MOUNTAIN CARVERS. A poster of the documentary film Pátok (The Mountain Carvers) in Antique supported by the University of the Philippines-Visayas, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the Commission on Higher Education. In celebration of the Indigenous Peoples Month this October, the film will be screened for free at Cinema 2 of Festive Walk Mall, Iloilo Business Park on Saturday (Oct. 19, 2019). (Photo courtesy of Emmanuel Lerona)

ILOILO CITY — A documentary film supported by the University of the Philippines-Visayas (UPV) and government agencies features the world of the Iraynon Bukidnon, an indigenous peoples’ community in Gen. Fullon, San Remegio, Antique.

Pátok (The Mountain Carvers) shows the hidden treasure of 600-hectare rice terraces carved by the Iraynon Bukidnon in the middle of Antique mountains.

The film put together the stories of Iraynon Bukidnon individuals, who provide a panorama of the Iraynon Bukidnon society, said Emmanuel Lerona, writer and director, in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

Having stepped foot on the IP community in Gen. Fullon in 2015 and upon conversations with the tribal leader Julito Bayog, Lerona was convinced that the IPs and their rice terraces deserve to be known by a wider audience.

The film celebrates the unity among Filipinos as Kevin Piamonte, consultant of the film, said that mountain carving in Antique has commonalities with the famous Banaue Rice Terraces. “We are so far away from Banaue and yet, you see the commonality, diversity, unity among the Filipinos,” Piamonte also said in a follow-up interview.

Joyce Christine Colon, a history professor at West Visayas State University-La Paz Campus and a consultant of the film, said that Pátok underscores the importance of ancestral lands to the life of the IPs.

IPs usually fight for their ancestral lands and as shown in the film, Colon said IPs, even after a hundred years, use the same technology or technique in carving the mountain.

“They still have the same technology in building rice terraces because land is important to them. Land is life, and if you take away the land, you take away the life,” she said.

“They still do the rice terracing because it is part of their culture and that land does not only contain the concept of life but the cultural memories of their ancestors,” she added.

Colon added that Panay has two IP groups: the Ati and the Panay Bukidnon. Panay Bukidnon is the “generic term” that refers to the IPs in the mountains in Panay provinces.

She said “tumandoks” or natives in the mountains of Antique refer to themselves as the Iraynon Bukidnons.

Colon said there is no definite data yet of the population of the Iraynon Bukidnon “but I am very sure that they are located only here in the villages of Antique.”

Aside from the mountain carving technique, Pátok also uncovers other intangible heritage of the IP group, and their thirst for education, preservation, and integration.

Before bringing the film to Iloilo, Lerona said the film was first shown at Gen. Fullon in January 2019. “We are glad that we had the reviews of the film when it was shown in Antique,” he said.

The film was supported by the grants from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Commission on Higher Education through its Institutional Development and Innovation Grant, and by the UPV Division of Humanities.

Pátok will be screened for free at Cinema 2 of Festive Walk Mall, Iloilo Business Park on Oct. 19 at 9 a.m.,11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

After each screening, a “talk-back” time would be allotted for the Iraynon Bukidnon members to personally share their contributions to the film. (PNA)