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Embracing Pre-Philippine/Pre-Colonial Culture for Sustainability and Diversity

Embracing Pre-Philippine/Pre-Colonial Culture for Sustainability and Diversity

In an increasingly interconnected world, the importance of cultural representation cannot be overstated. For Filipinx, this means reconnecting with our pre-Philippine/pre-colonial culture and embracing the core principles of balance and sustainability embedded within it. We want to shed light on the significance of these principles and how they can guide us towards a more diverse and sustainable representation of Filipino culture, countering the monolithic portrayals often seen in mainstream media.

Beyond Stereotypes

It's no secret that Hollywood and mainstream media have often portrayed Filipino culture in limited, stereotypical ways, perpetuating one-dimensional narratives that fail to capture the depth and diversity of our culture. From the "exotic islander" trope to the constant focus on maids and nurses in pop culture, these depictions do not reflect the complex history and cultural diversity of the Philippines. Add the representation of Filipino culture that has been very “Manila-centric” over the decades, what has been failing is the presentation of other Indigenous communities that the Philippines is made of.

Embracing our pre-Philippine/pre-colonial culture allows us to challenge these stereotypes by presenting a more holistic image of who we are. The Philippines is not a monolithic entity but a nation comprising various ethnic groups, each with its unique traditions, languages, and practices. We honor this diversity and assert our multifaceted identity.

Balance and Sustainability

One of the most striking features of pre-Philippine/pre-colonial culture is the emphasis on balance and sustainability. These principles were deeply ingrained in the daily lives of our ancestors, and they offer valuable lessons for our modern world grappling with environmental challenges.

Pre-colonial communities understood the importance of maintaining harmony within their ecosystems. They practiced sustainable agriculture, fishing, and forestry, ensuring that they did not deplete natural resources beyond their capacity for regeneration. In these societies, balance extended beyond the environment to interpersonal relationships. Conflict resolution and consensus-building were key components of community life, promoting social stability and cohesion. Our ancestors embraced a wide array of belief systems, languages, and artistic expressions. This diversity enriched their societies and fostered creativity.

Balancing Representation

When we look at the way our culture is often portrayed in the diaspora, it's clear that balance is often sacrificed for sensationalism. We take something representative of ourselves and amplify it to an extreme, which can perpetuate misunderstandings and misrepresentations.

How to draw from the core principle of balance? How do we present the diversity of our traditions, beliefs, and practices? Whether it's celebrating the indigenous cultures of the Cordilleras, the maritime practices of the Visayas, or the artistic traditions of Mindanao, every facet of our pre-Philippine/pre-colonial heritage deserves recognition.

Sustainability for the Future

In an age marked by environmental crises and cultural homogenization, embracing the sustainability principles of our ancestors becomes increasingly relevant. By applying these principles to our modern lives, we can work towards a more sustainable future for both our culture and the planet. We can learn from pre-Philippine/pre-colonial agricultural practices that nurtured the land rather than depleting it. By adopting sustainable farming techniques and reducing waste, we contribute to a healthier environment.

We support revitalizing pre-colonial languages, arts, and traditions, we ensure that future generations have a connection to their history and ancestral knowledge. This cultural sustainability is crucial for maintaining our identity. The emphasis on social harmony can guide us in building more inclusive and equitable communities. Recognizing the value of consensus-building and cooperation, we can address social issues more effectively.

Embracing our pre-Philippine/pre-colonial culture is not a rejection of progress but an affirmation of our identity and a source of valuable wisdom from our elders. By centering the principles of balance and sustainability in our cultural revival, we can contribute to a more diverse and sustainable representation of Filipino culture. This not only counters harmful stereotypes but also paves the way for a more harmonious future for Filipinx communities everywhere.

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Indigenous Motiffs and Understanding The Origins

Indigenous Motiffs and Understanding The Origins

Indigenous motifs in the Philippines have a deep history that dates back to precolonial times. These motifs can be seen in various forms of art, including pottery, weaving, and tattoos. Understanding the origins of these motifs is important in understanding the cultural identity of the Philippines and recognizing the living traditions of Indigenous communities to the country's art and culture.

Pottery is one of the oldest forms of art in the Philippines, with evidence of pottery-making dating back to the Neolithic period. Indigenous pottery-making techniques have been passed down through generations, and many of the motifs used in pottery are rooted in Indigenous beliefs and traditions. For example, the "sarimanok" motif, which depicts a mythical bird, is a common motif in Maranao pottery. The sarimanok is believed to represent good fortune and protection, and its image is often used in traditional Maranao rituals.

Similarly, weaving is another ancient art form in the Philippines that has been passed down through generations. The intricate designs and patterns used in weaving often have symbolic meanings that reflect Indigenous beliefs and traditions. For example, the "binakol" pattern, which is common in different communities in the Northern Philippines, is mostly seen in Abra and Ilocos. The patterns can be interpreted as unity of the people, while some have spiritual interprestations. The pattern features a series of interlocking squares, which could mean symbolizing the interconnectedness of communities or confusing unwanted spirits.

Tattooing is another traditional art form in the Philippines that has a long history among indigenous communities. Tattoos were used for both symbolic and aesthetic purposes, and many of the designs used in traditional Filipino tattoos are based on Indigenous motifs. For example, some of the "batok" tattoos of the Kalinga people feature intricate geometric designs that are believed to offer protection and strength.

Many of these Indigenous motifs have been incorporated into contemporary Filipino art and design, but it is our responsibility to acknowledge and to recognize their origins and the cultural significance they hold. By understanding the history and meaning behind these motifs, we can better appreciate the pre-Philippines narrative and the resilience Indigenous communities in art and culture. These traditional art forms and motifs are vital in maintaining our cultural identity.


