COVID-19 infects Panay Bukidnon IP elder, family members in Iloilo

Published August 24, 2021, 9:15 AM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – The Panay Bukidnon indigenous peoples (IP) group in Calinog town, Iloilo province are not spared from COVID-19 when one of its elders and family members are infected.

Leopoldo “Tay Polding” Caballero was transferred to a hospital in Iloilo City from Calinog town last week when his medical condition became serious.

The 79-year-old is still one of the living master chanters of The Hinilawod, the epic from the mountains of Central Panay that is considered as one of the world’s longest epics.

Regina Caballero-Villanueva, one of his children, also confirmed to Manila Bulletin that two of her brothers are also infected with COVID-19.

The Caballeros are among the more than 3,800 active cases of COVID-19 in Iloilo province, which again had a surge of COVID-19 cases since last week.

Several members of the Caballero family in the mountainous village of Garangan are also in strict home isolation as some are exhibiting symptoms.

Cultural advocates are urging others to help the family of Tay Polding, who is also the brother of National Living Treasure awardee Federico Caballero.

“They are in dire need of help and we are appealing for your generosity,” said the Panay Indigenous Culture Advocacy Group (PICAG) in a statement.

“We wish Tay Polding and his family to get well soon so they may be able to continue their ongoing and upcoming cultural heritage documentation projects,” said Liby Limoso, an artist and cultural advocate.

“We are very much concerned of the health condition of our culture bearers who continue to pass on cultural treasures to the younger generation,” PICAG added.

To help, contact Elsie Caballero Padernal at mobile numbers 09077560304 or 09561348688. Cash donations can be deposited to One Network Bank account number 5363 3400 3703 0095.