A native Philippine Tribe’s sacred forest was threatened by loggers and mining, so 24 year old Peter bought the forest for them.
The Sacred Forest
The Higaonon Tribe lives in the northern and central regions of the island of Mindanao near the mountains in the Philipines. But their land has been under attack, as businesses want to use the land for mining and logging, which causes them to lose their sacred forest. Fortunately, there are people helping them out. One of them being Peter, a 24-year old who has invested in the land to buy it for the tribe.
A threat to the ancestral domain
For decades the Higaonon people have struggled tirelessly for their independence as a tribe, their rights to cultural integrity and the right to self-determination. The Higaonon have managed to maintain the skills and knowledge that will protect its forested mountains. They need to secure their Ancestral Domain and forest home against destruction by loggers who started cutting their way into the forested homeland more than sixty years ago.
Half of their Sacred Forest has been bought by a Dutch investor, Peter, 24 years old, who bought the land for the tribe so that they can continue their peaceful way of life in their environment. For the Higaonon tribe, the land on which they live is innately connected to their tribe: without any land, there can be no rituals, without rituals, there can be no people.
It is crucial that enough money is raised in order to save the other half of the forest, so that it won’t go to businesses who want to mine and log on the land. Click the link below to go to the fundraising to donate whatever you can spare to save the land.
The Higaonon Tribe
The Higaonon tribe is one of the oldest tribes of the region. They have lived there for thousands of years and are true natives: they were likely the first ones to settle there. Thet live in their ancestral forest homes, undistrubed, manaing the forest in a natural way. The tribe is nomadic and travels from one mountain to another. The tribe is scattered over five provinces; Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental.
The name Higaonon is derived from the words higa meaning living, the word goan, which means mountains and the word onon meaning people. Together these words form the description of the tribe as "people of the living mountains."
The tribe consist of several clans, which now all live in peace with eachother. The tribe has continued their ancestors’ ancient method of conflict resolution. This causes them to be a truly peaceful people and earned them the name weavers of peace.
The tribes practises an ancient ritual: the tampudas hu Balagun, or the treaty of the green vine branch, a symbolic and traditonal cutting of the vine. Most of the members of this tribal group are Christianized, but the recounting by the older generation of stories concerning their traditional and indigenous religion is common practise. When they are baptized the Higaonon are allowed to keep two names, a Christian and an Higaonon name.
The Higaonon tribal people follow the habitual laws of Bunkatol Ha Bulawan Daw Nang Ka Tasa ha Lana, which means treasured unity of Love and Peace. In fact it is a code of conduct that is the sacred bond that unites the entire Higaonon community.
Donate whatever you can
In order to keep their land, the Higaonon tribe require money so that their rightfully owned land doesn't go to businesses who want to use the land for mining and logging. Go to the website heroes and friends and see what you want to or can donate to help the peaceful Higaonon tribe.