Press Release
February 27, 2011

Legarda Organizes Exhibit to Preserve and Promote Mangyan Culture

In a bid to preserve the Mangyan culture and promote their products and sources of livelihood, Senator Loren Legarda has organized an exhibit, "Mangyans of Mindoro: Myth and Meaning", which will showcase the Mangyan people's craftsmanship and rich heritage.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, was inspired to put up the exhibit following her recent visit to the Mangyan Heritage Center in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro.

The exhibit, which will be held from March 1-25, 2011, at the Second Floor Hallway of the Senate, is in partnership with the Mangyan Heritage Center, Oriental Mindoro Tourism Office, the National Museum and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

It will showcase Mangyan handicrafts such as baskets of the Alangan, Iraya and Hanunuo, which are made of rattan, buri palm leaf and nito vine; and the traditional clothing and textile of the Alangans and Hanunuo including the weaving loom used to create these fabrics.

It will also show the Mangyan musical instruments, their Ambahan or rhythmic poems as inscribed on bamboo trees, and pictures dating back as early as the 1900s.

Legarda explained that Mangyan is the common name for the eight Indigenous Peoples (IP) groups living in the island of Mindoro, namely Alangan, Bangon, Buhid, Hanunoo, Iraya, Ratagnon, Tadywan and Tau-buid.

Out of the 110 IP groups in the country today, the Hanunuo and Buhid Mangyans are two of the remaining four IP groups in the Philippines who have retained their original syllabary or phonetic writing system. The Buhid and Hanunuo Mangyan scripts, together with the Palaw-an and Tagbanua scripts of Palawan, have been declared as National Cultural Treasures in 1997 and were inscribed in the Memory of the World Registers of UNESCO in 1999.

"During my recent visit to Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, I was inspired with the rich culture of the Mangyans as I marveled at their arts and crafts. Through this exhibit, Mangyan handicrafts will not only be displayed but will also be sold for the benefit of the Mangyan Heritage Center, which I plan to support in order to provide livelihood and education to our Mangyans and other indigenous people in the country," Legarda said.

"Indigenous cultures are the soul of the Filipino. These are treasures that are unique to us, that make us distinct from other nations. We should all work together to preserve our indigenous peoples' language, writing, songs, poems, intricate weaving and art before they are forgotten," Legarda concluded.

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