June 2, 2012
ATTY. VIVECA CODAMON CATALIG: GRAND CANYAO
I am deeply honored to be invited to join you today to celebrate the first Grand Canyao to be held here in Italy which brings together representatives from the different tribes of different provinces and one city of the Cordillera region who are here in Italy. It gladdens the heart of this cordilleran from Ifugao that even here far from our familiar hinterlands, we Igorots, as we are usually commonly called by others, find pride in our identity, our indigenous values, principles and traditional knowledge to come together to celebrate and reinforce our awareness of our cultural heritage. It is heartening to note that we all, far from our native shores and mountains, are committed to preserving our authentic native culture, customs and traditions while at the same time trying to adapt the Italian way of life, culture and society. It is indeed a positive note that the three associations Milan and Como, Bologna and Modena, and Rome have joined together to organize this affair to gather all the Cordillerans who are presently in Italy. And I appreciate very much that I have been invited to participate and speak before you on this momentous occasion.
To the outside world, the Igorots are best associated with the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, often referred to as the Ifugao rice terraces, which was inscribed in the world heritage list of the UNESCO in 1995.The UNESCO describes the rice terraces as an outstanding example of living cultural landscapes. The rice terraces is the fruit of knowledge handed down from one generation to the next and the expression of sacred traditions and a delicate social balance, which has helped to create landscape of great beauty that expresses the harmony between human kind and the environment. The history of the rice terraces intertwined with that of its people, their culture and their traditional practices. I do not cite the rice terraces as an example of our cultural heritage just because I am an Ifugao but because I know that we all share the pride in this international recognition and we recognize the unique legacy of the rice terraces of the Cordilleras as the only monument in the Philippines that shows no evidence of having been influenced by colonial culture.
The theme for this celebration “Raising awareness of the Igorot cultural heritage” is very timely and appropriate. All over the world, organizations of Cordillerans have joined hands and raised their voices to declare to the world and to everyone their pride in their heritage. And we are now counted among them! We definitely will do our part to ensure that awareness of the Igorot cultural heritage will be strengthened and enhanced not only among us and our succeeding generations but also the people among the society of whatever land we find ourselves in. We should indeed join hands to raise awareness of our cultural heritage and unique identity and shout out our pride in being a Cordilleran. An Ifugao, an Ibaloi, a Kankana-ey an Isneg or a Kalinga or Bontoc.
Let us be proud of our beliefs, our rituals, our dances, our music, our art, our values, and customs and traditions, because these are the things that identify us and distinguish us from the rest. Let us remain in touch with our cultural identity and let us encourage our children especially those who were born here to participate in gatherings such as this where we celebrate and reaffirm our heritage through our dances, music and songs. Let us pass to them the good values of hard-work, close family ties, sanctity of marriage, community spirit, the caring nature, respect for elders as well as make them learn, know and understand the value of our culture, the meaning of our rituals, dances, art and music among others. Let us ensure that our cultural heritage be passed on from one generation to the next generation and so forth wherever we may find ourselves even far from the land of our birth and this can be accomplished only if we exert real efforts to raise awareness in our cultural heritage in those who follow our footsteps.
Before I end, let me take this opportunity to also greet the Cordillerans from Bologna and Modena a happy 9th year anniversary and wish them more anniversaries to come. Congratulations for making this gathering a success and more power to you! I wish everyone here a joyous Grand Canyao and as we say in Ifugao “HAGGIYO”!
Atty. Viveca Codamon Catalig
Ciao Cordillerans in Italy...saludos from BIBAK Barcelona.
It's a pleasure to know that there's another Cordillera group formed in Europe and we congratulate you for that. As you've said we should promote and continue our culture and tradition which is really a unique one.
We also thank you for the invitation for your Grand Kanyao that will take place soon. We'll be discussing that in BIBAK Barcelona's next monthly meeting to know who could attend.
Secretary, BIBAK Barcelona
To CORDILLERANS ITALY
In behalf of BIBAAK-Madrid, I would like to thank you for your open invitation to your upcoming 9th anniversary and celebrating it with Grand Cañao. Cordillera Day was indeed a former celebration of Grand Cañao before if was formally declared as Cordillera Day and become a holiday in the Cordillera region. We are proud of each and Cordilleran in promoting our cultural heritage where state we go. I know for each, that this is within our blood and within our nature...I call it divine nature that we can not depart from this upbringing that we inherit from our ancestors. Nevertheless, our Grand Cañao is the salt of the culture and tradition to be celebrated, with solid gathering, the sound of the gongs, the dances and music and matched with our rice or strawberry wine, etag and the ceremonial of elders that serve as a traditional prayer to Kabunyan. All of these are package to the Cañao celebration.
