BAGUIO CITY – A showcase of the rich culture and tradition of the Cordillera region kicked off the Luzon Culture and Arts Festival on Wednesday (March 14) at the University of Baguio (UB) carpark area.
The Onjon Ni Ivadoy performed the canao rituals with the butchering of at least five native pigs and pouring and drinking of tapuy or rice wine to appease the spirits, seek approval and to give thanks in the opening ceremony.
Former Baguio City Mayor Peter Rey Bautista and UB Alumni Foundation President Engr. Eleazer Demayo with the Onjon group also performed the tayao and participated in the opening rituals.
Kalinga elders also performed a separate ritual with the offering of a native pig before the program proper started at the UB Cardinals gymnasium.
Cultural performances from chants to dances, and showcase of rituals and traditions were performed for the whole day by the different elders and cultural masters from the various ethno-linguistic groups from the different provinces in the Cordillera region.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan delivered an uggayam or a traditional chant to open the afternoon activities of the festival. He praised the cultural performers particularly the youth for proudly and correctly wearing their traditional attires including their g-strings and tapis in public areas which shows that they are very proud of their culture and heritage as people of the Cordillera.
The Luzon Culture and Arts Festival is a year-long activity of the UB thru the UB Alumni Foundation in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. It carries the theme, “Multiculturalism and Ethnic Identity: Experiencing Authenticity in the City.”
Demayo said the project was conceptualized using the framework of multicultural education to bring together the students of the Cordillera provinces in the city of Baguio to celebrate their culture by participating in the cultural and arts activities scheduled for the whole year. It aims to promote the native culture that thrived and existed in the Cordillera.
The festival is also part of the 70th year Foundation celebration of the university which also honors the founder of UB.
UB Vice President for Institutional and External Affairs Dr. Esmeralda Gatchalian said that the festival is a dream of Tatay Fernando Bautista, the founder of the university, for the native culture to flourish unhampered among the people of the Cordillera with the university as the center of the old BIBAK or the organization of students from Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc (Mountain Province), Apayao and Kalinga.
NCIP-CAR Director Roland Calde expressed gratitude to UB for showcasing the rich culture and traditions of the Cordillera people through a culture and arts festival.
“The festival and the events of the university are ways for the students and the youth to understand the culture and tradition of the region especially on the arts and culture of indigenous peoples in the region. Such cultural presentations will promote oneness of the Cordillerans despite having diverse customary practices,” Calde said.
For his part, Peter Rey Bautista said that he is proud to be a grandson of Tatay Fernando Bautista who was adopted as son of Benguet and conferred Great Kaafuan or the Great Leader for his contribution on the education sector and in promoting the Cordillera culture and its people. /(PIA CAR)