LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – From the highlands, Indigenous Peoples (IP) gathered in Lingayen for the IP Cultural Festival, featuring the distinct cultural heritage of highland communities in Pangasinan.
Garbed with colorful costumes, about 500 natives representing various tribes actively engaged in the IP cultural fest via a showcase of cultural performances depicting their traditions, artistry and norms.
Extending the provincial administration’s support to the natives in Pangasinan, Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Officer Malu Elduayan, who represented Governor Amado I. Espino, III during the event, lauded the solidarity of IPs in celebrating the National IP Month this October which also highlights the 20th year of the Indigenous Peoples Republic Act (IPRA).
“Suportado ng Pamahalaang Panlalawigan ang mga programang naglalayon na mas payabungin pa ang kultura at pagitingin ang pagpapahalaga nito,” Elduayan said, adding that the Espino administration had been aggressive in the promotion of tourism which is significant to rediscovering the cultural heritage of Pangasinan.
Meanwhile, National Indigenous Peoples Commission (NCIP) Pangasinan Chief Enrique delos Santos noted the relevance of IPRA which empowers IPs via the institutionalized right to ancestral domain and right to cultural integrity.
Delos Santos likewise underscored the support of the provincial government on the promotion of the general welfare of natives in Pangasinan as he cited the IP cultural fest as means to promote unity not only among the natives, but also with the natives living in the highlands and the Pangasinenses thriving in the lowlands.
Bringing a festive mood to the provincial gathering, clustered IP groups performed cultural dances for thanksgiving, war and marriage rituals; piwpiw or pakawkaw (using bamboo instrument); and unity dance, which capped the showcase of culture via dance presentations.
Present during the cultural fest were: NCIP Regional Director Jonathan Bansigan; IP mandatory representative Danilo Bugtong of San Nicolas, and Josephine Saguirre of Sison; Provincial Federation of Tribal Chieftain Inocencio Carganilla; Western Pangasinan Federated Tribal Chieftain Feliciano Lorenzana; and event partner JCI Lingayen Liberation led Past Regional Vice President for Northern Luzon Ma Andrea Verzosa-Meneses, and 2018 LO President Al Kienz Cruz.
Among the IP communities in Pangasinan, only Sison and San Nicolas had so far established ancestral domains since time immemorial.
By Dexter A. See