Friday, September 24, 2021

Ipitik festival returns

IPITIK festival makes a comeback.

Ferdinand Balanag, festival director and founder of the event said the Ipitik Festival will sustain the momentum of the creative spirit throughout the year and is line with the mayor’s 16-point agenda in revitalizing art, Culture and Heritage.

Ipitik is set on March 28 to April 5 at the Burnham Park Rose Garden with The International Jazz Festival, Highland Food Village, Baguio Arts and Crafts Fair and the Baguio Film Festival.

A reenergized art and cultural vibe in Baguio is now felt especially after the declaration of Baguio as a member of the UNESCO Creative City Network.

After the very successful staging of Ibagiw, the Baguio Creative City Festival, I thought this would be the right moment to restage Ipitik after nine years of dormancy,” Balanag said.

Anthropologist Padmapani Perez PhD describes Ipitik as light yet solemn act of offering the first drops of a newly opened jar of tapuy to Kabunian, the highest deity of the Cordilleras, and to the ancestors.

The act is traditionally done by the mambunong, or shaman, the practice lives on today among many Cordillerans, young and old.

When first opening a bottle of alcohol, be it tapuy, gin, wine, beer, vodka, or scotch, one whispers an invitation to the spirits to come and drink and spills a few drops of alcohol on the ground, or takes a symbolic sip on behalf of the spirits.

Perez said Balanag and friends first conceived of creating an annual Ipitik Festival out of love for this small act of offering and the libations that it attends.

“The festival as such magnifies and creatively re-invents many small yet significant aspects of Cordilleran culture: Instead of having the traditional number of gong players and dancers, the Ipitik festival has 108 children playing gongs in unison and dancing with gusto to a beat that will most certainly outlive disco rhythms.

More than would be ritually required of a celebratory ritual, the Ipitik festival brings together master brewers of tapuy from all over the region, each bearing a jar of his or her best brew.

Other novel ideas born of ancient traditions that are part of Ipitik are the on-the-spot woodcarving competition, a pinikpikan cookout to feed hundreds, and the creative touch of Baguio’s artists added to traditional symbols and structures.

Finally, unlike most other cultural events which favor only one ethnic group or territory, Ipitik brings together all the cultural groups that have converged and live together in Baguo City.

Ipitik emphasizes the fact that our city is a melting pot filled to the brim with a bubbling stew of diverse ingredients,” Perez said.

The festival has competitions for woodcarving and tapuy wine makers open to residents of the Cordillera region.


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