Aeta “warriors” in Central Luzon preparing for World Indigenous Games

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT-- More than 100 "warriors" from six Aeta tribes trooped to a "battle ground" in Hermosa, Bataan, to join this year's Haribol Katutubo, a sports festival using indigenous weapons.

Wearing only G-strings, locally known as "bahag," the all-male participants arrived Saturday in batch from Aeta tribal communities in Iram, Old Cabalan, New Cabalan and Mampueng in Olongapo City; from Tribong Ayta in Angeles City, and from Pastolan in Hermosa, Bataan, the host tribe.

Col. Jeff Tamayo, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), said the event was very similar to World Indigenous Games (WIG), the indigenous peoples' sports festival held in Brazil last year.

Tamayo said aside from Pastolan, other Haribol Katutubo, Protecting the Natural Heritage games would be held in other areas.

He said the primary purpose of Haribol Katutubo is to gather all the tribal groups in one event so that the young generation could learn from the adults in preserving their heritage and perpetuate traditions.

"They, the young and the adults in the tribes, could have a common area to transfer the heritage from the adults, such as the protection of the forests," he said.

The sporting event included bow and arrow competitions that require the participant to hit the target in different distances while, standing, sitting, squatting, running and even while standing in the branch of a tree. There were also competitions in spear throwing and using blowguns that fire light projectiles or darts.

Winners from Central Luzon will also join the competition in UP Diliman, Quezon City with participants from indigenous communities from the North Luzon and other parts of the country.

This is in preparation for the WIG to be held this year in Colombia.

Tamayo said when people like lowlanders see natives carrying a bow and arrow, the impression is aggressiveness.

However, for me bow and arrow is part of a culture. When you join an Aeta boy to this kind of sports, he is not only joining the game but also learning what his ancestors did to hunt for food. Then we are also taking care of those heritage," Tamayo said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency