Mangyan Cultural Festival

Photo of Mangyan men and women on a stage in front of an audience
Tadyawan-Mangyan families presenting their traditional practices at the 2007 cultural festival

The Mangyan Heritage Center (MHC) has twice conducted the Mangyan Cultural Festival – first in 2007 and most recently in 2008. The 2008 festival took place 7-9 February at Jose J. Leido Memorial National High School in Calapan City and was run in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Mangyan peoples organizations and the local government of Oriental Mindoro.

The Mangyan Cultural Festival is the only major cultural activity in Oriental Mindoro with representation from all seven Mangyan tribes in the province.

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Aims

The Mangyan Cultural Festival aimed to:

  1. Raise awareness of the richness of Mangyan culture to lowland Mindoreños
  2. Promote recognition and respect for the Mangyans and their diverse cultures through various forms of artistic expression
  3. Celebrate and promote the Mangyans' unique arts and crafts
  4. Instill among the Mangyan youth a deeper appreciation and understanding of their own heritage and of the need to keep it alive for the next generations.

Highlights

Highlights of the three-day event were an exhibit of photographs and indigenous artifacts and crafts, and a recreated Mangyan village featuring traditional homes. Other activities included:

  • artisan demonstrations
  • Mangyan product stalls
  • hands-on experiences – visitors learned to:
    • write their names in Mangyan script
    • spin cotton
    • weave cloth and baskets
    • string beads as accessories
    • play traditional musical instruments.

Capping the festival was a play entitled Ang Paglalakbay ni Waraan (The Journey of Waraan), which was performed by Mangyan students from the different tribes. The play presented the rich Mangyan cultural practices, as well as important issues the Mangyans currently struggle with.

Outcomes

The festival was promoted extensively with the help of local media, government offices, schools, tourism establishments and other organized groups. The local government and several establishments in Calapan provided financial and in-kind support to augment the grant provided by NCCA.

The festival was estimated to have drawn:

  • 3,000 visitors to the exhibits and play performances
  • 300 representatives from the seven Mangyan tribes in Oriental Mindoro.

The Mangyan Cultural Festival also paved the way for the honing of Mangyan talents, as well as strengthening networks with other cultural workers and arts enthusiasts in Oriental Mindoro and beyond.