Recognizing the importance of Indigenous Knowledge, Systems and Practices (IKSP) in heritage conservation and living in harmony with nature, the Ifugao State University (IFSU)-Hapao Campus launched its Indigenous Peoples Resource Conservation and Community Learning Center on January 21, 2021.
Designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) and as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the municipality of Hungduan, Ifugao offers rich IKSP experiences and perspectives that can be learned, shared and integrated in the higher education curricula.
The launching of the Center is the first of its kind in Hungduan, Ifugao. The hub will host several programs and projects. As a Center, it has a museum, a training school on Indigenous Knowledge Skills courses, an ecotourism trail and a research center on culture.
The museum will be ethnographic in nature showcasing Ifugao culture. It will be a hub for local artists to display their works. It is also intended to cater to students, community members and tourists. It will display the municipality’s rich tradition in wood carving, handicrafts, metal works, musical instruments, agricultural implements, rituals, photographs, textiles, oral literatures, researches and other publications.
Another component of the Center is the offering of indigenous skills on stone walling, stone tiling, native house construction, weaving, wood carving, and rattan weaving. The training courses shall be offered per semester during weekends with Indigenous Knowledge holders and experts as resources speakers.
Aside from these, the Center also offers an Eco-trail component. This will serve as a field school for those who wants to experience and learn on the natural flora and fauna around the campus. On the other hand, the Center will soon open its research hub on culture.
IFSU Hapao Campus Executive Director Jose Daniels said that the initiative will put the campus as a community learning center for all those who are interested to learn indigenous skills and practices.
IFSU President Eva Marie Codamon-Dugyon lauded the launching of the Center as one of the University thrusts to link and build strong partnership among communities in promoting heritage conservation.
“IFSU champions heritage conservation. This is our way of life and identity. As a University, we are pioneering the integration of IKSP in our curricula. It is our utmost goal to produce culturally-sensitive and empowered graduates,” said IFSU President Dugyon.
She added that the Center will be a venue for cultural exchange among local and international partners of the University. “Aside from learning and understanding our own culture, the Center will also provide a platform to be adept on other cultural practices and dynamics,” concluded University President Dugyon.# Jude C. Baggo