Shared cultures, empowered voices: Araw Hospitality Group treats IP women at Nawa Wellness

Araw Hospitality Group, known for its exciting ventures like Lihim Resorts in El Nido, Palawan, Nawa Wellness in Calatagan, Batangas, the UNWND Boutique Hotel chain, and Kommons by Kamino in Boracay, introduced its social initiative, Araw Aruga. Committed to social responsibility, Araw Hospitality Group sees itself not only as a hospitality entity but also as a vital contributor to the Filipino community, with the ethos of Araw Aruga at the core of its mission.


Just recently, they held a touching tribute to Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Cultural Communities (IPs/ICCs) from May 6-8, 2024, at Nawa Wellness in Calatagan, Batangas. Following a landmark partnership with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in September 2023, Araw Aruga invited incredible women from different ICCs to a pampering retreat at Nawa Wellness in Calatagan, Batangas. These women, Tessie of Isnag ICC, Arlene and Maribel of Sama Bajau ICC, and Daisyrie of Dumagat ICC are all leaders and representatives in their respective communities. They were also joined by representatives from the NCIP, Ms. Glenda Pua, Chief of the Socio-Economic Development Division, and Ms. Shanna Villado, Administrative Aide. 

The IP women enjoyed their well-deserved break, immersing themselves in Nawa Wellness’ spa treatments like the relaxing Haplos massage and rejuvenating all-natural facial therapy. They made the most out of Nawa Wellness’ distinctive offerings, including breathwork, meditation, the Himalayan salt room, steam room, and sauna, creating moments of rest and relaxation. As part of Araw Aruga’s sustainable livelihood program, and guided by the skilled wellness therapists of Nawa Wellness, the women engaged in a livelihood workshop, exploring the fundamentals of traditional Filipino Hilot massage.

More than a wellness retreat, the program also aimed to provide a platform for IP women to share their stories. All women shared about their advocacies, struggles, and dreams for their ICC and for all IPs in the Philippines. “Yun po ang aking adbokasiya, [na makita ng iba na] pwede rin kaming magbago. Pwede kami magsikap,” [“That is my advocacy, that others will see that we can also change. We can also dream.”] Arlene of Sama Bajau ICC shared, pertaining to the struggles IPs face when it comes to discrimination and the hardships of finishing their education. Furthermore, she hoped that others would see IPs as their equals, worthy of pursuing their dreams and careers just like anyone else.

Tessie of Isnag ICC shared the same sentiments, saying that when she was younger, “‘Yun yung inspirasyon ko, gusto ko mag-aral.” (“That was my inspiration, that I could study.”) It was difficult for Tessie to study, as she faced multiple challenges on her daily route from their home in the mountainous Cordilleras to the school in the village below, and it was not uncommon for many to belittle her background. Still, she persevered and continues to work towards representation and proper documentation for her fellow IPs and ICC.

The program culminated with a special cultural night, where each woman was invited to present a piece of their ICC’s culture and art. Daisyrie of Dumagat ICC performed a stirring work of spoken poetry, while Maribel and Arlene of Sama Bajau ICC shared different forms of their cultural dances. Not to be outdone, Tessie of Isnag ICC also presented a dance and explained the meaningful attire and traditions of her cultural community.

the end of the event, each participant felt deeply moved and motivated to continue their advocacies. As shared by the IP women, much work remains to be done for our indigenous brothers and sisters. This event was just the start of bigger initiatives that will have a positive societal impact rooted in sincere connections, empowered voices, and shared cultures. In this light, Araw Hospitality Group, through their Araw Aruga program, is committed to supporting the initiatives of the NCIP and looks forward to building more sustainable ecosystems that can have a ripple effect in society.

This article is brought to you by Nawa Wellness NCIP.

ADVT.

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