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Friday, 11 August 2023

Panuhugtuhog:  Keeping Manobo's traditional beadworks sustainable

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur -- Recognizing the importance of reviving a long cultural heritage of the Manobo tribe in the province of Surigao del Sur, the provincial government through the Provincial Tourism Office took a brave step to preserve, promote, and sustain the traditional beadworks of the tribe called, "Panuhugtuhog," 

Panuhugtuhog is a time-honored art of creating intricate beadworks among the Manobo tribe. Each design provided a genuine meaning of its culture and tradition. More than a craft, it is a symbol of Surigaonons resilience, unity, and its rich cultural tapestry. 

The Provincial Tourism Office headed by Mary Vil Cruz-Chan knew that the success of this endeavor rested on the cooperation and involvement of the indigenous communities as this cultural art is close to their hearts. Hence, the said office decided to coordinate with the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), and together sincerely approached the elders of the tribes who are the keepers of this age-old art and sought their guidance and support.

Both Barangay Mampi council chair Danilo Duaso, and Barangay Chieftain Datu Alonso Badiang warmly welcomed the representatives from the Provincial Tourism Office,  as they explained their vision of preserving Panuhugtuhog and how it could become an essential aspect of the province's tourism industry while ensuring that the indigenous people will sustain the gains of respect, being valued, and empowerment. After a deep conversation, the elders and barangay council chieftains gave their nod of approval, realizing that the provincial government’s intention is pure and genuine.

The tribes agreed to participate in the revitalization of “Panuhugtuhog” in Sition Ibuan, an IP community in Barangay Mampi, Lanuza, Surigao del Sur, where the first training was conducted and the creation of the association of the Manobo weavers named as Ibuan Buhing Kultura Association or "IBUKA ."

The communities responded enthusiastically and workshops were organized by the provincial government An IP trainer, Daniel L. Tacbas patiently imparted his knowledge, skills, and expertise to the participants. The intricate patterns, traditional designs, and vibrant colors that once seemed lost in time were brought back to life, one bead at a time.

The tourism office played a pivotal role in providing the necessary resources, organizing events, and creating platforms for the communities to showcase their beadworks, which eventually provided additional livelihood to the IPs.They collaborated with local craftsmen and artisans to design modern pieces using the traditional Panuhugtuhog techniques, enabling them to appeal to a wider market without compromising authenticity.

After Sitio Ibuan, more IP communities started to do the Panuhugtuhog to name, Sitio Simowao Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga;

Brgy. Cabangahan, Cantilan; Brgy. Bayogo, Madrid; Sitio Mam-on Brgy. Tubo-Tubo, Cagwait; Brgy. Castillo, San Miguel; 
and Sitio Han-ayan KM-16, Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga, all in the province of Surigao del Sur.

Two more barangays in San Miguel town joined the cultural journey, Umalag and Sitio Inadan in Brgy. Magroyong. The most current was conducted earlier this month in Raja Cabungso-an, Lingig  town at the the southern-tip of the province. 

Expanding to a bigger horizon, in March 2022, the trained associations from the different IP communities participated in the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Marketing Enhancement Workshop and exhibited their masterpiece to a bigger audience. 

As time passed by, the revitalized beadwork art spread far and wide to other areas of the globe. Tourists, both local and international, flocked to witness the beautiful beadwork and listened to the stories behind each finished masterpiece . Also, the tourism office opened more opportiunities for arranged cultural exhibits where locals and visitors could interact, exchange stories, and form lasting connections. It has tied up with other government stakeholders to support and patronize the finished local products. 

Panuhugtuhog provided hope to struggling IP communities by providing them sustainable livelihood and support thus,  empowering them to invest in education, healthcare, and other basic essential needs for their families. Coupled by tourism revival in the province, it inspired the younger generation to take pride of their cultural roots and commit to carry the legacy forward. (Nida Grace P. Barcena/PIA-Surigao del Sur)