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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Aetas Perform Native Dance at Zoobic Safari in Olongapo

These are Aeta performers (top) doing their native war dance with their hunting bows and arrows. Usually meant for hunting small animals, these weapons are nevertheless effective and dangerous. Here, they are merely props for a cultural presentation meant for entertainment.

After the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, many Aetas were displaced from where they used to live away from the cities and the old way of life that they've known for so long suddenly vanished. Gone are the old days when they're ancestors lived at peace in the forests. These days, they're now part of mainstream society and work for a living just like other Filipinos.

The Aetas played a vital role in the training of American soldiers in jungle survival when the Subic Base was still an American enclave. Now, they still take people on tours and do demonstrations on how to make fire and cook using nothing but a machete and bamboo (above, left). Knowing what they know, it's really easy to be comfortable in the forest and live in it for days, months, even years! It's interesting to know that an environment that may be seen as hostile by many is actually a very homely place where everything you need to survive is provided. The Aetas have known this for a long time. Let's hope their knowledge and culture is not lost as their society changes.

The black and white classic photo (below, left) is from The Philippine Islands, by John Foreman; from the Gutenberg ebook files.

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