New book on Panay-Guimaras traditional knowledge launched

By Mariela Angella Oladive

The preservation of the rich cultural heritage of Panay and Guimaras took a notable step forward with the launch of “Pagdahû ka Surundon: A Reference Book on Panay-Guimaras Traditional Knowledge Systems.”

The book was unveiled on Friday, May 3, at the Performing Arts Hall of the Museum of Art and Cultural Heritage in the Main Building of the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV), Iloilo City campus.

It delves into the traditional knowledge systems (TKS) of the region, documenting practices, beliefs, and customs unique to these islands in the Western Visayas.

Edited by Anna Razel Ramirez and published by Kasingkasing Press, this 224-page book comprises five chapters covering agriculture, fisheries, forest environment, arts and crafts, traditional medicines, rituals, and songs.

The work underscores the importance of preserving these practices, which have been passed down through generations, to maintain their relevance in today’s rapidly modernizing society.

The launch attracted authors, scholars, cultural advocates, and key figures from multiple educational institutions including UPV, West Visayas State University, Capiz State University, Aklan State University, the University of Antique, and Guimaras State College.

UPV Chancellor Clement Camposano, in his address delivered by Prof. Pepito Fernandez, highlighted the significance of preserving traditional knowledge, noting its role in fostering cultural resilience and sustainable development among marginalized communities.

“It is with pride that we gather here to celebrate a repository of wisdom that guides us through the complexities of life. We must cherish our old traditional knowledge systems, as they embody wisdom passed down through generations,” Camposano said.

Ramirez, also the overall project leader of the Cultural Mapping of Panay Guimaras, explained the book’s title, “Pagdahû ka Surundon,” which loosely translates to ‘accepting one’s heritage.’ She emphasized how it reflects the deep respect the people of Panay and Guimaras have for their cultural traditions, amidst modernization and globalization.

This publication is the result of collaborative research, with contributions from scholars, field researchers, and local knowledge holders. It builds upon previous works, like the coffee table book “From Seas to the Mountains: Panay Guimaras Traditional Knowledge Systems,” edited by Prof. Martin Genodepa, integrating additional information from field research, primary sources, and archival materials.

The book also credits Senator Loren Legarda for her role in initiating the documentation of Panay and Guimaras’s TKS and her continued environmental and cultural advocacy. Additionally, it acknowledges the support of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and various educational institutions.

“Pagdahû ka Surundon” serves as a critical reference for those interested in the cultural heritage of Panay and Guimaras, offering insights into how traditional knowledge systems can contribute to sustainable development and cultural resilience.


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