Reactions to the video “ICBE Through the Years”

Written by Conchita Pooten on .

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10th Igorot Cordillera BIMAAK Europe (ICBE) Consultation 

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

July 26-29, 2019

Reactions to the video “ICBE Through the Years”

Conchita Pooten

As you can see from the video of ICBE through the years, it is very detailed. It actually captures all of the conferences wherein which we have gathered in Europe. I am very fortunate and very proud to have been able to attend every single ICBE conference - in every European city - alongside my dear colleagues here today. Also, I had the privilege and honour, alongside members of Igorot UK, to be part of the host committee that organised ICBE in London in 2006. It was a very special occasion as it featured my dear friend, the late Dr Caridad Fiar-od who also compiled a book, of the proceedings, shortly after the conference. 

Just to set a background for ICBE. It was conceived, shortly after the Igorot International Consultation (IIC), an international gathering of Igorots from around the globe, pioneered and led by the sorely missed late Mr Rex Botengan. Thus, one of our intentions for ICBE, at the time, was to gather as Igorots and Cordillerans in Europe just like our fellow friends and family were gathering for IIC, outside of Europe. 

One of the main purposes of ICBE was always to preserve Igorot culture and pass it to the next generation. I can certainly say this purpose has been achieved. 

Following on from the 2nd IIC in Virginia, Maryland, there was a resolution passed, which included cultural preservation. I happen to recall then Commissioner Kate Botengan from the Commission on Higher Education in the Philippines implemented the resolution, which included indigenous Igorot music and dance, within the school curriculum. This, I believe, set off a chain reaction wherein which indigenous culture was taught and reenergised within the Cordillera schools’ curriculum.

Another reflection I recall was during the 6th ICBE that we hosted in London. The guest speaker at the time was Ifugao State University President Dr. Serafin Ngohayon. He elected to address the term Igorot. He referred to the definition of Igorot as “all people coming from the Cordillera mountains”. He went on further to say that Ifugaos were also Igorots; which at the time was a hotly contested debate especially amongst Ifugaos who did not identify with the term Igorot. In the end, my observation was that Dr Ngohayon was able to influence some Ifugaos to consider themselves Igorots. 

I’m so proud of the next generation, which includes my children and grandchildren all present today, who remain passionate and committed to learning and teaching our culture.

So on behalf of my entire family which includes the Pooten, Watan and Masferre families we extend a huge congratulations to MABIKAs and the ICBE preparatory committee steered by Yvonne Belen, for another successful, and this time a significant 10th, ICBE gathering of Igorots in Europe!

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