Inspirational Talk

Written by Yvonne Belen on .

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Thank you Mimi, for the kind introduction....

Officers and members of Cordi-Bel; Members of Filipino communities in Belgium; Kakailian from Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom; Distinguished guests; Ladies and Gentlemen.  

Khawis ay labi tako am-in. Naimbag nga rabi-i tayo amin. Magandang gabi sa ating lahat. Good evening to all. Goede avond allemaal.

I would like to thank Cordillera Community in Belgium or Cordi-Bel for inviting me to give an Inspirational Talk on the occasion of their 20th anniversary.  

It seems only yesterday when some Cordillerans in Belgium were talking about setting up their organization. Fortunately for us in the Netherlands---Cesar Taguba, my son Chico and me---we were then around during their planning meeting. That was 20 years ago and from the history of Cordi-Bel that has been written, we now see the fruits of the seed that has been sown. 

In Ric Cuyob’s letter, he said it’s up to me to decide what topic to speak on. How kind indeed to choose any subject since it would be wide-ranging and perhaps I could go on talking. Eventually though, you will all be sleeping!

So, what I would like to do is to focus on CORDI-BEL, the two abbreviations of their organization. And I would like to explain what these words mean to me. 


C is for Cordillera, the region in northern Luzon, Philippines where members of Cordi-Bel come from.

O is for Organized. 

R  is for Response.

D is for Dream and 

I   is for Initiative.

Putting the words together in a sentence, this is what I would say CORDI is: 

Cordillerans who have organized themselves so they could respond to the dreams and initiatives of their members. 

Now, to go to the BEL part of Cordi-Bel.

I have made two descriptions:

The first description is:

B  for Bonding, 

E  for Energetic and

L  for Longevity.

Bonding is not only the relationship being fostered within the organization, but also with other Filipino and Belgian groups.

Energetic is for being always on the go--- whether reaching out to other Cordillerans in Belgium or Igorot Cordillerans in Europe, or whether pursuing their activities as a group or joining activities of Igorot Cordillerans in Europe.

Longevity is for having a long life as an organization. They have faced some issues as a group and they were able to resolve these. 

The second description is:

B for Belief in Principles, 

E for Environment and

L  for Leadership.

Since the time that Cordi-Bel was set up, they believed that “Land is Life.” This is the reason they have taken the leadership to discuss the “Environment in the Cordillera” as one of the conference topics when they hosted the first assembly of Igorot Cordillerans in Europe held in Gent in April 2002. The burning issue then in the Cordillera was the San Roque Dam and the conference took it on as an issue. Years later and on another occasion, Cordi-Bel joined other Belgian groups in sponsoring a symposium on mining in the Cordillera.   

In conclusion, we have Cordi-Bel, an organization of Cordillerans who have come together so they could respond to their dreams and initiatives. Their bonding and energy have enabled them to have a long life as an organization. They believed that “Land is Life” and have taken up the “Environment” as an issue to discuss during the first Igorot Cordillera assembly in Europe.  

I would like to share a quotation I read from an anonymous author. Whether we will hear it for the first time or have heard it already, I believe the words apply to all of us.  

A dream written down with a date becomes a goal.

A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan.

A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.

Finally, among the Igorots, we usually end our talk by saying, “Matago-tago tako am-in” meaning, “Long May We Live.”  

Thank you and I wish you all a pleasant evening.ykb03.04.2021


Delivered during the 20th Anniversary of Cordillera Community in Belgium (Cordi-Bel)

held in Brussels, Belgium on 1 October 2016

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