Through the assistance of ESSC, the Cultural Empowerment Center (CEC) was set-up in Bendum in 1993. CEC’s main objective was to provide a venue for child literacy and adult education, community livelihood activities, health program, resource mapping, community management training and documentation of their ancestral domain claims. In 1997, the community decided to name the literacy program Cultural Education Program. As the community sought to more formalize the education system in Bendum, the name was changed to Apu Palamguwan Cultural Education Center.
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A group of elementary school children staying at the dormitory in Bendum are managing a series of vermicompost beds. Marzon Limbago, an OJT (On-the- Job Training) student from the Bukidnon State University (BSU) who is also a resident of Bendum, assists these children in setting up the vermiculture.
The youth are encouraged to bring forth their knowledge and learnings into their own personal vision and mission in life thus, having the confidence and skills that would help sustain their own families as well as to the broader community in Upper Pulangi.
ESSC facilitated a one-week learning visit in Bendum last April 2012 for 37 students from various Asian countries to provide an opportunity to engage with the Pulangiyen community and understand the political, socio-cultural, and economic context of natural resource management concerns and the community’s efforts at enhancing human development.
The Pulangiyen community in Bendum is sustaining its forests back through a mixture of activities that relate to their basic needs for water and for livelihood. There are around 12 hectares under various forms of utilization that assist natural regeneration. The approach may not be comprehensive and can be viewed as patchy, as there are different reasons for different areas of regeneration. What is of critical significance is that the awareness of assisting regeneration is highly linked to the value the community puts to strengthening their culture.