April 14, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian 

For their exemplary achievements in their respective fields of service, eight individuals and two institutions were honored during the annual Adivay Benguet Awards 2023 on Nov. 22.

The awarding was part of the 123rd Benguet foundation anniversary celebration, where the Outstanding IBenguet Award were given to Department of Education-Cordillera Director Estella Leon-Cariño for her leadership role in the education sector and Team Lakay Chair Marquez Sangiao for his excellence in molding athletes to become a well-rounded and are ready for the world stage.

The other Outstanding IBenguet awardees were Kabayan Weaving founder and cultural master Maxencia Pili for her outstanding work through the years, advocating loom weaving and textile as livelihood for women; mental health advocate Maricris Lad-ey-Neyney for her advocacy in mental health education; and Bureau of Customs Planning and Systems Development Service Director Jeoffrey Comising Tacio in the field of leadership and public service.

Honored as Adivay Global Icons (AGI) were Tourism Attaché Purificacion Suanding-Molintas, currently assigned in Norway, for her lifelong work in promo-ting the rich culture of not only Benguet and the Cordillera, but also the entire Philippines in every country she was posted. Her daughter, Lady Charmaine Molintas-Likigan received the award on her behalf. 

Another AGI awardee was Christina Tublan Moncado based in The Netherlands, the co-founder of Mabikas Foundation founded in 2017 which is the first Igorot foundation in the The Netherlands that was instrumental in fostering a sense of identity and fundraising projects for the Igorots living in the Netherlands. Moncado’s daughter also received the award on her behalf.

Bahrain-based educator and author Caren Rimando Bansolay also received the AGI award for her excellence in her work which led her to be a recipient of the Outstanding Leadership Award 2023 by a nonprofit organization based in Dubai, U.A.E. and Las Vegas, U.S.A. after undergoing rigorous evaluation process.

This year’s Everlasting awardees were the Kings College of the Philippines and the Cordillera Career Development College.

Both schools were honored not only for their academic performances in producing world-class professionals but also for their programs that reach out and involve the community they are serving, to provide a more holistic approach to education. 

Despite being a multi-awarded cultural master, including a President Ramon Magsaysay Award, Pili said the award comes as a surprise.

In Kabayan Weaving, she employs 20 weavers and sewers who produce authentic, high grade inabel promoting the culture of Benguet.

“I was surprised because I thought I’m already too old to be receiving these awards. But I’m happy just the same; this award is not only for me, or for my family, but for all of us. What went through my mind all these years, why I thought of sharing my skills is to train up the younger generation so they would inherit our skills to continue weaving,” Pili said.

The Benguet awards started in 2015, and as one of the highlights of the founding anniversary celebration of the province of Benguet being celebrated annually through Adivay.

It was only last year that the AGI awards were introduced as part of the awards ceremony recognizing the talents that Benguet has to offer to the world.