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School of Living Traditions: Safeguarding Meranaw culture amid modernization

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)--In the seam of time when everything goes along innovation and sustainability of some noble culture becomes a struggle, the Bangsamoro Commission for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (BCPCH) - Lanao del Sur has stepped up to the challenge and is eyeing to advance the School of Living Traditions (SLT) to nurture and pass on the legacy of Maranaos.

BCPCH-Lanao del Sur Commissioner Robert Alonto stressed that the SLT is crucial, especially in their enforcement of culture-centered programs, as this is the sole means to safeguard the dissipating cultural heritage of the Bangsamoro region, particularly of Lanao del Sur province, amid modernization and institutional neglect. 

“This is the only way that we can preserve the cultural heritage by establishing itong (this) school of living traditions para ang skills ng ninuno natin or ang mga artisan natin ngayon ay ma-transfer nila sa new generation at hindi mawawala ang ganoong klaseng heritage (so that the skills of our ancestors and artisans now will be transferred to the new generation and this kind of cultural heritage will not vanish),” he said. 

Alonto shared that in realizing their aim, they have already stirred all provinces in the region to take advantage of the SLTs where they could foster their culture by harnessing and instilling new skills in locals.

An exemplary model of this was the four-day skills training on baor making led by the BCPCH-Lanao del Sur for ten residents of Tugaya town.

Here, participants were taught by a master artisan how to produce a baor or a wooden box carved with intricate Meranaw designs. 

Earlier, the same office also spearheaded a three-day training on langkit weaving for dwellers of Marawi City. 

Apart from all these, the BCPCH-Lanao del Sur likewise looked forward to conducting more training sessions for tiyatag and okir making.

Alonto underscored that they have been focusing on building linkages with local government units (LGUs) to make the transmission of skills possible first and perhaps expand, later on, to extend aid to artisans in terms of easing their accessibility to the needed raw materials.

“We have more training ahead of us as we consolidate our partnership with the local government and other agencies, and then institutionalize itong (this) School of Living Traditions so that ang mga living traditions natin, ang mga iniwan sa atin ng ating mga ninuno ay hindi mawala (our living traditions, those left by our ancestors will not vanish). This will be continued by the new generation,” he said. (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

One of the curricula incorporated by Bangsamoro Commission for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (BCPCH) - Lanao del Sur in the province's School of Living Traditions is the baor making which encourages residents, especially those in Tugaya, Lanao del Sur, to make more baor or intricately designed wooden box. (PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

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Claire Gigje

Information Officer I

Region 10

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