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Weaving and Wellness: Unraveling the Meditative Magic

Weaving and Wellness: Unraveling the Meditative Magic

As I sit here, reflecting on my encounters with weaving communities over the past eight years, I am filled with awe and admiration for the profound connection between weaving and wellness. Beyond the intricate beauty visible to the naked eye, I have realize that Filipino indigenous weaving is an art form that nurtures not only the body but also the mind and soul of its practitioners.

In the presence of Indigenous master weavers around the Philippines, I have witnessed the birth of creativity and the craftsmanship that goes into each intricately woven textile but what truly captivates me is the meditative state that weavers effortlessly slip into as they rhythmically move back and forth, interlacing threads to form the patterns. It is a form of meditation that goes unnoticed by many, yet it holds the power to clear the mind and nurture the soul.

The process of weaving demands an incredible amount of focus and attention to detail. With each deliberate movement, the weaver enters a realm of tranquility and harmony, where worries and distractions cease to exist. The act of weaving becomes a channel for complete immersion, transporting the weaver into a state of heightened awareness, much like a form of moving meditation.

In the weaving communities, there is a profound respect for the art and its connection to the natural world. The intricate patterns are often inspired by the beauty of nature, ancestral knowledge, and the daily lives of the community. Every strand of thread seems to hold a story, carefully woven into the fabric, capturing the heart of their surroundings.


One such example is the T'boli Dreamweavers of Lake Sebu. Aptly named, these weavers seamlessly blend their dreams with their craft. As they intertwine vibrant colors and delicate patterns, they infuse their dreams and aspirations into every creation. The result is a tapestry of woven dreams, reflective of the weavers' hopes, aspirations, and the collective spirit of their community.

It is through this ancient practice of weaving that the weavers find solace, healing, and a profound sense of well-being. The act of weaving becomes a conduit for self-expression, creativity, and a deep connection to their living traditions. In the gentle rhythm of the loom, they discover a sanctuary for their minds, allowing thoughts to flow freely and new ideas to bloom.

Weaving is a powerful catalyst for holistic wellness. It offers a respite from the noise of daily life, allowing weavers to reconnect with their inner selves and find a harmonious balance. The repetitive motion of the loom becomes a soothing balm for the soul, gently guiding the weavers into a state of mindfulness and serenity.

As I continue to witness the world of weaving and wellness, I am reminded of the transformative power of Indigenous practices like this. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, they carry within them the ability to heal. The weavers, with their deft hands and focused minds, weave not just threads but also wellness, connecting communities and generations.

There is a hidden magic within the dance of threads on a loom. The meditative power of weaving brings quiet moments that true wellness is born, nurtured and woven into the the beautiful fabric of our existence.

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Nanay Myrna and the T'boli community

Nanay Myrna and the T'boli community

🌿 Nanay Myrna B. Pula, also known as Aning Bebing, a descendant of the T'boli tribe from Mindanao. Born in Lambisol village, now part of Lake Sebu, Philippines, she witnessed the beauty of her culture and land. She is a storyteller and we always enjoy listening to her stories when we visit. She also carries a deep anguish for the assault on their heritage, the desecration of their environment, and the struggle for their people's survival.


Despite these challenges, Nanay Myrna is determined to make a difference. She believes in a master plan that will reverse this oppression. At its core is a change of heart and a return to their roots. It's not about going back, but learning from the past, honoring wisdom that flows through their blood.

Nanay Myrna envisions a Heritage Center—more than just preserving traditions, but a small movement within the larger plan. It aims to identify experts in arts, crafts, and performing arts who will teach arts to the youth and pass on their knowledge. This vital cultural transfer will be closely monitored and directed to ensure its success.

In solidarity with Nanay Myrna and the T'boli community, every T'boli piece purchased from Daily Malong is a contribution to the T'boli people of Lake Sebu and the community where Nanay Myrna hails from. Together, we can create a life-giving force that resonates through generations. 🌍🙌

#CulturalRevival #SustainableFuture #TboliPride #FilipinoWeaving #DreamWeavers #TboliCommunity #Filipinx

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Being Queer is Indigenous

Being Queer is Indigenous

Queerness in Filipino Indigenous communities has been traditionally viewed in a positive light in the roles of shamans, healers, and spiritual leaders. These individuals are seen as having a duality that represents balance and is a bridge to connect the earth with the divine.

In these communities, queer individuals have the capacity to embody feminine or masculine energies from the spiritual realm, which are manifested through the tone of their chants and movements. The idea of duality is not limited to gender but also extends to the balance of nature, the spiritual and physical realms, and the complementary energies that exist in the universe.

Being queer was never an issue to Indigenous communities in the Philippines. The categorization of gender is a Western construct that was introduced during the colonial period. Prior to this, gender roles were more fluid and flexible, and individuals were not defined solely by their biological sex.

Today, we continue to see the impact of colonialism on the Filipinx LGBTQ+ community. Many queer Filipinx face discrimination and marginalization, particularly in urban areas where Western ideals of gender and sexuality have taken hold. However, the traditional acceptance of queerness in Indigenous communities serves as a powerful reminder that gender and sexuality are not static but rather fluid and multifaceted.

Queer individuals in Filipinx Indigenous communities continue to play important roles in modern society as healers, artists, and cultural leaders. Their unique perspectives and experiences bring joy and color to the world, reminding us that diversity is a strength to be celebrated, that fluidity is an ancestral knowledge. As we work towards creating a more inclusive society, we can learn from the examples set by Indigenous communities and their acceptance of queerness as a natural and positive aspect of human experience.

Image by Guerrilla Pump, Styled by: Elle Karayan, Model: Larry Mallari

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