Photo by Michael Estupigan
By Railon Deniega
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 (SOS) 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 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) together with the Colegio’s Vice President for Religious Affair and coordinator for Lumads Rev. Fr. John Stephen Besa, O.P. and Asst. Prof. Jeremy Imbong took the lead for a welcome ceremony entitled as “Salubungan.”
Legal Studies Chairperson Asst. Prof. Clarita Rivera shared to the LANCE how her students welcomed our friends 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 tapos pinaupo na sila roon sa Salon de Actos,” Rivera said.
Rivera set house rules for the Lumads as they will stay 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,” Rivera added.
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 attend 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.
The Lumad students also attended a post-card activity wherein they were asked to think of a significant person from their lives whom they have a conflict with. After which, they were tasked to write the name of the person in a provided paper.
“After nilang sabihin ‘yon, nag-sharing na lahat. And 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,” she added.
To holistically motivate and uplift our friends 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, some expressed their gratitude to teachers and students of the Colegio and most especially to Asst. Prof. Jerry Imbong for his hospitability.
The art expression activity was facilitated by Letran Psychology Society (LPS), Letran Legal Management Society, Letran Politicvs, and Ms. Giselle Manguiat of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Before the Lumad delegates and Bakwit students capped off their day, they watched musical performances, documentaries, short films produced by the students of Institute of Communication.