Sama-Bajau beneficiaries from Batangas City and Lucena City perform on-stage during the Pesta Igal, a cultural presentation of Sama-Bajau dance and music last October 24 at the Batangas City Convention Center, Batangas City.

Sama-Bajau beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) proved that they are no longer in the streets through a showcase of their talent and culture in the Pesta Igal 2016, a cultural presentation of Sama-bajau dance and music. This was held last October 24, 2016 in Batangas City Convention Center.

The Pesta Igal was organized by the DSWD Field Office IV-A in partnership with the local government of Batangas City in celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples Month.

With the theme, “Kulturang Sama-Bajau kilalanin, kanilang pag-unlad, sama-sama nating abutin”, 36 Sama-Bajau beneficiaries of the DSWD’s Comprehensive Program for Sama-Bajau from Batangas City and Lucena City performed in the event.

“This activity aims not only to showcase their vibrant culture and talent but to use this opportunity as a source of living. We also aspire that through this, the perspective of the public on the Sama-Bajau will change”. DSWD IV-A Regional Director Leticia Diokno shared.

Sama-Bajau is an Indigenous peoples group from the Mindanao and migrated to the urban areas in search for a better source of living.

Dressed in their colorful costumes, the Sama-Bajau showcased their various traditional dances such as the Lolai Baru, Kulintangan and Sikidum. The elders, on the other hand, played the kulintangan, a-gong and tambol.

“Ito pong Pesta Igal ay makatutulong po sa aming mga Bajau, dahil po dito, maipapakita po namin na hindi lang po kami namamalimos sa lansangan, may talento rin po kami. Sana po dumami pa po ang susuporta sa aming grupo,” said Pawjiya Jekerani, one of the performers.

The Sama-Bajau beneficiaries also call for the support of the public through inviting them to public events and gatherings where they can showcase their culture and talent, which can be an added source of income for most of them.

“Maaari po kaming tawagan sa 0999-174-6949 para imbitahan sa iba’t ibang mga activities,” shared Maribel Rebadio, a Sama Bajau, who stands as the Pesta Igal’s coordinator.

Dir. Diokno also emphasized the vital role of the different partners in the social development of the Sama-Bajau.

“We seek support from our partners on our endeavor to develop more accepting and culturally-sensitive host communities which will help the Sama-Bajau to improve their welfare,” she said.

The Comprehensive Program for Sama-Bajau is a pilot social technology project in the region implemented in 2013. This aims for the social development of the Sama-Bajau through integrating community-driven strategies to ensure their inclusion in the planning, programming, and policy making in the local level and give them access to basic services.

Currently, the program has 490 Sama-Bajau family-beneficiaries in Batangas City and Balayan in Batangas Province and in Lucena City in Quezon Province.#