I am happy for this event, we also celebrated our first CORDILLERA DAY last year, which is similarly the essence of Cañao. I will post this with our BIBAAK-Madrid bulletin and I will inform the president and the group. If somehow we can’t come... we will be with you in spirit. MATAGO TAGO tako am-in and we give our advance congratulations.
Past President of BIBAAK-MADRID
Kakailyan nga taga Cordillera,
We, the members of BIBAK Switzerland, would like to thank the organizers of The First Grand Kanyao for the invitation to join. We would also like to congratulate you for your effort and initiative to gather our kakailyans there in Italy. It is surely a challenging endeavour but you were brave and very willing to take the responsibility. We believe that this venture will generate opportunities for our fellow Cordillerans in Italy to be united, stay connected to their Igorot identity and be able to make valuable contributions to the international Igorot community.
We’re sorry that this response came a bit late. We have been busy the past weeks and were not able to write sooner. Our group was invited to talk about the Cordilleran culture to a local cultural organization here in Bern last May 4. The very positive response we got from the audience has inspired us to accept similar responsibilities in the future. Just last Sunday, we also presented a dance number at a gathering. Indeed, we have very unique and interesting culture worth sharing to the international audience.
It is our hope that your objectives for The Grand Kanyaw be met. May it not only inspire our fellow Igorots of Italy, but the Italians as well. Good luck and more power!
BIBAK Switzerland thru its Secretary
CORDILLERA COMMUNITY in BELGIUM
Congratulations Cordillerans in Italy!
If Igorots and Filipinos who have grown in the Cordillera are coming together to affirm their Igorot identity, Kabunian's blessings and care are shared by other Igorots in diaspora around the globe. Agbiag ti Igorots uray adinnot ayanda! Agbiag ti Cordillerans idiay Italia!
Thank you for the invitation to your Grand Kanyao. The Cordillera Community in Belgium (Cordi-Bel), being a member of ICBE, shares the joy of other members of ICBE for the efforts done by Cordillerans in Italy to come up with such big gathering to be held in Bologna, Italy. Certainly, ICBE could not allow letting pass this chance without responding your desire to have a guest. Cordi-Bel may just be among the first ones to respond to your email. But we will know for sure who will be joining you there when members of ICBE will be back to Europe after having attended the Igorot International Consultation (IIC) held in Baguio City this April.
For the meantime, we are expressing our joy and sending you our greetings for the big leap that Cordillerans in Italy has reached. May Kabunian's blessings be with you!
In behalf of the Cordillera Community in Belgium (Cordi-Bel),
CORDILLERA COMMUNITY in BELGIUM & IGOROT CORDILLERA BIMAAK EUROPE (ICBE)
Message to the Grand Kanyao of Igorot Cordillerans in Italy, 2 June 2012
To the Cordillerans in Italy, to the officers of the Igorot associations in Milan & Como, Bologna & Modena, and Rome who worked together to come up with this affair, Igorot Cordillera BIMAAK Europe (ICBE) salutes your initiative and ICBE is here with you to further link up Igorot and Cordillera organizations and individuals in Europe.
Having ICBE as a loose network of Igorot and Cordillera organizations in Europe is right. However, there is more. With six gatherings that we have gone through, ICBE is instrumental in shaping and re-molding our personal view and outlook of being Igorot, encompassing among other things, our Igorot values and practices. Saying so, ICBE is an eye-opener for a need to communicate and to transmit---what we have realized in the process---to the next generation. We used to say, “We need to promote our Igorot culture and traditions.” This may sound acceptable. However, our culture and traditions are not for promotion. What is more appropriate is the need to deepen knowledge of our Igorot culture and traditions, to appreciate our values and their usefulness to us, and to pass these on to our next generation. Through these, we will surely keep the succeeding generations remain rooted in our Igorot-ness.
ICBE wishes to thank the Cordillerans in Italy for inviting us to their first Grand Kanyao. We say first because we imagine there will be a second, third, fourth and more Grand Kanyaos.
Kanyao is a practice in which an individual household in a village performs it by providing animals to be sacrificed, and also preparing food and rice wine. In addition, all inhabitants of the village do their share by preparing rice wine for guests, who pass by their house, while some could bring their rice wine to be served at the venue of the Kanyao. So, while a Kanyao is an individual household affair, the whole village supports it. Furthermore, Kanyao is performed not only for a cause, but also for a purpose. For a cause because perhaps of a dream or a sign, which was shown to that individual household, and in consultation with the “foreseeyer,” there’s a need to perform a Kanyao. Consequently, it becomes an occasion to introduce the household if they do it for the first time and to further their status in the village if they have done it the second time or so. That’s why, both sides of the individual household, their close as well as distant relatives from faraway places, are invited. In a strict sense, therefore, it has been a practice that Kanyao is always a private individual household affair and never a public community affair.
