Symbol of Cordilleran unity kicks off

City officials led by Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan hands over to Gov. Melchor Diclas of Benguet the sybolic key on July 12, 2019 at the Baguio City Hall grounds during the Baguio leg of the Unity Gong Relay.**Sonn Fernandez

Gong relay after 32 years

BAGUIO CITY– The “gong relay” which symbolizes the Cordillera provinces’ unity was launched on Tuesday at Tabuk City, Kalinga, this year’s host province together with a host agency, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“This will move from here to the provinces of Apayao, Abra, Benguet, Baguio City, Mountain Province, Ifugao then back to Kalinga as host province on July 14 in time for the culminating activity on June 15,” Peter Balocnit, Philippine Information Agency-Kalinga information center manager, said on Wednesday.
Balocnit, chairman of the committee on media and documentation for the event, said this year’s celebration of Cordillera month will showcase the region’s rich heritage with various cultural activities.
There will be traditional songs, dances, performances, theater plays depicting the region’s history. Native delicacies will also be served to guests and those who were part of the “unity gong” caravan, he said.
Pasil, Kalinga town’s “Pakidum”, a musical play depicting Kalinga’s life cycle and how the province transformed amid conflicts between sub-tribes will be shown during the pre-program on July 14.
“Pakidum” was coined from the word “pakid” which is a set of six pieces of gongs and followed by the third syllable of “Salidummay” a word that is common in Cordillera songs and chants. The group is composed of 50 performers.
Balocnit said Pakidum is an instrument for peace-building and has been played in different stages including the promotion of “Unoy” (heirloom rice) at the central office of the Department of Agriculture.
Another highlight of the pre-program will be the Cordillera Laga (weaving) fashion show to be participated in by models from each of the Cordillera provinces.
A documentary film “Mountain Spirits: Textiles and Folk Arts of Cordillera and Ilokos”, an audio-visual presentation on Kalinga’s tourism potentials will also be shown.
On the sidelines are exhibits on artisan works, traditional pottery, weaving, pyrography, beads stringing and painting.
On July 15, the culminating program will start with a grand parade with DPWH Undersecretary Rafael Yabut as the guest of honor and speaker.
The program will be followed by the inauguration of two DPWH projects in Tabuk City.
The Infrastructure Committee of the Regional Development Council is the co-host of this year’s celebration with the theme “CAR @32: Building ONE Greater Cordillera.”
There will also be a film showing on regional infrastructure gains, awarding of Forwarding Local Autonomy Medal Excellence (FLAME), cultural presentations, statement of perpetual gratitude to the men and women behind the struggle for self-determination and statement of commitment by all the local officials of the different provinces and cities comprising the region. **PNA


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