SENATORS Loren Legarda and Chiz Escudero received cultural honors during the celebration on the 49th anniversary of Ifugao province last week. 

Legarda was named “Nihabian” (weaver) while Escudero was named “Bali-toc” (gold).

This year’s celebration had the theme “Gotad: A Celebration of Cultural Heritage as Foundation of Self Determination and Sustainable Development.”

Gotad is an Ifugao term for a large gathering of people.

Governor Dennis Habawel, Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat and the local chief executives of the province’s 11 municipalities led the festivities.

The towns of Kiangan, Alfonso Lista and Hingyon won the street dancing contest.

Legarda, who heads the Senate Committees on Climate Change and Cultural Communities, held a hearing at the provincial capitol, Lagawe, to discuss issues on environmental sustainability and heritage conservation, including threats to the Ifugao Rice Terraces.

She also led the launching of a coffee table book on indigenous forest conservation systems in the Cordillera region titled, Guardians of the Forest, Stewards of the Land.

The book is a project of the senator and the State Universities and Colleges of the Cordillera Administrative Region Research and Development Consortium.

“The Cordillera Region is home to a number of indigenous forest management practices made distinct by the traditions of each indigenous community and exemplifying the values that these culture-bearers keep. We have supported this project with the hope that it will not only keep these practices alive but also jumpstart the documentation of indigenous knowledge systems and practices of other cultural communities all over the country,” Legarda said.