KALINGA CULTURE. Villagers of all ages from the seven towns and one city of Kalinga perform native dances on the streets of Tabuk City during the week-long celebration of the 24th Kalinga Foundation Anniversary and 3rd Bodong Festival from Feb. 11 to 17, 2019. (Photo by Liza T. Agoot)
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Marie Rafael has urged the Kalinga elders to continue passing on their cultural practices - tangible and intangible, to the young people so that these will live on.
Rafael, during the family day program of the 24th Kalinga Founding Anniversary and 3rd Bodong Festival on Saturday, Feb. 16, lauded the people in this province for their continuous efforts to preserve their cultural heritage.
“I appreciate your industry in preparing for a long fiesta that shows the dances and the culture of Kalinga," she said.
She noted that devoting one day of the week-long festival for family is proof that the local government upholds the family bond that is part of the culture of the Kalinga people who celebrate the event through dances participated in by local residents of all ages.
Aside from being a member of the Indigenous Peoples community herself, Rafael also represents the PCOO in activities with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), helping promote Filipinos' cultural preservation.
Her knowledge of the Kalinga culture also emanates from their family being a "bodong" (peacepact) holder of their tribe with a number of other cultural groups, making the brotherhood and kinship with other tribesmen strong.
Rafael talked about her being an IP, who values cultural heritage and preservation, which she said is alive among the people of Kalinga.
She said that while they are from the Mountain Province, they have always considered Kalinga as home, visiting it and exposing friends to the Kalinga culture.
Family, she said, is not confined to blood relations. In Kalinga, the cultural practice of "bodong" is a way of extending the family ties where people from other tribes are considered family, she noted.
"The ties of a family is very strong among the Kalingas and the Cordillera in general," Rafael shared. "At the time of our great losses - grandparents, aunts and uncles and even when mom and dad passed away, the Kalinga gong being continuously beaten accompanied us during those trying times. You never left us. I will always treasure the way you value us as family," she said in the Ilocano vernacular.
She also mentioned Kalinga's living "mambabatok", Apo Whang-od, who is a cultural treasure practicing the indigenous tattoo art that is making Kalinga internationally known.
"I appreciate every Kalinga for their continued appreciation of family bond, for the well-crafted handicrafts that portray the artistry of our people-- artistry that is anchored on our cultural practices," she said.
Rafael also lauded the officials in Kalinga for their efforts in pursuing the festivals that remind the people of the culture celebrated together with residents of all ages.
"My heart goes to all the people in Kalinga whether you are in the province or outside, continue to teach the children our cultural heritage so that they will be part of us when we dance during occasions and not just watch at the sidelines," the PCOO official said. (PNA)
Photo by Liza T. Agoot/PNA