Persistence and Change in Local Knowledge in Dealing with Natural Hazards in the Philippines
Time & LocationSession 5
Thu 09:00–10:30 Room 1.204
- Soledad Natalia Dalisay University of the Philippines, Diliman
- Joseph Palis University of the Philippines, Diliman
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- Local Knowledge and Natural Hazards: Persistence and Change for Disaster Resilience Soledad Natalia Dalisay University of the Philippines, Diliman
Natural hazards have always been an integral element of environments in which groups of people lived. Through generations of engagement with natural hazards, cultural groups have developed tried and tested ways to successfully deal with these hazards. Through time, people have developed lifeways that contribute to changes in their environments, which in turn, pose new or additional challenges that people need to contend with. Through their local knowledge, people have encoded valuable life lessons that helped them deal with environmental challenges successfully. These are adopted and passed on from one generation to another. Such elements of local knowledge, like all other aspects of culture, are never static or unchanging. This presentation looks into how various elements of local knowledge in a lakeside community in Batangas Province in the Philippines and how these are used in dealing with what the people consider as the most challenging hazard in their environment, the potential explosion of the Taal Volcano. This presentation also delves into the various strategies and innovations in local knowledge that people in the community have adopted as they face the risk of a particularly devastating volcanic explosion.
- Murupuro, the Islands of Constellations: A Practice-Based Research on Disaster Stories and Indigenous Ways of Knowing Emerging from Zones of Precarity Dennis Gupa University of Victoria
This paper is extracted from my on-going doctoral dissertation that centers on sea rituals, climate change and applied theatre. The project aims to foreground the themes and intimations of sustainability in sea coast communities emerging from histories of climate crises. As I examine sustainability by looking at the shared ecological relationship between the human and the nonhuman through the analysis of ritual performances in island community impacted by climate crises, I will also tell stories. Through my doctoral applied theatre performance project, Murupuro/The Islands of Constellations, informed and scaffolded from the ecocultural practices of prusisyun (fluvial parade), panggal (fishing tradition), padasal (commemorative prayer) and pyesta (community celebration), this paper inquires on traditional ecological epistemology and ontology within the history of colonization and environmental decimation in post-disaster sites in Eastern Samar, Philippines. Murupuro/The Islands of Constellations is a result of a practice-based-research that attempts to form a creative and synergistic approach of performance making that interflows with contemporary multimedia art (video, dramatic text and soundscapes) and ritual performance-making that tells stories and tackles climate crises. This paper will engage with these questions: How does ritual performance intersect with traditional ecological ways of knowing in an island community in the Philippines and how does applied theatre contribute to the circulation of discursive theory of indigenous epistemology and ontology on ecological sustainability?
- The Comattributes of Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Evidence from the Tagbanawa of Palawan, Philippines Rolando C. Esteban University of the Philippines
Indigenous Knowledge systems (IKS) are a buzzword in international development work today. It is part of the strategies of communities around the world in dealing with everyday problems and crisis situations, especially before, during, and after disasters. While this attests to its relevance and persistence, questions about the stability, flexibility, or both, of IK continue to inspire research in the field. The paper aims to provide answers to these questions using data from my research on the Tagbanwa of Palawan. The findings show that IK remains a vigorous, resilient cultural resource among these groups. Its persistence attests to the dynamic, syncretic nature of IK that makes possible the integration of new information into a priori ones for survival in a fast changing world. Persistence and change are comattributes of IK, and research on these comattributes are recommended toward a more robust understanding of IK.
People deal with hazards in their environment in various ways that they consider to be meaningful and have been helped them overcome these hazards through several encounters in the past. In many instances in their past a group of people have engaged with particularly damaging hazards using tried and tested ways that have saved their lives. Such ways form part of a group of people’s local knowledge and practices. Local knowledge and practices include worldviews that explain the occurrence of a natural hazard, predicting its occurrence and potential impacts as well as several ways of effectively stemming the potential damage these hazards can bring. Two dominant views regarding how people engage with hazards are presented by Oliver- Smith and Hoffman (2002) and Slater (2014). Oliver-Smith and Hoffman believed that when faced with a hazard, people will “recant or reinvent their cultural system”. Slater on the other hand, contended that several disaster ethnographies have shown persistence in local knowledge and practices that people systematically hold on to familiar “cultural and social schema” in adapting to hazards in a given environment. Studies have shown that in several communities in the Philippines, people have dealt with natural hazards with both persistence and change in terms of their local knowledge and practices. This panel delves into local explanatory models for a natural hazard, signs found in nature that predicted the onset of a hazard, as well as the practice of religious rites and rituals in peoples’ attempts to stem great devastation because of a hazard. Through the various studies in this panel it is hoped that a deeper understanding of the processes involved in persistence and change in local knowledge and practices in the context of resilience as people engage with natural hazards in the Philippines will be developed.