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City wants Gong Festival institutionalized, provide funding

INSTITUTIONALIZED. Councilor Lilia Farinas wants the Baguio Gong Festival institutionalized with an initial funding of PhP500,000 which she expressed through filing an ordinance to that effect and has passed first reading. She is seen here from left councilors Levy Lloyd Orcales, Leandro Yangot, Jr. and Benny Bomogao and mayor aide Doy Tabilog. PML photo

Despite the gloomy weather and threats of rain due to typhoon Paeng that nearly ruined performances during the Gong Festival last October 28 until a mall offered its covered roofdeck as venue, another silver lining appears for the annual festivity.

This time it comes with the local government through the City Council which eyes the annual festivity as an event worthy of its support and may allocate initial funding of PhP500,000 for its staging in October next year.

This after the City Council approved on first reading an proposed ordinance to institutionalize the Baguio Gong Festival.

Proponent councilor Lilia Farinas said in drafting the ordinance noted that there is a need to institutionalize the said festival in order to “preserve, share, and protect our Cordilleran cultural heritage” and “encourage a deep continuing appreciation and respect for the indigenous culture.”

The proposed ordinance also noted that the gong festival is an educational activity and a venue for teaching indigenous knowledge and wisdom, especially in promoting awareness in the minds of our younger generation for them to pass on and [nurture] our authentic culture, art, skills, and values,” the proposed ordinance read.

The gong festival is staged during the celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples’ Thanksgiving Day on October 29 which is celebrated nationwide by virtue of Proclamation No. 486, s. 2003.

If passed, a Baguio City Gong Festival technical working group shall be created that will consist of the city mayor as chairperson with the chairperson of the city council’s Committee on Tourism, Special Events, Parks, and Playgrounds as the co-chairperson. The other members include the City Tourism Operations Officer as the secretariat/ action officer; and the chairperson of the city council’s Committee on Education, Culture, Creativity, and Historical Research together with representatives from the Baguio Tourism Council, and indigenous peoples’ groups as members.

The activities during the festival shall include, but not limited to the thanks giving day, cultural outreach workshops, indigenous and cultural art exhibits, and showcasing of Cordilleran dances and games.

The Baguio Gong Festival is staged “to remember and acknowledge our ancestors’ wisdom through the sharing and exchange of cultural practices from the different Cordilleran provinces.”

The proposed ordinance has been referred to the city council’s Committee on Tourism, Special Events, Parks, and Playgrounds for review. Pigeon Lobien

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