PARACELIS, Mountain Province – “Preserve, promote, and protect our culture” was the theme of the recent School of Living Tradition graduation held on February 27, 2019 at Magawood, this town.
A total of seventy-five (75) Balangao students composed of men, women, and children completed the first cycle, but only 56 attended the graduation ceremony and were confirmed graduates by Mr. Federico Dalayday, representative of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
Dalayday, head of the Committee on Northern Cultural Communities and the keynote speaker encouraged the participants “to preserve, promote, and protect our tangible and intangible heritage.
There were 38 students from the municipality of Natonin and 37 from Paracelis, all from the Balangao tribe.
This project was granted to the Balangao Native Handicraft and Weavers Association, Inc. by the NCCA in 2017 with the Non-Timber Forest Product Exchange Program Philippines as source of funds.
Meanwhile, 20 children with ages 8-16 and 5 adults ages 30-65 participated in the Music and Arts while handicraft making involved 20 men and 5 women, and 25 women with ages 26-68 participated in weaving.
The second cycle of this program starts this March 2019 to further enhance the Balangao culture domains to be transmitted from oral traditions, performing arts concerning nature and the universe.
Balangao cultural masters for the second cycle have already been identified.
Cultural masters for the first cycle were Flora Letac, Mercedes Conchaya, Teodora Bolusan, and Fidel Edchamag handled the Music and Arts while Betty Sasa took charge of weaving. Junie Kinao and Rico Kinao volunteered to teach Balangao handicrafts to the participants.
During the event, Ms. Teodora Bolusan chanted the “sogsogna”, a narrative story sang during special occasions and the children highlighted the event with the performance of native Balangao dance.
Mayor Avelino Amangyen emphasized in his message that the program should be supported so that the young generation will learn how to sustain, appreciate, preserve, and protect the culture and identity of the Balangao tribe.
By Luthgarda T. Fangonon