Festival to showcase Filipino, foreign cultures in Cordillera

By Willy Cacdac, Northern Luzon Bureau

BAGUIO CITY—Resi­dents and visitors in this mountain resort are in for a cultural treat on Novem­ber 23 at the one-day Grand Cordillera Festival, which will highlight the city’s being a melting pot of different cultures.

The festival proposed by Rep. Mauricio Domogan and Mayor Bernardo Vergara will showcase the various cultural practices and traditions of the different Filipino ethno-linguistic groups as well as those from foreign shores who have come to call Baguio as their home.

In proposing the festival, Domogan and Vergara said, “The indigenous ways of life of the native highlanders as well as lowlanders and foreigners who have come to live in this city must be preserved and propagated and this mixed cultural heritage of the various ethno-linguistic residents can be best celebrated in a festival.”

As designed, the festival with the theme “One Homeland, One People” will gather people of diverse cultural origins in a one-day affair to showcase their indigenous cultures through music, dances, customs, traditional rituals and products.

“Through the festival, we hope to foster a sense of identity, unity and peace and progress among the various ethno-linguistic residents in the city, inspire the various groups to preserve, protect and propagate love of culture and the environment and promote the city including the entire Cordillera as a zone of peace, major tourist destination, educational center and an economic hub,” Domogan and Vergara said in a joint statement.

They noted that Baguio is home not only to the original native inhabitants but also to the natives of Benguet and the other provinces of the Cordillera as well as immigrants from all over the country, including Muslims from Mindanao.

It also has a vibrant Filipino-Chinese community, an Indian community, Japanese and other groups of foreign descent.

Domogan and Vargara hope that through the festival, the different cultures in the city and in the Cordilleras will be appreciated and therefore respected and in the end good customs, values and traditions may “lead to greater unity, cooperation and harmony among the peoples that have made the city of Baguio and other parts of the Cordillera their home.”

Executive Assistant Rafael Tallocoy who has been named overall coordinator of the festival told The Times that a grand parade with participants garbed in their native costumes will usher in the one-day cultural treat at the Burnham athletic bowl.

The opening program will feature two invocations: walit, to be delivered by a cleric; and an imam and tebiag, the Cordillera version of an invocation by Domogan. It will also feature a loweb, where ethnic representatives will offer their indigenous products in their native tongues.

Cultural presentations of the different groups will follow immediately after the opening program. Ethnic dancing, songs and sharing of native delicacies and drinks will accompany lunch. There will also be demonstrations on woodcarving, basket- and broom-making and weaving.

Tallocoy said they have already assigned the different group coordinators who will see to the participation of indigenous groups from the Cordillera provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mt. Province.

“We have also named the coordinators for the different ethnic groups in Baguio. The groups include Ilocanos, Pangasinenses, Tagalogs, Batangueños, Kapampa­ngans, Bicolanos, Visayans, Muslims, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Americans, Germans, Hindus, Pakistanis and Vietnamese,” Tallocoy said.

Domogan has set aside P650,000 from his Priority Development Assistance Fund as appropriated in the General Appropriations Act for tourism to defray festival expenses.

The Department of Tourism in the Cordilleras, headed by Purifi­cacion Molintas, and the Baguio Tourism Council, headed by Ni­colas Tabora, are also taking an active role in the staging of the festival.

05/11/2003

Bron : The Manila Times Internet Edition

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