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Matigsalugs embrace digital way of learning, keep traditions alive

Members of Davao City’s Matigsalug tribe now have a smart and innovative way of preserving their culture and enhancing their next generation’s literacy—the Matigsalug app.

A first of its kind in the Philippines, the recently launched mobile application that promotes basic literacy in the Matigsalug language is a project of PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications.

The mobile app has interactive features that teach users to read, write and recite the tribal alphabet. It also teaches word association and how to count in Matigsalug. Moreover, it lets users sing along to Matigsalug songs for children.

It also features tribal dances and chants. The app is now available for free download on Android devices.

Datu Robert Siawan of the Matigsalug tribe in Sitio Contract expressed gratitude to the people behind the project as it helps in addressing their problem of keeping their culture and traditions alive.

“We are more than thankful that we are chosen as the tribe beneficiary of this project. It is also a way of enhancing learning and promoting our tribe’s culture to the rest of the world,” he said in vernacular during the app’s launching at Datu Salumay, Marilog District, Davao City.

Traditionally, elders write down their history and traditions in a logbook, and then let their young tribe members read it. Siawan shared that the app is an effective way of capturing today’s generation’s attention to learning, as the traditional way is becoming less appealing to the youth.

“There is really a need to put extra effort in promoting our culture so that it can be passed on to the next generation. This app can be very helpful to our tribe members, especially to the youth, to appreciate their heritage. People who want to learn our culture can also use this app,” Siawan added.

To provide access to the newly launched app, Smart also donated tablets for use of the community.

Among the Matigsalugs who tested the app is Peter A. Gulam, a grade six pupil at the Pamulaan Center for Indigenous People’s (IP) Education.

Peter sees the app as a more fun yet informative way of learning.  (PR)

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