The Department of Science and Technology Region XI, through the Provincial Science and Technology Office (PSTO) Davao del Sur, conducted Cultural Awareness Training for its employees and collaborators to heighten their cultural knowledge and sensitivity to various tribes present in the Davao Region.
The seminar featured resource speakers from the Blaan and Bagobo tribes where they shared the essential customs of their culture that other people should learn so that they may act appropriately when trying to explore their culture.
“This activity is an opportunity to learn and understand the culture of our people from the Bagobo and Blaan tribes,” said Ms. Leslie Cancio, Head of PSTO Davao del Sur.
As a subject of many regional research projects, Bai Baby Jerlina Owok, Indigenous People’s Chieftain and a member of the Binaton Bagobo Tagabawa Farmers Livelihood Association, said they would sometimes feel disrespected when visitors and researchers do not undergo the necessary procedures before exploring their culture.
“I hope this activity will somehow teach you something that you will remember when you do research activities in the future,” she added.
Other resource speakers include Susana Amban of the Bagobo’s Association, Fryan Sumbong, a researcher on the Ethno-veterinary Practices of the Blaan tribe, and Roel Apas, an IT graduate researching the Ethical Leadership of the Blaan Tribe.
The resource speakers highlighted the customs and practices of the tribes, including their language, their traditional clothing, the political structure of the tribes, the common rituals, and the sanctity of their places and plants.
The activity is expected to strengthen the knowledge of DOST XI staff and its pentahelix collaborators from the government, academe, industry, media, and civil society organization, especially when conducting research on the tribes’ culture and practices.