October 29, 2019—Members of Tucduan, together with the Rotary Club of Tanay, Masungi Georeserve Foundation and its community development partners, inaugurate the School of Living Traditions in Barangay Cuyambay in Tanay, Rizal.
Eleonor Atencio, Local Project Coordinator of School of Living Traditions, explaining the importance of putting up the school for upland communities during its inauguration.
The School of Living Traditions is a physical school where the Dumagat-Remontado of all ages can preserve and strengthen their cultural heritage and their indigenous language, Dumaget. It is created for awareness through executing a learning curriculum of the Dumagat-Remontado traditions which will initially be for members of the tribe and eventually grow to accommodate locals and visitors.
In the inauguration, the Dumagat-Remontados and honorable guests were happy to officially open the doors of School of Living Traditions for the upland communities.
Rosemarie Juco, Community-based Coordinator of School of Living Traditions saying her thanks to the contributors of the project.
The School of Living Tradition would not have been possible without the help of people who are passionate about keeping the Filipino culture alive. Engineers from Masungi Georeserve Foundation and its mother company, Blue Star Development Corporation, contributed in structuring and providing the batteries needed for the school. Noel Molina, a strong supporter and volunteer of Masungi, also extended his help in the project.
Sef Carandang, Trustee and Adviser for Community Development and Gender for Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation (PRRCF) and Giancarlo Gapco, owner of Calriger Technologies, gave their valuable time and expertise to install local solar lights in the school. Gapco also conducted a workshop for the Dumagatan-Remontados on how to use the lights.
Last June 10, Sef Carandang and Giancarlo Gapco installed solar lights in the School of Living Traditions. (Photos from Sef Carandang @sefyrrr)
National Master Plumbers Association of the Philippines (NAMPAP) also put their best foot forward to make this project possible.
With all the efforts of these people and organizations, the School of Living Traditions was able to raise P65,000 for an initiative that will not just last a day but would forever flourish in the minds and hearts of the upland communities and Filipinos.
Local Identity and Rootedness of the Upland Communities
A few years back, Masungi Georeserve was joined by young friends from the Dumagat-Remontado tribe as they explored the areas surrounding their landscape. With the aim to be better grounded in their local heritage and its larger role in the Filipino identity, it came to their attention that the Dumagat culture and practices were quickly disappearing. Young Dumagat-Remontados no longer speak Dumaget, understand the intricate interrelationship of life in the wild, and have knowledge of indigenous plants that their forefathers used to have.
This knowledge pushed Masungi and other contributors to contribute to realize School of Living Traditions to instill strong local identity and keep the roots of the upland communities reaching their next generations.
Enriching Culture and Beyond
Teachers, youth, and leaders of the Tucduan are great inspirations and encouragement for Filipinos to love their heritage. Without their enthusiasm in enriching their culture and heritage, the School of Living Traditions would not have been what it is today: a flame that sparks passion for our own.
Masungi Georeserve practices geotourism—it is tourism that sustains and enhances the distinctive geographical character of a place which includes its environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture, and the well-being of surrounding communities. They continue to reach out to upland communities around their area and see the importance of keeping cultural traditions alive.