Resilience in the face of adversity in Aeta community, a HAPI style: An epitome in the modern world.
Ethnonyms: Ayta, Agta, Atta, Ata, Ati, Ita
Countries inhabited: The Philippines
Language family: Austronesian
Language branch: Malayo-Polynesian
(*credit to http://www.peoplesoftheworld.org)
Filipinos in general are known to be resilient in any form of adversity. It is like our DNA is marked to transform, and adapt to any disaster manmade, or natural. For thousands of years, indigenous people notably Aetas have practiced their way of life as simply as they could. Times have changed and they are adapting slowly. Lowlanders see them as inferior human beings. But working with the community for several years now, made me appreciate what I have and have made it an advocacy of mine to return the favor.
I am very much insulted when lowlanders take pictures of them without regard of their being, culture and the like. I don’t know, maybe am just being a protective mother hen. Knowing that there are pretentious people taking pictures for personal glory, is really indicative of what they are. I have been working in the community and I have seen tons of visitors, NGO’s pretending to care. I have worked solo for years, because I do not like to be associated with groups that makes my community a milking cow.
The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8371) supposedly protected their right over their land. But MIREJ Corporation (owner of AQUA Planet & MIDORI Hotel and Casino, golfcourse) alone took several acres from the ancestral domain, SUNVALLEY Corp have done the same (owners of the high rise resorts and condominium and golf course). Aetas were able to adapt and fought for their right to be heard, just so they will be compensated with rent and the right of way. These corporations are sucking the very air and land that the Aetas have called their home for centuries. But they did adapt and is trying to make the best out of this arrangement with which BCDA/CDC initiated and at the losing end is the indigenous right to exist in the ancestral plains.
Recent earthquake shook the very core of the Haduan Community. They do not like to be “bakwit” again and relying of what the lowlanders can offer them. Contrary to normal beliefs, Aetas are very industrious people. I think the influence of the lowlander just caught up with them and some of those negative traits they were also influenced.
The resilient Aetas have adapted to what Mount Pinatubo has altered. They were discouraged to move back to their ancestral domains and have been offered resettlements, but instead, they went back and started to plant again. Man- made adversities made their livelihood harder as they have to fight so that they can access their road.
Lahar deposits made it harder for them but after 28 years of toiling the land, they are now reaping their hard work. Root crops and other plants have been the source of their income. So when you see them selling near Puregold Clark or any Clark offices please get one. They are cheap and organically grown.
They have shown that they can be resilient in any adversities coming their way. Education will make them more resilient from man made adversity. So when you see one of them in the street, maybe shorter than you, darker than you and have curlier hair than you, I can assure you that they are maybe a much BETTER HUMAN BEING THAN YOU.
I am for educating them, as, it shall be the key against being misled. It will take years to correct the mistakes of their ancestors, (but in my point of view, it was not a mistake, lowlanders and shitty people just decided to dupe Aetas for their gain). I, and the others are advocating for HAPI resiliency through the simple HAPI LITERACY PROGRAM. No other organization has offered me non-biased, non-partisan and non-shitty agreement to further and help my cause but HAPI. We have one common goal and that is to be HUMANIST one community at a time. Give us some time and you might just see us at your doorstep with a HAPI smile and asking “how can the HAPIest people serve your community”.