I’m taking a break from writing my Cebu series because I’m in the mood to write once again about this country that has a very special place in my heart. As you might have read from my previous posts, I lived in Taiwan for several months last year. Since then, the island of Formosa have marked its beauty in my memory. Little did I know that such a small country would be so rich in culture, heritage and history.
One Saturday morning my brother drove me from Kaohsiung City to Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park. It is located at Majia Township, Pingtung County, the southern part of Taiwan. The township is home to a number of indigenous tribes. It’s somehow similar to Mountain Province, where we can see the indigenous people in the Philippines.
Entrance fee for adults is NT$150 (Php 225) and for students is NT$80 (Php 120). The park is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30am-5:00pm and is closed every Monday.
Established in 1987, the park covers 82.65 hectares. The park was developed to preserve aboriginal culture and to make sure that the customs of these indigenous people will not be forgotten.
My brother had told me about this place before. According to him, some of the aborigines here have similar features with Filipinos. Actually, during the first time he came here, one aborigine had mistaken him as one of them. Taiwan’s population is now made of 98% Han Chinese and 2% Taiwanese aborigines. And as I’ve researched online, I found out that Taiwanese aborigines’ ancestors might had been living in the island 8,000 years before the Han Chinese immigrated to Taiwan in the 17th century. Thus, Taiwanese aborigines have linguistic and genetic ties to the people of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. This research is not hard to believe because as we know, Taiwan is only 190 kilometers from Batanes, the northernmost province of the Philippines.
Inside this cute little house, there is a restaurant that sells coffee and tea.
Upon arrival in the park, the aborigines welcomed us with a serenade. They sang some traditional songs to us and fired some bamboo firecrackers.
After the short presentation, we took a bus that brought us to the center of the park.
The sceneries while on the bus were really beautiful. The park is surrounded by huge mountains. After arriving at the park’s center area, the visitors were brought to a big circular theater where the aborigines presented cultural dances and songs.
The show was fantastic. The aboriginal songs and dances that they presented were really impressive. Even though we didn’t understand their language, the hymn of their ethnic songs was truly beautiful. My nephew and nieces ended singing the hymn of the song in the car on our way home.
There are also exhibits that show the arts and lifestyle of the different tribes. They are currently featuring the exhibits of nine aboriginal tribes in Taiwan.
Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park in Pingtung County is far from Taipei but if you’re staying in Taipei and you’re interested in Taiwan’s aborigines, there’s still another option for you. There is another aboriginal park located in Nantou County about 5 hours from Taipei by bus but it’ll be faster if you will take the high speen train. Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village is located near to Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County. For more information about Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village please click here. I also searched for a video in youtube to show you what are Taiwanese aboriginal dances like. The dance in the video is somehow similar to the one that we watched in the park.
Overall, this park is one of the most remarkable places that I have visited in Taiwan. I had a great time meeting the Taiwanese aborigines, whom I had found out have some genetic ties with Filipinos and other Austronesian people. Traveling would make you realize the similarities and differences that we have with other countries. It’s good to find out that there are cultural parks like this that ensure that the culture and lifestyle of the indigenous people will not be forgotten on this day of modernizing world.
Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park
Address: No.104, Fengjing Lane, Beiye Village, Majia Township, Pingtung County
Telephone # +886-8-799-1219
Entrance fee: Adults NT$150 ; Students NT$80
Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30am-5:00pm and is closed every Monday
How to Get Here:
1. National Freeway No.1 → Exit at the Jiuru 2nd Rd. Interchange for Kaohsiung City → Pingtung City → Provincial Highway Route 24 → Shueimen → Beiye → Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park.
2. National Freeway No.3 → Exit at the Changzhi Interchange → Pingtung City → Provincial Highway Route 24 → Shuimen → Beiye → Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park.
3. National Freeway No.3 → Exit at the Jiuru Interchange → Provincial Highway Route 3 → Ligang → Provincial Highway Route 22 → Gaoshu Bridge → Shuimen → Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park (through Saijia).
Travel until Pingtung Railway Station and connect to the bus of Pingtung Bus for the direction of Shueimen or Sandimen. Get off at the Shueimen stop and walk to the Park. (Connecting buses to the Park available on holidays).
*source from here