Module 2. Kutuktin: Storytelling and Life Lessons from Home
In the story of Kutuktin, a young Ifiallig hunter was chosen by his village to fight a monster who savagely murdered and ate an Ifiallig elder, the keeper of the community fire in the ator. This story was derived from the narrative of village elder Arfonso Nacleo.
Learning about our culture and role of storytelling in different Philippine ethnic groups increase our understanding of ourselves and our integral relationship with our communities.
Learning about our personal histories and culture is empowering as it helps us overcome our own stereotypes about ourselves through understanding the depth of our culture and history.
Learning about our culture helps build a sense of cultural pride.
Learning about our culture guides us towards a deeper understanding of our ancestral roots.
LESSON 1: STORYTELLING: Stories and Life Lessons from Home
The Filipino culture and its many indigenous communities are no different from cultures with a rich oral history, which are recounted through storytelling. Every culture values storytelling as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and instilling moral values. Storytellers make these narratives come alive through lively improvisations and embellishments.
The written word did not reach the Ifiallig (the people of Barlig) until the early 20th century. Hence, for thousands of years the traditions of the people in this region were handed down orally through generations. Long ago, the Ifiallig would sit around the fires of the ator (village council-house) to listen to tales of their hero-ancestors like Linmipaw and Amfusnun. When work in the payyiw (ricefields) is done, venerable elders and umu-ufok (storytellers) recount these stories in their own language they call Finallig. These ub-ufok (stories), handed down for many generations, serve as a record of their history, genealogy and cultural traditions.
Discuss the meaning of storytelling with students.
Is storytelling part of your culture?
What were the stories you learned from home?
Who were the storytellers?
What can we learn from stories passed down to us by our elders?
Do you think storytelling is still part of our modern world? If so, how has it changed?
Have the students read and watch Kutuktin.
Students discuss Kutuktin. What do think of the story? Are their stories similar to Kutuktin from your home culture?
Have the students discuss the following Salawikain (Pilipino/a Proverb):
“Ang sakit ng kalingkingan, damdam ng buong katawan. The pain of your little finger can be felt by your whole body.” Violeta A. Noriega, author of Selected Pilipino Proverbs Mga Salawikain, interprets this proverb as “Bad news about a member of a community affects the whole community.” How does this proverb apply to the story of Kutuktin? Why was the ator important to the Ifiallig? Why was the old man who kept the fire burning in the ator important in the Ifiallig community?
A “Kutuktin” can also be a symbol of struggle. Have students imagine who might be the “Kutuktin” in their lives or their communities.
Learning about our history and stories of victory give us hope and strength to challenge social injustice, oppression and the daily struggles of our lives. As students read or watch Kutuktin, have them think of a social problem their community is currently facing. How might they be able to solve this problem? What lessons can they learn from the story of Kutuktin? Can stories like Kutuktin be a source of empowerment for our communities? Students discuss the importance of learning their personal histories.
Students collect and record stories from their elders. This person can be a family member who knows their family history. It can also be someone who knows their community’s history who is not a family member. Find an inspirational story that makes them feel empowered and share it with their classmates.