President Duterte Pays Homage to Fu Yabing

Polomolok, South Cotabato – President Rodrigo R. Duterte extended his condolences and reverence to National Living Treasure Fu Yabing at her interment on February 10, 2021, in this municipality. His speech was personally read by Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) Executive Council Commissioner Abubacar M. Datumanong during her funeral rites.

“The State mourns the passing of National Living Treasure, a Manlilikha ng Bayan in the person of the great Yabing Masalon Dulo. Allow me to offer the nation’s deepest sympathies to her family and to the B’laan community. Her death is indeed a huge loss to the entire nation. Declared a Manlilikha ng Bayan in 2016, she has been recognized for her commitment in safeguarding and promoting the B’laan mabal tabih, or the ikat weaving tradition – the B’laan’s pride themselves of their own system of weaving using abaca fiber. They are likewise universally recognized for their skills in melting brass and copper. Today, we acknowledge Yabing’s important contribution to this traditional folk art, particularly her persistence in preserving ikat weaving tradition in the face of upheavals, which has earned her the title of Manlilikha,” the President conveyed.

He further stated that Fu Yabing was instrumental in sustaining the rich cultural tradition of B’laan as expressed in her and her students’ works of art. He acknowledged her efforts in spending time as a mentor to weaving students in nearby villages and upland B’laan community.

“I hope that the members of the B’laan community, together with our guests today, will continue to emulate her passion for traditional folk art. May we all be inspired to protect and preserve the legacy that she left for the benefit of future generations of Filipinos. The richness of our cultural heritage serves as the soul of our nation and the foundation of our identity as a people. Let us continue to honor the nation’s artists and take inspiration from their work as we pursue a stronger and more progressive future for all.”

“Sa iyo, Yabing Masalon Dulo, tanggapin mo ang pagkilala ng isang baying nagpupugay sa iyong husay at ambag sa ating sining at kultura,” he said in closing.

In addition, Commissioner Datumanong, in his own speech, applauded the works of Fu Yabing, as they serve as a bridge and an inspiration in the growth and development of more exceptional Filipinos who keep our own culture and identity alive.

“Ang mga hibla ng abaca ay pinag-iisa at kinukulayan gamit ang mga katutubong mga halaman. Sa kaparehong konteksto, biniyayaan tayo ni Fu Yabing ng pamanang sumisimbolo ng makulay na kultura nating mga Pilipino. Saksi ang Komisyon noong 2005 nang pormal nating binuksan ang School of Living Tradition kung saan siya ang naging kauna-unahang guro nito. Noong 2009 naman ay naging parte siya ng ASEAN Textile Symposium ng Pambansang Museo ng Pilipinas, kung saan ibinahagi nya ang kanilang natatanging kultura ng paghahabi. Dahil na rin sa kanyang kontribusyon sa kultura ng paghahabing ito sa kanyang pamayanan at sa bansa ay ginawaran natin siya bilang isang Manlilikha ng Bayan noong 2016,” the Commissioner said.

“Sa kasalukuyan, buhay na buhay ang pamanang ito, at kaisa ang Pambansang Komisyon Para sa Kultura at mga Sining sa pagpapatuloy ng ating mga intangible cultural heritage sa makabagong panahon. Tunay nga, sa pagbabahagi ng kanyang obra at talento, nagsilbi siyang tulay at inspirasyon sa pag-usbong ng marami pang mahuhusay na Pilipino sa pagbubukas-palad at pag-aalay nya ng sarili, napapanatili at lalo nating napapayabong ang ating kultura at pagkakilanlan,” he further remarked.

Fu Yabing Masalon Dulo was proclaimed as Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan or the National Living Treasures Awardee by virtue of Proclamation No. 126 signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte for her commitment and contribution in safeguarding and promoting the mabal tabih (ikat weaving) tradition. The said proclamation is by virtue of Republic Act 7355 which provides for the recognition of the “National Living Treasure” otherwise known as the “Manlilikha ng Bayan,” which refers to a Filipino citizen or group engaged in a highly technical and artistic level of traditional art. She passed away last January 26, 2021 at the age of 106.