Teachers’ Reflections about the Gathering for Peace (2009)

The recent gathering in Bendum for peace is an instance of Bentela daw Sayuda. This is a practice of visiting other communities, knowing their circumstance and sharing with them one’s village’s situation and events. This is seen when there is sharing of correct information and thinking of correct response in order to live peacefully.

APC tTeachers: Workshop with posterseachers were hosts to the many visitors and watched their own youth engaged with others in peace.  Here, they share their reflections about the event:

The objectives of the Bentela daw Sayuda was to have venue for the youth a) to express their sentiments and aspirations about the peace and order situation in Upper Pulangi, b) to know the history of Upper Pulangi as a zone of peace in olden times, and c) to reflect on their responsibilities and vision for the area. The design of the activity and the games developed the confidence of the youth in relating with one another.  It united the youth in Upper Pulangi.  The Walk for Peace enabled the youth to express their desires for peace.  I was amazed by how the youth interacted with one other and how they respected one another because I never experienced it during my time as a youth.”  Leonera Cabale

We listened to the tribal elders talk about the history of Upper Pulangi as a Peace Zone. It helped me to understand the the history of Pulangi and is thus a big help to my teaching because it deepened my understanding of the Pulangiyen talugan (domain). It is not easy to discuss about peace.  The youth of Upper Pulangi learned that historically, this area was known as the bearer of peace to the other talugan or indigenous groups in Northern Mindanao.  The Pulangiyen values of before serve as our basis for moving towards achieving peace in Upper Pulangi at present.”  Zarmin Garcia

The gathering fostered peace in the neighboring communities and the youth were empowered.  We see in this event that the youth need not be limited to the arts or sciences – they too can be socially and politically involved in the peace movement.  I felt rejuvenated and hopeful in seeing leaders of their caliber – I believe they can make a difference.  Unity is not that far. Same goes with peace.”  Rjay Sta. Teresa

I learned that peace begins with oneself. It is good that the peace that the forefathers of the Pulangiyen sought for will be sustained in the present. I realized that peace is really important in a community. We cannot do things if there is no peace.  Peace is essential in a community.  So I am now trying to be an agent of peace.  As a group facilitator, my self confidence in dealing with other people was developed.  Having a peaceful community is our responsibility. Living with peace in our hearts and minds is one way of disseminating the real essence of peace.”  Rey Cantago

The story of the elders about why Pulangi became the sanctuary of peace was illuminating.  I learned the importance of Pulangi River to the residents and that unity among people is needed to attain peace. My aspiration for peace was expressed. Meeting the youth of Upper Pulangi and hearing their sentiments gave me hope for the potential unity in achieving peace within the area.  It also gave us the idea that even if you are living in the middle of the forest, this does not mean that you are already a member of an armed group.  As a teacher, it is a challenge for me to teach the children the importance of Bentela daw Sayuda as a value. The friendship that was established is a good sign of our partnership in the peace process. The openness of the participants in sharing the situation in their respective communities is a sign of unity.  The youth will be informed and empowered as leaders in the future.  Through Bentela daw Sayuda they are guided on what road to take that will sustain Upper Pulangi as a Sanctuary of Peace.”  Maura D. Lipanda

I learned that that the Pulangiyen did not engage in tribal wars, instead, they took care of the orphans and widows. The datus from Pulangi were well respected by other datus from neighboring talugan. They were invited to settle conflicts because they were believed to be prudent. It strengthened the relationship between family and community members.  It gave a vision to the youth as future leaders in Upper Pulangi.  The two-night stay of the participants in Bendum gave them an opportunity to see the forest in the area. The cooperation of the Bendum residents and the consent of parents in sending their youth to attend the activity is a manifestation that there is unity in achieving peace in Upper Pulangi. The activity taught us the value of helping and journeying together to have a peaceful living.  It is one way of living what the Pulangiyen ancestors lived for.  Loreta Ablando

“I learned the value of respect, of sharing of ideas and talents, and of recognizing the potentials of other youth in Upper Pulangi in the peace process. This kind of activity should be done regularly to awaken the youth about their rights and responsibilities in their respective communities.”  Mercy Salilong

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