THE province of Benguet’s rich and unique culture is very much alive in Geneva, Switzerland.
Recently, the Benguet Igorot Association in Geneva (BIAG) again showcased the municipality’s cultural heritage through a performance featuring the Ibaloi and Kankanaey dances during the Philippine Independence Day in Switzerland.
BIAG vice president Vernese Galiling Calimodag said through their presentation, they were not only able to promote the culture of Benguet in Geneva but inform the public as well about the importance of it for better appreciation.
“Na appreciate piman ni ambassador jay native dress and cultural dance tayo ya. (The ambassador appreciated our native dress and cultural dance.) she said.
The group’s current president Jick Chamos said as an Igorot they are truly proud to show how they embrace their tribal roots by showcasing it through cultural presentations in different events in Geneva.
BIAG was created by OFWs from Benguet in Dec 2015 with the main purpose of providing a “home away from home” feeling for their kakailians and to support each other in times of need.
They also have the mission to promote and keep the culture of Benguet and to stand together with other Igorots in affirming the identity of Igorot people.
Joy Cadangen who traces her roots in Kapangan and Mankayan was elected as the first president of the group in 2015 followed by Norbert Cuanso of Bakun, Aida Heretier from Tublay, and Chamos from La Trinidad.
Ninety percent of Benguet OFWs in Geneva are members of BIAG who have been actively involved in various Filipino gatherings in Switzerland such as the recent celebration of Independence Day.
One of the biggest events they have participated was when they represented the Philippines during the 50th ASEAN celebrations at the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) in Geneva in 2017.
With the efforts BIAG is pursuing, the Benguet culture will be more appreciated in Geneva and will continue to live on for the future I-Benguet generations who were born and raised in Switzerland.
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