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Metamorphosis_Kalahi-CIDSS Compendium 2015

Of Elders and Culture

Of Elders and Culture Rise and Shine. Though a small community, Besao continues to be one of the most active when it comes to community projects* In the landlocked municipality of Besao in Mountain Province, the mountain ranges have kept culture and traditions intact for centuries until the introduction of concrete roads and large scale infrastructure. Dominantly inhabited by members of the Kankana-ey ethno-linguistic tribe, the town is accessible by road by passing through the municipalities of Sabangan and Sagada. As physical developments paved way for the rural folks to gain easier access to needs and commodities, some cultural practices and values started to wane. Even the traditional community structure was affected by the changes prompting the elders, revered the wise magi of the community, to resonate objections. However, as it has done for years, Besao endured such drastic transformation and adapted its own ways to weave back its waning culture and traditions onto its ongoing industrial modernization. 41

“ The program is unlike others that came. It revived our bayanihan system because in the process we needed to work together for a common cause, for our community, without any payment. ” _Modesto Gaab, MPDC Cultural Revival “The coming of projects and programs before, be it government or not, shattered some of the cultural practices once shared by communities,” Modesto Gaab, the town’s Municipal Project Development Coordinator, said. In particular, Gaab mentioned the vanishing practice of the “og-ogbo” and the “galatis” which are Besao’s version of the “bayanihan.” Before, a farmer shares the labor of toiling a neighbor’s field for free then they both work on his soil after but now, people till their own land, Gaab lamented. Infrastructure projects such as concrete roads have sort of created an easier access for a farmland because of its proximity to road but not to the other. This prompts the farmer farther away from the access road to dedicate more effort in developing his own land since it needs more work than the one near the road. This resulted to a demand for paid labor which fostered the need to compensate efforts thus weaning the “og-ogbo” and “galatis” practices, Gaab said. However, the entry of the Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) spun a revitalization of these practices through its Community Enhancement Activity Cycle (CEAC), it main tool in implementation. “The program is unlike others that came. It revived our bayanihan system because in the process we needed to work together for a common cause, for our community, without any payment,” Gaab explained. Launched in Besao in 2010, the Kalahi-CIDSS fosters local empowerment through community volunteerism which is considered the main project of the program.Gaab said it was not easy at first but people got caught up in the process and soon sub-projects were 42

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