KASAMA Vol. 15 No. 3 / July-August-September 2001 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

(Eruption, Journey, Rebuilding)

This play portrays the history of the Aytas of LAKAS. It tells of their life before Pinatubo's eruption to the present time of resettlement. Performance art is an important venue where the youth and children express their life and culture. The theatre group is called TALA (morning star) - an acronym for Tanghalang Ayta ng LAKAS. It is composed of children, youth and some adults.

LAKAS community also has a training program on public speaking that prepares the children to come to the stage with less nervousness and spontaneously speak their minds. Because of this training some of them excel in their respective school activities. Their teachers and principal have expressed admiration for the discipline, unity and commitment of the LAKAS students and they are gaining respect in school for Ayta culture and showing that they are proud to be Aytas.

Education toward functional literacy is very much a part of the LAKAS learning process. "This means," said Orosco Cabalic, "we don't only learn how to read and write but we also learn about our rights and how to fight for them. At a young age, each one learns how to be a leader so that we do not rely on only a few."

The LAKAS community wishes to thank all those people who have supported the children's studies. This is indeed a big leap in the Ayta's development towards self-determination and empowerment. In June this year the community celebrated its first tertiary graduates: Lita Jugatan achieved a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy, Ric Cabalic obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, Edgar Domulot was awarded a Diploma in Agricultural Technology, and Christopher Domulot got a Certificate in Applied Computer Programming. And now, after graduation, these four are true to the agreement among the LAKAS students that, as a token of gratitude to their parents and collective life, they will return to their village to serve their community first before seeking employment opportunities elsewhere.

The Ayta youth need ongoing written correspondence with good English language practitioners to improve their ability in grammar and vocabulary. If you can assist in this way, please contact SPAN at the address on the bottom of this page.

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