THE rich cultural heritage of Filipino minorities will once again be put in the limelight as the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) organized Indigenous People’s (IP) Games to unfold Saturday at the well-maintained Ramon V. Mitra Sports Complex in Palawan.
Over 200 indigenous members from nine tribes of Molbog, Palaw’an, Tagbanua Central, Tagbanua Tandolanen, Tabuana Calamianen, Batak, Cuyonon, Agutaynen and Cagayanen will converge to showcase their skills in the traditional games of Pana, Sibat, Supok, Pagbayo as Palay, Santik, Trumpo and Kadang-Kadang which is part of their daily living.
“Para sa atin, simpleng libangan ito pero sa ating mga kapatid na katutubo, it’s very important. It’s part of their tradition and culture. It’s a way of life for our Indigenous People. We need to organize this to help them preserve their heritage and promote long lasting peace and harmony,” said PSC Commissioner and IP Games Chairperson Matthew ‘Fritz’ Gaston.
Both the Provincial government of Palawan under Gov. Dennis Socrates and the City Government of Puerto Princesa led by Mayor Lucilo Bayron make sure that no stone is left unturned as the technical working group finalized the proper conduct of the event on Friday.
“It’s an honor to welcome you all here in Puerto Princesa,” said Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Joshua Bolusa during the final meeting and exchange of token of appreciation with the PSC at the provincial capitol building where Comm. Gaston and the PSC working group were treated with a cultural song and dance from students showcasing the arts from four tribes.
“We’re happy that once again the Palawan’s indigenous people are in the center of activities. This is a chance for us to promote the province and showcase the tradition and culture of our indigenous tribes. From this platform, hindi lang nating naproprotektahan ang kanilang kultura matutulungan pa natin sila na pagyamanin ito at makatuklas ng talento na puwedeng madevelop,” added Palawan Sports Development head Silvanny Delight Gastanes.
In close coordination with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the IP Games returned to face-to-face activities for the first time after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, the PSC conducted the Games in recording mode.
“This time, all out uli ang suporta natin sa IP Games. We started it with All-Woman IP Games under Commissioner Bong Coo sa kanyang Women’s Sports program. Eventually, pagsasabayin natin ito dahil hindi lahat ng tribes pinapayagan din ang pagsali ng mga babae. Let’s see, kaya ang buong PSC Board ay nandito para mag-observe at mapag-aralan ang mga susunod naming gagawin,” said Gaston, referring to PSC Board members which also included Commissioner Edward Hayco and Walter Torres and Chairman Richard Bachmann.
Final registration of participants through the guidance of their respective tribe leaders will highlight the opening ceremony for Saturday with both the local officials and the PSC welcoming them before delivering their respective messages with PSC Chairman Richard Bachmann to declare the Games officially open.
The creation of the Indigenous Peoples Games (IPG) of the Commission is in accordance with the United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) appeal for the preservation of cultural heritage of the World.
The objective of this program is the preservation of the traditional sports and games of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs); promote peace, unity, and harmony among different IPS and identify potential talents among them.