LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Incorporating indigenous traditional practices in infrastructure development promotes and allows Cordillera cultural heritage to flourish and as a means to reveal Cordillera identity.

University of the Philippines Cordillera Studies Center Director Rhea Abayao, in her talk during the recently held Cultural Summit, put forward a challenge in infrastructure development that cuts across culture to promote heritage.

Abayao suggested that conceptualization of infrastructure development should diversify and be sensitive to cultural property and may not necessarily conform to the usual practice. Such inherent cultural property reveals and enriches Cordillera identity.

To name a few of the practices are the traditional way of rip rapping or “kabite” in the local dialect which may be revitalized or the construction of “dap-ay,” a structure where people meet together, that may be built in the cities if there is a need for it, said Abayao.

This also may apply in building residential houses with a touch of traditional architecture.

In allotting budget and design of infrastructure development, Abayao further suggested that the aspect of Cordillera traditional practice should be included.

Abayao viewed that infrastructure development should ensure that cultural heritage will be a part from conceptualization to implementation and continue so that it will live on even in modern times.

Former National Commission on Culture and the Arts Chair Felipe de Leon Jr., who was a speaker in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Multisectoral Forum in Benguet recently, said the Cordillerans’s expertise in various fields promotes the region’s ethnicity within the Southeast Asian perspective of culture of sharing.

De Leon appreciated the traditional way of doing rip-rap in the Cordilleras which should be adapted, and introduced the idea of having it incorporated in the school curriculum to preserve it as an indigenous skill and practice. (PR)