As the “culture of migration” in our country emerged in the last 35 years or more, even the Cordillerans were influenced to leave their homeland and families for greener pastures. They continue to increase and grow in number in different parts of the world like in the U.S.A., U.K., nearby countries in Asia and also in Europe.
Being away from our homeland, we Cordillerans, despite our differences, come together in the spirit of oneness. Our gatherings make us strong and help relieve homesickness common among us. In Italy, the usual gatherings during special occasions inspire us to make our meetings more meaningful and special by gathering formally as Cordillerans with a general purpose and common objectives.
It was April 23, 2003, springtime in the northern part of Italy, Region of Emilia Romagna and province of Reggio Emilia. We held a meeting through the initiative of Yolanda Mariano from Dalicno, Itogon, Benguet and yours truly from BaguioCity. Our hosts were Cleofe Adaci and couple, Bryan Floresca and Carmen Mayngo-Floresca. With us were fellow Igorots who are working and staying in Modena, Bologna, Reggio Emilia and Trento. The meeting was for setting up of a non-profit association of Cordillerans in the area. On the same day, we were supported by fellow Cordillerans from Milan and Como representing their association, CMWA (Cordilleran Migrant Workers Association). The beginning seemed insurmountable but through the support of the CMWA particularly Mrs. Bernadeth Dimas and Mr. Nestor Guisdan, we were able to rise up and so a Cordilleran association in Bologna and Modena was born! With the approval of the association in Milan and Como under the presidency of Aurora Fianza, the name of the association “CORDILLERAN MIGRANT WORKERS ASSOCIATION (CMWA)” was adapted. In the beginning the association was led by Mr. James Costina wherein after a period, the association’s name was modified to “CORDILLERANS IN ITALY.”
Sad to say that out of the population of Igorots here in Bologna and Modena, Italy, there are only 50% who are members of the association. And out of this, only a few are active. Most attend only during gatherings and a few during meetings and preparations. These are some of our ups and downs but these didn’t hinder us to grow. During this transition period, the association was led by Mr. Jack Dacpano.
Striving to achieve our goals helped us to continue and reach this point of expanding our horizon to a more productive and a meaningful view. And so under the presidency of Mr. Rojan Pis-oy, we decided to celebrate the First Grand Canyao in Italy involving all the Cordillera and Igorot associations in Italy. The occasion became an inspiration to everyone so much so that we decided to celebrate every two years. It was no other than the spirit and unity among the members that led to the progress, growth and improvement of the association.
To preserve for future generations the diverse heritage of the Igorot people maintaining the ethnic identity “Cordilleran” and “Igorot” meaning “people of the mountains” and proactively promote their upliftment, advancement and interest, and those of related people.
• To boost the spirit of unity, peace and camaraderie among members of the Cordilleran people here in Italy.
• To promote moral as well as cultural values of the Cordillera in strengthening relationship among members.
• To support and stand for the rights and privileges being a member of this organization.
• To let the CORDILLERANS IN ITALY association be recognized among organizations in Italy and to work with the government of the Philippines in carrying out government policies.
• Financial support for several Cordilleran family in the Philippines for their surgical operations, medical and mortuary assistance.
• Financial supports for several Barangay in the Cordillera for small infrastructure projects.
• Financial support for the Cordilleran/Philippine government during natural calamities.
• Promotion of sport and Medical drive among the members through yearly sportsfest activities.
• The celebration of the first Grand Canyao in Italy last June 2, 2012 where it was by Cordillera and Igorot associations to be celebrated every two years.
• Membership of the association to the Igorot Cordillera BIMAAK Europe (ICBE).
• Continuous help and support to the Cordillera and the Philippine government’s programs including infrastructure projects for the benefit of the Cordillera and the entire Philippines, most especially in times of need and natural disasters.
• Scholarship grants for qualified students.
31 March 2014