By Glemir Sordilla
“Food is maybe the only universal thing that has the power to bring everyone together.”
– Guy Fieri
The Agta tribe, also known as Dumagat Remontados, enjoyed a nutritious meal courtesy of HAPI and its partners last January 29, 2023. An estimated 65 people attended the event in Sitio Kambubuyugan, Brgy. Kalawakan DRT, Bulacan where the tribe is based. Attendees were treated to a meal composed of chicken sopas (chicken macaroni soup), bread, and juice. They munched on their meals with glee.
The generous hearts at GO Humanity and Kristel Lopez, one of the teachers in the community who assisted in the event, made the event possible.
Mutya Valenzuela, HAPI CFO, pointed out the curiosity that the tribe displayed about HAPI. Their gratitude was plain to see in how they welcomed the volunteers, many of whom have never stepped foot in the community but were nevertheless willing to help and offer aid.
“I can say that they are very excited about the upcoming ocular and what HAPI can offer to their tribe,” Valenzuela added, talking about the plans in which HAPI National will go to the tribe on the scheduled date of February 24-25.
The story of how HAPI National stumbled upon the tribe of Dumagat Remontados is a pleasing one to tell. Valenzuela was scrolling through social media when she came upon a friend’s photo wherein they were holding a Philippine long-tailed macaque. An interested Valenzuela asked her friend about it and found out that a Dumagat was giving it to her.
Thus began Valenzuela’s research about the tribe. Rather than “Aetas” (as some might mistake them for), they call themselves “Agta” which means human. It came as a surprise to Valenzuela when she found out that the Dumagat Remontados’ indigenous people/ethnic group is located in her province, Bulacan.
This event was then put into action with the unwavering generosity of GO Humanity, who increased the monthly budget for their food security program every month. Without their contribution, the activity would not have existed.
Being able to finally reach out and communicate with other indigenous people aside from Aetas or Negrito groups is a milestone, but it came with some challenges too.
“Challenges, [like] how we are going to help these people; what is the right way to approach them; would they accept our vision? These are some of the things that have run through my mind ever since I met them. But I know that with HAPI by my side and my fellow humanists, I can deliver our vision and mission to them the best way it should be,” Valenzuela finished off.
Events like this prove HAPI’s dedication to lending a helping hand to every Filipino no matter their walk of life. A genuine showing of unfaltering humanism by everyone involved.