IBAGIW 2020: A celebration of human creativity in pandemic times

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In times of uncertainties and surely in a time when “disruption” is not only a technical term, but is even more pronounced in the case of a pandemic, there is an irreversible need to lift up the human spirit. The pandemic has undeniably brought everyone to deep-seated anxieties all around since the virus became a household word these past 6 months or so.

Never has human destabilization been so debilitating. Never has a strange, unseen enemy been so unselective, touching everyone in total disrespect, breaking barriers socially common to all — sex, age, status, race, ideology.

All this time, the fear had been real, monumentally real, always here and now, simply because people fear what they don’t know, or don’t expect, or don’t just give a care, except when it affects a nearby proximity, a close kin, a loved one, and oneself.

The fear is real ! But against fear, people have nothing else to arm themselves but the spirit of resilience, of being able to withstand the initial blow, initially in quiet but self-inflicted surrender.

Very Filipino is how we as a people have been coping up with today’s challenging times. Like the proverbial carabao, we Filipinos have had this legendary trait of enduring the stress and strain of a crisis. Two World Wars have not dented us; natural disasters and calamities have been par for the course.

Here in Baguio, it’s been more or less a touch and go affair: this time though, it’s more of the “no touch, all go” variety, simply because being out of touch is the safe way to go, and let go. Adversities have made the Filipino sturdier, stronger each time another crisis hits. Each time though, there is nothing but human resiliency to keep him rising, and finally erect as a human wall to parry thrusts from without, and lurking threats that only a viral strain can inflict.

We are in a crossroad drawn to a balancing tightrope. So If we succumb to fatalism we lose! But we want to win !!! Baguio has all the ingrédients of hope and can be a trailblazer to
R I S E, up and up as a model of resilience, innovation, sustainability, and equitability !

Thus the persistence to raise public morale, to lift the community pride up, to showcase that Baguio folks — yes, you and I and all the rest of us — can heal in harmony on the strength of what we are as a people.

Three years ago, the United Nations opened up another way of experiencing Baguio, this time as a Creative City for Crafts and Folk Arts.

Year after year since then, Baguio’s cultural community has closed ranks precisely because we’ve got the wherewithal to make lofty dreams leap into on-the-ground reality. Creativity, we’ve got it and more! Artistry, it’s all here in us, bursing in a cacophony of sights, sounds, and gasps all in a multi-sensory setting.

Ibagiw, this has made us even tenacious in showcasing the finest in us — what we can do further in offering craftmanship, in presenting artistry verbalized in many forms, but having the full strength in raising everyone one.

All these are win-win propositions that we could do during these challenging times ! Because often, the biggest risk is not the crisis itself, but rather the preparation, management and response.

We have pride of place and surely all reasons to celebrate! Our artists and artisans’ work are renowned not just locally but nationally, and even more so globally. So what better drawing power can one ask for?

We are a refreshing tourism destination and our creativity ranks second to none . We breathe in art, we breathe in culture; we breathe in innovation and we breathe in inspiration!!!

In one persistent spirit, in one joyful celebration, we welcome everyone — old and young folks, kabagis and ibagiw to Baguio’s 3rd City Festival happening all through the month of November 2020.

Shout it. We own it! Let us celebrate life! BREATHE IN BAGUIO it is our Lifestyle and it is very much ours for the taking, the imbibing, the experiencing. Like no other.

(Marie Venus Q. Tan, a colleague in the Council for Baguio Creative City and foremost exponent of this year’s Ibagiw 2020, Baguio’s foremost creative celebration of the human spirit. She is the Festival Director in this year’s Ibagiw.)