Reblog: Bili sang Ati: Commodification of the Ati Culture in Dinagyang Festival

(Found this on Rappler’s X, a thorough and insightful look by Aljohn T. Torreta, Ma. Lailah Nae N. Muyong, and Rhea Jane D. Germia at a longstanding cultural problem in the Philippines.)


“We are just being used in the Dinagyang Festival.” With utmost conviction, Manang Raquel Mateo expresses her deep hurt and resentment towards what she claims to be an exploitation of their culture.

Manang Raquel is the tribe secretary of the Ati community in Brgy. Nagpana, Barotac Viejo. Being in-charge of the tribe’s cultural affairs, she, along with several members of the community, is claiming that they should have a participation in the celebration of Dinagyang festival given their heritage as Atis.

Since the Dinagyang festival’s beginning, Atis have been the main characters in the tribes’ competition of the world-class festival. The performers, commonly addressed as ‘warriors’, paint their bodies dark brown to represent the image of the Ati natives in celebrating the festival.

(Read the rest here on Rappler’s X!)


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