2nd Igorot European Consultation
29 May-1 June 2003
Summary of Friday (30 May) morning’s activities
By Marylin Bradfer
The main points discussed by His Excellency Victor Garcia III, the Philippine Ambassador to Austria were the following:
1. The heritage of the Cordillera culture and tradition is still most evident today: the famous Ifugao rice terraces carved by human hands, the ancient burial caves of Sagada, the well- preserved mummies of Benguet, the Chico river, and our pristine mountain forest.
2. Autonomy has long been a dream of the Cordillera people and several referenda, as mandated by the Constitution, had been conducted but with no visible results yet.
3. A landmark opportunity for the Filipinos abroad, like members of the Igorot associations and chapters here in Europe, in crafting the future destiny of our country will be reality in 2004 through the Overseas Absentee Voting law. The president recently signed the law, which enables qualified Filipinos abroad to participate in the national elections.
Although our beloved Mr. Rex Botengan was unable to come, he sent us a very inspiring speech on:
How do we preserve and pass on to the next generation some of the basic elements of our culture.
1. by using the word Igorot to describe our culture;
2. conduct informal sessions to the youth and teach them some of the elements of our culture;
3. teach them a few words in Igorot
4. encourage the young people to pay a visit to the ili or visit museums when they go to the Philippines
5. setting up mini-Igorot museum.
During the panel discussion, the speakers described the Igorot beliefs and home rituals, specifically Benguet; expounded on the role of women and also described Igorot values.
One question raised was: “what values and rituals do we want to be preserved?” But it was difficult to give a general answer because rituals are different from one ethnolinguistic group to another.
Mia Abeya raised a question: “What is it in our culture that we want to pass on to our children?” This was left unanswered because of lack of time.