BANAUE, Ifugao – The simultaneous manual rice pounding among local residents which shall be spread over 500 meters along the national road will be one of the major highlights of the Imbaya Festival here which will be held on 26-30 April.
Mayor Jerry Dalipog said the local government decided to celebrate the Imbaya festival every year instead of the usual three years in order to provide an inspiration to the Ifugao youth to value and learn their culture and sustain its passage to the present and future generations.
The theme of this year’s Imbaya festival is “Celebrating Imbaya’s Best: Upholding Banaue’s Engenuity, Identity and Progress.
On April 26, interested trekkers will have a chance to explore the town’s unique trekking sites through guided tours in the Batad amphitheatre like terraces or the 4-hour guided trek to the Bannawor trail.
On April 27, delegations from the 19 barangays and guests will be joining the ethnic parade which will be followed by the opening program and the opening of the beauty care display, ‘inachangyan contest,’ job fair display, local organic food display and the longest rice pounding.
Local products will also be in display at the agro-industrial fair while guests and visitors can have a glimpse of the Imbaya cultural rituals to be performed by indigenous elders in order to empower the youth to embrace such practices and pass on the same to the present and future generations.
Skills competitions among local residents, particularly the ‘mun-avor,’ ‘munlaga,’ ‘munpaot,’ ‘muntalaid,’ ‘munpihhiw,’ ‘mun-uchis hi uuwah’and ‘mun-amma vuung.’
On April 28, local residents and visitors will have the chance to witness the performances of streetdancers during the streetdancing parade which will be followed by the ethnic sports and games competitions.
Under the ethnic games, children will be participating in the so-called ‘binnawot,’ tiyyongan,’ ‘akkad (stilts) and ‘ab-abba (human burden) while adults will be joining the body, feet and hand wrestling games, such as ‘bangngonan,’’kaka-it,’ balintugan,’ hanggur’and ‘guyyuchan (tug-of-war men and women, visitors versus locals mixed).
Dalipgo said the public will also witness the presentation of the traditional methods of settling disputes (hadchan).
On April 29, the public can witness participants in a marathon where men will be on their G-strings while women will be on their sportswear. The activities will be followed by a community parade and the presentation of native dances and indigenous musical pieces such as ‘ubaya-by Uhaj,’ ‘hinggatut – by Tam-an’ and chinuyyah – by Ducligan’
The crative ethnic ensemble will be presented by Ámganad’ while the traditional ‘hudhud adult will be presented by Amganad and the children will be presented by Balawis.’
Dapilog cited visitors and guests will witness the presentation of wooden scooters and after the same, the wooden scooters will be displayed at the municipal tourism center for visitors who are willing to try using such scooters with a minimal fee.
Local residents will also be joining the catching the greasy pig while men in G-string will be joining a volleyball game designed for the purpose.
Winners of the different events will be given their awards and prizes during the closing ceremonies scheduled on April 30.
Mayor Dalipog cited the annual celebration of the Imbaya festival will greatly contribute in the efforts of the local government to attract the influx of more foreign and domestic tourists to frequently visit the municipality and enjoy watching the scenery and beauty of the rice terraces and watching cultural practices that will be passed on to the coming generations of Ifugao residents.
He called on interested guests and visitors to make their early bookings with the available hotels and inns although there are also available homestay facilities in the locality to accommodate the expected influx of tourists during the conduct of the festival.
By Dexter A. See