Indigenous Peoples’ Forum
By John Rauschkolb III, KF12 Philippines
The indigenous people of the Philippines are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Philippines who have resisted both the Spanish and U.S. colonization. They are to the Philippines what the native Indians are to the U.S. Represented by 100 plus mountainous tribes who make up only 3% of the Philippines, they are a dying culture that is struggling to retain the native customs and traditions.
During my travels in the Philippines I have been able to visit with a few indigenous people and was awed at their knowledge and spirit of the land. During one visit, our travels included a canoe ride from one side of the river upstream to the main village as it is inaccessible by roads. The journey took us through small rapids, around exotic animals and beautiful scenery.
It was impressive to see fields of corn which were grown into the hillside, naturally flowing spring water brought in by hose, men fishing in canoes and large fires making charcoal. Alalay Sa Kaunlaran (ASKI), Inc. is committed to providing services beyond micro-finance to ensure the continued success of the indigenous people. ASKI held a ‘Valuable Indigenous People’s Forum’ in Baler, a native area, where they put on a two day assessment and consultative workshop conducted for the indigenous people.
Through the help of ASKI and Kiva lenders, there is hope for the indigenous people of the Philippines.'