Midsayap IP Youth Continue Traditional Farming Practices for COVID-19 Survival
Kenneth Mheil Mangaya- Ay | April 16, 2020
Photos by Midsayap Youth Development Council
There are different harvest rites and rituals in every corner of the country. Historically, not only were they a way to give thanks, but there was also a lot of superstitions involved. A pleased god would shower the crops with rain and sunshine, guaranteeing a plentiful harvest.
In Barangay Milaya in the Municipality of Midsayap, Province of Cotabato, the new generation of youth leaders are continuing traditional farming practices for the survival of the Erumanen Menuvu called Suragad. The seeds to be planted called Peruvini-an are placed in a pandi or white cloth that will serve as a mark called Kelayag Ivevasuk so that all the seeds will be blessed.
Pula, the leaves of Patikan Tree, will be placed in the four corners of the peruveniao (middle area of the land where the seeds will be planted) in preparation of the ritual that will happen early in the morning. The farmers, together with the Weliyan, or the one who will conduct the ritual, will go to the peruveni-an to do the Penawagtawag, a ritual where Apo Kelayag Ivevasuk or God will be asked to bless the planted seeds for a bountiful harvest of ladies’ fingers, peanut, bitter gourd, string beans, taro, lemon grass, sweet potato and banana among others. As part of the ritual, they will also offer a chicken to Apo called pagsumbali.
According to Marilou Taupan, IP Youth Representative, the longstanding tradition will help the IP community survive especially in times of crisis. The tribe has imparted to the youth the importance of respecting and following elders and working out for the rebirth of their culture. The IP youth leaders identified the area where farmers with the youth can conduct Suragad. “Kaming mga kabataang IP naninindigan para sa aming kultura at naniniwala sa aming kakayahan na mapanatili ang nasimulan ng aming ninuno, mabuhay ang Indigenous People Tribe (We, the IP youth, stand firm for our culture and commit that this practice will survive. Long live the Indigenous People Tribe),” said Marilou.
Some of the plants already bear fruits that serve as sources of the community’s food amidst this pandemic problem. With this, the SK Federation of the Municipality of Midsayap commits to keep the tradition alive by including it in the federation’s priority projects. “Ako naga tuo na ang kalambuan sa bamwa mag sugod sa pag balikid sa kultura. Isip youth leader, committed sa pagpadayon sa practices sa atong mga ninuno labi na nga makatabang kini sa katawhan (I believe that the development of the town will begin in the revitalization of the culture. As one of the youth leaders in our town, I am committed to continuing the practices of our forefathers and most especially helping the people),” said Mark Ferven Avance, SKMF President.
Modern society is becoming an amalgamation of cultures, but as we move forward, we can choose to celebrate our pasts and have them become a part of our culture future!