Covid-19 Gardens: Indigenous wisdom we needed for the pandemic

When folks in Baguio City, Philippines, lost their jobs during the pandemic, they survived through urban gardening efforts lead by indigenous peoples
Sixto Tamangen Talastas

From the storyteller:

This comic book is a presentation to the world that we, Indigenous Peoples (IPs), also have knowledge, systems, and practices that helps us mitigate and manage the risks in every disaster even in pandemic such as this COVID19. This is an integration of different experiences of IP individuals, families, and groups in dealing with the effects of this pandemic, the dialogues, plots and structure are fictional but the events, places, organizations, and most characters are true. For the individuals and families featured here, fictional names are used in respect to their privacy.

The bulk of the stories are based from the video documentation of CWEARC entitled ‘Ayyew ken Ubbo para isnan kataguan’ (Ayyew and Ubbo for sustenance), while others are from tribes-mates and friends.


This comic book is made possible thru the grant from Innovation for Change – East Asia and thru the stories provided by CWEARC Inc. and certain individuals and families who greatly suffered from the COVID19 pandemic.

— July 2021

“Ubbo is an indigenous community support system or a mutual aid system, which may also include sharing of seeds, crops, and gardening tools and materials. Just make sure that you return everything you borrow.”

This comic book is commissioned by Innovation for Change – East Asia’s. It is part of a project called COVID-19 Stories from the Margins. Through the project, the hub equipped six individuals from marginalized communities in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam with skills to share their own experiences and lessons from the pandemic.

Sixto Tamangen Talastas is an Indigenous Person with over two decades of experience in community organising and development. He was previously the Program Officer at People’s Initiative for Learning and Community Development, Inc. in Baguio City, Philippines. He is currently with PIKP (Partners for Indigenous Knowledge, Philippines) doing research on Indigenous Health and Wellness. Sixto is also an illustrator whose works are featured in books about indigenous recipes and folktales. 


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