In a nation of mixed cultural influences, the indigenous people hold the most distinctly preserved customs and traditions. This ancestry is a pride to many Filipinos.
But like jewels – precious and beautiful – the rich history of our native tribes are kept from light, rarely revered, and only unveiled when one has any need of them.
The indigenous people of Mindanao – the lumads – have been suffering quietly. They say their rights and privileges are being taken away from them, and their liberty is being stepped on, repeatedly, by armed men whose sworn mandate is to protect the innocent. Of unwarranted hardships, it is the children who suffer the most.
Twelve-year- old Bandam Dumanglay, a Manobo, has his story to tell. He has witnessed how paramilitary and military groups ransacked their homes and schools, burned what little is left of their ancestral domain and dreams, and killed his teachers and community leaders one by one.
Bandam and his community were left with no choice but to evacuate – a tradeoff between security and survival – while their perpetrators enjoy the fruits of the lands they have been tilling for generations.
Determined to keep crusading for their cause – to stop lumad killings – Bandam takes on a battle that is bigger than himself… hoping to eventually reap the rewards of continuing his education and of finally coming home.