Bagobo Klata tribe fights for land, culture, life

TEACHING THE YOUNG Under the watchful eyes of their elders, a group of Bagobo Klata youth performs a traditional dance depicting hunting and gathering for food. The tribe’s elders are stepping up efforts to pass on cultural knowledge to their children. —PHOTOS BY ERWIN M. MASCARIÑAS

D AVAO CITY—For years, the small community of the indigenous Bagobo Klata tribe at the foot of Mt. Apo has been celebrating a festival of thanksgiving for life, rain and the bountiful harvest.

But this year, the elders have a special plea for the spirits to intervene to help preserve and protect their vanishing culture and forest.

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Held every second Sunday of October, “Menum” is a feast honoring the earth, the sun and the rain which give life to plants, trees and all the living creatures within their ancestral domain.

It is also a celebration of their culture as the festivity showcases the tribe’s traditional food, music, dances and fun games.

“Our customs and traditions are weaved with nature and the environment, our forest which provides life. Our culture, language and arts remind us of our role as stewards [of nature],” said Pongnguo Rosalito Anog, chieftain of Bol’loy Tattipo Ngo Bagobo Klata (House of Gathering of the Bagobo Klata).