Wanay S. Baluyan, a native of Banao Indigenous People from Kalinga Province, is defending her final paper to conclude a two-year internship under the PeaceBuilders School of Leadership (PBSL) program. She’s a Registered Nurse and chose to serve her community and the Cordillera People in their journey towards genuine autonomy and self-determination.

Wanay’s training at the PeaceBuilders School of Leadership included —

Members of the Banao Tribal Council welcome the Mennonite guests and the PBCI-CFP Inclusive Development Team. Prof. Malou Alngag facilitated this meeting, with the coordination of Aiza Wanay. 03 October 2018. Municipality of Balbalan, Province of Kalinga, Cordillera Region.

Wanay grew up as an Anglican and became involved in an Evangelical community when she was at the university in Tuguegarao City. She continued her connections with the Evangelicals in Tabuk City and introduced PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. and Coffee For Peace to her religious leaders.

PBSL’s approach in teaching Peace Theology is to start with the character and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth with an intentional decolonizing pedagogy.

Although educated in modern academic institutions and exposed to Christian religious institutions, Wanay’s indigenous values are still rooted in her consciousness. 

“I was raised in my tribal community practicing our values and customs which are Caniyao, Ngilin and Fain,” she testified during one of our mentorship sessions. “It is Caniyao when you harm any of God’s creation,” she explains. “Ngilin is to abstain from doing any act that is prohibited in our community that will harm the environment and the body; and fain is when you do not offer what you have to your neighbors and to other people.” 

Even her decision-making process, we observed, is very much rooted in her indigenous consultative approach. “We value communal decision and respect to other people,” she once said during our weekly meetings. 

Wanay is also aware, through the mentorship of her elders, about their indigenous peacebuilding principles: “We have our own way of negotiating peace in a non-violent way with our neighboring tribes and to other people — which we call Bodong.”

It was Tala Alngag Bautista, a graduate of PeaceBuilders School of Leadership, who first connected with her. Through a deepening process of their relationship, Wanay volunteered to go through Tala’s mentorship. When Tala was assigned to start PAR Western Visayas, Wanay became our Kalinga PAR Field Worker.

The Banao tribal leadership expects Wanay to help lead the inclusive development program in their community, in coordination with their municipal and provincial governments, with a long-term vision to replicate their good practices throughout the Cordillera Region.

Last 01 February 2017, we were welcomed by one of their senior leaders, Elder Pablo. We were hosted by Chupan Chulsi, the Chief of Staff of the Cordillera Peoples’ Liberation Army. We shared hearts and minds with each other on how the Kalinga tribes and the larger Cordillera people would continue the struggle for the autonomy of the Cordillera People.

Permanent link to this article: https://peacebuilderscommunity.org/2019/08/woman-from-banao-indigenous-people-in-kalinga-province-graduates-from-pbsl/

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