What makes you a Cordilleran? Some people say “I am a Cordilleran because I was born and raised here even if my ancestors are from the lowlands.” Surely some will answer, “I am a Cordilleran because I wear boots, scarf, bonnet, coat and muffler unlike any other region and I eat Pinikpikan as Cordillera’s much known viand.” Silly thought like, “I am a Cordilleran because even if I wasn’t born here I learn and speak their dialect; I respect their practices even if they are chewing and spitting momma and eating dogs”? Well, old people, in due respect, hindi po natin nilalahat but some will say, “Anyone can be a Cordilleran but cannot easily say they are Ibaloi, Kankanaey from the province of Benguet; Ifontoc, Iffialig like the pure blooded Igorot of Mt. Province; Kiangan from the province of Ifugao; Ikalinga from the province of Kalinga. And so on and so forth.” But the question here now is how shall we preserve and nourish the traits of being a Cordilleran if we are not united to push through with Autonomy? This is what Autonomy is aiming for, not only for the use of our own resources here at the region but also the preservation of our culture, traditions, practices and dialects as what Gov. Crescencio Pacalso once said during the celebration of Cordillera at 30.
It is a good thing that Tiongsan La Trinidad came up with an event last July 30, 2017 (Sunday), aligned with Cordillera Day. The Mama Mia Cordillera Fashion Show aims to nurture the sense of being a Cordilleran by featuring native clothes and accessories of our ancestors by different tribes. For those who are interested to join next year, it is open to all participating Junior and Senior High Schools in Baguio and La Trinidad, one female representative from 15 to 20 years old. Tiongsan shall be the one to assign what kind of traditional ethnic wear to be modelled by each participant in a form of draw lots which is applicable in the first segment for they are to wear three kinds of attires as part of the said show. Isn’t it amazing how one big Super Market can come up with something to remind us that we can do something to preserve our identity if we only stand out from the crowd and be proud to say “I am a Cordilleran!” not by choice, not by blood but by heart?
In the Bible (KJV) 1Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord see not as man see; for man looked on the outward appearance, but the Lord looked on the heart.” So you see Kadungngo-dungngo, the Lord knows how true your heart is as you are declaring yourself Cordilleran. Let’s help one another in preserving and promoting our identity as yours truly always said “Ti Panagtinnunos nga agtrabaho, mangiturong iti panagprogreso.” Move Forward Cordillera!