Issue of December 1, 2019
     
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Incredible India
Stella Maria L. de Guia
It was a festive, historical and spiritual event!

The Baguio Filipino-Indian community came out in their colorful traditional and ethnic saris and kurta pajamas. City officials, the board of trustees of the Baguio Museum in their Kalinga-inspired shoulder adornments, the Baguio community including the Special Performing Arts (rondalla and cultural dancers) of the Baguio City National High School warmly welcomed His Excellency Indian Ambassador Jaideep Mazumdar and Madam Parvati Mazumdar to the 2nd Colors of Incredible India 2019 held at the Baguio Museum on Nov. 22.

Members of the Manav Seva and women of the Filipino-Indian community in traditional saris.


The Ambassador expressed his deep gratitude to the people of Baguio and to the 10 architecture students of the University of Baguio who did the mural on Guru Nanak Dev Ji and his 10 disciples and the depiction of the Life of Mahatma Gandhi. Ambassador Jaideep said, “Everytime I come here, it feels like I am coming to a very familiar place, the reason is not only because of the warmth that I receive but also because I was born in a similar place in North East India called Shalom. It is also up in the hills, has pine forest, it even has a lake in the middle of the city, and a lot of traditional culture.”

It was indeed a poignant memory for the Filipino-Indian community. The theme of the commemoration was “Peace and Spirituality” inspired by 150th birthday anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, otherwise known as Mahatma Gandhi –the “enlightened one,” known for his non-violent protest and the 550th birthday anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, founder of the Sikh religion.

Ambassador Jaideep Mazumdar with Mrs. Parvati Mazumdar with Mayor Benjie Magalong and Rep. Mark Go, with the members of the Filipino-Indian community, the city council, and the board of trustees’ officers, members, and guests.


This is the 3rd celebration of Filipino-Indian Month and was spearheaded by Ram Sharma with Deepak Punjabi, both core group members of the Baguio Museum since 2009 in cooperation with Chandru Budhrani, and the Manav Seva Society. The celebration was in 2009 in commemoration of the “Come Celebrate the Centennial of Baguio: A Melting Pot of Cultures”, which was in partnership with SM Baguio and the Baguio Museum. The second was last year with the theme: “Unity in Diversity” at the Baguio Museum, and this year is the commemoration of the 550th birthday anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, and 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, being celebrated by the Government of India nationally and internationally.

It was also a fitting occasion with the release of the commemorative stamps of Guru Nanak by the Ambassador.

Baguio Museum President Fred Bagbagen was joined by the other members of the board of trustees to include vice president Edilberto Tenefrancia, treasurer Kristine Sameon, Peter Ng, and Helen Tibaldo, who was also one of the masters of ceremonies together with Cita Rani Chambal of Mahi Food House.

H.E. Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Jaideep Mazumdar delivering his speech.


Councilor Bagbagen mentioned that this was the 3rd joint celebration with the Filipino-Indian community in partnership with the Baguio Museum and expressed his wish for the event to be institutionalized, also the forming of a Sister City Relationship with the Indian Government with a similar City in India. Councilor Lilia Farinas is sponsoring an Ordinance for the institutionalization of “Filipino-Indian Friendship Month” every November in celebration of Philippines-India diplomatic relations pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 1924 under former President Gloria Arroyo.

The mural on exhibit was done by the following 10 architecture students of UB namely Joel R. Malecdan, Jr., Rianne Dominique C. Ramil, Junnces M. Amagsila, Maria Luz B. Nieveras, Princes Jecyvhel B. De Leon, Dan De Guzman Galera, James Postanes, Vic-Arthur L. Calalung, Jr., Kyra D.C. Tiqui, and Paul John Jando under the guidance of Arch. Michael John Astudillo, a member of UAP Summer Capital and curated by Gemma Estolas and Romy Macanas.

The Ambassador, the Fil-Indian community with city officials led by Rep. Mark Go, members of the board of trustees and guests watching the performance of the cultural group and the rondalla of the SPA of BCNHS.


For those interested, the exhibit will be until Dec. 8. The Baguio Museum, a non- profit foundation is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is still under renovation.

The 2017 U.S. Embassy’s Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation is still on-going. A soft launching of the Cordillera Gallery was done last July 19, 2019 with H.E. US Ambassador Sung Y. Kim as guest of honor. The grand launching of the Baguio Museum will be sometime July of 2020, which will show the completed and renovated multipurpose ground floor which will function as exhibit- training area and where programmes will be held and conservation area for artefacts. Watch out for the grand opening which will include the historical Baguio Gallery.

