University of Southern Mindanao in its sincere efforts to document and support the cultural heritage of Indigenous Peoples (IP) in Region 12 launched the coffee table book titled “Faces of Diversity, Nurturers of Life’s Bounty” on October 18, 2019 at the Café Martina, USM, Kabacan, Cotabato.
This partnership with Senator Loren Legarda started in 2016 as a project which aimed to document the cultural heritage of four major ethnic tribes in Region XII, to wit: Erumanen ne Menuvu, Tboli, Teduray, and Blaan.
The book is divided into four chapters where each chapter represents one of the four tribes. Each chapter is subdivided into sections which represent the themes documented by the researchers.
Blaan, Erumanen ne Menuvu, Tboli, and Teduray were documented through the use of different research techniques. Such would include documentation review, community meetings, workshops, key informants and group interviews, ocular visits, participant observation, and immersion. Photo documentation was done to capture the vivid visuals mirroring the vibrant and rich cultures of these four tribes in Region 12.
Leaders and members from the four tribes and the representatives from the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) graced the book launching which also witnessed a cultural presentation from Yo Bawes e Dahing, USM’s resident IP performing arts group.
USM President Dr. Francisco Gil N. Garcia who was also the project leader expressed his gratitude to the team of researchers who made the book possible: Dr. Emma K. Sales, director of Publication Office and program coordinator; Ms. Yvonne V. Saliling, board secretary and program coordinator; Dr. Riceli C Mendoza, team leader (Blaan); Prof. Willie Jones B. Saliling, team leader (Erumanen ne Menuvu); Magno M. Gonzales, Jr and Michael F. Andres, team leaders (Teduray); Ms. Ammerose L. Blonto, team leader (Tboli); Mr. Lloyd Anton Von M. Colita, team leader, photographer, and layout artist; Mr. Michael D. Derla, team leader and photographer; and Ms. Cindy Glenn C. Abad, research assistant.