A team of climate storytellers and researchers from Malay, Aklan — which is just a short boat ride away from Boracay island — was chosen as the recipient of the third and final Umalohokan cash grant, its organizers said.

Team Bintuwak is entitled to receive PhP170,000 for an awareness campaign highlighting the role of indigenous knowledge in promoting sustainable fishing and tourism in the Nabaoy River, a tourist spot on the northwestern tip of Panay island.

Composed of Ronald Maliao, Beverly Jaspe, Ritchel Cahilig, and Richard Cahilig, Team Bintuwak organized a river tour, produced a documentary, and published a coffee table book about Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP) and its benefits in fighting climate change. 

As a result, the team got the highest average score based on its campaign’s “creativity, implementation, and community impact,” said the Oscar M. Lopez Center, which sponsored the Umalohokan Grant under the Balangay Media Project. 

Named after town criers who disseminated news in pre-colonial Philippines, the third and final tranche of the Umalohokan grant is expected to help Team Bintuwak fully implement its campaigns and communications research plans.

Team Bintuwak’s campaign, entitled Kinaiya it Kailayahan: The Role of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices in Nabaoynons in Malay, Aklan in Developing Local Climate Change Resiliency, aims to “enhance audience understanding of the importance of IKSP in riverine conservation and increase awareness of the vulnerability of riverine systems.” (Visit the Kinaiya it Kailayahan YouTube and Facebook pages for more information)

Several teams from all over the Philippines, similarly composed of storytellers and researchers, also vied for the third and final cash grant, said the OML Center. 

Members of all these groups, including Team Bintuwak, were fellows of the Climate Media Labs, a series of learning sessions and lectures involving internationally-renowned climate experts based in the United States, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

The total amount Team Bintuwak received from the Balangay Media Project amounts to PhP275,000, including the seed grant of PhP35,000 it received in August, and the second tranche worth PhP70,000 in October to help them implement their campaign plans.

Other Umalohokan grantees which received the second tranche are Team Bicol Umalohokan, which focused on sustainable food production and consumption practices; Team G-Unit, which promoted new, climate-resilient farming methods; Team DanTAOn, which produced multimedia content depicting risks faced by communities in areas affected by higher temperatures; and Team Salikhain Kolektib, which made short videos about life on small islands that are threatened by rising sea levels. 

All five Umalohokan grantees belong to a larger group of ten teams whose members have all been given Umalohokan Fellowships. 

The fellowships entitled members of all the groups to attend the Climate Media Labs, a six-week learning program that sharpened their knowledge about the basics of climate science, climate change communications, among others. 

Team Bintuwak’s award was announced last December 10, during an online forum entitled “Turning Climate Stories into Action,” a multistakeholder forum organized by the OML Center in partnership with the Climate Reality Project Philippines and Asia Society. The forum discussed how climate storytelling and reporting could help bring about community action, and is meant to be the first of a series of multi-stakeholder forums on climate change anchored on the stories of the Umalohokan Fellows.