The southernmost island of the Philippines has been inhabited for centuries by more than 50 tribes, and many of these tribes have struggled throughout history to get along with each other. When our friend, Bhen, was chosen to become Supreme Datu Kalambuan (Chief of Progress), and became responsible for managing much of the ancestral land of the Manobo, Banwaon, and TalaAndig tribes, he realized that before any progress could be made, he had to first work to increase the unity and collaboration of these tribes. Soon after he became the supreme chief, Datu Kalambuan asked Just Projects International to assist him in the management of his ancestral lands, and to use our Project: AK-47 to build schools to stop the soldiering recruitment of the tribal children. He also asked us to help him unite the three tribes to work together to protect their children and their environment, and to develop their lands to produce sustainable economic progress.
To begin this united collaboration, Datu Bhen decided that we needed to gather all of the chiefs and leaders together for a big celebration of unity, and a tribal congress to discuss the enlargement of their ancestral lands from 68,000 hectares to over 200,000, and to plan the building of many schools, prioritizing the villages in order to create greater peace, and rescue more children where the needs are greatest.
News spread, and over 1000 tribal people gathered for a weekend in Datu Bhen’s village of Tumalog. Many of the tribal leaders brought food and supplies to share with the greater community, but they were insufficient to sustain over 1000 people for the weekend. Just Projects International committed staff and finances to help feed the people and provide awards for the winners of all of the tribal games competition (sports, tribal dance and fashion). What a joy it was to see over 1000 people eating and celebrating together, building greater unity and the collaboration that will be needed to build their schools and develop their land and economy together.
History is being written and destiny is being shaped in the mountains of Mindanao, and we are so grateful to be a part of it. We are thankful that you have chosen to be a part of this as well. Thanks for taking this journey with us. We will continue to provide regular updates for you, and we invite you to share your comments on our website, as well as on our facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest pages.
- History Making in Mindanao
- Changing Destiny in Mindanao – One Village at a Time
- Mindanao tribal folk seek justice in Manila
- 200 Higaonons reconnect for protection of sacred site