Text and Photos by Euden Valdez
“Takot kami dati sa mga Unat.”
This was an overheard statement from an Aeta from an upland community in Limay, Bataan during a group’s Christmas outreach. The elderly woman was referring to lowlanders or Filipinos outside their tribe. Unat is a Filipino word that means someone with straight hair, that differentiate them from Aetas who have curly hair.
We can’t blame these Aetas, or any other indigenous tribes in the country, for harboring fear toward their fellow Filipinos who have periodically abused and displaced them in the past and even to this day.
A lot has changed, many indigenous peoples (IPs) are now more accepting of us and our ways. Still, it remains our obligation to show these marginalized and underprivileged tribes that they can trust us, and that they can rely on us.
This can be done by reaching out to them more and by uplifting their lives through our own little yet creative ways big or small, and through random acts of kindness whenever possible.
is a former dyarista, now digitista who has been writing whenever the tides, the winds, the earth take her somewhere familiar, somewhere new.