“AAAAAADDIIVVAAYYY! Huuuuuu! Huuuuuu!”
A decade ago, we huddled around the fire echoing the squeal of the self-appointed chant leader—it was that most anticipated celebration again. There were about five or six more bonfires around the BSU oval—each with its own concerts and theatrical exhibitions. It was already midnight and the November chill was piercing our leather jackets, but one cannot really discourage the 18-year-olds with booze at their disposal. That night, for them, was simply the best Adivay ever. “Aaaaddiiiivvvaayyy! Huuuu! Huuuu!”
Introduced in 2005, “Adivay,” or the “gathering” of all Benguet towns at the capital, is main celebration for the Benguet Province as a whole. It was originally held at the BSU oval, also called ‘La Trinidad’s playground’ because the town does not have a park (I wish Arch. Daniel Burnham had also planned our town before). The Adivay series of concerts and the bonfires (and broken bottles) which damaged the grounds ala the western ‘Woodstock,’ however, became a concern for the academic institution, hence the transfer to the Benguet Sports Complex for the succeeding Adivays. (Rightfully so, if only to transfer the congestion from the main urban area of Km.5 to Km.6, to the sleepy Wangal village area). The Adivays in BSU before, however, will be remembered by us, teenagers before, as the best Adivays... ever.
This year’s Adivay will officially commence on Nov. 18, 2019, and will culminate on Nov. 24, 2019. The celebration carries the theme: “For a healthier Benguet,” in which “healthier” stands for Health, Education, Agriculture, Livelihood, Tourism, Human Resource Industry, Environment, Responsive and Resilient Governance—areas of focus which the present Provincial Government of Benguet, under the very promising leadership of Gov. Melchor Diclas, aims to work on. As with the past Adivays, the almost month-long celebration features various events such as; agricultural and industrial fairs, forums, musical and artistic events, sports and exhibitions, and other activities which highlight the beauty of Benguet, the identity and talents of its people, and the competitive quality of its products. The anticipated Canao will be on Nov. 23 at the Benguet Sports Complex. The most notable change in the events, perhaps, is the Cultural Dance Competitions which is now a “Cultural Dance Performances”—a significant departure from the traditional cultural contest, perhaps to promote the idea that cultural dances cannot be judged as a tournament rather they should foster appreciation absent the technicalities of competitions. Of course that distinct sub-culture of the Igorot Cowboys, institutionalized even in ordinances, will always be at the core of Benguet celebrations. Our Ibaloi and Kankana-ey uncles in cowboy boots and hats will never miss the show.
I cannot deny that the Adivay celebrations hold a great chunk of my life memories—our Battle of the Bands participations, the trade fairs where I met new friends, the Canao and the long parades, the evening walks where the drunks populate the grounds shouting “Adivay!, the teenage heartbreak after an Adivay competition, the ‘offer time’ work as a grown-up professional who is part of the celebrations... those will always be the days. (Adivay! Huuu! Huuu!)