MANILA, Philippines – A travel journalist is raising funds to rebuild a cultural school for the T’Boli tribe in Barangay Lambanig, Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.
Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap, a freelance writer and photographer, is leading an initiative to rebuild the school that was damaged by heavy rains last May by collecting funds through the website lakesebuschool.com.
Photo courtesy of Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap
Zeta-Yap visited the indigenous people of T’Boli in 2011 and spent a night at the hut used as a School for Living Traditions (SLT), which is managed by T'boli cultural worker Oyog "Maria" Todi-Arroz.
An SLT is where indigenous youth learn skills and techniques of doing a traditional art or craft.
But last May, bad weather caused the hut to collapse completely.
Todi-Arroz, with the help of Zeta-Yap, is now calling for help to rebuild the tribal hut, which can accommodate around 50 students.
“Having spent a night in the School of Living Tradition (SLT), I fondly remember the traditional supper we enjoyed in the hut with my host Maria, her children and her nephews. More than repaying their generosity, raising money to rebuild the SLT also became an opportunity for me to give back to all the nice communities and good Samaritans I have met on the road during my travels around the Philippines,” Zeta-Yap told ABS-CBNnews.com.
A total of P125,000 is needed to rebuild the school before the year ends.
Photo courtesy of Maria Todi-Arroz
A week after launching the project, more than P20,000 worth of funds has been raised.
Zeta-Yap said he was “amazed” by the immediate response, saying social media has played a “massive role” in the initiative.
“I think it's a really good start, and it will hopefully get the ball rolling, once this project reaches a bigger audience,” he said.
According to Zeta-Yap, the T’boli tribe is one of the several ethnic groups living in Mindanao.
The rich culture of the T'boli, who are also known for their exquisite handicrafts like t'nalak (abaca textile) and brass work, consists of unique music, dances and folklore.