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An Aeta is Disciplined and Principled. Anything Less is Not an Aeta: Photo Essay Contest Entry

Aeta Kids in Carabao Island Romblon

Nicole Ann Lucas, one of the finalists in the Photo Essay Contest organized by ASCCA-Romblon last April 2021, showcased the thriving community of the Aetas in Hambil. Read her entry written in her mother tongue and translated into the English language:

An Aeta is Disciplined and Principled. Anything Less is Not an Aeta.

I went to Hambil or mostly known as Carabao Island, then I visited the Aeta Community. I saw Nanay Carmelita, the tribe leader who was in a hurry to see us who had just come from the paddy field carrying the bolo knife. In that distance, she already knew that she had a visitor.

Aeta Kids in Carabao Island Romblon
Aeta Kids in Carabao Island Romblon

When I talked to her, I was shocked that she has two daughters: a teacher and another who is a graduating college student of Romblon State University. They’re pure Aeta, but she has a daughter who married a different race called “Putian” and already has grandchildren who married a non-Aeta, or, as they call it, “kalibugan.” This means that in this part of the Aeta community, people already accept intermarriage.

Aeta Family in Carabao Island Romblon
Aeta Family in Carabao Island Romblon

We always used to say, “Aeta, Aeta lang gid man ran” or “Once an Aeta, always an Aeta,” but Nanay Carmelita really wants to have a daughter or even three members in the family to move out, finish their studies to help the next generation. Being the Aeta leader, she is the one who disciplines and always tells her tribe members to have principles in life. The financial support by the different races should be put in good things so if ever the “Putian” will go there, they will see that it went a good way and will not hesitate to help.

Humble Home of Aetas in Carabao Island
Humble Home of Aetas in Carabao Island

In this Aeta community, their style of living is farming; they are workers of the Alam family. They receive farming materials, but they also have their own materials and equipment. They also take care of goats that they share with each other.

“Aeta may prinsipyo kag disiplina bukon Aeta, Aeta gid ugali”

Nag ayan ako sa Hambil kag inayanan ang lugar et mga Aeta. Nakita ko si Nanay Carmelita ang lider et tribu nga halin pa sa lanasan, sa aton hay taramnan, bitbit ang sinduko. Layo palang kami hay usyan ron nana nga may bisita imaw. Kang gin-istorya ko imaw nakibot gid ako sa anang hinambal nga may unga ron imaw nga propesyunal, may maestra, may gaeskwela sa RSU nga matapos kadyang tuig.

Kag sanda hay purong Aeta gid, pero may unga maw nga naka-asawa et putian kaya may apo imaw nga kalibugan o nalahian ron et ibang lahi. Putian ang tawag nanda sa aton nga ibang lahi basi pirme naton ginahambal nga “Aeta, Aeta lang gid man ran”, pero si Nanay Carmelita hay gusto nana nga may unga gid maw nga makatapos agod sa sunod nga henerasyon hay may matudlo sa urihing tubo.

Kag bilang Aeta lider imaw, imaw ang ga-disiplina kag ginahambalan nana ang anang ka-tribu nga dalhon sa sadya ang ginatao nga bulig et mga putian kag dapat may disiplina kag prinsipyo sa buhay hay sabon mag-ayan ang putian kag makita nga uwat sadya nga inayanan ang bulig kag maglain ang buot. Sa lugar ngaya ni Nanay Carmelita sanda hay trabahador sa lugta et pamilya Alam. Andang pangabuhi hay sa taraman o lanasan.

Kang gin-istorya ko hay uwa ron sanda et ibang pangbuhi kag puro tanom lang et paray kag paalila et kambing kag kung mag-unga hay partehan sanda.

About Asi Studies Center for Culture and the Arts (ASCCA) – Romblon

ASCCA – Romblon is a chapter of Romblon Discussion List – Cultural, Livelihood, and Educational Assistance for Romblon (RDL-CLEAR), established in 1998. This non-profit organization aims to restore and promote the culture and heritage of the Bantoanon community. ASCCA has already hosted many workshops, conferences, cultural activities, and competitions to preserve Romblon’s nature, local languages, culture, and heritage and empower its community to pass its values to the next generation.

Press Contacts ASCCA – Romblon
Email: [email protected]
Facebook Page:

Ismael Fabicon
Email: [email protected]

The Photo Essay Contest was organized by the social media arm of ASCCA-Romblon. It started to hold monthly online contests last February 2021 on its official Facebook page for the Romblon community. Each contest aims to inspire fellow kasimanwas to showcase their talents and promote their own language, culture, and heritage at the same time. Follow our FB page at for future contests and updates.

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Written by Nicole Ann Lucas

Nicole is a scholar of Guang Ming College taking Performing Arts and Theatre. Aside from doing photography and theater, she also writes and won in writing children's stories written in the Kinaray-a language, among many others.

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