July 12, 2023 (7:11 PM)

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HANDOG. A child giving an offering to one of the dancers during the “Love Dance of the Sama-Bajau” performance during the MuSEAkahan ‘23 last Friday, July 8, at the Bapa Benny Auditorium. Photo by Jerachris Megaela Rosal

Strengthening advocacies towards indigenous peoples’ (IP) inclusivity, Project DYESABEL celebrated its fifth anniversary by highlighting Sama-Bajaus’ music and culture in MuSEAkahan ’23 with the theme, “Kanta, Kwento, Kultura, Kalikasan.”

DYESABEL co-founder Amiel Lopez described how this activity is the flagship event of the organization, encouraging Mindanaoan artists to participate in exhibiting Sama-Bajau’s culture and tradition.

“The twist is that it’s a contest for a cause. It’s called MuSEAkahan because it’s a jive of two words, the music, and the sea,” Lopez said.

During the program, he urged society to be more open to the discourse of IP communities in the mainstream. 

“Us, as humans, we see them too, as humans. They need dignity, respect, love, and above all, the representation they want,” Lopez said.

“It’s really for the environment and also for the Sama-Bajau who see the ocean as their home,” he added.

Expanding linkages, an immediate past president of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Davao Gulf Arthur Zata expressed his delight in the “fostered” relationship between JCI and Dyesabel PH as both advocacies are supposedly “aligned” with each other. 

“Number one, [we are] for the IPs because JCI Davao Gulf is the only local organization that’s 100% composed of IPs. So, malalaki ang puso namin sa mga IP, all IPs in general kasama ‘jan ang mga kapatid natin na Sama-Bajau. Second, it is our advocacy to take care of environment considering that JCI Davao Gulf is situated in Jose Abad Santos, and we cover the entire davao gulf, and Dyesabel PH is also working for davao gulf, so sobrang align si JCI kay Dyesabel PH.”

Dyesabel PH co-founder Marvelous Camilo also stated how much these partnerships mean to them, stating how “no one is left behind” with these partnerships and sponsorships.

“So when I say no one is left behind, lahat kasama, kahit ano pang arts or crafts ang kanila, sinasali namin sila. So, it’s really a gathering of local mind artists to support local and prone Mindanao culture and arts,” he stated.

Furthermore, Lopez encouraged other people to join and be in solidarity with their causes.  

“There’s a reason why they’re here, and we’re working with different people. It’s a work in progress, and we hope there’s still hope in these causes for the Sama-Bajau community,” he told Atenews. 

As MuSEAkahan ’23 culminated, Camilo outlined the future initiatives of Dyesabel PH for the following years. 

“Actually, Dyesabel’s advocacy doesn’t stop with culture and arts in Mindanao. We are the melting pot of different cultures and traditions. However, our pillar doesn’t stop there.” 

Camilo also highlighted Dyesabel’s initiatives towards hygiene and sanitation, stating that the profit generated from MuSEAkahan will go towards building three much-needed restrooms for the Sama-Bajau community in Matina Aplaya, Davao City.

Moreover, they also plan to conduct seminars on sustainable livelihood to their stakeholders.

“We have sustainable livelihoods, wherein amon pod tudluan ang community on how to digitally market their ukay-ukay products and create ecofriendly products na dili makadaot sa ocean,” Camilo said.

This year’s MuSEAkahan is an event organized by Project Dyesabel PH hosted in Bapa Benny Tudtud Auditorium at Ateneo de Davao University on July 8, 2023.



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