The activities were also attended by Baguio Rep. Mark Gowho said, “Today, is a special day as we are commemorating the 70th anniversary of Philippines-India diplomatic relations. We have always taken pride of our beloved City as diverse, multi-cultural hub that has welcomed residents from all walks of life and backgrounds, co-existing beautifully and peacefully alongside our strong Cordillera cultural heritage. It had led to the progress of our city, financially, socially, and spirituality. This is the significance of celebrating occasions like this.”

Ambassador Jaideep Mazumdar admiring the murals with Rep. Go, Ram Sharma and City Tourism Officer Alec Mapalo during the opening of the exhibit with the shower of petals. (Photos by Omeng Fallarme)


Former mayor Mauricio Domogan, builder of the museum with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, also graced the occasion. Invocation was done by Indian Temple priest Damodar Dumre. The Indian Temple is headed by Paul Lalwani.

Councilor Benny Bomogao represented Mayor Benjie Magalong. The other councilors present were Mylen Yaranon, Elaine Sembrano, Vladimir Cayabas, Betty Tabanda, and Bagbagen.

The 2nd Colors of Incredible India 2019 has also on display some souvenir items from the collection of Julian Sakya . Namaste!
 


Handwoven tales: The warp and weft of Cordillera textiles
Nonette Bennett
Weaving is a traditional craft in this mountainous region.

This is a woman’s craft that occupied the time between planting and harvesting and was often done on a backstrap loom that was easily put away. Until the time when women made this their livelihood did the frame looms became more permanent and fixed in one part of the house.

Benguet, Ifugao, Mt. Province, and Apayao textiles and patterns are applied to casual and formal wear by local fashion designer Harvic Dominguez.


The University of the Philippines Baguio Museo Kordilyerahas opened the exhibit on “Handwoven Tales: The Warp and Weft of Cordillera Textiles” on Nov. 15 to show how this craft has filled the history of the Cordillera and how it is currently applied.

Depending on the ethnic group or province, the woven textiles are defined by the warp or longitudinal threads and the weft or the horizontal sequences of inserting the dyed colored threads. While many woven fabrics are striped using red and indigo, others have patterns within patterns in the weft that distinguish the origin of the textile. Abra weavers have optic designs and the Ifugao have ikat or threads in monochromatic hues that define some of their textile. The exhibit shows the warp of the different common textiles of the Cordillera. It also demonstrates how the weft patterns are applied by stepping on wood boards that lift threads in different sequences in the actual looms or on videos shown in monitors.

The warp exposed as vertical or longitudinal threads on the Abra optical weaving pattern and the effect of the weft or the horizontal threads in a textile.


This exhibit also contains video presentations on how cotton threads are dyed and a display of the plants from where the different colors are derived. There is a backstrap loom and a fixed loom to demonstrate how the threads are set-up and how the textile is made. Videos also demonstrate the methods of winding cotton fibers to make threads and how the threads are arranged before weaving. There is also a story of the cotton plant from where the fibers came in the olden days.

Demonstration of the backstrap loom weaving by a traditional weaver.


In the 1990s, the handloom weaving industry was not profitable because of its limited use to décor and costumes. It was given a boost by the Fiber Web Fashion Show inspired by Adelaida Lim and the late Baboo Mondonedo when they challenged fashion designers in the Cordillera to use the textiles for formal and everyday wear.

As an after effect of “Sinaunang Habi”, former Sen. Nikki Costeng’s book on traditional weaves and fabrics of the Philippines and the refocus on indigenous peoples’ traditions and practices, the fashion show opened new avenues for the use of handwoven materials from the Ilocos and the Cordillera.

Soon after, office uniforms of the regional offices adapted the use of materials. Textiles used for the tapis or wrap-around skirts became fashionable suits or formal dresses used during social occasions. “We are what we wear and we weave what we wear,” Lim said during the opening of the UP exhibit.

Fashion designer Harvic Dominguez takes traditional woven fabrics and patterns to a higher fashion level.


Featured at the opening was award-winning Cordilleran fashion designer Harvic Dominguez, who has defied the striped nature of indigenous weaves by applying them on industrial textile for office wear. In some casual dresses, he enlarges embroidery patterns from one textile as a predominant design. More challenging is how men’s formal wear has vertical stripes or the same fabric used in a different way in the arms or body of the coat. In some clothes he uses the same patterns using different colors in the same outfit. He demonstrated the contemporary use of the textile for everyday casual or formal wear.

Museo Kordilyera Director Victoria Lourdes Diaz said the exhibit serves as a learning resource center and as a showcase of the mutual, economic and political activities of people of the Cordillera.

The exhibit was opened in time for the “Ibagiw” Festival celebrating Baguio as a creative city for indigenous culture and crafts.

Lim said: “Museums define the cultural life of the city.”
 

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