THE third staging of the Baguio Creative City Festival 2020 this November is all systems go but with certain adaptations that conform to the new normal. This creative event, according to its new set of organizers, will attempt to blend an array of virtual and physical platforms for its various activities. It will be a celebration of resilience and creativity of local artists and artisans that bring hope and inspiration to the community amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last year’s celebration ushered in thousands of guests and visitors who trooped to the city for the second staging, but this year will be more of a guided, coordinated and online through virtual platforms that are actually challenging artists and craftspeople to be visible in the digital domain.
With Baguio’s emerging brand as a model in new normal adaptation, strict measures of health and safety protocols will still be observed for as long as the global pandemic is still in the air.
For its opening program, there will be a grand launching at the façade of the Baguio Convention Center with an exhibit of contemporary arts on November 6. The Creative and Nature Crawl will have destinations at the Mandeko Kito and Museo Kordilyera at the University of the Philippines, Botanical Garden, Pilak Silvercraft, Ili Likha Artists Village and an option for forest bathing in an identified ecosystem within Baguio. For the western part of the city, the creative crawl has also identified destinations such as the Mirador Hill particularly its eco-park and Jesuit’s Villa, the Bencab Museum and a place called Mount Costa near the border between Baguio and the town of Sablan.
Starting from November 7 up to the 30th, there will be artisan’s fair, crafts competitions and an activity that features the various gardens in Baguio. The festival will likewise feature local wood carving artisans based in Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay and this gives local woodcarvers from the BLISTT areas regardless of their expertise, a chance to showcase their craftsmanship and promote their work. For this tilt, each participant must create functional yet artistic pieces like a stool, a food bowl or anything that serves a purpose. The judging committee is chaired by National Artist Benedicto Cabrera with other members of the organizing committee.
For events that will be shared live on social media, particularly Facebook, there will be a Creative Innovative Skills Training and seminars for artists and artisans, art in the park and launching of children’s storybooks on Cordillera Weaving and Learning ToolKit. Just like last year, the grand closing ceremonies will be held at the Diplomat Dominican Heritage Hill, which I’m sure will again raise the bar of creativity in a place above 5,000 feet above sea level.
Last week, I chanced upon National Artist for Cinema Kidlat Tahimik whom many refer to as “Tatay Kidlat” at his Ili Likha Artist’s Village. I joined him and his assistants for lunch and a treat of pinikpikan after he and his group raised some heavy timber as part of the galleon hull that he’s been completing for years. Being my wedding Godfather, he reminded me of Philippine history with the song of the late Yoyoy Villame about what happened on March 16, 1521, when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan or Hernando de Magallanes reached local shores. With Ibagiw’s creative crawl that included Kidlat’s Ili Likha Artist’s Village, visitors can actually have a preview of the galleon in the making although another tableau will be set by the national artist at the Baguio Convention Center grounds next year, just in time for the Quincentennial when the country will commemorate the 500 years of the victory in Mactan and placed the Philippines in the first circumnavigation of the world.