Arts fest features intangible heritage

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

TRADITIONS and rituals are highlighted in the 5th Tam–Awan International Arts Festival (TIAF) bringing to center stage the intangible heritage of the Philippines.

The TIAF is themed “Cordilleran Stories: Rituals and Beliefs,” featuring various practices in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, coming together in Baguio City, to keep alive the precious oral tradition and practice of our ancestors.

The festival, now on its 5th year in cooperation with National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Heritage, bids to preserve local heritage, art and tradition.


The Cordilleran delegation headed by Daniel Dalislis and Bida Langao from the Mountain Province will perform the senga or sangbo, to open the festival today, Friday, and ask the mountain deities for blessings.

The Senga comes from the Mountain Province and believed to drive away or appease the spirits causing illness. It is also performed during weddings, death or celebrations of any kind.

The NCCA undertakes the inventory of Philippine forms of intangible heritage; and the safeguarding of these.

There are five categories: oral traditions and expressions; performing arts; social practices and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and traditional craftsmanship.
Rituals and beliefs are part of the heritage imperative to preserve and pass on to the next generation.

The Visayas delegation is led by Elsie Padernal, an Indigenous People’s Teacher and a Cultural worker in Panay, Bukidnon.

Padernal will showcase the different rituals of Panay and what these mean. The Panimo ritual will be performed.

During the olden days in Panay there is only one harvest in a year. The “Panimo” is done considering it is new rice. They will not eat without doing the Panimo to avoid sickness in the family caused or given by died families or relatives called “bugnuhan ka”.

Padernal said every family can perform the ritual even without the assistance of a merko or shaman.

Rituals from Mindanao will be performed by the delegation of Datu Linggi Inhagdan Modesto Pocol, chieftain of the Tulugan, Masicampo and Inanay.
Pocol is also the tribal solemnizing officer in Talakag, Bukidnon. He is the cluster representative at the NCCA for the Higaonon-Talaandig Tribe.
Pocol will focus on Higaonon beliefs and the performance of the Panulakon ritual.

The ritual is a prayer for peace with the forces of nature itself. Included in his talk will be the kinds of rituals and their differences. Also, the relationship it builds between God, nature, and man. He will explain the role of natural forces when performing rituals.

During the festival, United States Embassy Cultural Affairs Officer, Kristin Kneedler will also give a talk in the afternoon discussing US-Filipino ties on ““Heritage Conservation Projects in the Philippines,” followed by South African Ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso sharing her country’s ““Rituals and Beliefs”.

Morning talks on May 10, Saturday, will be led by Benguet former Vice Governor Wasing Sacla of Kibungan Benguet who will speak on the “Kankana-ey Belief System and home Rituals” followed by a talk by Atty. Alfonso Aroco of Kabayan also in Benguet on “The art of Science of the Ibaloi Oral Tradition.”

In the afternoon, Engineer Orlando Abinion of the National Museum will recount the journey of Benguet’s greatest hunter-warrior in his talk “Saga of Apo Anno… The Mummy.”

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 09, 2014.

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