Photo by Michael Estupigan/The LANCE.
THE LETRAN Community welcomed the delegates of the Lumad Tribe last October. The week-long visitation is part of the latter's project—the Bakwit School. The visitation was initiated by the Save Our Schools Network.
The Lumad delegates were fetched from Katipunan Parish Church before they attended the ceremony at the Salon de Actos.
The faculty and students of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) together with Vice President for Religious Affairs and coordinator for Lumads, Rev. Fr. John Stephen Besa, O.P., and Asst. Prof. Jeremy Imbong took the lead for a welcome ceremony entitled “Salubungan".
In an interview with The LANCE, Legal Studies Chairperson, Asst. Prof. Clarita Rivera shared how her students welcomed the delegates from Mindanao.
“Iyong mga estudyante ko from PL1A, pinag-partner ko sa mga Lumad. Ang tawag ko roon ay 'Buddy, Buddy'. It is one way of showing that they are welcome here,” Rivera said.
Rivera set house rules for the Lumads as they stayed in the Colegio for three days and two nights at the Physical Education Rooms of Blessed Antonio Varona Gymnasium.
“Iyong mga Lumad, binigyan sila ng mga utility kit coming from CLAS faculty and students. Pagkatapos ay lahat ng meal nila from day one to day three; breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, were provided by CLAS faculty members and students,” she told The LANCE.
Rivera highlighted that the faculty members, students, and the Lumads’ exposure to diverse culture have produced a communal bond and sense of belongingness in all of the parties present.
Furthermore, the Lumad Bakwit students attended an art expression activity at the Del Pilar Hall. The activity kicked off with a getting-to-know phase for the Letranites and Lumad Bakwit students.
Lumads were also gathered in a post-card activity in which they were asked to think of a significant person from their lives whom they have a conflict with. After this, they were tasked to write the name of the person in a provided paper.
“After nilang sabihin ‘yon, nag-sharing na lahat. Most of their sharings ay related sa discrimination, justice, tungkol kay Rodrigo Duterte, na sinasabi nila na bakit parang hindi totoo ang sinasabi ni Rodrigo Duterte na magkakasundo pero sinisira ‘yong eskwelahan nila, pinapatay ‘yong mga kaklase nila tapos kinakasuhan ‘yong mga teacher nila,” Asst. Prof. Giselle Manguiat said.
To holistically motivate and uplift the delegates from Mindanao, they attended a ‘self-care bag’ activity where they draw at the provided canvas bags to express themselves.
The Lumads then shared their positive thoughts and made an encouraging statement about the warm welcome of different schools. Most of them expressed their gratitude to teachers and students of the Colegio and especially to Asst. Prof. Jerry Imbong for his hospitability.
The art expression activity was facilitated by the Letran Psychology Society, Letran Legal Management Society, Letran Politicus, and Asst. Prof. Giselle Manguiat of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Before the Lumad Bakwit students and delegates capped off their day, they watched musical performances, documentaries, short films performed and produced by the students of the Institute of Communication.