Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Seven Rituals of Mother Earth

Lubos Alyansa ng mga Katutubong Ayta ng Sambales (LAKAS) — The Seven Rituals of Mother Earth (Ang Pitong Ritwal ng Inang Lupa) is an indigenous theatre production that brings together the diverse cultures and experiences of Filipino tribal communities from Kalinga of the northern Cordilleras to Tawi-Tawi of the Muslim Sulu archipelago.

The play revolves around seven rituals depicting the community’s life cycles and interaction with the environment: birth, baptism, fertility, healing, war, death and re-birth. It is performed in a bamboo set depicting the three segments of the universe from the Manobo world view: the uppermost is "lemlunay" (heaven), the middle is "sal-ladan" (where humans exist), and the lowest portion is "bolibolan" which is the underworld and dwelling place of evil spirits. The bamboo installation also functions as a giant music instrument.
"Seven Rituals" depicts the relationship of indigenous people’s culture with the environment, and how the preservation of their traditions, spirituality and communal lifeways is linked with the conservation and protection of nature elements. Folklore serves as dramatic metaphor of indigenous belief systems which regards trees, rivers and mountains as sacred dwelling places of ancestral spirits.

In the play, a mythical "Minokawa" a Dreamseller representing development aggression, lures a community to a ‘progressive’ lifestyle with promises of improvement in their quality of living. The issue of ‘development’ and its impact on tribal communities is raised by the presentation along with the questions: Who defines development? What is at stake? And who benefits from so-called progress

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