Talaandigs celebrate life; dance to the beat of the drums

LANTAPAN, Bukidnon (MindaNews/20 October) — The tribe’s art is everywhere in the Talaandig village in Songco. It is in their music, paintings, inside their houses and even on their doors.

DANCE, DANCE, DANCE. Talaandig women dance to the crowd who gathered for the opening of the Talaandig Festival in Sungco, Lantapan town in Bukidnon province last week. MindaNews photo by Froilan GallardoChildren learn to beat the drums as soon as their hands can reach thecowhide canvases and Talaandig grandmothers see to it that this tradition is passed on by teaching the children how to dance to the beat of the drums.

The beat is contagious and any visitor to the Talaandig village inLantapan town at the foot of Mt. Kitanglad can see – and feel — that everything in the mountain air is about lumad art.

“Our art is the history of our people. It is our life,” Talaandig leader Vic Saway says.

Saway said every Talaandig child is taught how to beat the drums, playthe guitar or flute.

Elders are not spared. They learn to paint on canvases using earth-soil based paints.

Vic’s aunt, 76-year-old Adelfa “Nanay Ipa” Saway, for example, has just started painting. Adelfa painted 18 works of art, three of which have been bought for P3,000 by patrons from Manila.

“I started painting the figures I saw in my dream  because I really do not know how to paint,” Adelfa told MindaNews. Three of Adelfa’s paintings are now in the Hall of Peace where other paintings are displayed.

Saway, Adelfa and the rest of the Talaandig artists opened the exhibit showing 1001 paintings done by their artists. “The paintings cover stories of creation. They are representations of how our artists view our myths,” Saway said.

The paintings are one of the attractions of the four-day Talaandig Festival last week that marked their celebration of 489 years of their tribe’s survival. A tribal wedding capped the four-day festival. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)