“Hinabing Panaginip” is a documentary on the T’boli of Lake Sebu, an indigenous people living in South Cotabato in southern Philippines. A people renowned for their artistry, the T’boli are among the few indigenous groups that have kept their artistic traditions alive, inspite of incursions from the lowlands. But it is a constant struggle, for modernity relentlessly impinges on their lives and continues to lure the young T’boli away from tradition.
The documentary is divided into two main segments. The first part tells the stories of three old t’nalak weavers — Lamfay Lumbay, a widow living alone whose only means of survival is weaving; Lang Dulay, a national artist awardee; and Boi Diwa Ofung, the only surviving traditional woman leader in Lake Sebu. As they painstakingly tie hundreds of abaca strands on their backstrap looms, they talk about how they learned to weave from their mothers, and how a motif or design comes to them in a dream. And while they dye their abaca fibers in juices from leaves and roots, and then weave them into intricate patterns, they tell us about the olden days, when weaving was a skill any woman of stature should have, and the t’nalak a prized and treasured possession, and may be exchanged for a house or a piece of land.
Change is the subject of the second segment — change brought about by the incursion of outsiders, the introduction of a cash economy, and the pressures of the modern world. While all this has ruined the environment of the T’boli and, in a way, damaged their art, it has also strengthened their resolve to keep their traditions alive. The second segment features three young T’boli performers — Maria, Dindo, and Rosie. They have made it their mission to preserve whatever is left of their tradition by organizing a school called the Helobung School of Living Traditions and by teaching the traditional ways of the Tboli to the young.
This documentary reveals a bit of the Tboli’s psychic life through their art, song, and myth. Through the stories of the six artists, the viewer catches a glimpse of their dreams, aspirations, and struggles in a constantly changing environment. Theirs is a story that resonates with many indigenous peoples of the world. Theirs is a story that deserves to be told.
Total Running Time 45 minutes.
Directed by Fruto Corre.
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