Subanon women learn health and wealth skills


TVIRD holds traditional and alternative medicine training for Canatuan’s distaff side

Fresh from learning art and handicraft that can provide them a sustainable livelihood source, members of an indigenous women’s group in a remote mountain community in Southern Philippines recently acquired yet another skill that can help not only in augmenting the income of their families, but also in curing the sick and in maintaining the health of their loved ones.

A lucky volunteer gets a Shiatsu treat from a budding Subanon masseuse. “We can make use of this new skill when members of our family are sick, especially now when medicines are expensive.”

The Siocon Subanon Women’s Association, Inc. (SSWAI), composed of women from an indigenous tribe in Siocon municipality, Zamboanga del Norte, recently underwent training in traditional and alternative medicine. The training was organized by TVI Resource Development Philippines, Inc. (TVIRD), which operates a gold-copper mine in Canatuan, the ancestral domain of the Subanons in this town.

Inocencio Veneroso of the Company’s Community Relations and Development Office (CReDO), and Rechel Delmoro, a Manila-trained therapist from Diplahan town in adjacent Zamboanga Sibugay province, facilitated the training of 18 SSWAI members at the TVIRD Clubhouse near the mine operations.

TVIRD CReDO’s Inoncencio Veneroso, an IP himself, teaches the Subanon women the fine points of traditional medicine.

Veneroso and Delmoro provided the women basic training on Shiatsu (a traditional Japanese hands-on therapy based on anatomical and physiological theory), Acupuncture (a technique of inserting and manipulating needles into points on the body where the flow of energy is thought to be blocked meridians), Moxibustion (an acupuncture procedure that uses a dried herb, commonly known as moxa or mugwort, burned so that the heat is transferred to specific points on the body to increase energy), Acupressure (kneading or reflexology massage), and Ventusa (of similar procedure, but using glass). The participants, under the supervision of the facilitators, learned these alternative medical techniques hands on.

In addition, the women were also taught how to take blood pressure, courtesy of TVIRD nurse Lois Ladera-Esnane.

During the simple ceremonies marking the participants’ completion of the training course, Anabel Combi, SSWAI president, expressed gratitude to TVIRD in behalf of her fellow Subanon women for the opportunity given to them to learn additional useful skills.

Ventusa, a form of Acupressure that uses heated glasses, is shown being applied to a volunteer patient.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa kompanya sa pagbibigay sa amin ng pagkakataon na matuto ng traditional and alternative medicine. Hindi lamang namin ito magagamit na livelihood o additional income pagdating ng panahon na matatapos na ang operasyon ng TVI dito, magagamit din namin ito sa aming mga pamilya lalo na ngayon na mahal ang mga gamot. Mabibigyan na namin ng lunas ang mga ordinaryong sakit na hindi na kailangang gumastos [We thank the Company for giving us the opportunity to learn and acquire skills in traditional and alternative medicine. Not only that can we use it for livelihood or for additional income after TVI(RD)’s ceases its operations here (in Canatuan), but we can also make use of it for our families, especially now that medicines are expensive. We can now treat ordinary illnesses without having to spend much),” Combi said.

TVIRD Canatuan GM Magi Bagayao (seated center in black pants) and staff join the community’s 18 new traditional medicine neophytes during their graduation ceremonies at the Company clubhouse.

TVIRD Canatuan General Manager Magi Bagayao congratulated the participants and encouraged them to practice and hone the skills they have just acquired, adding that the women were privileged to have been given such an opportunity, one could help them much.

“Do not just set aside the skills you have acquired; practice it and make use of it. A plan for the establishment of a massage clinic here in Canatuan is being considered by the Company,” he said. “I could well be your first and regular patron.”

A followup training is scheduled soon to further develop and enhance SSWAI’s newfound skills. (Rene Patangan)