Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The UP Asian Center, in partnership with the University of the Philippines Diliman Office of the Chancellor, College of Arts and Letters and the TriCollege Ph.D. Philippine Studies Program , will co-host the public forum, Sulagad: Kalikasan, Kabuhayan, at Katutubong Pamamahala on 17 May 2024, 2:00 PM (PHT, GMT+8), at the GT-Toyota Asian Center Auditorium, UP Asian Center. The event is free and open to the public.


“Suwala Sëkëlungon” or “voice from the rainforest”, an expression came from the Teduray and Lambangian, is the metaphor that frames this project. It aims to present the indigenous knowledge systems and practices (IKSP) of the Teduray and Lambangian. This activity also aims to celebrate the National Heritage Month in the month of May.
This project seeks to highlight the centrality of ancestral land as inheritance—a prosperous relationship between ancestors (of the past) and people of the present. From the collective experiences of the Teduray and Lambangian of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, important issues on ethnic, and local and global discourse on land as heritage emerges. Belonging to approximately 110 indigenous peoples in the Philippines, they are also in solidarity with all the indigenous peoples around the world who inhabit areas that make up 80% of the world’s biodiversity. Because of this, their fundamental role in saving the world in the face of intensifying climate/environmental crisis are recognized.
Sheltered by and in the rich forests of the southwest of Central Mindanao, the reciprocal connection between land and their fërënawa (comfort or relief) is engraved in the consciousness and the way of life of the Teduray and Lambangian. However, this connection is extremely endangered due to the destruction of their land under the development paradigm that allows logging and plantation since the 1960s to the present.
Note: Excerpts of the activity abstract, translated from the "Suwala Sëkëlungon" Project Concept Note, originally authored in Filipino by Dr. Mary Jane B. Rodriguez, the Project Leader.


Tëduray IKSP mentor/practitioner on custom laws on Tëduray and Lambangian governance and justice system, and Sulagad (indigenous farming).


Lambangian IKSP mentor/practitioner on Linggëng – Bëninarëw and other Teduray and Lambangian musical instruments



Tëduray IKSP mentor/practitioner on monom (weaving).




Dr. Cecil Medina is Associate Professor at the University of the Philippines Asian Center. She obtained her Ph.D. degree from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. She teaches graduate courses at the UP Asian Center, where she also acquired her Master of Arts in Asian Studies. Her research interests include religion and development, Mindanao studies, indigenous people, culture and development, and Southeast Asian studies.
Dr. Dulce Natividad is Associate Professor at the University of the Philippines Asian Center. A medical anthropologist, she has written on the intersections of reproductive politics, gender, religion, and state policy. Her research grew from her involvement in grassroots advocacy, community education and policy work on women’s health and reproductive rights. Among her works is the article on “Catholicism and Everyday Morality: Filipino Women’s Narratives on Reproductive Health,” Global Public Health 14(1): 37-52. She also previously taught in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. She received her Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences (Anthropology) and Master of Public Health from Columbia University, New York City. Putting her training to good use, she served as the chair of the Special Committee of the UP Diliman Covid-19 Task Force and as overall supervisor of the Quezon City-UP Diliman Covid-19 Vaccination Program which reached 17,000 individuals. She is currently the college secretary of the UP Asian Center and the head of the secretariat of the TriCollege Ph.D. Philippine Studies Program in UP Diliman.


Sulagad: Kalikasan, Kabuhayan, at Katutubong Pamamahala forum is organized and sponsored by the UP Asian Center and TriCollege Ph.D. Philippine Studies Program as part of "Suwala Sëkëlungon: Tinig at Talinghaga ng mga Dunong Tëduray at Lambangian" which will be held from 6 to 24 May 2024. This is organized by the UP Diliman College of Arts and Letters, under the UP Diliman Culture Bearers-in-Residence Program of the Office of the Chancellor through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
The partners of this event include the UP Asian Center, TriCollege Ph.D. Philippine Studies Program, UP Diliman Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts, Aliguyon-University of the Philippines Folklorists, Inc., Institute of Human Rights of the UP College of Law, UP College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, UP College of Mass Communication, UP College of Music, UP College of Home Economics, UP Asian Institute of Tourism, UP Diliman Theater Complex, UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences, and UP Los Baños Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts and Department of Social Sciences.
For inquiries, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 891-8500 loc. 3586.

The Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The UP Asian Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. It also offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. As an area studies institution, the Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website.