Ibaloy Festival opens; keen on passing culture to the youth

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Monday, February 3, 2014

RED, black, and white are the bold colors spread throughout the Ibaloy Heritage Park.

The first Ibaloy Festival with the theme “Sustaining Our Heritage, Taking Pride in Our Ibaloi Identity” opened February 2 and will be a month-long celebration.

In the past years, only Ibaloy Day was celebrated. But this year, activities offered by the Onjon ni Ivadoy Association, Inc. was stretched throughout the month.


Onjon ni Ivadoy Association and UP Baguio professor Jimmy Fong explained one day is not enough for ‘cultural promotion’.

Children and elderly paraded with their traditional costumes showcasing the Ibaloy from Baguio and from different municipalities in Benguet capped with a program showing different Ibaloy rituals while tribe elders gave talks about their culture and tradition.
Speakers stressed the need for the Ibaloy culture to be passed on to the next generation.

Jill Cariño, granddaughter of the late Ibaloy chieftain Mateo Cariño, even got emotional as she was on the stage saying their culture has to be really passed on.

Fong, meanwhile, said the youth’s ‘loss’ of culture is not their fault.

Likewise, he explained getting by in school, as an example, is a lot to think about already therefore causing the youth to pay less attention to their traditions. Though it seemed inevitable for the pacing of generations, Fong added this is why they have events like this so the youth can learn and enrich their culture.

Workshops were also offered in the Ibaloi Heritage Park. These activities consisted of learning some of the dances like the Bendiyan and Tayaw, learning to play Ibaloy instruments, and also learning the Ibaloy language. These workshops were given for everyone to enjoy for free.

Lawyer Jose Molintas who opened the workshops, said these workshops will help people see the Ibaloy culture. Molintas also stressed language is an important part of the culture and if language is gone then a huge chunk of culture is gone which is why there is a need to pass the culture.

Everyone enjoyed the traditional dances and songs given by the youth. These children came from the program School of Living Traditions funded by the National Commission on Culture and Arts. Maria Seraida Caga, coordinator of the La Trinidad School of Living Traditions, explained the program aims to teach some of the culture of the Cordillera especially the Ibaloy. It is also where anyone can have a hands-on learning of the rituals.

“Adaptation to what we have now is what the schools do,” said Caga.

Every campus specializes on a particular tradition. The La Trinidad campus specializes in Ibaloy Performance Arts. Caga stressed in these schools, culture is passed on and later students will be able to teach others.

A house warming ritual called ‘diyaw’ also highlighted the event. According to the 2011 Ibaloy dictionary, the diyaw is “the ritual of inauguration for a new house.”

Fong said the diyaw is usually done late in the afternoon or in the evening. The indigenous way of butchering pigs was also seen as part of the blessing of the house.

“Ibaloi heritage is the soul of Baguio”, said Rosela Camte-Bahni of the Onjon ni Ivadoy Association, Inc. and the Igorota Foundation.
The highlight of the Ibaloy Festival is the Ibaloy Day which will be celebrated February 23. Workshops will also be available every weekend for the month of February. (Julia Manuel/UP Baguio Intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 04, 2014.

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