In time with the celebration of the 106th Foundation Day of the Municipality of Mankayan, Benguet, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC), DOST-Cordillera Administrative Region, the municipal government of Mankayan and the barangay of Bedbed inaugurated the Gong Fabrication Center on March 8, 2019 in Barangay Bedbed.
Gong is a musical instrument made of brass material manually fabricated by the locals of Barangay Bedbed. With no available facility and with the tedious process, the DOST, through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), funded the establishment of Gong Fabrication Facility and Equipment in the said barangay.
“The facility will not only serve as an additional source of livelihood of the locals but also an opportunity for tourism through showcasing the arts in creating the gong and the culture associated with it,” said Mankayan Mayor Materno Luspian in his message.
Mayor Luspian further said that the gong depicts a message, as this is emphasized in the municipality’s foundation celebration theme, “Ganges di Gangsa: Serbisyo ya Binnadang para si Ulnos di Mankayan” (The Beat of the Gong: service and cooperation for an orderly Mankayan).
Meanwhile, Dr. Rio Pagtalunan, Division Chief of the DOST-MIRDC Prototyping Division said that the facility will be an instrument for enriching the skills in gong-making and that it will be an avenue for the older generation to transfer their knowledge to the younger generation.
It will be recalled that during an interview in 2018, DOST-CAR Regional Director Dr. Nancy A. Bantog stated that the project is a marriage of culture and science, technology and innovation. She further emphasized that “we will not sacrifice the quality of the sound of the gong. In the whole process of improving the gong production, they will study the extent of the mechanization in forming, but in the tuning process, this is where culture will come in.”
The DOST-MIRDC is currently testing and working on improvements for the gong fabrication equipment while DOST-CAR coordinates with the national and local government unit for the development of the project.
“We thank the DOST for the facility, the local government of Mankayan for other project counterparts, and other agencies for the assistance and support,” Bedbed Captain Dalion Baygan stressed in his closing remarks.
By Cecil G. Dionisio