Kathara Society is a community-based non-profit organization composed of artists, community workers, advocates, retirees, students, caregivers, TFWs, and professionals. Kathara is multi-generational, multi-ethnic, first and second generation Filipinos & Canadians. We strive to center the indigenous voice while including other ethnicities that support cultural survival. Kathara is dedicated to the promotion of Philippine Indigenous People’s rights (including Manobo, Bagobo-Tagabawa, B’laan, Mandaya, Ati & Igorot), art and culture through community events, peace education, public performances, & advocacy. Kathara works cross-culturally in solidarity with Aboriginal communities of Coast Salish Territory, Indigenous peoples worldwide, and social movements on climate justice, environment, and human rights.

Revitalize Philippine Indigenous Tattoo Tradition – Moving Onward to the 3rd International Babaylan Conference


Who Did Your Ink (Article written by JR Guerrero for the Georgia Straight)

What you do – Career Advisor, Culture Worker, & co-founder of Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Collective Society

Who did your inkMayo Landicho of Birthmark Tattoos

Why this artist – Mayo Landicho is a personal friend. I’ve known him as a singer, songwriter, graphics designer, mountain climber, environmentalist, and culture artist. His most recent transformation is that of the ink. He has learned from books, peers, tattoo masters, and have won international awards. He promotes tribal tattoo from all parts of the world. To me, getting inked is a personal and intimate bond between the artist and the canvass. Trust is important. I trust who did my ink.

What is the meaning – Mayo’s first tattoos on me (2006) were neo-tribal images tattooed on my collarbone that spoke of water and fire. He inked me with armbands out of ancient Philippine pre-colonization scripts called alibata or baybayin of my surname Guerrero that means warrior in Spanish. A number of years passed on and suddenly I find Mayo Landicho an internationally awarded tat artist!

Mayo made a trek to a remote mountain community called Buscalan in the Cordilleras north of the Philippines in 2011. He paid homage to one of the oldest living tattoo artist in the Philippines named Apo Wang Od who practices the traditional tattoo art of batok or hand tapping.

Mayo inked me in the tribal tradition of commemorating milestones in ones life. Examples of which are a tribal warrior’s claim to victory, a successful journey, rites of passage, or any notable accomplishment. Mayo inked me with:

  • A centipede and spearhead representing leadership,

  • Sinawali or native weaving representing the threading of people and communities together

  • And a lotus leaf representing spiritual awakening

Revitalizing indigenous peoples traditions for me means returning to the land. It’s what helps me make sense of my experience as a visitor here on traditional land of Coast Salish people. I believe that reaching out to the first peoples of Turtle Island through my own sense of indigeneity helps bring healing from centuries of injustice wrought on indigenous peoples worldwide. A unique event that center indigenous voice is the Third International Babaylan Conference 2016 billed as Makasaysayang Pagtatagpo: Historic Encounter of Filipinos and Indigenous Turtle Islanders Revitalizing Ancestral Traditions Together. The gathering highlights the collective resilience of colonized societies in the Philippines and in North America, and a persistent return to indigenous practices believed to bring about healing. I urge readers to learn more about their indigenous identities.

Check out the event here: Third International Babaylan Conference Babaylan is a Filipino term that means shaman or healer representing the healing objectives of the gathering.

What’s next – My body is canvas. It tells stories just like all bodies do. In honour of those who have gone before me in two lands I now call home, my skin will host forever ink I plan to get from budding Haida artist Corey Bulpitt and Filipino-American master tattoo artist and author Lane Wicken.

