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Saint Mary’s University Marks Ethnicity and Museum Week with a Celebration of Indigenous Culture

    Saint Mary’s University (SMU) commemorated Ethnicity and Museum Week from October 23 to 28, 2023, under the theme “IP Youth as Agents of Change for Self-Determination,” celebrating and promoting the rich cultural heritage of indigenous communities.

The festivities commence with the Ethnicity Mass at the Tonus Gymnasium, co-sponsored by the School of Accountancy and Business (SAB) Week. 

Reverend Father Crispin A. Costales, the IP Director of the Diocese of Bayombong, presided over the Mass, emphasizing the significance of connectedness and unity amidst cultural diversity in his homily.

Afterwards, the opening program was held at Marian Park on October 23, which included the blessing of the Museo de Maria after the Eucharistic celebration. Dr. Christopher Allen S. Marquez officially opened the week, with Fr. Costales leading the blessing of the Museo de Maria. A community dance, led by the BIBAK members, followed the formal opening.

A series of activities engaged students throughout the week. On October 23, the painting competition took place, with Miss Erika Noelle Lunag emerging as the champion, winning the grand prize of Php 7,500.00. The Junior High School Department organized an essay writing contest in English and Filipino, and an intercultural and cultural quiz bee on October 26, where SHANS participants emerged as champions. The Languages, and Social Sciences and Philosophy Departments administered these events.

The Social Sciences and Philosophy Department, in collaboration with the Commission on Human Rights Region 2 (CHR02), hosted an IP Rights and Self-Determination seminar at the Sacred Heart Center on October 24, featuring speakers Atty. Marie Grace Marcos (CHR02) and Atty. Joyce D. Bunnag (SMU Alumna). The IP Youth Summit, co-hosted with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Indigenous People (CBCP-ECIP), brought together nineteen delegates from different dioceses across the Philippines. Notable participants included representatives from Malolos, Nakar, Bayombong, Zambales, and Mindoro. The summit covered discussions on Laudato Si, led by Rev. Fr. Earl Alan Cura, with insights from Mr. Tony Abuso and Mr. Red Salonga. Simultaneously, the Senior High School Students conducted a Cultural Sensitivity Seminar on October 25, featuring Mrs. Mikara J. Dulay as the resource speaker.

The week also featured the premiere of Teatro Katutubo’s musical production entitled “Dalaydayan” at the Sacred Heart Center, running until October 27.

Ethnicity and Museum Week concluded with a Community Feast on October 27 at the Tonus Gymnasium. The event showcased various presentations from BIBAK, SMU Chorale, and Dance Troupe. Additionally, the School of Teacher Education and Humanities (STEH) facilitated a laga show. The Grade School and Junior High School Departments concluded their Ethnicity Week Celebration with a parade of national costumes and ethnic attire. As part of the activities, a groundbreaking ceremony for St. Anthony de Padua took place on October 28 at Sitio Pawak, Masoc, Nueva Vizcaya. The ceremony, presided over by Fr. Evedi Awidan, was attended by residents and representatives from the Junior and Senior High School and Teacher Education and Humanities Departments.

The week-long celebration was spearheaded by the Lingkod Maria Community Development and Advocacy Center (LMCDAC), reinforcing the university’s commitment to promoting cultural diversity and fostering understanding and appreciation of indigenous traditions.

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