July 21, 2024

(Editors’ note: Registered nurse Charmaine Suanding Molintas-Likigan is again pitching a piece in this space. Likigan is the daughter of former Benguet Gov. Rocky Molintas and current DOT Tourism Attaché Purificacion Molintas.)

The Ibaloy term, adivay, means “coming together”.
On Tuesday, Nov. 23, the proud Ibaloy nation joins the other ethno-linguistic groups in the province in commemorating the 121st founding anniversary of Benguet sans its grandiose celebration.
The proud people of Benguet say in unison: “O-o-way, Adivay, hoh, hoh!
Cheers and long live, Benguet!
Before the pandemic, people and officials from the 13 towns of Benguet would gather and celebrate in thanksgiving for the bountiful provisions sent by Kabunyan to the mortals of the province, for the peaceful and harmonious relations among members of the communities, and for the good health enjoyed by all.
Feasting was in accordance with the customs and traditions of the major ethnic groups in Benguet while other activities ranged from indigenous sports, civics, arts, and music.
Because of the “new normal” brought about by the pandemic, Benguet will scale down its celebration in compliance with protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force.
Prior to 2000, we used to celebrate the Benguet Foundation Day every 18th of June.
By virtue of Republic Act 4695, the old Mountain Province was divided into four provinces, namely Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, and Kalinga-Apayao.
Hence, Benguet became a distinct and regular province. Due to further researches and developments, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan during the term of former Gov. Rocky Molintas passed an ordinance reverting to Nov. 23 the Benguet foundation day following an earlier law, Act 49, where Benguet was established as the first civil government in the Philippines on Nov. 23, 1900 during the American period.
In 2000, Benguet celebrated its centennial anniversary.
I remember celebrations with its pomp and glory witnessing cultural events with guests from the national government, especially the early morning catching the pig and then the tayaw and ba’diw that followed.
To our delight, we always looked forward to special events organized by the Department of Tourism-Cordillera such as the “King Carrot Cake”, “Tossed Salad”, and “Sayote Sherbet”, which highlighted Benguet’s produce.
It was during the stint of former Gov. Borromeo Melchor that former DOT-Cordillera Director Pura Suanding-Molintas and the late Atty. Damaso Bangaoet, who was also known as the father of Panagbenga, collaborated with Benguet State University into staging a provincial festival called “Adivay” since Benguet was the only Cordillera province without one at the time.
For several years, Adivay Festival’s home was the BSU grounds.
Thanks to the late BSU President, Dr. Rogelio Colting, Benguet Corporation’s Vice President Midge de Leon, and Lita Colting who were the Provincial Tourism Council chairpersons at the time, for their support for the growth of the festival.
With the growing success of the festival, there was a clamor to move the festival to its current grounds at Wangal, La Trinidad.

Christmas is just around the corner.
Every group or organization will be busy organizing parties but the most controversial party being talked about nowadays is to which political party a candidate belongs to.
In keeping with political tradition, I joined the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in deference also to my late father, who had been loyal to its cause.
I strongly agree with the belief of the party’s founder, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, who once said: “A political party that does not touch and improve the lives of the people has no reason to exist.”
The essence of joining a political party is to support and uphold its cause. It is an obligation and duty bestowed upon its members and must be complied with in good faith.
My tito Benny has challenged us younger brood into standing tall and making our mark. With “sound and sense,” we take tito Benny’s verses to heart and his memory remains a keepsake in our hearts.

Last Saturday, I was inducted as a new member of the United Igorots Golden Eagles Club, a prestigious non-sectarian and non-political socio-civic organization.
Special thanks to the invitation of our common friend with tito Benny and cousin Marc, Anthony Ching, who is an Igorot by self-ascription.
New inductees come from all walks of life and I chanced upon police officers, entrepreneurs, doctors, and politicians with the likes of Benguet Board Member Robert Namoro, La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda, and Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan, among other dignitaries.
Despite differences in political alignments, we were united for the same cause, that being for humanitarian service and providing service through strong brotherhood.
Encouraged by the “Eagleism” theme of humanitarianism expressed in philanthropic activities, my hubby, Wayne, is likely to become an eagle soon.