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NCIP Bataan QuaranStories: Ayta Indigenous Food Solutions to Pandemic

While the majority of the population felt the drastic effects of the pandemic particularly in food security, our Indigenous Cultural Communities offer a different narrative such as the Ayta Ambala and Ayta Magbukun in the Province of Bataan. Crucial to their food sovereignty is the vast natural resources and how they manage and utilize them inside their Ancestral Domains.

“Panilan” or wild bees produce necessary honey or “pulut” that serves as food for the community during “maumot”, Ayta Mabukun term for summer time. The season of lockdown coincided in the peak of the “pulut” gathering according to their indigenous seasonal calendar. Unlike mainstream approaches, the Ayta IPs observe and practice their Indigenous Knowledge, Systems and Practices (IKSP) in utilizing this important community resource to ensure sustainability and instill inter-generational responsibility.

For the Ayta Magbukun, gathering is governed by “Mamakan” or the practice of thanking and offering first to the spirit taking care of the resource. The Ayta Ambala on the one hand observes the culture of “Magyamyam” which requires the gatherer to express his or her gratitude to the spirit who provided the honey.

Official Website of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Region III