ILOILO City – A documentary film has featured the world of the Iraynon Bukidnon, an indigenous peoples’ (IP) community in Barangay Gen. Fullon, San Remegio, Antique.
Pátok (The Mountain Carvers) showed the hidden treasure of 600-hectare rice terraces carved by the Iraynon Bukidnon in the middle of Antique’s mountains.
The film put together the stories of the IPs, said writer and director Emmanuel Lerona last week.
Having stepped foot on the IP community in Barangay Gen. Fullon in 2015 and through conversations with the tribal leader Julito Bayog, Lerona was convinced that the IPs and their rice terraces deserved to be known by a wider audience.
Meanwhile, film consultant Kevin Piamonte said mountain carving in Antique has commonalities with the famous Banaue Rice Terraces.
“We are so far away from Banaue and yet, you see the commonality, diversity, unity among Filipinos,” Piamonte added.
Joyce Christine Colon, history professor of the West Visayas State University-La Paz and a consultant of the film, said Pátok underscored the importance of ancestral lands to the life of the IPs.
Colon added IPs usually fight for their ancestral lands and even after a hundred years, they use the same technology or technique in mountain carving.
“They still have the same technology in building rice terraces because land is important to them. Land is life, and if you take away the land, you take away the life,” Colon added.
“They still do rice terracing because it is part of their culture and that land does not only contain the concept of life but the cultural memories of their ancestors,” she said.
Colon added that Panay Island has two IP groups: the Ati and the Panay Bukidnon.
Panay Bukidnon is the “generic term” that refers to the IPs in the mountains of Panay provinces.
Colon said “tumandoks” or natives in the mountains of Antique referred to themselves as the Iraynon Bukidnons.
She added there was no definite data yet of the population of the Iraynon Bukidnon “but I am very sure that they are located only here in the villages of Antique.”
Aside from the mountain carving technique, Pátok also uncovered other intangible heritage of the IP group, and their thirst for education, preservation and integration.
Lerona said that before bringing the film to Iloilo, it was first shown at Barangay Gen. Fullon on Jan. 2019.
“We are glad that we have the reviews of the film when it was shown in Antique,” he added.
The film was supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Commission on Higher Education through its Institutional Development and Innovation Grant, and by the University of the Philippines-Visayas Division of Humanities.(With a report from PNA/PN)