Xavier Science Foundation, Inc. (XSF) through its USAID INSPIRE project titled Mt. Kalatungan BioCon: Creating Innovative Environmental Solutions and Sustainable Livelihoods, conducted a two-day masterclass training on the production of indigenous crafts from June 17 to 18, 2023. The activity was hosted by the Nagkahiusang Manobong Manununod sa Yutang Kabilin, Inc. (NAMAMAYUK) in Barangay Bacusanon, Pangantucan, Bukidnon. A total of 21 participants where 16 women, and 5 youth officially registered. There were also 9 local artisans who served as masterclass instructors.
The training was designed to showcase the local artisans of the IP community on the products and crafts that have been passed on from generations. It is in the hope that the elder artisans impart their knowledge and skills to young people who will carry on the traditions.
Mats made of tikog, a type of grass with triangular stem commonly found in swampy areas were used. The intricate process of harvesting, drying, even dyeing, and then weaving were shown step by step to the eager student.
Nanay Virginia Salido, who has been weaving mats for more than 40 years was taught by her parents. Not only knowledge and skills were passed on but also the value of the craft, making each participant reflect on their identity as Lumads from the wisdom imparted by the instructors.
The participating IP organizations namely Bayawon Lucday Lungayan Pendonay Tandacol Tribal Association (BLLUPENTTRAS), Manggayahay Talaandig Tribal Association (MANTALA) and Tumindok Association of Valencia City, with Catal Lumad Development Association (CALUDA) of Maramag, and the Portulin Talaandig Tribal Association (PTTA) of Pangantucan had their women and youth representatives experience the masterclass to learn new skills and even enhance the ones they already know.
Lumads are often associated with handicrafts like rattan baskets, bags, and mats. By using local resources and materials, they can develop products that becomes income-generating options for them. Yet, making the initiative sustainable is a challenge for many of the IP communities. Community-based enterprises will need support to enhance organizational capacity through trainings, learning visits and exchanges, as well as start-up capital. Constant mentoring and coaching are also needed to monitor the progress of the initiative.
Furthermore, a specialized training is being scheduled as follow-through to bring the learning deeper to a specific community. This will strengthen the knowledge and skills of each participant and engage their community members to support social enterprise related activities right at their own communities.