Tini(g)Tipon: Gathered Voices


Co.ERASGA proudly present

The Gathered Voices and the Artists of “Tini(g)Tipon”
Presented at the Scotiabank Dance Centre (677 Davie St)
Wednesday, September 21,2016 at 7pm
Tickets through for  $20/$30 (sliding scale)
The artists: Kathara PILIPINO INDIGENOUS ARTS COLLECTIVE SOCIETY with Butterflies in Spirit, Grace Nono, Mutya Macatumpag, Co.ERASGA, Dancers of Damelehamid, Coastal Wolfpack Musqueam Group BC, Rulan Tangen, Migrante BC, and Jeremiah Carag.
How can we build alliances through the arts in times when colonialism continue to pose greater challenges and tensions to our contemporary lives?  How could artists contribute in the global discussion of the history of migration and belonging within the larger context of settler colonialism? What is the meaning of our presence as settlers on Indigenous lands?  Co.ERASGA is gathering Filipino, Filipino-Canadians and Canada’s First Nations artists to build solidarity and networks in a one night cultural performance event called, “Tini(g)Tipon”.
“Tini(g)Tipon” is a Filipino term Dennis Gupa and Alvin Tolentino coined to capture the collective spirit of gathering voices. “Tini(g)Tipon” is also a prelude cultural event organized by Co.ERASGA in honor of the 3rd International Babylan Conference that will take place on Squamish Territories at the YMCA Camp Elphinstone on Sunshine Coast, British Columbia. “Tini(g)Tipon” is a contraction of two Filipino words: “tinig” means  “voice” while “tipon”  is “gathering.” The combination of these Tagalog terms with the parenthetical “g” in the middle results to three more meanings, that of, “the act of gathering” and “the gathered voices”.
This cultural event will happen on September 21st, 8pm at the Scotia Bank Dance Center that will involve artists from across cultural backgrounds for a collaborative work. Directors Alvin Tolentino and Dennis Gupa is co-working with Tini(g)Tipon and both artists recognize the arts (visual arts, dance, theater, poetry, music) as embodied cultural practice that play an important and critical role in educating and in strengthening our communities.  Gupa is theatre director in the Philippines and now an Applied Theatre PhD student at University of Victoria believes that “This event will engage artists and performers willing to further explore indigenous knowledge systems including the myths, storytelling, oral history, cultural and performative practices to critically and creatively think about collective and shared knowledge on decolonization”.
Meanwhile, co-director Tolentino and founder choreographer of Co.ERASGA reflects, “The Filipinos in the diaspora, the third largest multi-ethnic settler in Canada, have a long history of encounters with Aboriginal or Native peoples. We now have people who call themselves Indipino or Filipino/Pomo, for example representing mix identities of Filipinos and indigenous people of Turtle Island (North America). And yet to this day there is a lack of recognition and acknowledgement of these connections in academia, in cultural work, and other milieu where these encounters take place on a daily basis”.
Co.ERASGA collaborates with Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Collective, Grace Nono, Mutya Macatumpag, Dancers of Damelehamid, Coastal Wolfpack Musqueam Group  BC, Rulan Tangen, Migrante BC, and Jeremiah Carag to create an expressive space where artists and cultural workers reflect and provide the collective stories, ideas, experiences in honouring the indigenous past to the present. Tickets can be acquired through for  $20/$30 (sliding scale) to a night of a gathering of voices!
MEDIA CONTACT: Karen Merrifield 604-687-6185
Tini(g)Tipon  was made possible with the generous support of The Canada Council for the Arts, The BC Arts Council, The City of Vancouver, The BC Gaming Commission, The Dance Centre, Georgia Straight, EastVan Graphics and CO.ERASGA’s individual members, donors and sponsors.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Third International Babaylan Conference 2016

CFBS Conference Poster for PrintingMakasaysayang Pagtatagpo (HISTORIC ENCOUNTER):  

Filipinos and Indigenous Turtle Islanders Revitalizing Ancestral Traditions Together  The Third International Babaylan Conference, September 23-25, 2016

Vancouver, Coast Salish. Aug 8, 2016 The Centre for Babaylan Studies (“CfBS”) is co-creating with Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Collective Society the Third International Babaylan Conference on September 23-25, 2016 at the YMCA Camp Elphinstone, Squamish Territory on the unceded Coast Salish Territories of British Columbia, Canada. Babaylan is a Filipino term that means shaman or healer representing the healing objectives of this conference.

