The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) alongside the Department of Tourism’s Tourism Promotions Board (DOT-TPB) and other partner agencies initiated the regional launching of Project “Epanaw” or “Journey” on Sunday, March 21.
Project Epanaw is a tribute to the 101 Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) in the Philippines with the launching of three coffee table books that showcase their stories through their own eyes since these were authored by the communities themselves.
The three volumes entitled “Pagkilala” (Recognize), “Paggalang (Respect), and Pagtaguyod (Promote) feature every IP Community in the country, their culture, traditions, livelihood, and their ancestral homelands.
NCIP Chairperson Sec. Allen Capuyan, in a press release, said Project Epanaw seeks to “memorialize the identities and rituals of the indigenous peoples as well as highlight the importance of protecting their ancestral domains.”
Meanwhile the DOT-TPB, NCIP’s partner in the publication of the coffee table books, expressed full commitment in sustaining its partnership with the Commission in strengthening programs geared towards the recognition and promotion of ICCs/IPs.
Tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat also stressed the importance of strengthening documentation of ICCs/IPs through their own perspectives to “shake off the misinformation and unjust stereotypes.”
This project is a milestone for NCIP as it also emphasizes the protection of ICC/IP’s rights in the community, which they are optimistic that the public will acknowledge.
For Mary Ann Delos Santos, NCIP-Palawan Officer-in-charge, the Project Epanaw, as much as it this is significant in promoting appreciation towards the IP groups in the province, will also help spark discussion on issues that our own Indigenous Peoples are experiencing.
Delos Santos said the coffee table books will be distributed among the nine IP communities in the province and partner offices of NCIP-Palawan such as the Provincial and City Government and Tourism Offices, Provincial PNP, Palawan State University, among others.
Aside from the unveiling of the books, which according to NCIP are “probably the most comprehensive anthology of ethnographic information we have,” they also kicked-off the opening of the month-long photo exhibit that depicts the lives and profiles of ICCs/IPs in the Philippines.
The said launching was simultaneously conducted via Facebook live nationwide with regional offices and provincial organizations stationed at various SM malls.
Palaweños may enjoy, at the same time learn, from the peoples’ stories by visiting the NCIP booth at the lower ground level of SM City-Puerto Princesa.