WINNER. Romulo “Amang Baoy” Caballero (center) receives the PHP10,000 cash prize and certificate of recognition together with his family members as regional winner of the search for “Natatanging Pamilyang Pilipino” to mark the National Family Week in a ceremony in Iloilo City on Sept. 30, 2022. They represented Western Visayas in the national search whose winners will be announced in October in time for the IP Month celebration. (PNA photo courtesy of DSWD Western Visayas)

ILOILO CITY – An indigenous people (IP) family from the municipality of Calinog in Iloilo was hailed as the “Natatanging Pamilyang Pilipino” for its efforts to help preserve the Panay Bukidnon culture.

“The search for ‘Natatanging Pamilyang Pilipino’ recognizes and awards Filipino families who demonstrated exemplary Filipino way of life and have significantly contributed to nation building,” Ruth Sesbreño, alternate focal for family of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Western Visayas, said in an interview on Monday.

The patriarch, Romulo “Amang Baoy” Caballero, 75, is considered as the first teacher of the School of Living Tradition (Balay Turun-an) in Western Visayas.

He is a recipient of several awards which included Outstanding Cultural Master, Outstanding Panay Bukidnon and Outstanding Calinognon.

“Although they came from an indigenous people, they tried to preserve their culture and tradition and hand them down to their younger generation,” Sesbreño said.

Caballero started teaching at the SLT in Barangay Garangan in Calinog in 2001, which is an eight-kilometer walk from his house in Barangay Masaroy.

The SLT was later on extended to Barangays Agcalaga, Masaroy, and Datagan, where as a cultural master and adept enchanter, he shared his expertise on epic chanting, playing musical instruments, and dancing the “binanog” dance to students.

He and his wife, 71-year-old Erlinda, were blessed with nine children but one died at the age of 12.

Two of their children are working with the Department of Education (DepEd), two are members of the Philippine Army, while the rest are a pastor, a part-time caregiver, a cultural master, and a dressmaker.

The family received its PHP10,000 award during the culminating activity of the National Family Week celebration in Sept. 30, besting four other entries from Antique, Negros Occidental, and Iloilo.

The IP family also represented the region in the national search where the winners will be announced in time for the celebration of the IP Month this October.

As an exemplary family, the winner will join the pool of ambassadors to promote the goals of the National Committee on Filipino Families, promote Filipino values, and serve as resource persons during family development sessions or other family-related activities. (PNA)