indigenous youth, from 10 to18 years old were selected to participate in the program. The Manobo, Bagobo and Matigsalog orphaned children of the Pag-Amoma Children’s Place from Davao, Katrina Lacia, Roshell Royo, Jaymar Laidan and Ramil Eman, got the chance to touch base with their roots through their performances. They were accompanied by their adult leader Elisa Templado and were flown in to Manila by Cebu Pacific Air.
The Aeta children, composed of Clarise Cayetano, Jerafi Tamundong, Raymond Gulisan and Jacob Gulisan with adult leader Rosalee Joy Reyes, were supported by the provincial government of Bataan. They likewise performed ethnic songs and dances.
The Ivatan youth delegation of Batanes with Ralph Ezra Viola, Christian Gabilo, Olga Galat and adult leader vice mayor Anastacia Viola were supported by the municipal government of Basco. They featured the palo-palo dance, vakul, and laji, an oral tradition. There was also a special participation of Angelic Claveria of the Isnag ethnic group from Apayao, who performed a monologue depicting their community’s culture and tradition.
On day one, the delegation performed at the GSIS Museum of Art during the Philippine Art Educators Association seminar and art exhibit and the KX opening and homestay matching program. The second day was an enjoyable and memorable stay with their respective host families led by Florinda Vaflor, Marivic Langit, Kelly Flynn and Shiera Rivera. They were brought to the Rizal Park and the malls for ice skating. They also dined out and did other activities, experiencing a new home in the city.
On day three, the KX participants went for a courtesy visit at the city government of Manila and were toured around the city hall and the Manila Zoo. A cultural program was held at the Leandro Locsin Hall of the NCCA with chairman Felipe De Leon, Jr. receiving and giving them an inspirational message. It was attended by deputy executive director Marlene Ruth Sanchez and NCCA secretariat members and guests from the Department of Education, Manila Tourism Office and National Archives. NCCA executive director Emelita Almosara hosted a lunch for the delegates. The Embassy of Japan in Pasay City was also visited by the KX delegation for an origami workshop under the Hello Japan program.
On day four, the delegation had a courtesy call with the National Youth Commission chairman Leon Flores III and executive director Shierwin Taay. The delegates were given a talk on the issues and rights of the youth.
Lastly, a grand farewell concert program was conducted at the St. Mary’s Academy in Pasay with Sister Lourdes Cao, principal and Orlando Abon who arranged the event. The school’s auditorium was jam-packed with elementary graders who were happy to watch and experience for the first time the culture of indigenous peoples.