Laji singers, community leaders gather in Vasay

On July 22, Laji singers from all three islands of Batanes met in Vasay with community leaders, school teachers, and Ivatan residents to celebrate the release of the audio CD, Laji: Indigenous Oral Poetry of Batanes. The CD brings together original field recordings in order to document and preserve this valuable tradition of Ivatan poetry.

After a week of strong winds and rain, Friday morning dawned with calm breezes and clear skies, allowing the singers from Sabtang to make the ocean crossing. They were joined by others from Itbayat and towns in the south, such as Uyugan, Ivana and Mahatao. As we say here, madinak u taw!

Laji and Kalusan singers await the presentation of their poetry.

Laji singers, Leoncia Fabro of Diura and Bernardo Cabuco of Ivana were joined by Kalusan singers from Uyugan.

District Superintendent, Wivina Gonzales, speaks before the crowd.

Leaders from the local schools called the gathering of the Laji an important part of bringing indigenous knowledge into the curriculum for the youth of Batanes. School District Superintendent Wivina Gonzales even treated the crowd to her own rendition of “Nunuk du Tukon,” a popular Laji that is known throughout the islands.

Youth singers Joseph Paduga and Monica Abad sang Laji for the Ivatan elders.

Dorian Merina, researcher for the Laji project, pledged to continue the process of reviving Laji.


Singer Melecio Alasco, front left, joined with Lourdes Nanud in the presentation.


Singers representing all of Batanes are joined by Basco Mayor Demy Narag, Governor Vicente Gato, District Superintendent Wivina Gonzales, researcher Dorian Merina and Dep Ed coordinator Linda Cadiz at the conclusion of the event.


2 responses to “Laji singers, community leaders gather in Vasay

  • Jerome

    Nice… but sad to note that it takes an outsider to show us what a beautiful culture we have…. so unique…. so original…. sana tayo mismo na Ivatans ang magpahalaga sa mga ito….

  • eva

    Wow! I thank Dorian for exerting a lot of effort to make this a reality to show us Ivatans and our kids the unique Culture the we have, even we are scattered around the globe we were reminded of our unique culture that we could be proud of. . . . . Mabuhay tayong Lahat!

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