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KEEPING TRADITIONS ALIVE

Cong. Loren Legarda’s "Dayaw" continues to document the country’s pre-colonial traditions

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by KRISTOFER PURNELL

Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda is wearing a Manobo blouse from the Ata Talaingod community of Davao del Norte. Legarda is the host of "Dayaw", the only program that promotes indigenous culture on television today. The seventh season of "Dayaw" airs this September.

Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda is wearing a Manobo blouse from the Ata Talaingod community of Davao del Norte. Legarda is the host of “Dayaw”, the only program that promotes indigenous culture on television today. The seventh season of “Dayaw” airs this September.

“We always say we love the Philippines and Filipinos, but do we love them enough to learn about them?” This is the question deputy speaker and Antique representative Loren Legarda posits to everyone as her docu-show Dayaw enters its seventh season.

Since its premiere on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) in October 2015, Dayaw has been documenting indigenous peoples and cultures in the Philippines, showing audiences how many local traditions are being passed on from generation to generation and kept alive today. The show is a collaboration between ANC and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), with the help of Loren and her office as she conceptualized the project during her time as a senator and has narrated Dayaw ever since.

“The show has been a platform to bring the indigenous people to everyone around the country,” says Susan Dayao, chief of the NCCA’s Administrative and Finance Division. “These traditions have been passed down for generations, and have become a part of our DNA as Filipinos.”

Legarda (center) discusses her hopes for her "Dayaw. With her at the show's seventh season press conference is Susan Dayao (left) from the NCCA.

Legarda (center) discusses her hopes for her “Dayaw. With her at the show’s seventh season press conference is Susan Dayao (left) from the NCCA.

Seventh season preview
The show will focus on the country’s “bearers of cultures” for its seventh season, drawing focus on the unsung heroes who passionately preserve traditions and ultimately protect our national identity.

Viewers will accompany Loren as she visits the Dumagat of Bulacan and the Ati of Negros Occidental to see how cultural aspects such as music and language are being taught to the youth, as well as a visit to Mindanao’s Balut Island where cooking and weaving continue to be passed on.

The latter part of Dayaw’s seventh season will focus on the new recipients of the National Living Treasures Award or “Gawad sa Manlilikhang Bayan,” as awarded by the NCCA. These recipients, whom Loren will interact with, are master weaver Estelita Bantilan from Malapatan, Sarangani; healer, medium, and Blaan people matriarch
Yabing Masalon Dulo from South Cotobato; and Basilan’s Yakan traditional artist Uwang Ahadas and weaver Abalang Ausalin.

Legarda during the shoot of "Dayaw"

Legarda during the shoot of “Dayaw”

Show relevance
Loren believes that Dayaw should be immortalized as its documentation of culture goes beyond the current generation, noting the importance of knowing these “bearers of cultures” as they serve as an inspiration for every Filipino in showing love and respect for the environment, their history, and their people.

The former senator hopes that the youth will be drawn to the show given how it handles cultural preservation. “They are interested in everything, though I can’t answer for them,” says Loren. “These traditions weren’t around when they were born, but they’re still here.” She adds that online feedback of the show reflects the interest of people.

For the congresswoman, the hardest part of shooting Dayaw was not finding cultures to document—even sharing that suggestions by her, the NCCA, and the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples can sustain them to a possible 17th season—but the physical documentation. “The challenge of the team was physically crossing mountains, but they love it—I think,” says Loren with a laugh. “I look forward to all my shoots. My only frustration is I’m not as agile as I used to be. Back then it was my full-time job, now I’m in government,” adding that she does Dayaw pro-bono.

The seventh season of Dayaw will be every Thursday at 8:30 p.m. staring Sept 19 on ANC.

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