While this is so, we wish our fellow Igorots or Cordillerans in Italy a successful activity since your Kanyao is aimed at introducing the existence of Igorots/Cordillerans here in Italy to other Igorot/Cordilleran organizations and individuals in Europe and it also serves as an instrument for you to come together and be acquainted with each other. May Kabunyan be pleased and may our ancestors acknowledge and give their blessing.
Since ICBE is an invited guest, what does ICBE have to do with the Igorot/Cordillerans in Italy? Or inversely, what does the Igorot/Cordillerans in Italy have to do with ICBE? Obviously, answers to the questions are subjective depending on one’s perspective.
For ICBE, we see this as a progress for Igorots/Cordillerans in general that wherever they are, they continue to affirm their Igorot identity and are willing to live up to their values. It is of great interest for ICBE to link up with the Igorot/Cordillerans here in Italy because ICBE believes it has a lot to learn from the experiences of fellow Cordillerans here. Linking up and exchanging views widen one’s horizon though exchanging of views is often tested by thorny paths and troubled seas. However, if there’s openness, there is always a passage. In ICBE, it is true that one of the aims is to link up individuals and organizations of Igorots in Europe. But there is more, ICBE conducts consultations (conferences) every odd year. In these consultations, there is not only merry-making by playing our gongs and dancing our Igorot dances, but there are also serious discussions, where exchanges of views and ideas could get heated to the extent that some participants experience a rise in their blood pressure. Considering our diverse ethnic groups, we could say that such attitude is normal but it is something we continue to correct. And while it is so during ICBE consultations, we could still say, “Kaasi ti Apo!” with Kabunyan’s guidance, consultation after consultation indeed turned out to be fruitful. From merely exchanging of views and ideas, some small but already concrete projects have come up.
To mention some, we published a magazine, “Cordillera Rituals as a Way of Life”; we began sponsoring a scholar in one of the state universities in the Cordillera; we helped, in some ways, victims of the typhoon Pepeng; and we donated an amount to the Igorot Global Organization (IGO) scholarship program. We also have a website: www.icbe.eu where we have posted the proceedings of our consultations. Hopefully, as ICBE reaches out to more Igorot/ Cordillerans in Europe, we realize more projects.
The name ICBE was decided in Vienna, Austria during the second gathering of Igorots and Cordillerans hosted by Igorot Organization in Austria (Igorot Austria.) It was the consensus of the participants that the “I” stands for Igorot, the collective name for the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, northern Luzon, Philippines. The “C” for Cordillera is the political and geographical concept presently understood. The “B” is the start of the acronym BIMAAK, the six provinces comprising the Cordillera Region. The “E” stands for Europe. With this, the participants considered ICBE as appropriate.
At this time, there are already six series of consultations and the 7th is already planned to be held in Barcelona, Spain on 9-12 May 2013 with BIBAK Barcelona as host. The theme of the 7th ICBE Consultation is “Appreciating the Similarities and Differences of the Cordillera Ethnic Groups.” We would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to attend. And since you have began to gather as Igorot/ Cordillerans in this country, we hope one of your organizations would eventually host an ICBE Consultation in Italy.
ICBE recognizes your efforts as Igorots forming an association/organization or community here in Italy. We all know that to start a group, one needs patience, sacrifice and charisma as well as many other virtues that we can mention. To the officers of the three active associations (Milan & Como, Bologna & Modena, and Rome), your decision to organize an affair to gather Cordillerans in all parts of Italy is commendable. This gathering is in itself your achievement. Let it be known to Igorots in Europe, that there are associations of fellow Igorots in the different cities of Italy.
May Kabunyan, the God of our ancestors in the Cordillera, look upon you and guide you as Igorots worthy to uphold the ideals of your associations, and worthy to shine and stand out. It is a prayer of ICBE to have delegates from other countries of Europe in future consultations. Kabunyan heard and evidently touched your hearts to link up with ICBE.
Kabunyan kod ya maseg-ang ka, ta makitagtago kami ay Igorot isnan ili ay Italya!
Cordillera Community in Belgium (Cordi-Bel)
Viva Cordillerans Italy,
In behalf of the Igorot Cordillera Austria we join the others in congratulating you in your first grand Kanyaw. Sha sa nan maila-an nan Igorot isnan batawa. Wherever we are, we carry our culture.
Congratulations kasin and regards to our fellow Igorots out there. Long live Igorots!
IGOROTS in FRANCE ASSOCIATION
BONJOUR Cordillerans in Italy!
On behalf of our group IFA - Igorots in France Association, we join manong Ric and the entire Cordi-Belgium in CONGRATULATING your Cordillera group and to your upcoming grand Kanyaw!!! Kabunyan is great! Matago-tago kayo am-in ay kakailian sisa Italy.
We look forward to joining you in one of our ICBE gatherings in Europe in the near future!
IFA - Igorots in France Association