While focusing on concepts and practices of Filipino indigenous knowledge and healing traditions during the first and second Conferences, the upcoming gathering expands to include our relationships with indigenous peoples of Turtle Island or North America. We acknowledge that we are celebrating this historic encounter on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people to whom we extend our gratitude and respect. The Conference highlights the collective resilience of colonized societies in the Philippines and in North America, and on how a persistent return to indigenous practices can bring about healing. Makasaysayang Pagtatagpo or Historic Encounters between Filipinos and Turtle Islanders: Revitalizing Ancestral Traditions Together is about building mutual respect for experiences and worldviews we hold in common, our historical differences, and our diversity. Our hope is that through this encounter, we can recognize shared needs and an explicit commitment to respectful connection and effective collaboration with each other.

Our keynote speakers include Lily Mendoza, a Filipino-American professor who specializes in critical intercultural communication. She is the author of numerous publications and is a distinguished scholar whose interests include indigenization and indigenous studies, communication, culture and ecology, cultural politics, identity and belonging, and race and ethnicity.

The participation of Squamish Chief Ian Campbell, Mandy Nahanee and other local indigenous attendees highlights the growing connection between local Filipino communities and indigenous peoples on Coast Salish Territories. A canoe and blanket ceremony will mark the beginning of the conference on September 23 Friday.

The opening plenary panel will include “Indipinos” (Indigenous North American and Pilipino) Rulan Tangen who is Kapampangan and Metis, Diveena Marcus, of Filipino and Pomo heritage, and a local Filipino and Coast Salish participant. We are using the popular term “Indipino,” but also acknowledging other terms that may be specific to each person and clan.

Conference presenters in panels and workshops will address conference themes on settler identities, healing through the arts, and re-indigenization practices. Explore with us through our panelists the issues implicated in settler colonialism, identity, and gender politics. Gain blessings to witness the embodiment of culture and decolonization through creative expression in art, performance, and music.

For more information, contact:, or JR Guerrero @ 604.779.4209

To register for the conference, please click here:

Journey to the 3rd International Babaylan Conference 2016


Established in 2003, the theatrical dance group Kathara has been performing in the Vancouver and the Lower Mainland area as part of a multi-disciplinary artistic & cultural exchange created by Elenita Boots Dumlao and Babette Santos. Kathara performs traditional music & dance, theatre, and martial art practices inspired by indigenous peoples of Southern Mindanao such as the Manobo, Bagobo Tagabawa, B’laan, Mandaya, and T’boli.

After almost ten years of performances, in 2012, long-time Kathara members formalized the group into the Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Collective Society. When the book entitled Babaylan: Filipinos and the Call of the Indigenous (edited by Leny M. Stroebel) landed on the shores of Coast Salish on the same year, members of the performance group answered to what seemed a long awaited call. Self-produced events and gatherings marked Kathara’s journey towards the Third International Babaylan Conference 2016. These milestone events include the premiere showing of Auraeus Solito’s film Busong: Palawan Fate (2012), a theatrical production called Bagobo: The New People (2013), KAPWA Sensing Ourselves in One Another: A Philippine Indigenous Arts Festival (2014), and a multi-media inter-disciplinary art presentation Empowerment Legacy of Lapu Lapu on Unceded Coast Salish Territory (2015). Kathara also capitalized on visits of Philippine champions of Indigenous Peoples rights, such as visiting UN Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and peace negotiator, author, and cleric Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, by engaging them in community talks.

The arrival of the book Babaylan and the awareness of a growing indigenization movement within Filipino communities across Turtle Island and the Philippines propelled Kathara to ally with the Center for Babaylan Studies in the co-creation of the Third International Babaylan Conference in Vancouver, BC. Kathara has been slowly building bridges and creating partnerships within and outside the Filipino community to cultivate grassroots support towards the Conference. Trumpeting the call to groups in the academe, social services, the arts, advocacy, ethnic and First Nations, Kathara’s vision has infected people’s imaginations. Kathara members, upon invitation by CfBS to co-create the Conference and as if prompted by their ancestors, readily answered, “YES, it’s time.”  Thus the journey of Kathara continues guided by the reverence of Kapwa and Loob, hand-in-hand with CfBS.

