By Chiqui Aljas
Kaamulan is an important celebration of the community that is held annually. Traditionally, during Kaamulan the datu speaks of the kalikat or ancestry of the Pulangiyen, wherein people learn of their own lineage in relation to each other.
The relatives then group together to share the experiences of each lineage. Kaamulan also serves as a venue to discuss their concerns and hopes for the community.
Last December, the Bendum Tribal Council convened for the Kaamulan for the community, together with ESSC. The tribal chieftains and members of other neighbouring communities also joined. In participating in the discussions, all gain an understanding of the process which they can also apply in their respective communities. The event started with a ritual, led by Datu Nestor Menaling, to seek guidance from their forefathers throughout the discourse and give thanks to Migtanghaga for the creation.
The Tribal Council led the deliberations on forest policies, Nalandangan (peace process), panginabuhian (livelihood), and youth education among others.
Part of the forest management of the gaup (ancestral domain) is the establishment of an agreement that forest resources should only be used for personal needs such as the construction of houses. Cutting woods for monetary gains is not a custom of the community. During the Kaamulan, the community agreed to strengthen their implementation on the proper use of forest resources. With the reports of unlawful cutting of trees from outside, the community members agreed to be more vigilant. The members’ desire for peace was realized with the establishment of the “No Arm Policy” within the community few years ago. This has been effectively implemented and is respected by both the military and the rebel groups.
The importance of nalandangan was reiterated and the community members were reminded to continue being firm on their stand in keeping their community peaceful.
The challenges that the community are facing right now regarding the youth are different from what they had 20 years ago. Global modernization has impacted the youth in Bendum, which could threaten the continuity of the community’s way of life. Some form of technologies and media influence the youth’s way of thinking and interests. To counteract this, a decision was made to further strengthen youth involvement in the management of the ancestral domain particularly in agroforestry and livelihood. Along with this is the agreement for a stronger and better production and trade of abaca (manila hemp), which is one of the main cash crops of the Pulangiyen people. With this, it is hope that the youth will have a deeper understanding of the ardor of their ancestor who depended upon land and to continue the relationship with the land that their forefathers have fostered.
The Kaamulan celebration ended with high hopes in the hearts of the people in the community. Challenges are inevitable. But such challenges also draws the community members closer together and work together for the betterment of their future as Pulangiyen people.
Photo caption: Tribal Council and community members gathered in Adagi Balay.