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‘Learning and growing at an IP center is a step closer to my dreams’

I am Jovith Linggay, a 13-year-old student at the Apu Palamguwan Cultural Education Center (APC). I finished Kindergarten to fifth grade at the APC connecting school in Nabawang and continued my sixth grade at APC Bendum. I am a Grade 7 student now.

Since my village is a three-to-four-hour walk to the APC school in Bendum, I was offered a home to stay at the Dalēpaan while studying in high school. The Dalēpaan is a long house for youth like me who come from different Indigenous groups and wish to study at APC.

This is where we share traditions and activities and build relationships with each other in a cultural way of living. This is also our learning place.

At APC, I learn about organic farming, enriching cultural living, and moral values in life. I also face challenges in my learning, such as learning how to do handicrafts for our subject Sa Panginabuhian Day (Livelihood Education) subject.

I persevered to learn to handcraft art and just completed making handmade farm hats using pandan leaves as material. Making an indigenous farm hat was new to me, and I had to be very careful as the leaves have numerous spines along the edges. I strived hard to learn and not to give up.

This learning equips students with craft-making skills that can be used to earn a living or even start a business in the future. I learn many things at school, including organic farming practices such as applying only organic fertilizers like vermicast and compost.

In our Natural Resources Management subject, we have on-field learning where we do gardening, plant a variety of vegetables, and cultivate the garden. In class, we learn about the mountains, water, and trees and know who the owners of lands are and the boundaries of our ancestral domain.

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Although I face various challenges, I persevere because I know that my learning will help me in the future, and I always aim to do well in my studies. I am grateful that my parents want me to study in a culture-based school like APC.

It is a blessing that materials for school projects can be found in the environmental resources around us and the projects enrich our knowledge and provide opportunities to learn new skills.

I enjoy studying Science, Araling Panlipunan, Filipino, and English. I learned that the earth is rich in resources that we must protect. I also discovered many fascinating places around the world and listened to interesting stories.

I gained confidence in speaking English, and can effectively communicate with visitors from other countries, not just by answering “yes” or “no”. I can now speak basic English.

Living in the Dalēpaan requires maintaining good relationships with others and taking care of our health through proper hygiene. I acquired various skills that enabled me to assist my mother with household chores.

She is happy when she sees me helping and being disciplined. I used to be lazy, but now I always help my mother whenever I’m at home so she doesn’t have to do everything herself.

I want to achieve my dreams so that I can support my parents. When I start a family, I want to be able to provide them with a better life and guide them to success.

Completing my education is a top priority for me, and once I have secured a job, I will work tirelessly to support my family. My parents have always encouraged me to complete my studies, and I want to fulfill their wish.

I aspire to become a doctor because I like Science and English, and I believe that I can excel in this field.

Jovith is a member of the Pulangiyēn Indigenous community in the southern Philippines.

This article was from an interview conducted in the Bisaya language by APC staff Joey Murillo who also did the translation to English.

The Apu Palamguwan Cultural Education Center (APC) is a non-profit organization registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission since 2004 and gained formal recognition from the Department of Education the same year to operate an Indigenous Peoples school.  Through discussions with the tribal council and their committee on education, APC’s vision, mission, philosophy and goals were crafted. The work started in 1992 under Environmental Science for Social Change and continues as a Jesuit-run organization committed to right relations to the land.

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