Kathara with Butterflies in Spirit

Collab Filipino & First Nations Project: Kathara + Butterflies in Spirit

Pronounced Kat-hara, Kathara’s beginnings are in the Philippines, a vision to coexist in peace and harmony with one another and the abundant environment; to celebrate the beautiful diversity of tribal peoples in Mindanao. “Lupa Ay Buhay” Land is Life!! Kathara continues the legacy here in Canada between Filipinos and the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. 

Premiering a groundbreaking collaboration at Surrey Fusion Festival (SFF) as part of the journey towards a historical event titled: The Third International Babaylan Conference held on Sept.23-25 at Gibsons aimed to revitalize indigenous traditions of Filipinos, Coast Salish and Turtle Islanders. Kathara has touched Vancouver’s community for 14 years and annually showcases in Surrey Fusion Festival engaging audiences in a vibrant musical dance presentation. Kathara features inter-generational, mixed heritage artists in traditional and contemporary approaches Mindanaoan of indigenous cultural arts. Preserving heritage and to deeply explore one’s ancestral roots connected to an indigenous past, ignites the passion of Kathara’s artists. 

Butterflies In Spirit (BIS) is a dance troupe made up of mostly family members of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women that raises awareness of violence against indigenous women and girls across Canada. BIS commemorates the victims of violence in Vancouver and across Canada. Founder Lorelei started wearing the image of missing Auntie Belinda Williams, and murdered cousin Tanya Holyk. Other dancers perform wearing images and honouring family lost. Their fusion of contemporary, hiphop with traditional dance choreographed by PowWow dancer- Madelaine McCallum and for the first time with live musical accompaniment by Kathara.

This collaboration was spearheaded by Co-Founder/ Artistic Director/Dancer Choreographer of Kathara- Babette Santos and Founder/Dancer of Butterflies In Spirit-Lorelei Williams.

Kathara and Butterflies In Spirit are proud to present a powerful presentation of Filipino and Turtle Islander Indigenous arts on beautiful Unceded Coast Salish Territory.

July 23, 2016 Surrey Fusion Festival

July 28, 2016 Nchu7mut Kaisa One Heart One Mind One Spirit @ Wisehall

September 21, 2016 Tini(g)Tipon @ Scotia Dance Centre

September 23-25, 2016 Third International Babaylan Conference @ Gibson

written by Babette Santos 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Fundraiser event at the W.I.S.E. Hall July 28 / 7pm

NCHU7MUT (inch-ot-mot) KAISA (ka-ee-sa): One Heart One Mind One Spirit


Micajieu Velasco 604.725.2876 Kim Villagante 778.929.8806

The collaborative fundraising event Nchu7mut (Squamish: One Heart One Mind One Spirit) Ka-isa (Tagalog: Unity) will bring together Filipino and First Nations artists raising funds to support the Third International Babaylan Conference this September. The event Nchu7mut Kaisa will feature top performances by Filipinos & indigenous artists from Vancouver, 6 tables exhibiting arts & merchandises by local artists, high-energy music by DJ SobeyOne, raffle prizes, and an EPIC Dance Party.

 Nchu7mut Kaisa will be held Thursday, July 28 from 7pm to 12AM at The Wise Hall on 1882 Adanac Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V5L 2E2. Tickets are $15 – $25 donation (sliding scale) and available at the door or through Eventbrite. Featured artists include: Mitcholos S. Touchie, Kimmortal, Purple Hearts Social Club, Warren Hooley, Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Collective Society & Butterflies in Spirit, with emcees Suzette Amaya and Racquel Villagante.

 Proceeds from Nchu7mut Kaisa will support The Third International Babaylan Conference, a collaboration event between Kathara Society and The Center for Babaylan Studies. The conference seeks to build bridges and interconnections with the original peoples or First Nations of Turtle Island. Workshops, creative performances, ritual and ceremony, and educational opportunities will focus on what can be learned from each other. Internationally-known artists and cultural stakeholders will lead participants through different mediums of learning, to reflect and share stories, ideas and experiences that honour indigenous roots, histories and legacies. “Babaylan is a Filipino word that refers specifically to an individual or a group of healers, mostly women, who were acknowledged as possessing extraordinary gifts of vision (an ability to see through schemes or situations and later advise on future plans) and healing (a specific touch or intuited or passed-on knowledge to specific processes of ‘fixing’ and ‘putting’ people and things together). The first priority of all Babaylan [is] her community.” — Carlos Villa

Nchu7mut Kaisa official EventBrite site

Center for Babaylan Studies website


Nchu7mut Kaisa One Heart One Mind One Spirit


We sincerely want to acknowledge that this event is taking place on ancestral, traditional, and unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.


collaborations between FILIPINO/FILIPINA/FILIPINX Artists + COAST SALISH Artists + QTIBIPOC Artists coming together to raise funds that will go towards the 3rd annual International Babaylan Conference that will be happen in September.

