MANKAYAN, Benguet – The municipal government is banking on the existing production of the traditional gong as one of the town’s major economic activities to help sustain the livelihood for the present and future generations.
Mayor Materno Luspian said they procured a machine to mechanize a portion of the gong-making that will definitely boost the growth of the industry that is part of the local government’s One Town, One Product (OTOP).
He added that concerned government agencies, the local government and the association of senior citizens of Bedbed to which the gong-making industry was entrusted are also looking to produce gong-related memorabilia to serve as souvenir items to help aggressively promote the development of the industry and provide long-term livelihood not only for the senior citizens but also for the youth who want to learn the secret of producing a good sounding gong.
“We want our elders to effectively and efficiently pass on to the younger ones the secret of making good-sounding gongs considering that the gong unites us as Cordillerans and as indigenous peoples. We want to make the gong industry our major economic driver,” Luspain stressed.
The gong-making industry is being assisted by the Cordillera offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the local government.
The local chief executive disclosed that one of the highlights of their upcoming town fiesta on March 14-16, 2019 is the promotion of the gong as a major product to gain additional market for the gongs being produced in barangay Bedbed.
According to him, individuals and groups wanting to witness the production of the gongs can coordinate with the association of senior citizens of Bedbed for a visit to the production site but they will not be taught the trade secret of the making of good-sounding gongs which is reposited to the makers of the said items.
He claimed that the gongs produced by the Bedbed senior citizens are of good quality and the group is accepting orders from inside and outside the Cordillera for gongs used for rituals and celebrations of indigenous peoples.
The gong is an instrument commonly used by Cordillerans in the conduct of their rituals, celebrations and other gatherings and the same is sounded by beating it with a piece of wood.
Luspian urged all interested individuals and groups wanting to purchase gongs to directly get in touch with the gong-makers in barangay Bedbed to get a reasonable price.
While it is the machine that will help in molding and shaping the metal used in making the gong, he noted that producing the good sound needs the manual expertise of the elder masters of the trade and are now the ones working in the gong production sites in the said barangay.