Women in the Cordillera Highlands: Seed keepers, life keepers
We join the world in celebrating the roles women play in rural development,
Throughout the years, they fought life’s “silent” but relevant battles, preferring to lead quite but heroic lives. Many were content in building homes and communities, as keepers of community memory and nurturers of traditional practices that anchor peace and stability.
As innovators, the women have the touch and ability to fuse their selves with others and the universe around us, an effort to understand our existence and the quest to live well.
There is timelessness to the stories of our womenfolk to preserve the good life and the recorded images of their struggles against evils imposed on them from within and without.
As one examines the rice terraces or a weave of ancient wear in our highlands, it is from a woman’s nurturing hands and eyes that you must feel their modern relevance, enough for these iconic achievements to be carved and cared for still by human hands or appropriate machines for another century hence.
Man and woman both did the carving of the mountains.
But with reverence to the women’s silent battles, our heritages were formed. We glory in the realization that these have been done even centuries ago.
With our women’s noble sacrifices and achievements, we were able to keep time re-enthroning such core values as work, integrity, individual responsibility, value, and service.
Whether pursuing innovative processes or reasserting traditional values of integrity and service each and every woman was a gentle warrior in her own way.
Every solution, every action, the women contributed to the furtherance of a way of life suited to our highlands and one that is predicated on doing the right things for the right reasons.
Today, with support from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) they are still in the frontlines and helping expand the field of battle in the promotion of peace, growth and progress in the communities.
Their contributions are being acknowledged in such areas as watershed conservation, environmental safety and quality; food security, biodiversity, accessibility and livelihood profitability under marginalized conditions; and, in the processing of best practices into its real and useful essence that we must ultimately share as responsible members of our communities or as plain good citizens of the globe.