Manlilikha ng Bayan Federico Caballero
b. December 25, 1938

The #NationalMuseumPH honors Manlilikha ng Bayan Federico Caballero as he celebrates his 83rd birth anniversary today, 25 December. Federico Caballero was conferred the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan award in 2000 for his expertise in the Sugidanon, the epics of Central Panay. 

He learned to value the epics at an early age, as he and his siblings would listen to their great-great grandmother as she chants while lulling them to sleep in a hammock. He was then taught to chant the epics in exchange for his help in the fields and in household chores. 

As a culture bearer, he painstakingly persevered in the documentation of the 10 Panay Bukidnon epics which were rendered in a language that, though no longer spoken, is related to Kinaray-a. He worked with researchers to piece together the epics of Humadapnon and Labaw Donggon. He also encouraged the elders in the community to learn how to read and write so that they can document and preserve their indigenous traditions and beliefs. He sought help from the Bureau of Non-formal Education as he traveled to different barangays in this endeavor. 

Manlilikha ng Bayan Caballero is also a manughusay, or an arbiter of conflicts, who helps in resolving disputes at the local level. He believes that this practice prevents people from being alienated from each other and preserves the social fabric of their community. 

His upper male jacket bearing the panubok, the traditional embroidery of the Panay Bukidnon which uses designs derived from the environment, is displayed at the Manlilikha ng Bayan Hall at the National Museum of Anthropology in Manila. In order to physically visit the gallery, reserve your slot through this website and learn more about the life and works of the 16 Manlilikha ng Bayan.


Text and poster by the NMP Ethnology Division and NCCA GAMABA Executive Council

© The National Museum of the Philippines (2021)