After two years of formation and formulation, MABIKAs Foundation (The Philippine Cordillera Connection in the Netherlands) has  finally reached one of its most awaited milestones on its journey towards a world without prejudice against indigenous people. The foundation is now registered as a legal entity in the Netherlands!

On October 16, 2018, MABIKAs constituents headed to the civil notary to witness a history in the making for the very first community of Igorots formed in the Netherlands since the coming of Filipinos and Igorots in the country more than 30 or 40 years ago. Fully supported by all members of the first Board and committed MABIKAs pioneers, MABIKAs Founding Chairperson Myra Colis signed the deed of incorporation at the Bakker & Neve Notarissen in Leiderdorp. Following the signing is the registration at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, which entered completion on October 17, 2018 with its designated KvK #72855924.

“The making of MABIKAs Foundation is not only to bring the Igorots in the Netherlands together, but it is also about building a legacy that each and every single individual at MABIKAs can leave behind for the next generations to come,” says Myra Colis, Founding Chairperson of Stichting MABIKAs. “Completing our registration at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce on October 17th also serves as our official declaration that MABIKAs Foundation has come and we are here with a mission!”

In the past two years, we’ve been working hard on defining and testing our WHATs, WHYs and HOWs. Time is one valuable and very limited resource; so we asked ourselves why spend time on this? What is MABIKAs for? Why is the mission to preserve one’s indigenous knowledge and culture matter? How does it impact the lives of people in the community? And how exactly are we going to make our vision of a world without prejudice against the indigenous people a reality? The official logo of the foundation tells our story and yes, the answers to these questions.

The Board serve as the governing body of the foundation, which is currently consisting of six members. Registered founder, Myra Colis, sits as chairperson, Yvonne Belen as secretary, Renijune Abaya as treasurer, and Tessie Gayao, Romelita Gumatic, and Cesar Taguba as board members.

Nine MABIKAs constituents, including four of the six Board Members, three other pioneers, and two members of the young generation, were present to represent the rest of the 30 active volunteers and more than 60 constituents of MABIKAs in the Netherlands. Those who were able to make time for this important occasion were: (from left to right on the black & white photo below) Sophie Lonogan, Aida Tingalon, Christine Moncado, Yvonne Belen, Myra Colis, Romelita Gumatic, Renijune Abaya, Umudi van den Bos, and Alexander Zymelka (under the table).

The signing of the deed of incorporation at a civil notary and the registration of MABIKAs as a foundation at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce signifies that MABIKAs Foundation has now obtained legal rights and can, therefore, push through its vision, mission and goals with more responsibilities and accountability.

To celebrate this history in the making for the foundation and indigenous groups in general, the nine constituents concluded the day with a sumptuous dinner at a Thai restaurant in Leiden Central.

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Photo credits: Sophie Lonogan | Romelita Gumatic |Renijune Abaya