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The Center for Southeast Asian Studies > Ub-ufok Ad Fiallig Overview > Teaching Modules > Module 2 – Kutuktin : Defining Cultural Identity

Module 2 – Kutuktin : Defining Cultural Identity


A young Ifiallig hunter is trapped within a boulder by an allukoy (an enchanted being) who is determined to have him for her own. Derived from the narrative of village elder Arfonso Nacleo.


Brief Overview:

Students learn to value their home culture, particularly their ancestry and ethnic identity through the understanding of the uniqueness and intelligence of the indigenous beliefs and traditional practices of their people. They see how these kinds of knowledge are useful to surviving in today’s world and realize it is their responsibility to pass on this knowledge and positive attitudes to future generations. The purpose of this module is to empower students by teaching them to think critically of their cultural identity. What does it mean to be indigenous, immigrant, Local, American, etc. in Hawaii and in the United States? What does it mean to be Filipino/Hawaiian in light of the immigrant backlash during the last presidential election? Why is it important to study our past?


Culture, Ethnicity, Indigenous, Immigrants, Overseas Filipino Workers, Diaspora


  • Students differentiate between the terms culture, ethnicity, indigenous, immigrants, overseas Filipino workers (OFW), Diaspora
  • Students identify positively with their own and other people’s ethnic identities.
  • Students value indigenous and traditional beliefs and practices as useful and important.

 Materials Needed



1. Students define and discuss the terms culture, ethnicity, immigrants, overseas Filipino workers (OFW), Diaspora and indigenous. Have them provide examples.

1. Culture: “primary human toolkit”; values, symbols, perspectives, beliefs and behaviors shared by a human group. It helps determine the way we think, feel, and act, and is our lens through which we judge the world. It is one’s “home.”  Students identify and share their cultural and ethnic background(s) with the class. What do they know about their ethnic background? What are they proud about?

2.Ethnic Group/ Ethnicity: A micro-cultural group or collectivity that shares a common history, culture, values, behaviors, and other characteristics that causes a group to have a shared identity.  A sense of peoplehood is of importance to an ethnic group.  Cultural characteristics, not biological traits, are the attributes of an ethnic group.  One’s roots or ancestry.

According to The World Council of Indigenous People, 1993:

3.“Indigenous People are such population groups as we are, who from old-age times have inhabited the lands where we live, who are aware of having a character of our own, with social traditions and means of expressions that are linked to the country inherited from our ancestors, with a language of our own and having certain essential and unique characteristics which confer upon us the strong conviction of belonging to a people, who have an identity in ourselves and should be thus regarded by others.” How are indigenous people affected when immigrants settle in their native land?

4. Immigrant – a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country (Oxford Dictionary, 2016).

5. Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW)

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 2016:

An Overseas Filipino (FilipinoPilipino sa Ibayong-dagat) is a person of Filipino origin who lives outside of the Philippines. This term applies to Filipinos who are abroad indefinitely as citizens or as permanent residents of a different country and to those Filipino citizens abroad for a limited, definite period, such as on a work contract or as students. It can also include seamen and others who work outside the Philippines but are neither permanent nor temporary residents of another country. As a result of this migration, many countries have substantial Filipino communities.

Total Number of OFWs Estimated at 2.4 Million (Results from the 2015 Survey on Overseas Filipinos)

The number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who worked abroad at anytime during the period April to September 2015 was estimated at 2.4 million. Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) or those with existing work contract comprised 97.1 percent of the total OFWs during the period April to September 2015. The rest (2.9 %) worked overseas without contract.

The proportion of female OFWs (51.1%) was higher than male OFWs (48.9%). The largest proportion of OFWs belonged to age group 25 to 29 years comprising 25.8 percent of all OFWs, followed by those aged 30 to 34 years with 23.2 percent. Female OFWs were younger compared to male OFWs. About seven percent of female OFWs were in the age group 15 to 24 years and 29.5 percent were in the age group 25 to 29 years while the corresponding percentages of male OFWs in the age groups were 6.8 percent and 21.9 percent, respectively. There were more male OFWs (49.3%) than female OFWs (39.4%) in age group 35 and over.

( retrieved 11/16/2016)


6. Philippine Diaspora

According to Patricia Baron of Mt. Holyoke University:

The Philippines is estimated to have a population of  94 million. A surprising phenomenon, called the Philippine Diaspora, shows that the population is declining significantly with each year of growth. The major concern, however, is that the increasing trend of migrant workers signifies a large-scale human capital flight, also known as a Brain Drain, which would greatly affect the progress and development of the Philippines. What is to become of the country when all the brightest individuals leave?
Approximately twelve percent of the total population of the Philippines live overseas. Over the past years, the figures have been rising. Every hour, around 950 migrant workers leave the Philippines according to a statistic by the Philippine Commission on Population. They primarily migrate in search of better job opportunities and better life conditions. Often leaving behind their families and relatives in the Philippines, in the hopes of sending back remittances to better their economic and social status and one day finding a way to help them migrate abroad too.
Many overseas Filipino workers, commonly denoted as OFWs, have assimilated into their respective countries. They’ve successfully improved not only their quality of life but also that of their family back home. However, not all are so lucky. Some overseas Filipino workers, especially women, are underemployed, mistreated and exploited by their foreign employers.
The diaspora, particularly the migration of workers and labor, is not unique to the Philippines. It is a trend among residents of a developing country to leave for better prospects in a more developed country. It is a result of modern globalization.


7.  A big part of Filipino culture is storytelling or “kuwento.”  Have students share their family stories and traditions that have been passed down.  (Possible homework activity: Students interview a family elder about the “old days.” Encourage students to learn about their family histories as far back as anyone can tell them. Why are our traditional stories important in preserving our heritage?

8. Read the quote below and analyze the meaning of it. How does this quote make you feel? If you know of a loved one who is in danger of deportation if DACA is repealed, will you have the courage to stand up, speak up and join an organization to resist this type of action?

“PHOENIX — President-elect Donald Trump launched his candidacy on an anti-immigrant sentiment and has vowed to repeal a key Obama administration program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA) that shields hundreds of thousands of people from deportation. Now, many immigrants in the country illegally, or with relatives who are, fear deportation and separation from their families.”

-Astrid Galvan and Amy Taxin, Washington Post, “Deportation fears grip immigrants after Trumps election.”

9. According to Paulo Freire, the Brazilian author of the Pedagogy of the Oppressed and a staunch advocate of critical pedagogy, 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. In the story of Kutuktin, a young man bravely fought the Kutuktin who savagely murdered and ate an Ifiallig elder who kept the fire in the ator for the community. As you read or watch Kutuktin, how can you use this story to give you strength and courage to stand up for your rights or for others as an indigenous person, immigrant, Local, etc. What did you learn from this story?

Other possible questions?

1. What did you think of this story?

2. Can you think of stories that are similar to Kutuktin from your culture?

3. How would this story change if the hero of Kutuktin is a woman?

4. Can you connect this story to the struggles of the indigenous people and immigrants in Hawaii and the entire United States.

5. Do you think that learning about our stories such as Kutuktin and history is empowering?