TELUS International Philippines supports revival of Adat B’laan’s cultural awareness
Team members of leading BPO and digital solutions firm TELUS International Philippines (TIP) learned of the Adat B’laan situation through a funding proposal submitted by the GeoChris Foundation. The TELUS International Philippines Community Board awarded GeoChris and the Adat B’laan community a P455,396 grant (US$8,464) to finance programs aimed at reviving cultural awareness among the Adat B’laan youth. GeoChris Foundation is a non-profit organization that believes in holistic education, cultural invigoration, and sustainable living for indigenous communities in Abra, Palawan, and South Cotabato. It helped the Adat B’laan draft their grant application to the TELUS International Philippines Community Board. The TELUS International Philippines Community Board, the firm’s grant-giving foundation, looks for worthy causes and innovative ideas that support communities with unique needs in the areas of health, environment, and education. It distributes approximately P5.1 million (US$100,000) annually. With the funding, community elders formed the Adat B’laan Cultural Group and developed learning modules on traditional musical skills like malem (summoning chant), flalok (native lullaby), faglung (lute), tambol (drum beat), and salmagi (gong), ritual and worship dances, and literature. Leveraging the modules, the elders cascaded the knowledge to the younger members of the community through Saturday learning sessions. Carlo Tio Casi is one of the Adat B’laan youths who initially felt disconnected with the culture of his community and benefited from the program. Like the 164 other participants in the learning sessions, Carlo now looks forward to weekends to steep himself in their native customs and traditions. “Relearning our culture helped me and the other participants become prouder of our heritage as a community. Through the project, we can protect our future even when our ancestors have passed on,” said Carlo.
“Through these activities, we are able to expand our reach beyond our sites and contribute to building a more inclusive and connected society,” she added.