LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Cordillera office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-CAR) continue to extend the needed assistance for the sustained preservation of the region’s lucrative gong making industry as a major source of livelihood for indigenous peoples (IP) who had been in the trade for decades.
Benguet Provincial Science and Technology officer Dr. Arnold Inumpa said that gong makers in Bedbed, Mankayan are simply awaiting the arrival of the procured equipment to help them in mass producing gongs which are needed by the people in the conduct of their rituals and celebrations among other activities related to the customs and traditions of the IPs in the different parts of the region.
The gong making project is one of the two projects of IPs in the Cordillera and Mindanao which were assisted by the agency through the Metals Industry Research and Development Corporation (MIRDC) to help in efforts of IPs in preserving and protecting their rich culture and traditions from extinction.
“We want our lucrative gong making industry to thrive that is why we endeavored to provide the gong makers in Bedbed, Mankayan the needed assistance for them to sustain gong making as their major source of livelihood. Cordillerans are known for being prolific in the playing of gongs that is why we want to maintain the quality of the gongs that will be produced and to provide gong makers the ease of doing their trade,” Inumpa stressed.
The DOST-CAR official explained that the role of the gong making machine is to help the gong makers in shaping the gongs but the manual pounding of the metals will still remain as part of fine tuning the gongs so that it will produce the required quality of the sound needed in the conduct of rituals and celebrations of the IPs.
DOST-CAR regional director Dr. Nancy Bantog said that the manual aspect in the making of the gongs will still remain because the gong makers know the technique on how to make the gongs produce the sound that is required for its to be used in rituals and celebrations of the IPs unlike in the commercial production of the gongs where the machines play a key role in producing the same without working on the sound that emanates from the gongs when beaten by gong players.
According to her, gong makers in Bedbed, Mankayan were the ones chosen by the agency as beneficiaries of the livelihood assistance for the region’s gong making industry because they have been found to be the ones who were proven to be experts in the trade considering their vast experience devoted to making gongs for decades now.
The gong is common among the different tribes in the Cordillera because it is used in the celebration of rituals and other major activities among families and the community, especially in expressing their gratitude for bountiful harvests of their crops, success in their endeavor among others.
Bantog said the agency will closely monitor the latest developments in the region’s gong making industry once all the appropriate equipment and materials shall have been in place to ensure the success of one of the major sources of livelihood of the IPs.