SMU-LMCDAC Celebrates IP Youth as Agents of Change for Self-Determination

      Saint Mary’s University celebrated the Ethnicity and Museum Week last October 23-28, 2023, with the theme: “IP Youth as Agents of Change for Self-Determination.” The event started with the Ethnicity Mass at the Tonus Gymnasium, co-sponsored by the School of Accountancy and Business (SAB) Week. Rev. Fr. Crispin A. Costales, the IP Director of the Diocese of Bayombong, was the celebrant, and he emphasized in his homily connectedness and unity amidst cultural diversity.

The opening program was held at the Marian Park, and the blessing of the Museo de Maria was held after the eucharistic celebration on October 23. Dr. Christopher Allen S. Marquez formally opened the week, and Fr. Costales led the blessing of the Museo de Maria. A community dance, led by the BIBAK members, came after the formal opening. Present during the blessing of the Museo de Maria were Dr. John Octavious S. Palina (University President), Dr. John G. Tayaban (VP for Administration), Rev. Fr. Philip A. Yu, Jr. (VP for Mission and Identity), Dr. Moises Alexander T. Asuncion (VP for Academic Affairs), the different administrative personnel, faculty, staff, and students.

There were contested activities participated in by the students. In the afternoon of October 23, the painting competition was judged and Miss Erika Noelle A. Lunag emerged as the champion, receiving the grand prize of Php 7,500.00. The essay writing contest in English and Filipino organized by the Junior High School Department. An intercultural and cultural quiz bee was also administered last October 26, 2023, at the San Pedro Calungsod Hall, where participants from SHANS emerged as champions of the two contests. The Languages, and Social Sciences and Philosophy Departments administered the event.

An IP Rights and Self-Determination seminar was held at the Sacred Heart Center last October 24, 2023 hosted by the Social Sciences and Philosophy Department and co-sponsored by the Commission on Human Rights Region 2 (CHR02). The speakers during the seminar were Atty. Marie Grace Marcos (CHR02) and Atty. Joyce D. Bunnag (SMU Alumna). An IP Youth Summit was co-hosted with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Indigenous People (CBCP-ECIP). Nineteen delegates from the different dioceses of the Sierra Madre and other representatives across the Philippines joined. Among the participants were from Malolos (6), Nakar (3), Bayombong (1), Zambales (2), and Mindoro (7). During the summit, Rev. Fr. Earl Alan Cura discussed matters on Laudato Si, Mr. Tony Abuso, and Mr. Red Salonga. Meanwhile, the Senior High School Students conducted a Cultural Sensitivity Seminar, and the invited resource speaker was Mrs. Mikara J. Dulay on October 25.

The premiere of the Teatro Katutubo’s musical production entitled Dalaydayan was staged at the Sacred Heart Center and continued until October 27.

The Ethnicity and Museum Week’s end was celebrated with a Community Feast last October 27, 2023, at the Tonus Gymnasium.    Different presentations from BIBAK, SMU Chorale, and Dance Troup were showcased during the event. A Laga show was also facilitated by the School of Teacher Education and Humanities (STEH). Meanwhile, the Grade School and Junior High School Departments concluded their Ethnicity Week Celebration with a parade of national costumes and ethnic attire. Also included in the activities was the ground-breaking ceremony of the St. Anthony de Padua on October 28 at Sitio Pawak, Masoc, Nueva Vizcaya. It was presided by Fr. Evedi Awidan and attended by the residents and representatives from Junior and Senior High School and Teacher Education and Humanities Departments.

The Lingkod Maria Community Development and Advocacy Center (LMCDAC) led the week-long event.

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