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Ibaloys start month long festivity, trace their ancestry

Photo Credits to Pam Cariño

Baguio’s original settlers, the Ibaloy, start their annual festival on October 1 where the 22 clans not just from the city but neighboring towns trace their ancestry and interconnectivity. “We all came from one, each clan is related to another not just here but also from neighboring towns,” said Lynette Carantes – Bibal, who said that Tunton or tracing the interconnectivity will be the main theme in this year’s festival for the people which inhabited the city long before the Americans came here.

“We are able to trace our ancestry from five generations or nearly 150 years,” said Carantes-Bibal, a theater and recently a film maker who won an award for a documentary of his late father, Geoffrey Carantes, a historian, artist and councilor of La Trinidad. “Some even traced their ancestors from 500 years ago,” she said or even before the Spaniards came to the Philippines. Families like the Carantes of Loakan and New Lucban, the Carinos, that include the Hamadas and Okubos, have come out with booths showing their ancestry or family three. The booths are found at the Ibaloy Park at Burnham Park. “We are all related and we look up to our ancestors who actually define who or what we are,” said Carantes-Bibal.

“That is the Ibaloy way, what defines me or the new generation is their ancestor. We are nobody without our forefathers or mothers,” said the Carantes-Bibal, who is half Pangasinense. The festivity which will culminate on October 29 will also have workshop on dance, songs, and chants, and finally, exhibition of their distinct traditional attire, Ibaloy altar, tools and materials. The event is spearheaded by the Onjon ni Ivadoi led by president Max Edwin Bugnay.

He said that this year’s festivity is the first ever celebration of Ibaloy culture that is solely prepared by Ibaloy’s and will be open for everyone. Attendees may expect a wide range of activities that will allow them to immerse with the culture as well as discussion of history and genealogy of Ibaloy clans in Baguio and Benguet. “I am an Ibaloy, and I am proud of where I come from and the rich culture we have,” said Pamela Carino-Bomogao, descendant of Sioco Carino, the eldest son of Mateo Carino, who owned most of the land around the old Kafagway until Camp John Hay including most of Burnham, the City Hall grounds and all the way to Tuba. Campo Sioco was named after him. The festival opens October 1 with the “madmad” or the opening ritual at 7 AM. At 9AM, the official opening will be made followed by messages from city officials present which will be followed by a booth tour and introduction of clans.

Lunch will be served at noon with the Young Once band playing. At 1PM, the present clans will be introduced also followed by performances of clans or groups, among which are the tayaw of the Umang clan, Ibaloy action song or the Kadaring by the Tomino Kamos grandchildren, bendian dance by the Khumah’shang (Gumatdang), a performance of Ibaloy Indigenous People tribe, Kalejo by Erlinda Cosil, country dance by the CAPP clan and performances of the Amigos and Purple Heart bands. University of the Philippines Baguio professor Jimmy Fong will serve as master of ceremonies.

Pigeon Lobien with reports from Trisha Gaite

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