The PASAWIT Food Festival revival was started by the communities of Labungan, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao under the initiatives of Timuay Larry Tanzo, Bae Arlyn Catuyan and Commissioner Archie Buaya of the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC) with support from Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), IC Net and other support groups on January 14, 2022.

In his inspirational message, Mike Kulat Project Coordinator of CBCS, recalled that: “The activity is real inspiring one as CBCS considered the promotion and reviving of brotherhood or kinship and indigenous traditional systems of both Islamized and Non-Islamized Natives of Mindanao since CBCS inception in 2002 and until these days, and therefore is one of its flagship program.”

Further he added that, “along the pasawit festivity do have many valuable traditions which are symbols of harmonious co-existence as blood brothers in the past which need to be revived. Among them the practice of “Tampuda Ho Balagen” (Cutting of Rattan), the bangon traditions, Sapa, Daway, the Pamiyaya and many others that that preserved the good relations of the native inhabitants in the past.”

Pasawit for the matter, is a long valued tradition between the Islamized and Non-Islamized Natives of Mindanao that is extant for hundreds of years even before the arrival of colonizers. The traditions in the past tighten the bonds between the two peoples who are descendants of brothers Apo Mamalo and Apo Tabunaway where the non-Islamized and Islamized natives descended respectively and which had been practiced yearly in the past by the highlanders and the lowlanders.

Traditionally, the highlanders used to set harvest time where all able men and women of a village schedules a visit to their lowland brothers, of which everyone will carry every available crops they can. These crops may range from upland-rice, corn, cassava, sugarcane and other forest products.

In response the lowlanders, usually the leaders in response for these event ready by preparing enough clothing, fresh and dried fish, varying breads, salt as primary needs in hinterlands, sugar and other food items. In meeting of the two groups exchanges of each gift ensued, a happy festive mood usually happened two or three-day yearly event. These reinforced and tighten kinships between Islamized and Non-Islamized Natives.

On the other hand, BHRC Commissioner Archie Buaya on his part emphasized that: “I have been spending the rest of my life in educating our younger generations on the valuable indigenous cultures and traditions unique to the natives of Mindanao. For only by educating our young generation we will be ensured that these significant customs and traditions will be transferred from generation to generations.”

The activity was highlighted with a beautiful and colorful dance rendered by “T’duray Cultural Dance Troupe”, which reminds everyone the beauty of lost customs and traditions of the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao, be it Islamized or Non-Islamized.

In closing, Mr. Guiamel Alim, Chairperson of CBCS stressed that: “while CBCS is working for revival of the kinship between the natives of Mindanao, we never remised the participation of our Christian Settlers and other peoples in our areas of operations. This is why we have tri-people concept of engagement in our programs and activities under our “social cohesion” programs”. And added that: “after all we are blood-brothers and sisters who all came from Adam and Eve and therefore brothers in humanity.”