The research team from the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV) headed by renowned Ilonggo anthropologist Dr. Alicia Magos held a project briefing and research proposal that would involve West Visayas State University to produce a coffee table book on Panay-Guimaras Traditional Knowledge Systems (TKS) for Cultural Resiliency and Sustainable Development. The briefing was held on January 10, 2017 at the WVSU Teleconference Room attended by West Visayas State University officials headed by Dr. Luis M. Sorolla, President and Prof. Lucia L. Lastimoza, WESVARRDEC Consortium Director.

“For many years we were swallowed by changes in modernization and by our Christian beliefs and influences that we forgot our origin as a people”, shares Dr. Magos. “We are therefore introducing this project because we believe that it is our responsibility as Ilonggos to revitalize the core of Panay-Guimaras culture”. 

The coffee table book will be composed of 60% photos and 40% text that will feature a collection of  narratives which show the Panay-Bukidnons’ way of life, their values, and their traditions. Researchers will conduct interviews that cover issues on forestry, fisheries, agriculture, arts and crafts, practices and rituals, and literature and the arts. “We want the tone of the write-ups to be quite informal, something magazine-like or it could be in the form of a travelogue”, explains Ms. Anna Razel Ramirez, UPV Staff Regent and the project coordinator of this research. 

According to Professor Martin Genodepa, “we used the method of traditional knowledge systems not only because it is essential in ensuring cultural resiliency in communities, it is likewise vital in maintaining balance in the physical, socioeconomic, and cultural ecosystem. TKS provides framework in the operation of human interaction and adaptation to environment especially on the satisfaction of basic needs, and utilization of resources for survival and sustainability”. 

This project can spark many benefits from different sectors such as: ( 1) empowerment of the Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP), ( 2) to encourage researches dealing with TKS among academic and scholarly circles, (3) embolden LGUs and other agencies to anchor developmental programs, projects, and service initiatives in preserving and sustaining TKS, ( 4) artists and other cultural groups may develop and use TKS as an inspiration in preserving art and culture through diverse human expressions, and (5) tourists and culture enthusiasts will appreciate the richness of Panay-Guimaras history and culture.

Prof. Genopeda announced that the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between UPV and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was done last August 19, 2016. “We began briefing our SUC researchers last November 5, 2016 and by November 9, we received the check from DENR 6 Regional Director Jim Sampulna. We are very thankful that DENR is backing us up on this”. The professor added, “If the SUC should wish to use this project as research material to be published in their respective journals, they are free to do so provided that they coordinate with DENR and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP). This project started as an initiative from the office of Senator Loren Legarda who is known to be a woman of culture.