On December 8, 2018, MABIKAs Foundation celebrated its official launching in line with the Christmas season. On this day, we at MABIKAs are privileged to have Ms. Diana Oosterbeek-Latoza, a multi-awarded social cultural worker and Bayanihan founding chairperson, as our guest speaker of the day. Below is a copy of her words of encouragement and inspiration addressed to all constituents of the foundation.

Board members  and members of the Mabikas Foundation, Guests , Ladies and Gentlemen,

Congratulations for a good job done in making your dream , the forming of Mabikas Foundation, a reality !

When Myra, your founding chairperson, ( and also our Bayanihan board secretary) asked me to give an inspirational talk during your launching , I did not hesitate to say yes although back in my mind I was asking “why me? ”  I feel honored and inspired by this gesture. It is because I saw Mabikas grow, just like how a baby grow. All the processes it has gone through, from conception to its birth. And with it the pain of labour and the joy of its birth.

You have a noble and ideal  vision, mission and goal. Mabikas Foundation envisions a world without prejudice against indigenous people. Your mission is to make that vision a reality by preserving your indigenous knowledge.  Therefore it is your goal to educate yourselves and strengthen your knowledge and your cultural heritage and indigenous identity in order for you to be able to preserve and transmit indigenous knowledge that are accurate, reliable and true. And so you presented 3 stages of development to achieve your mission namely 1) knowledge and skills acquisition  2) transformation of these acquired knowledge into tangible and sustainable assets 3) period of giving back to the community

The next question is how do you  implement these lofty and sometimes far fetching ideals? As we all know implementation is always the most difficult phase in the process. So I am giving you the following tips:

Tip Number 1. Truly believe in them. These are the magic lines that will lead you to  concrete realities.

Tip number 2. Take your strengths as a basis. Strengths are important qualities that motivate you for doing the things you do and the ways in which you do them.  So you ask first what are our strengths? The determination and the commitment to do something as a group are your strengths. Those qualities unite you as MABIKAs. They are empowering. Develop them.

Tip number 3. As organization examine your own possibilities and limitations. This brings back to examining yourselves first as persons , as leaders and as organization.  Do you own the vision, mission, goals of MABIKAs?

Leaders, do you impart these ideals to your members. Are you examples? Are you doing what you are preaching? Are you mutually empowering one another?

Well, these are just basic tips but starting to reflect on them and above all putting them in action are challenges for you.

I see a promising future in you as an organization.  You have started imparting your indigenous knowledge through dances and performing them in the Filipino and Dutch community. With your  strong and dynamic chairperson, Myra, who is duly supported by other committed board members and advisers, you will truly go forward. Rest assured  that personally, I am behind you including the board and core volunteers of Stichting Bayanihan . But remember, your Cordillera heritage is also the heritage of all Filipinos. So let us all nurture it. Thank you.


Diana Oosterbeek-Latoza is a recipient of prestigious awards both from the Philippine and Dutch government and institutions. Her work as social cultural worker and founding chairperson of Stichting Bayanihan (the Philippine Women Centre in the Netherlands) is highly recognized as evident of the awards she received, including the 2012 Presidential Banaag Award from the Philippine government, the 2018 Global Pinoy Idol, the 2007 ZAMI award and the Oranje Nassau Knighthood Award in the Netherlands.