9th Igorot Cordillera BIMAAK Europe (ICBE) Consultation
April 28 – May 1, 2017
By Yvonne Belen
An ICBE consultation is a time to bond, to learn and to celebrate. And so it was with the 9th ICBE consultation held in Rome, Italy from April 28-May 1, 2017.
It is bonding with the conference host, Cordillerans in Rome, especially Rosmar Smith and Grace Banto, whom I have been in contact with since January 2017; it is bonding with kailians I met two years ago in Vienna, Austria during the 8th ICBE conference; it is bonding with new participants.
An ICBE conference is also a time to learn. I learned about Benguet with Cesar Taguba explaining more on its land and peoples specifically, the Ibalois. I learned about Benguet culture from Gil Tiban Catimo especially the Bendian dance. During the closing ceremonies-cum-picnic at Villa Borghese Park, I learned to dance the Bendian and Ifugao dances. I would like to thank Rosmar for inviting me to the Bendian dance with Cordi-Rome leading it. And I would like to thank Carmencita “Bugan” Pallay, who took time out to teach me steps of the Ifugao dance.
During the workshop on Cordillera issues and responding to them, I recall one of my group mates saying, “The wealth of the Cordillera should go back to its people.” From the panel discussion of Cordillera migrant workers in Italy, I learned more of their situation. What I remember is one migrant worker saying, “The undocumented migrant workers are willing to pay fees to the OWWA but their membership is not accepted.”
Most of all, an ICBE consultation is an occasion to celebrate and celebrate we did during the Igorot Cordillera European Cultural Night. I watched the cultural presentations and wished I could dance like many of the dancers. I saw participants in their colorful, attractive costumes. A few times, I had the feeling I was in Baguio City or Bontoc.
Added to learning during an ICBE conference is the opportunity to see the sights and taste the food of the place. This time, it is Rome. I saw and walked through five of the seven hills of Rome. I relished the mango-flavored ice cream bought at an ice cream parlor on the way to the Spanish steps. I savored the fried bangus (milkfish) at a Filipino eatery.
And so the 9th ICBE Consultation came and went. With the able leadership of Cordi-Rome led by their president, Rosmar Smith; with the help of Board of Directors chairperson, Grace Banto; with the assistance of Cordi-Rome members like Geltrude Placido, Jhill Gaw-a, Cecile Lorena and others; with the presence of participants from several countries of Europe---we made the conference meaningful and fruitful.
Thank you Cordi-Rome for a successful conference!