YOUNG generations in British Columbia, Canada who trace their roots in the Cordillera continue to embrace their cultural heritage even those who were not born in the region.
In fact, they were the ones who initiated the regular conduct of Igorot Cultural Workshops for all the Cordilleran youth there through their group Bibak British Columbia Youth.
Bibak BC Youth coordinator Lulubelle Lonogan said as of the moment at least 20-30 participants aging from 13-25 years old are joining the activity which is done twice a month.
“We organized this workshop so that we will teach the youth here in BC to learn our culture. So far a lot of youth are joining in and we are encouraging other youth who doesn’t know about this workshop to join,” Lonogan said.
One of the organizers Johnedel Matias who also takes care of the video and photo documentation said they started the workshop to continue their cultural activities throughout the year and in preparation for the upcoming events and performances of the group.
The workshops include the basics of gong playing for the boys that employ them to learn the scales, the striking patterns and the different sounds of the gongs. For the ladies they are taught how to move to a certain beat and the various footwork and gestures in dance. There are also demonstrations on how to wear the male and female Igorot garbs like the tapis and wanes.
“Throughout the whole workshops there are encouragement of camaraderie and friendship as well as bridging the relationships between the older and younger generations,” Matias added.
Participant April Lonogan Pinch said living in Canada is different than living in the Philippines that’s why she wanted to experience her culture from the outside.
Another youth member Orchid Solang said she started joining because she wanted to know more about the Cordilleran culture. Besides, a lot of her friends are joining the activity.
Parents like Julia Lonogan-Pinch and Arvin Amayag are both proud of this project of the youth which is one way of preserving their own identity as Filipinos who are from the Cordillera Region. They hope that the things they learn, they will also teach it to their children in the future.
BC volunteer teacher Kirby Dagas said it is not only about teaching the youth and learning about it. But the workshop is also a way of preserving the culture of his province in his home country.
Also supporting the meaningful undertaking is the indigenous group Bibak of BC. Vice president Fidel Tade said whatever the young ones learned from this endeavor they will showcase and promote it including the tourism back home.
This effort being done by the youth in British Columbia is simply laudable. May this be emulated by other Cordilleran youth groups abroad.
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