GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/01 May) — The National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) will offer state honors to the late T’boli “national living treasure” Be’ Lang Dulay, who passed away on Thursday after being in coma since January following a mild stroke.
Carlo Ebeo, vice chair of the NCCA’s national committee on cultural education, said Friday Lang Dulay is entitled to full state honors being a Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan or National Living Treasure awardee.
Such recognition is equivalent to the national artist award bestowed by the national government, he said.
“She’s a national cultural icon so it’s only fitting for us to give her the highest honors,” he told MindaNews.
Lang Dulay died at age 91 at around 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, at her home in Sitio Tukolefa, Barangay Lamdalag in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
Ebeo said her health started to deteriorate late last year due to hypertension and other illnesses that eventually led to a mild stroke in late January that rendered her comatose.
About a month ago, he said the Dulay family decided to transfer her from the Doctor’s Clinic and Hospital in Koronadal City to her home in Lake Sebu town.
Aided by some apparatus provided by the hospital, he said Lang Dulay continued to live but remained in coma.
Two weeks ago, Ebeo said her family decided to remove the oxygen and other attached apparatus.
Ebeo, who is based in Koronadal City, said the NCCA is currently coordinating with the Dulay family for her wake and funeral arrangements.
He said the commission has allotted some P500,000 for the arrangements until the scheduled funeral on May 28 as initially set by Lang Dulay’s family.
The NCCA earlier released some P750,000 to help cover for her hospital expenses, which reached P1,030,000, he said.
“Our Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan committee members are arriving today to take care of the arrangements,” he said.
As to the state honors, Ebeo said it would depend on Lang Dulay’s family if they would want a state funeral for her.
But considering the province’s distance to Manila, he said they could opt for modified rites that would be held in the area.
“The commission is still discussing this with the provincial government (South Cotabato) and the Department of Tourism (DOT)-Region 12 since we also need to consider the traditions of her tribe,” he said.
Lang Dulay was known for her contributions in the preservation of the T’boli culture through the tribe’s famed T’nalak fabric.
She was conferred with the National Living Treasure (Manlilikha ng Bayan) award in 1998 by the NCCA for her efforts in promoting the T’boli culture and for her fine craftsmanship as a T’nalak “dreamweaver”.
Lake Sebu Mayor Antonio Fungan said the entire municipality is presently mourning the passing of Lang Dulay.
The mayor said her death is a big loss to the T’boli tribe and the municipality, especially in terms of tourism and cultural preservation efforts.
Lang Dulay and her Manlilikha ng Bayan T’nalak weaving school had been among the town’s top tourist drawers.
“We will make sure that her legacy will continue to live on, especially with the younger generation,” Fungan said.
Nelly Nita Dillera, DOT-12 director, said the region’s tourism stakeholders are also mourning the passing of Lang Dulay.
“Her contribution has brought T’boli and their crafts to the world, admired and produced into various fashion and house accessories. Her weaving center that served as an area where she taught younger generation the art and skill of weaving had been frequented by media, designers and tourists worldwide,” she said in her Facebook post.
The official recommended the construction of a tourism road leading to Lang Dulay’s home in Barangay Lamdalag, Lake Sebu that will be named in her memory. (MindaNews)