More than 100 children and their parents graduated from the Enhanced School of Living Traditions (SLT) in Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet on Saturday.
The SLT is a program funded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to teach residents about the culture in their respective provinces.
In La Trinidad, students learned Kankanaey and Ibaloi Performing Arts.
“Kahit matanda ka nang walang alam sa kultura natin, pwede kang matuto dito,” SLT coordinator Maria Seraida Caga said.
The youngest among the graduates is 3-year-old Kean Olayan. His mother, Arlene, and sister Florisse are his classmates.
“Nakikita niya 'yung mga sumasayaw, tumutugtog ng gongs, and he is very much interested to join,” Arlene said.
Tito Paduyao, a member of the Kankanaey tribe, said children today are lucky to have SLTs. They were not even allowed to touch musical instruments during his time because music and dances are considered sacred.
All municipalities in Benguet have SLTs.
The NCCA said it has already put up SLTs in other provinces but they have yet to be developed.
Virginia Estrada, a member of the NCCA executive committee, said there’s a lack of research materials, which should serve as basis for their lessons.
NCCA is also looking for more cultural masters who can teach culture and tradition to the students.
The SLT in La Trinidad plans to include weaving classes in the coming months which would add to what they consider cultural heirlooms.