BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance declaring and institutionalizing the last Saturday of April of every year as Ifugao Day in the city and for other purposes.
The ordinance authored by Vice Mayor Edison R. Bilog stated that the conduct of Ifugao Day every last Saturday of April will be part of the regular activities of the local government and that the celebration shall feature activities such as parade, rituals, community dance competitions and showcase, performances of talents, dances, songs, wood carvings among others and the staging of indigenous games like, bultung, hanggul, guyguyudan, akkad, bayyu, among other games related to the same.
The ordinance tasked the Office for Administration in coordination with Ifugao leaders and leaders in the city to prepare the necessary activities for the said celebration and in the implementation of the pertinent provisions of the measure.
Earlier, there was a previous attempt by the local government to institutionalize the celebration of Ifugao Day in the city to foster greater unity and harmony by virtue of a resolution that was proposed in the local legislative body but the same was not acted upon by local legislators.
The ordinance stipulated that the diverse culture of the city continues to get a big boost from various indigenous peoples coming from the different parts of the country who contribute in making the city the melting pot of different tribes with a history of culture and traditions.
The ordinance noted that one of the different tribes enriching the city include the Ifugaos who are known worldwide as the builders of the iconic Banaue rice terraces and the bu’luls, totemic male and female figures carved in wood, usually less than a meter tall, and used in rituals and as guardian figures among other purposes.
The Ifugao communities in Northern Luzon, especially in the central Cordillera, have been visited by hundreds of local and international anthropologist and ethnographers and photographers.
Previously, the local government wanted to institutionalize the Victory Day celebration to commemorate the day of the surrender of Japanese Imperial Army commander Gen. Tomoyoki Yamashita, also known as the Tiger of Malaya, on September 2, 1945 to the joint Filipino and American allied forces led by Capt. Grisham in Kiangan, Ifugao which eventually ended World War II.
The ordinance claimed that the talent and God-given gifts of the Ifugaos are imprinted in every corner of the city as evidenced by the presence of wood carvings and other souvenir items offered to local and foreign tourists and that the Ifugao culture, ranging from songs, dances, rituals and indigenous games, have been featured in the Panagbenga festival, the city’s major crowd drawing event, which continues to attract the influx of more visitors to the city.
The ordinance was referred to a committee for study and recommendation whether or not it will be passed on second and third readings.
By Dexter A. See