Mitcholos S Touchie
Purple Hearts Social Club
Warren Hooley
Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Collective Society
Butterflies InSpirit
emcees Suzette Amaya and Racquel Villagante
DJ Sobey Wing
and more!

This night we’d like to offer:
– talented and top performances by Filipinos & Indigenous Artists from Vancouver
– 6 tables exhibiting arts & merchandises made/sold by our gifted local artists
– High- energy dance music playlists by an amazing DJ
– Chances to win plenty of Raffle prizes
– and an EPIC Dance Party

For Tickets $15 – $25 donation (sliding scale), please contact:
Kim Villagante
Micajieu Joey Velasco
Jotika Chaudhary
Babette Santos
Lydia Luk
Our Town Cafe on Knight & Kingsway

BATOK Philippine Traditional Tattooing by Mayo Landicho @ Kwayetsut


Inspired by a recurring dream of a woman on top of a high mountain, Mayo Landicho was told by a dream that a woman would play an important role in his life. “I dreamt of her many years ago. I did not know what it meant.”Later on upon deciding to pick up ink and researching about Philippine tribal tattooing, he learned of 95 year-old Apo Wang Od, oldest living traditional tattooist from Northern Philippines. “It is time that I bring my feet to her.” In 2013, Mayo trekked to Buscalan in the Kalinga region where Apo Wang Od lives.

Today, Mayo promotes the ancient tradition of pambabatok (tattooing) that he learned from Apo Wang Od. He says “… she’s funny (Apo Wang Od)… she told me that I could’ve been her husband if I was born much earlier.” At their encounter, he received a centipede mark from her, and for his part, tattooed Apo Wang Od with an alibata mark of the first syllable of her name. “I told her my story. I asked for her blessings. I asked for permission to continue her style and the tradition of hand-tapping.”



Historical Philippine Migrations to Turtle Island by Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor @ KWAYETSUT


From the first voyages of the Manila-Acapulco trade route in 1565 to post-Marcos regime immigration, Filipinos have been migrating to Turtle Island in small and large numbers. It has been difficult, however, to trace how those migrations created the first persisting Indi-Pinoy communities. This talk will look at history and the interaction of colonialism both in the Philippines and in North America, and how present day Indi-Pinoy communities have been challenged by issues such as identity, culture, and dis-enrollment. – Rebecca Mabangla-Mayor

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: Kwayetsut The Marking of Your Inner Power


TAGTANUMYA! ANNOUNCING 2015 Kathara Board of Directors

Coast Salish Territories, November 2014

We announce to you with great joy and pride

Photo (13) 
K A T H A R A   B O A R D  O F  D I R E C T 0 R S 
Abi Padilla – Director, Secretary
Berdita Santos – Director, Vice-President
Bert Monterona – Director
Chaya Go – Director
Jonathan Flitney – Director
JR Guerrero – Director, President
Leo Cunanan – Director
Michael Infante – Director, Treasurer
Sobey Wing – Director
Babette Santos, Kathara Canada Artistic Director
Tha Hoa Le – Advisory Director 
We are very happy that a diverse group of people have
come together with much courage in the spirit of solidarity
to explore the Indigenous in us all.
We are artists, community workers, retirees, students,
professionals, multi-generational, multi-ethnic,
Indigenous & non-Indigenous, first and second generation
Filipinos & Canadians dedicated to greater social change,
and the promotion of Pilipino Indigenous identity,
arts, culture, & history.

Continue reading TAGTANUMYA! ANNOUNCING 2015 Kathara Board of Directors