2 from Bukidnon Bayaning Pilipino awardees

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/27 February) — International performer and visual artist Rodelio “Waway” Saway and special education teacher Ellen Delante were among the 10 winners from the Visayas and Mindanao area for this year’s Gawad Geny Lopez-Bayaning Pilipino Award.

The win qualified Saway and Delante to the selection of national recipients of the award, which will be held in Manila in June 2012.

Saway, a Talaandig from Songco, Lantapan town in Bukidnon won in the Bayaning Pilipino individual category while Delante made it to the Bayaning Guro category.

There were five regional winners from each of the two categories.

The Vismin regional winners received plaques and cash prizes in awarding ceremonies held at the ABS-CBN station in Cebu City Thursday night, Delante told MindaNews via telephone.

As a visual artist, Saway popularized the use of soil as medium of his works along with other materials. As one of the mentors at the Talaandig School for Living Traditions, he led young people of his tribe in reclaiming their cultural traditions through music and art.

They have produced not only paintings but also bracelets, pendants and other ornaments and later ethnic musical instruments.

As a musician, he has produced several albums, among them Punla (Sowing Hopes, Fantasies and Dreams), his 6th DVD.

He has also produced several documentary films about his community.

Saway is musical director of Enigmata in Camiguin, and the first Filipino artist to sign with the Putamayo record label, well-known for its focus on world music. He has also performed before audiences in different countries, including Hongkong and recently South Korea.

Delante is the Malaybalay City Department of Education division coordinator for special education. Since 1997, she has volunteered as a teacher for the deaf-mute at the Welcome Home Foundation.

She later joined the Malaybalay City Central School (MCCS) faculty in charge of its SpEd program, which caters to children with physical and intellectual disabilities.

DepEd’s special education program has about 200 students, about 120 of them enrolled in MCCS.

MCCS principal Ma. Antonieta Reburiano accompanied Delante to the awarding ceremonies.

Delante has helped some of the pupils who live in the boarding house to adjust to the rigors of schooling.

She learned sign language through a program started by Malaybalay Bishop emeritus Honesto Pacana in the late 1990s.

She said being named in the award is a challenge and an inspiration at the same time.

The Bayaning Pilipino Awards is an annual search for modern-day heroes launched in 1995. Envisioned by the late Don Eugenio Lopez Jr., it aims to give recognition to ordinary folks who have done heroic acts and extraordinary deeds.

ABS-CBN presents the award with Ugat Foundation Inc.

As envisioned, the annual search for the Bayaning Pilipino Awardees will promote Filipino values by highlighting their accomplishments in the field of public service, according to its website. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)