The youth engage in game of careful planning, teamwork and camarederie. In the end, all 50 participants were able to cross the spider web, safe and without going through the same holes.
It is not often that the youth of Bendum are given an opportunity to meet and engage with their peers from outside of Bukidnon. Oftentimes their friendships and discussions are limited to their relatives and to the youth of the neighboring barangays. On 17-18 December 2010, however, Pulangiyen youth were given the rare chance to welcome guests of their age in their community.
Bendum was host to 21 Manobo, Mamanwa, Subanen and Maguindanawen youth during the Bentela daw Sayuda activity: a Pulangiyen practice of visiting and sharing information. During this event, the youth got to know each other through games and small group discussions. They talked about how similar and how different their lives are as indigenous youth.
The Pulangiyen youth also took the visitors around Bendum, explaining the various activities of the people and of the two organizations assisting the community. The visitors got to know more about the culture-based education in Bendum. Most of the Bendum participants were graduates or students of APC, so they shared about their education experience and talked about how different it is from mainstream schools. The visitors also learned how the people of Bendum take care of the environment, which include careful management of their water source.
It was the first time for Hanifa Nanding, a Maguindanawen visitor, to see a forest and a community that lives by it. Having lived all her life in a ‘marshland’ area, she only knew of forest through books and pictures. At the end of the visit, she said she not only found new friends but also gained a deeper understanding of the relationship of people with the environment. This became real for her during her short engagement with the youth of Bendum.
Bentela daw Sayuda is the Pulangiyen value of visiting and sharing information. It is one of the activities of the Bridging Leadership in Mindanao (BLM) project of ESSC. BLM is an engagement with the youth of Mindanao, especially with the youth of indigenous communities. The project aims to contribute to the stability and sustainability of indigenous cultures and natural resources in Mindanao.