In the whole country of the Philippines, there are a total of 101 Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs). The Indigenous people have a critical role in the ecological balance of the nation and they are one of the main reasons why the country is rich in culture. The native culture and beliefs of every tribe has been passed down through generations along with their unique traditions. Even with the highest technology and modernized people, they are still tribes that never leave off their old traditions.
Palawan is the largest province in the Philippines, and home to several indigenous ethnolinguistic groups there are tribes namely, the Kagayanen, Tagbanwa, Palawano, Taaw't Bato, Molbog, and Batak tribes.
The Project Epanaw (Journey) is a three book series that aims to give accurate information, images, culture, and traditions to spread and give readers understanding. The three series are Pagkilala (Recognition), Paggalang (Respect), and Pagtaguyod (Promote).
During the virtual launch on Sunday, March 21 on Facebook Live that was held in SM Puerto Princesa. It was live that can reach nationwide, regional offices and provincial organizations were stationed at various SM malls to watch.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has said on her speech that “IPs are stewards of the environment protecting our natural wonders from the dangers of overdevelopment and unsustainable ways of life,”
“With the focus on sustainable tourism development, the nation's IPs and indigenous cultural communities are our frontline ambassadors in this sphere. It is setting a worthy example of righteous, equitable and fair community-based tourism. And as we give our IPs the recognition, respect, and promotion they deserve, they can ably contribute toward rebuilding a better tourism industry here,” she added.
The Project Epanaw (Journey) is a program by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Tourism’s Tourism Promotions Board (DOT-TPB) and the Tourism Promotions Board for the coffee table books which objective is to make the public recognize the ICCs/IPs as to who/what they are, where they live and why the land is so important to them.
These books were displayed at the NCIP booth at the lower ground level of SM City-Puerto Princesa, where Palaweño’s could enjoy, learn, understand the IP’s and other People’s stories.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) explained in a statement saying “As a result, they will be recognized and respected with their way of life, rich heritage, customary laws, justice system, rituals and culture,”.
“It is probably the most comprehensive anthology of ethnographic information we have,” they added. They also hope a better grasp on the ways of life of the ICCs/IPs will promote tourist destinations, care for protected areas, and resource investment in the ancestral domain for peace and development.