FORMER National Commission for Indigenous People commissioner David Daoas lauded efforts to preserve and continue Cordilleran culture.

Daoas, who led ceremonies for the completion of the art hub in Sagada, thanked the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cordillera News Agency (CNA) for championing arts, heritage and culture, as he presented the completed project to guests and the community.

The CNA completed enhancement of the Sagada Dogo Siwang Art Hub in Barangay Patay in Sagada, Mountain Province on Friday, June 14, with the "pagbuyaan" (performance area) and "utuan ya panganan" [traditional kitchen] as its newest facet.

The traditional kitchen houses the "dalikan" (traditional stove and kitchen) to showcase mainly the preparation of "etag" (preserved salted meat) through the "masuukan method" (smoking) utilizing "tuk-uk' (wooden apparatus to hang the meat) and "tapey" (fermented rice wine), while the "pagbuyaan" is a performance area for music and dance, small gatherings and convergence for the community.

At the launch, cultural presentations, including a community dance, were led by the youth from Barangay Madongo, while a demo on tapey or rice wine and etag or smoke meat making was also presented by the Sagada elders.

The art hub initially opened in December 2018 in partnership with the CNA, the Daoas family and the NCCA. Today, it is open to the public on an appointment basis.

Nonnette Bennett of the CNA said: "To everyone who will come and visit this space, may you delight in what you see, feel the spirit of the arts, smell the richness of the culture, taste the bounties of the land, and hear the voices of the ancestors. May you bring the peace of these environs home to your friends and families and may this experience foster harmony in our region, nation and the world."

The art hub is envisioned to be a venue for convergence in tourism, education and cultural exchange which will champion preservation and promotion of arts, culture and heritage not only in Sagada but the entire Cordillera.