New APC Mindagulos school building opens

APC opened its new school building in Sitio Mindagulos on 22 February 2024 to better serve the growing student population in Sitio Mindagulos and ensure more conducive learning facilities.

Community members from Sitio Lupok-Lupok and Matripuna, the Tribal Council from Mindagulos, joined APC teachers and staff to inaugurate the new APC school building. Sitio leader Donald Ampoeda extended a warm welcome and set the tone for unity.

APC teacher Maura Lipanda traced APC’s roots in Mindagulos while Jason Menaling, coordinator of the APC-Forest, Farm, and Leadership in the Margins (FFLM) program, shared FFLM activities that also encourage youth leadership.

APC Executive Director Pedro Walpole SJ handing over the new APC school building’s symbolic key of kawayang tinik

Pedro Walpole SJ, APC Executive Director, handed over the symbolic key, a shortened bamboo pole (Bambusa blumeana or kawayang tinik, a local bamboo species that thrives in the area), to the new school building, signaling a shared commitment.

This symbolic act of handing over the kawayang tinik accompanied the community planting of six seedlings around the school and plans were agreed on to plant more bamboo in the coming period.

The new APC Mindagulos school building has three classrooms (Kinder 1/Kinder 2, Grade 1/Grade 2, Grade 3), the teachers’ room, and a group activity area in the long entrance. The harvesting and treatment of bamboo poles and the panel fabrication were done in Bendum and transported to the construction site in Mindagulos.

APC has been using indigenous culture, language, and relationship with the land (gaup) as the basis for educating children in Upper Pulangi, Mindanao, Philippines for almost three decades. In 2014, the APC connecting school was started with a teaching program and connecting school for the indigenous upland community of Sitio Mindagulos to provide access to education for children who used to walk to the nearest village school located seven kilometers away. The classrooms eventually wore down and became dilapidated and APC sought to establish a larger, sturdier climate-smart school building.

The APC Mindagulos School is intended to address the needs of the community through the provision of additional conducive learning facilities to support the growing demand for culture-based education in the uplands that promote holistic and lifelong learning for students and teachers.

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