April 24, 2024

Since we had the backing of the local government unit, Baguio was the first to do a pilot run for distance learning as early as June. We did not have any model at all and we didn’t hear from any region about LGU-driven initiatives for distance learning. There was no promise of financial funding by the LGU at that time, only the push from Mayor Benjamin Magalong gave us that courage to start and not be afraid with what the central office will tell us. We engaged all sectors – from the military to the electric company to have a series of discussions on delivery of learning materials where only authorized people are allowed out of their homes.

Mayor Benjie pushed us, not to wait but to start; to move instead of being locked down in our own thoughts of “hindi pwede.” Thus, Baguio trailblazed the pilot run that was a model of how distance learning was implemented. Baguio was one step ahead – we initiated instead of maintaining the status quo. There were leaders at all levels and across sectors who are willing to share their knowledge and experience rather than keeping it to themselves.

Familiarity with the land, the terrain, and the year-long weather allowed farmers to plan the cycle of planting year-round. They have to look for other vegetables to plant while waiting for the rice to be harvested. Aditsa sasad-en nan enem ay fuwan langkay, enanap tsa is imula tsa. They are well aware of external factors that may disrupt their livelihood, therefore, they continue to invest in technology, learn farming techniques and practices – always being a step ahead.

We build rather than isolate, and move people from compliance to commitment through fostering belongingness.

Last year, I was reassigned from Abra to Ifugao. I was happy to be there because Lagawe was two hours away from Bontoc and I thought that would be good for me to be near home. The Ifugaos gave me a feeling that I was not an outsider but was part of them.

On Aug. 9, 2021, I was given the adoption rites by the Ifugao council of elders and conferred the highest rank and title of “Kadang-yan” and given the name, “Magappid”, the famed Ifugao lady and heroine of all times. I was happy to be warmly welcomed by the Ifugaos. I thought that was enough but there were three more adoption rites that happened one after the other.

On Aug. 16, the municipality of Mayoyao has adopted me and gave me my local name, “Enchakaw”, after a Mayoyao woman of courage and perseverance.

On Sept. 7, 2021, the municipality of Alfonso Lista adopted me as well, donning me with the native attire, and on Feb. 14, 2022, the municipality of Aguinaldo adopted and gave me the name, “Ghayyuta,” a woman of courage who owns herds of large cattle and a vast tract of land and helped feed the Filipinos who fought in World War II.

There is that sense of reciprocity that is built in rituals such as this and we come to value more the community we serve.

What is the message of these adoption rites? To me, there is an expectation to model the values and the qualities of the person whose name I carry. Because I am adopted, it means that I am not there only to carry the mandate of DepEd but to move from a stance of compliance to a job description provided by my position to a commitment to the community I serve. I became one with them in their vision for every Ifugao learner.

Faculo is an alumna of Saint Vincent School, Bontoc Moutain Province. Ever since, she has been an inspiration to the school, to the community of Bontoc, and to the whole province for her giftedness.

She has been an inspiration too when I was a grader and she was in high school. I experienced her being an older sister who inspires and motivates people to shine and be an active participant for the betterment of the school.

Reach me at [email protected].