The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance institutionalizing the Baguio gong festival as a regular annual activity of the local government every
October and declaring every 29th of October as Baguio Gong Day. Under the proposed ordinance authored by Councilor Lilia A. Farinas, the declaration of every 29th of October as Baguio Gong Day shall coincide with the National Indigenous Peoples’ Thanksgiving Day as mandated by proclamation No.
486 that declared the same in furtherance of exalting even more its significance to the city and the culture of the indigenous peoples.

Among the declared objectives of the festival include to preserve, share and protect the Cordillera cultural heritage; to encourage a deep, continuing appreciation and respect off indigenous culture; to pass on
cultural skills to the younger generation; to build solid arts and cultural institutions and to further advance and nurture the indigenous culture. The ordinance created the Baguio City Gong festival technical working group which shall be composed of the City mayor as Chairperson with the Chairman of the City council
Committee on Tourism, special Events, Parks and Playgrounds as co-chairperson while the City Administrator’s Office – Tourism and Special Events Division will serve as Secretariat and Action officer.

The members of the group will be the Chairperson of the Committee on Education, Culture, Creativity and
Historical Research; the Baguio Tourism Council; indigenous peoples’ groups and other members or groups as may be decided by the TWG. The Baguio gong festival activities shall include, but will not be limited to, the celebration of the Baguio Gong Day vis-àvis the National Indigenous peoples’ Thanksgiving DA, cultural outreach workshops, indigenous and cultural arts exhibits, fil showings, showcasing cultural dances and featuring Cordillera indigenous games.

The ordinance mandated the appropriation of an initial amount of P5–,0000 or as may be necessary to cover the expenses of the conduct of the Baguio gong festival activities, where the same shall be included in the annual budget of the local government in consultation with the City Administrator’s Office – Tourism and Special Events Division. According to the ordinance, in order for the Gong festival to be celebrated in the glitz and grandeur it deserves, the appropriation of funds for its celebration is necessary which can only be possible through the passing of the pending measure to the said effect.

The Baguio gong festival is reportedly a community cultural activity in celebration of the indigenous peoples’ month every October. It is a day of remembering and acknowledging the wisdom of the ancestors through the sharing and exchange of cultural practices from the different cordillera provinces, aimed to promote due respect and appreciation of the unique Cordillera heritage. Further, it is an educational activity and a venue for teaching indigenous knowledge and wisdom, especially in promoting awareness in the minds of the younger generation, for them to ass on and flourish the authentic culture and arts, skills
and values.

The ordinance stipulated that in order to [reserve nature and protect the programs that the Baguio city Gong festival promotes, it is imperative for the local government to regulate its practice, by institutionalizing
the festival as a regular activity of the city on the aforesaid month and date.

Dexter A. See/Baguio-PIO

Amianan Balita Ngayon