Thousands of indigenous people from the Cordillera provinces gathered to celebrate the seventh staging of the Gong Festival over the weekend.
Garbed in their colorful ethnic attires and adorned with accessories, at least 40 cultural groups from schools and organizations, all indigenous people of the Cordillera from the different provinces in the region, played their gongs and danced along the city’s main thoroughfares from the top of Session Road towards the Ibaloi Heritage Garden at the Burnham Park for the annual celebration of the Gong Festival.
Cultural worker and event organizer Jo Banasan Kapuno said the gong festival is the creation of unity and cooperation among the different indigenous people in the Cordillera region to showcase their rich culture and tradition as part of the celebration of the Indigenous Peoples Month.
“The event is a sharing of cultural values particularly imparting to the public especially the younger generation how to use traditional attire the proper way, the playing of cultural instruments and traditional dances,” Kapuno said.
In his message, NCIP Commissioner Gaspar Cayat thanked the organizers of the Gong Festival for sustaining the event that showcases and teaches the Cordillera culture and heritage through instruments, song and dances to the public and especially to the children and the youth.
“The festival is a unique trademark that Cordillerans have a unique characteristic that gives identity towards self-determination, preservation, protection, recognition, and the continuing development of our culture,” Cayat said.
Isnag Elder Lucena Tacdag expressed gratitude to the organizers for inviting the participants from Apayao to participate in the gong festival enabling their cultural group present their culture and tradition through dances and songs outside of Apayao.
The Isnag cultural group that showcased the traditional dances called “talip and tad-o” in a dance drama was led by Apayao Board Member Kyle Bulut and Calanasan Councilor Naville Taccalan.
“We are proud to showcase the Isnag culture of Apayao in this festive event which also gives opportunity for the younger Isnags of Calanasan to meet and interact with their fellow Cordillerans,” Bulut said. The festival, he said, provides exposure to their cultural group composed of mostly children who mostly confined in their localities.
The Gong festival is also a venue for convergence of various cultural groups in the Cordillera and other parts of the country where they can share their knowledge, heritage and culture as indigenous people to the general public. (JDP/ RMC- PIA CAR)
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