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`Do us good` IP communities say to foreigners as a result of the ASEAN Tourism Forum

We want them to bring something good for us, said Datu Ronard Bantugan, a leader of the indigenous Ata-Manobo people in Talaingod, Davao del Norte referring to influx of tourists as a result of…

We want them to bring something good for us, said Datu Ronard Bantugan, a leader of the indigenous Ata-Manobo people in Talaingod, Davao del Norte referring to influx of tourists as a result of the ASEAN Tourism Forum. If they have no bad intentions in going to our place, good, he said. He was not wary about foreign visitors coming into the country and taking a look at the countryside especially in hinterland places like his own.

He just wanted them to bring in livelihood and education opportunities for his community members. It would be good if our children would get educated so they could help us, he said.

Foreigners would make IP communities glad if their visit means constructing new roads and bridges so they won`t have a hard time crossing mountains and wading through creeks and rivers to get to nearby communities, he said.

But he warned them against harming any member of tribal communities, saying he could not guarantee them of their safety.

We would just be taking note of their intention. If they would do us harm, I could not exactly tell what would happen to them, he said. IPs are peace-loving people but he admitted that there were those who remained skeptical about foreigners.

Meanwhile, Bantugan wants young Ata-Manobos to carry on the tribal dances he has been performing, through generations to come. So whenever we pass away, our children would be able to perform our dances.

Bantugan is set to visit Ata-Manobo communities after the ATF to pursue plans of passing on the native dances to a younger generation of Ata-Manobos.

Along with other fellows, Bantugan was invited to perform native dances during the ATF dinner hosting of Davao del Norte last Sunday (Jan. 15) at the Malipano Island Resort at the Island Garden City of Samal.

As part of the welcome rite, Talaingod also staged Manobo culinary called Linoob, a traditional form of bamboo cooking. Visitors got a taste of mushroom, spiced chicken, corn grits, and rice cooked in a bamboo roasted on fire.

On the other hand, Talaingod Tourism Officer Joel J. Elizaga said the municipal government wanted Manobo bamboo cooking to get not only local but also international exposure.

Other than native culinary delights, Talaingod is into preserving the cultural heritage of Ata Manobos and other IP communities in the area.

Elizaga said a Tribal Village with infrastructure, cultural and agricultural components will soon be established in one of Talaingod`s barangay preferably near the town center.

He bared the project which has gotten support from the provincial government is initially granted P1 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Offhand, he said there would skills enhancement and training conducted for members of a tribal council tasked to manage the village.

We want them (IPs) to get organized because they will be one to manage the village, Joel J. Elizaga said.

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