THE 5th Ibaloy Day, to be celebrated February 23, was launched in line with Ibaloy Festival Monday at the Baguio City Hall.

The event aims to pass the rich cultural heritage of the Ibaloy to the youth.

The Ibaloy Day is part of the Ibaloi Festival with the theme: “Sustaining our Heritage, Taking Pride in Our Ibaloy Identity.”

The celebration which will be held at the Ibaloy Heritage Garden at Burnham Park will showcase rituals of the Ibaloy. Booths will also be available for everyone to learn and experience the Ibaloy culture.

Jimmy Fong of the Onjon ni Ivadoy Association, Inc. said the celebration this year will be more interactive, participative and educational.

Activities like Tonton — genealogy-making and learning the Ibaloy language will be available. More activities will also be provided for children.

Rosella Camte-Bahni said they have to pass the Ibaloy culture to the next generations for its continuity. She also said it is so “they will be able to know what their culture is and be able to appreciate it, people can be able to value it and people can be able to be interested to know about it.”

The annual celebration was institutionalized by virtue of Resolution 395 Series of 2009, stating February 23 be the Ibaloy Day to honor the indigenous peoples of Baguio and to commemorate the efforts of the late Mateo Cariño.

Cariño fought for his land at Ypit and Lubas through a land registration case against the US government who turned the land into Camp John Hay. According to the resolution, the case went on for six years and after which on February 23, 1909, the US Supreme Court granted the then deceased Cariño his land through the Native Title.

The decision was according to Section 22, Article II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states: “The State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development.”

Section 17, Article XIV of the Constitution also states, “The State shall recognize, respect, and promote the rights of indigeneous cultural communities to preserve and develop their cultures, traditions and institutions. It shall consider these rights in the formulation of national plans and policies.”

Though the Panagbenga float parade will fall on the same day as the Ibaloy Day, Camte-Bahni said the crowd will come after the parade as everyone is welcome to join the cultural celebration. (Julia Manuel)