SAN FRANCISCO – A traditional Ifugao beleh hut that is being built in Albany, Ohio by Mamerto Tindogan who goes by his Ifugao name Lagitan.
Tindogan, who is now based in the U.S., hails from Banaue, Philippines.
He calls himself an Ifugao shaman or healer and says that the plan to build this hut came to him in several dreams.
The beleh has now become a healing journey for Lagitan and he welcomes others to join him, like in this recent Ifugao immersion workshop in San Francisco.
“It’s basically about remembering who we are,” said Lagitan. “Connecting with our roots. Connecting with our ancestors and when you connect with your ancestors it doesn’t really matter where you are. It crosses cultural, political, geographical boundaries.”
Lagitan spoke of the many universal geometric symbols found in the Ifugao hut design. Symbols, like triangles, circles, and squares that are believed to have powerful vibrations that can promote healing.
“I am sharing it because it’s going for humanity,” says Lagitan. “It’s good for the Earth. It’s just good for everybody even if you just come and not say anything at all you stay inside the pyramid you will experience something.”
And the beleh has become a community journey that’s not just for Filipinos.
Natividad Delson, an integrative holistic facilitator and educator, said, “It’s very multicultural. We’ve had African-Americans, people from South America, the Europeans very much interested in connecting with who they are because the beleh represents the home and within each of us where is our home but in the heart.”
Lagitan says the goals of using the traditional Ifugao hut design is to help heal psychological trauma created by centuries of colonization and to help heal physical ailments caused by a materialist and unsustainable way of life that disconnect us from nature.
“Going back to experience the simplicity of just being with people of making the time to share stories and to laugh there’s something to be said about that and something that brings us home and I think that’s why many of us are missing,” said Delson.
Lagitan adds, “Building it just makes me feel proud of my ancestors because they already know of the benefits.
Lagitan says he will continue to share about the Ifugao culture as the invitation to the beleh hut in Ohio remains open to all.