PRAYERS calling on Mateo Cariño, the great Ibaloi chieftain, were performed in traditional Dawit ceremonies at the Ibaloi Park, Monday morning.
The three-day celebration of the 2nd Ibaloi festival commenced Monday with prayers calling on Ibaloi ancestors followed by ecumenical prayers by Reverend Father Emmanuel Panayo and Reverend Pastor John Fianza.
The 6th celebration of Ibaloi Day was staged by the Onjon ni Ivadoy Association, Inc., themed, "Daing, Takhal tan Semek ni Ivadoi."
Mayor Mauricio Domogan was present to give his message while talks were facilitated by Baguio Representative Nicasio Aliping and Baguio Councilor Isabelo Cosalan with National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Commissioner Zenaida Hamada Pawid.
The festival aims to help sustain the lbaloi cultural heritage in Baguio City and Benguet as part of building a strong sense of nationhood and pride in being indigenous Filipinos.
The Association hopes to increase public awareness and appreciation, especially among the youth, about Ibaloi culture and arts as important to community and national development.
Over the weekend, Bobby Carantes launched the Ibaloi musical album, which aims to teach the native language through song.
The festival opened with a parade Saturday morning gathering stakeholders to the Ibaloi Park at Burnham.
The Onjon ni Ivadoy Association was founded on 2011 and is a non-government organization (NGO) for all the Ibaloys world-wide open to all who want to learn about the lbaloi Cultural Heritage.
Errol Tagle said the festival gathered over 3,000 participants for the entire celebration over the weekend.
Last year, in the first Ibaloi Festival, a month long celebration was staged with trainings on native songs and dances. This year, the celebration was made into a three day event.
Cariño was among leaders of the province and original owners of vast tracks of land in Benguet, which they used to pasture their large cattle holdings.
Cariño and his wife Bayosa Ortega owned most of what is now Baguio City, including the present-day John Hay Air Base. It was also Mateo Cariño's men who originally worked the Balatoc mines.
Cariño was named a Centennial National Hero in 1998 by the Philippine Centennial Commission.
His bust stands at the Luneta Park with those of the other centennial heroes.
Baguio's Ibaloi name is "Kafagway," meaning "wide open place”.