Another national living treasure from South Cotabato passes away

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 26 January) – Fu Yabing Masalon Dulo, a national living treasure from Polomolok, South Cotabato, passed away before dawn Tuesday.

Fu Yabing Masalon Dulo receives her National Living Treasure Award from President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang in 2018. Screengrab from RTVM/Presidential Communications

She was 106.

Dulo, a Blaan, was a master “ikat” weaver living at the foot of Mt. Matutum in Barangay Landan.

Ikat is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs resist dyeing on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric.

Dulo was awarded the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan Award (GAMABA) or the National Living Treasure in 2018 by the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA). She received the award from President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang.

“Her peerless mastery of the Blaan Mabal Tabih is manifest in her impeccable work. For many years, Yabing Masalon Dulo has been a teacher and cultural elder among her kith and kin,” the NCCA said in announcing her death.

“Her exemplary oeuvre has brought pride to her community, animating the interest of many young Blaan in their remarkable cultural heritage,” it added.

Arthur Gulili said his grandmother had swollen legs that crawled up to her body weeks before she passed away.

“She died peacefully in her sleep,” Gulili told MindaNews in a phone interview.

Last December, Dulo was confined in a hospital for vomiting and diarrhea, he said.

After she was discharged, she started to experience swelling in the feet, Gulili added.

He said the family decided to open the 15-day wake to the general public who wish to pay their respects to the master weaver.

Argie Ryan Asaria, senior tourism operations officer of the South Cotabato Tourism, Arts and Culture Office, said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is set to pass a resolution honoring the life and works of Dulo.

Dulo was one of two GAMABA awardees in South Cotabato.

The other one was Lang Dulay, a master t’nalak weaver from Lake Sebu town, who died due to an illness in 2015.

Dulay was buried with full military honors for being a national artist.

Asaria said it is not yet clear if Dulo would also be accorded a burial befitting a hero given the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

He said that a panaflex signage featuring Dulo and Dulay will soon be installed at the provincial capitol and the cultural and sports gymnasium in this city. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)