2013 Conference

Katutubong Binhi / Native Seeds: Myths and Stories that Feed our Indigenous Soul

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CFBS 2013 Conference Logo by Lane Wilcken

CFBS 2013 Conference Logo designed by Lane Wilcken

The Center for Babaylan Studies (CfBS) announces the Second International Babaylan Conference/Gathering to be held September 27, 28, and 29, 2013, at Westminster Woods near Occidental, Sonoma County, Northern California.


At this second gathering, we will focus on sharing knowledge about our Filipino Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP), in order to deepen our experience and practice as culture-bearers in the diaspora. We seek to further clarify our understanding of what it means to be Indigenous when we are not land-based as our ancestors were, or as our Katutubo/Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines still remain. Since indigenous belief systems emerge out of a people’s relationship with the Land and the cosmos, we believe it is important to learn how to access the power of our myths and stories even when colonization has erased most of these from our memory. We believe that the fragments that we remember can clue us in on how the stories are still embedded in our bodies and in our unconscious, and thus can be reclaimed and re-imagined. Our invited keynote speakers and presenters will address this theme through the telling of Filipino indigenous myths and the cosmic stories which they convey, along with the ceremonies and rituals that embody their meanings. Additionally, our presenters will be talking about the ways in which these indigenous practices can be part of our lives in the diaspora, in the context of deep respect and reverence for the communities in the homeland, which are the sources of these myths.


Our invited keynote speakers include:

Kidlat Tahimik/Eric de Guia is the Father of Philippine Independent Cinema. He is internationally known for his indigenous filmmaking and has received international and Philippine awards for his body of work which mostly focuses on critique of colonialism and neocolonialism. He is co-founder and director of Heritage and Arts Academies of the Philippines (HAPI) with Katrin de Guia. HAPI organizes the KAPWA conferences — a gathering of indigenous communities, scholars/academics, culture-bearers/artists that focuses on Filipino Indigenous Knowledge and Practices.

Grace Nono  is a descendant of magbabalak oralists, and meriko and mamumuhat (ritualists, medicine women and men) from her matrilineal line in Camiguin in Southern Philippines. She is a multi-awarded singer -artist, author, and cultural advocate and has devoted the last two decades to studying and learning from Filipino indigenous oral/aural traditions. Her latest book, Song of the Babaylan: Living Voices, Medicines, Spiritualities of Philippine Ritualist-Oralist-Healers (Institute of Spirituality in Asia, 2013) will be launched at the conference. Grace is currently finishing her PhD in Ethnomusicology from New York University.

Kanakan Balintagos, also known as Aureaus Solito, is an independent indigenous filmmaker who belongs to a lineage of Tungkul, Shaman-Kings from the Palaw’an Tribe of South Palawan. His indigenous film, BUSONG, was selected at the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes and won the Grand Prize at the National Geographic All Roads Film Festival in Washington DC. His other films, BASAL BANAR, UPO, and BAYBAYIN represent Palawan myths and indigenous cultural practices.

Mamerto Tindongan, a Mombaki/shaman from Ifugao comes from a lineage of mombakis. Now living in Ohio, he is an artist and healer in various indigenous modalities.

Lane Wilcken, is an independent scholar, and author of Filipino Tattoos: Ancient to Modern. The grandson of a hilot/healer, he has devoted years of research on Filipino myths and cosmology. His second book, The Children of Maui, will be launched at the conference.

Greg Sarris, Tribal Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, is descended from Filipino and Pomo ancestors. He holds the Endowed Chair in Native American Studies at Sonoma State University and is the author of Grand Avenue, Watermelon Nights, Keeping Slug Woman Alive, Mabel McKay, and other short stories. He will open the conference by welcoming attendees to the land of the Pomo/Coast Miwok and deliver the first keynote talk on The Power of Stories and Storytelling.

Datu Victorino Saway and Bai Liza Llesis Saway regret that they cannot attend the conference due to health concerns. We wish Datu Vic speedy recovery!

CFBS Conference 2013 Flyer

CFBS 2013 Conference Flyer Click to download CFBS 2013 Conference Flyer


The choice of our conference venue reflects our desire to connect more deeply with the Land of the Pomo and of the Coast Miwok, where some of our ancestors settled and intermarried with the local tribes. Since indigenous practices are primarily rooted in the Land, we have asked for and received tribal permission to hold the conference at this location. We will be amidst towering redwood trees along Dutch Bill Creek, where the salmon have recently returned to spawn.


As we work on bringing together the resources we need to manifest this Conference/Gathering, we ask for your support. Over the next nine months we will be sending out information about fundraising efforts, local events, and related activities leading up to the conference. Please stay tuned. To contribute your time, resources, or energy to support this Conference/Gathering, please contact our Volunteer Coordinators: Lizae Reyes at lizae519@pacbell.net, or Titania Buchholdt at kulintang@gmail.com. Thank you! Maraming salamat po!

Center for Babaylan Studies Conference 2013 Poster

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Register and pay online (Paypal)  |
| Download printable Registration Form |
| Download 2013 CFBS ConferenceProgram |