International Women's Day

Raising Hope: Cultural Preservation and Community Empowerment for Indigenous Peoples

Art by Issa Barte

Vogue Philippines celebrates International Women’s Day through “Raising Hope,” in a call for nominations of inspiring women. This initiative aims to honor the powerful voices raising the flag for indigenous people worldwide, who commit to safeguarding the well-being and cultural heritage of indigenous communities for generations to come.

Indigenous peoples advocates play a crucial role in safeguarding cultural legacies, advocating for fair treatment in society, and preserving the environment. Women who advocate for indigenous rights are particularly vital, as they address intersecting issues of gender inequality, cultural preservation, and social justice. These inspiring women persistently lobby for indigenous rights and welfare across their industries. 

Angela Jacob Bermudo, Nominated by Justyna Cyrankiewicz

Courtesy of Angela Jacob Bermudo

Angela Jacob Bermudo’s multifaceted contributions in championing indigenous rights embody values of leadership that inspire others to make a difference in the world, as told by nominator Justyna Cyrankiewicz. Through initiatives like Amanu, an indigenous storytelling initiative, Bermudo is actively engaged in preserving and promoting indigenous knowledge and oral traditions. In regions threatened by cultural and linguistic extinction, her efforts in Amanu ensure that these rich cultural heritages are not lost but celebrated and rediscovered by future generations.

Additionally, as a co-founder of Future Horizon and Future Quest, Bermudo demonstrates a strong commitment to sustainability by uniting global leaders and connecting high-impact regenerative projects with essential resources. 

“Angela’s remarkable work as a co-founder, innovator, and community leader exemplifies the essence of inspiration and makes her a fitting candidate for this honor,” Cyrankiewicz says. 

Maria Todi, Nominated by Genory Vanz Alfasain 

Through her work, Boi Maria Todi not only educates the public about Tboli culture but also empowers Tboli individuals to take pride in their heritage and rights, according to nominator  Genory Vanz Alfasain. 

Todi’s tireless efforts as a Tboli cultural advocate are instrumental in preserving and promoting Tboli culture and heritage in Region 12. Through initiatives like the School of Living Traditions (SLT), she provides a platform for cultural exploration and growth, ensuring that Tboli traditions and practices are passed down to future generations. The SLT offers diverse programs and services, ranging from research and documentation to arts and crafts development, providing opportunities for individuals to immerse themselves in Tboli culture. By offering such comprehensive programs, Todi enriches the cultural landscape and fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of Tboli heritage.

Through fostering collaboration and sharing knowledge, she strengthens the cultural identity of the Tboli people and promotes unity within the community. “In her steadfast dedication, she embodies the transformative power of cultural advocacy, leaving an indelible mark on the Tboli community and beyond.” Alfasain shares. 

Jennifer Pia “Limpayen” Sibug-Las, Nominated by Genory Vanz Alfasain  

In nominator Genory Vanz Alfasain’s words, Jennifer Pia “Limpayen” Sibug-Las has proven herself to be a true servant of the people, embodying the principles of empathy, respect, and dedication in her work. As a member of the Sibug Clan and coming from a Manobo Royal Family, Sibug-Las has a profound connection to her cultural heritage. Her leadership within the NCIP and her engagement with diverse cultural communities reflect her dedication to preserving and promoting the rich traditions and heritage of Indigenous Peoples, including the Manobo tribe.

Sibug-Las’s appointment as Chairperson of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) signifies a significant milestone in her longstanding advocacy for the rights and welfare of Indigenous Peoples (IP) in the Philippines. From her roots in Kidapawan City, she has been deeply committed to championing the cause of IPs, inspired by the legacy of her father, Datu Joseph Guabong Sibug, who previously represented the Tribal Communities Association of the Philippines (TRICAP) in the House of Representatives.

As Chairperson, Sibug-Las has been instrumental in implementing policies and initiatives aimed at improving the living conditions and safeguarding the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Notably, her leadership during the “Oplan Bayanihan” initiative amid the pandemic underscores her ability to respond effectively to crises and ensure the welfare of Indigenous communities.

“With more communities yet to serve and inspire, Sibug-Las’s journey continues, driven by her unwavering commitment to the cause of the IPs.” Alfasain says. 

Visit everyday this month for daily features on inspiring women, as nominated by the people whose lives they’ve changed.

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