Bibiyaon Likayan Bigkay: Message from an Indigenous Woman Human Rights Defender from Philippines

Name: Bibiyaon Likayan Bigkay

Ethnicity: Manobo, Lumad peoples, Mindanao, Philippines

At age 92, Bibiyaon Likayan Bigkay is one of the highly revered Lumad leaders of Mindanao. She has gained reputation as a woman warrior who bravely joined the pangayaw (tribal war) against intruders in the ancestral lands of the Manobo in the Pantaron Range. She “broke” all traditions by going beyond the traditional roles assigned to women when she became tribal chieftain and warrior, and defied even the limits of age when she performed these roles. But she also broke the norm by opting out of the usual path taken by Lumád women, that is, getting married and bearing children. Even so, she now stands as a mother of several generations of Lumád and non-Lumád alike. And she sees a positive future for all her children: “If we continue to struggle just as we are doing now, tomorrow is ours. The struggle must be continued by the future generations. What we are doing now, even if we die, we will die contented if our children, our grandchildren and the future generations will continue what we are doing. We know we can do and achieve many things. The unity that we have achieved now, can also be accomplished by future generations, even more.”[1]

[1] For complete story, please see: BAYI, Stories of Lumad Women by KARAPATAN and Tanggol Bayi, Philippines, 2016.

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