BONTOC, Mountain Province – This year is a threesome, a significant and historical occasion for Bontoc celebrating its 110th Foundation Day and 14th Am-among Festival this September as the community and visitors will be the first to make use of the newly constructed Municipal Capitol.
With the completion of the four-storey main building of the Municipal Capitol, stage, and the grounds, Bontoc Mayor Franklin C. Odsey remarked that most of the activities for this year’s festivity to include the crowd-drawing cultural performances of the clustered barangays will be held at the Municipal Capitol grounds. Also, other activities are included to spice up the celebration.
Odsey mentioned that a ritual is known as “sekhep si afong” will be performed by the elders on September 11, 2018; and the blessing and inauguration of the Municipal Capitol at the same time the Thanksgiving Mass will be on September 12, 2018.
Other activities include the one-week Agri- Crafts Trade Fair from September 10- 17 at the Circle Rotunda; Buntis Day in September 13; Aquaponics Seminar in September 13; Search for Miss Am-among 2018 and Mr. Am-among (Mr. Body Physique) 2018 in September 14; Folk Dance and Ballroom Competitions in September 15; Bontoc Got Talent: Finals in the evening of September 15 which will all be held at the Bontoc Municipal Capitol; and Inter- LGU Volleyball Games in September 14 at the Provincial Plaza.
The Civic Parade in celebration of the municipality’s Foundation Day will be on September 16, 2018. The occasion will be graced by PSupt. Byron F. Allatog, a 2014 Country’s Outstanding Police Officer in Service (COPS) who is a proud son of Bontoc.
Also, the awarding of winners in the Sports Competition is in the afternoon of September 16, 2018, at the Bontoc Municipal Capitol.
September 17, 2018, is the Am-among Festival to be celebrated with a Street Dancing along the road stretch of the capital town to be followed by Cultural Performances of the four clustered barangays and a program at the Municipal Capitol. The keynote speaker is June Chayapan Prill-Brett, a world renowned Anthropologist and a Professor Emeritus at the University of the Philippines (UP) – Baguio who also traces her roots in Bontoc.
To give more life to the occasion, a competition dubbed “Chepap si Fotog” to be spearheaded by the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist is scheduled in the afternoon. This year’s celebration will end with the Am-among Trail Run on September 23, 2018. For inquiries, interested individuals may visit the Municipal Tourism Office or message the official Facebook Page, Am-among Festival.
Bannering the theme “Sustaining Bontoc Culture, Empowering Communities, Access to Global Opportunities”, Mayor Odsey is inviting everyone to come home and bring with them their friends and colleagues to join and partake in the celebration of the Bontoc Founding Anniversary and Am-among Festival.
The Am-among as the Bontoc Festival
In the past celebration of the Founding Anniversary of Bontoc, a festival informally known as “Am-among” had been consistently included as part of the celebration.
To make it official, the Sangguniang Bayan now passed an ordinance institutionalizing the Bontoc Am-among Festival as part of the annual celebration of the Founding Anniversary of the municipality.
As elders explained, “Am-among” refers to customary practice of the Bontoc people meaning “reunion by clan” which is done after the planting season of the first rice crop called ‘chinakhon.’
Sponsored by Sangguniang Bayan members Alsannyster F. Patingan and Viola P. Okko, the august body enacted the ordinance to adopt the concepts and the aims of the traditional Bontoc “Am-among” in formally establishing the Bontoc Am-among Festival. The Sangguniang Bayan believed that through this, the constituents will have the chance to come together to celebrate and re-affirm as members of the Bontoc community. Also, the festival will be an avenue to showcase the cultures, traditions, history, ways of life, God-given and man-made tourist attractions as well as the different agricultural industrial products of Bontoc with its 16 barangays.
Further, the legislative body has seen to it the assurance of the availability of sufficient fund for the Bontoc Am-among Festival.
“This is the true essence of the Am-among Festival which we celebrate annually. I believed that it is deemed proper that we come together, share stories, and eat together at the home of all I-Fontok, – the Bontoc Municipal Capitol,” the chief executive highlighted.
The mayors also expressed his gladness that as Bontoc reaches its 110th birthday, the new Bontoc Municipal Capitol has been constructed which is now more client-responsive and friendly. Aside from having wider space for all the municipal offices, it can now be a host to various events as it can accommodate a larger number of people with a parking space at the ground floor and a multi-purpose hall on the top floor.
By Alpine L. Killa