Indigenous groups from nine Palawan tribes gathered to compete in the Indigenous Peoples Games 2023, which is being hosted at the Ramon V. Mitra Sports Complex in Puerto Princesa City.
The participating tribal groups included Agutaynen, Batak, Cagayanen, Cuyunon, Palaw’an, Tagbanua Calamianen, Tagbanua Central, and Tagbanua Tandulanen. The event featured various traditional games such as archery (pana), sibat (spear throwing), supok (blowgun use), pagbayo sa palay (rice pounding), santik, running, kadang-kadang, trumpo (spinning top), at pitsaw
The cultural sports event began with a parade of participants and a program attended by Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Richard Bachmann, along with PSC Commissioners Matthew Gaston, Bong Coo, Edward Hayco, and Walter Francis Torres.
In his address, Gaston emphasized that the main objective of the event is to both honor and safeguard the culture and rights of indigenous peoples. He stated the importance of showcasing the talents and customs of these communities.
“Nais kong tandaan ninyo na hindi lamang simpleng paglalaro ang nais nating mangyari dito, bagkus ay masariwa at mabuhay natin ang ating kultura at mapangalagaan ang karapatan ng ating mga Indigenous Peoples (IPs),” he told the IP participants.
Arnel Abrina, provincial indigenous peoples mandatory representative (IPMR), underlined the need to conserve each tribe’s cultural history.
He explained that the event is important in renewing and sustaining indigenous games in the province, ensuring that these traditions persist.
“Sa pamamagitan ng ganitong event ay unti-unting makikilala, ma fully recognized, ma promote, at ma develop ang ating kultura at karapatan ng ating lahi. Kaya tayo nandito dahil muling binubuhay natin ang ating mga IP games para ma-preserba at ma-promote ang ating palarong lahi dito sa lalawigan ng Palawan,” said Abrina.
Governor Dennis Socrates, represented by Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Joshua Bolusa, expressed respect for Palawan’s indigenous peoples, recognizing them as custodians of the island’s history and legacy.
He emphasized the provincial government’s commitment to the welfare of Palawan’s indigenous peoples.
“Mensahe ng pagpupugay sa ating mga IP, alam naman po natin na ang IP ay repository ng kultura at yaman nating mga Palaweño, ngunit hindi lamang sa Palawan kundi maging sa buong bansang Pilipinas. They are repositories of our culture and arts tradition,” said Bolusa.
“Isa pong mensahe nang pagpapatuloy na ang gawaing ito ay pinapahalagahan ng gobyerno, ni Gob. Socrates. Ito ay hindi ang unang IP games ng pamahalaang panlalawigan, bagamat after the pandemic, we must admit na ngayon lang nakabalik pero ipinaparating ng ating gobernador na hindi po ito ang kahuli-hulihan. Ito po ay masusundan pa sa ilalim ng kanyang pamumuno,” he added.
Meanwhile, Silvany Delight Gastanes, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Sports Division (PSD), mentioned that one of the key goals of the event is to highlight the culture and talents of the indigenous peoples of Palawan.
She added that the IP Games 2023 aims to preserve the age-old and cultural games played in the province, following Governor Socrates’ directive to safeguard these cherished traditions.
Gastanes expressed gratitude to all participants for their support and stressed the event’s role in promoting the welfare of IPs.
An awarding ceremony for winning groups and individuals will take place today, November 19, further acknowledging the talents and contributions of these indigenous groups.
The Indigenous Peoples Games 2023 was made possible through the initiative of the PSC, in partnership with the Provincial Sports Division of the provincial government, the Office of the Provincial IPMR, and the Puerto Princesa City government.