April 18, 2024

BONTOC, Mountain Province – A festive mood was felt on Sept. 16 as the capital town celebrated its 114th founding anniversary and 18th Am-among Festival.

The scaled-down activities also did not dampen the excitement of the public to gather at the central business district and partake in the civic parade, thanksgiving mass, program, indigenous games, concert, sports festival-cum-“Chagsen Cup”, and the weeklong agri-trade fair.

Mayor Jerome “Chagsen” Tudlong, Jr. said the theme for this year’s celebration, “Bontoc@114: Dynamic and Proactive towards Recovery and Prosperity,” speaks well of the character of Ifontok to withstand adversity and bounce back from the impact of all challenges that life inevitably brings.

“Amid the challenges, we have harnessed our collective strength to be able to mark this important milestone of our town’s history. Our strong sense of community, our og-ogfu, our love for work, and our ability to adapt to challenges and changes are among the many good traits that we draw from history, passed down from generation to generation. These traits are certainly indispensable tools that made us rise from challenges and difficult times. I am certain that our forefathers must be proud and happy of how we are upholding their legacies,” Tudlong said.

Guest of honor and speaker, Ifugao OIC Schools Division Superintendent Soraya Faculo, who traces her roots in Bontoc, Mountain Province expressed high hopes her engagement with the Bontoc community will stir the spirit of dynamism and being proactive so the municipality will recover fast from the pandemic and build the path to prosperity.

Faculo said bringing Bontoc to greater heights lies not only in the leadership of Tudlong, but also in the participation of all community members.

Once an English teacher who rose from the ranks until she achieved her position today, she shared the learning she gained that speaks well of dynamism and being proactive.

These include having the initiative to start and keep going, rather than maintaining a status quo; building, not isolating; fostering engagement in even small concerns rather than grandstanding; and connecting rather than disconnecting. 

She added these traits are embedded in the structures and rituals of the Bontoc community, which should not be taken for granted and practiced only during special events such as weddings, births or deaths, campaign periods, or harvest.

She said all sectors in the community should be given equal opportunity to participate in the realization of the vision for a dynamic and proactive Bontoc towards recovery and prosperity.

“We want to see our citizens in the barangays initiate, build, engage, and connect, and only in that way we can say we are truly dynamic and proactive,” Faculo added.

Provincial Administrator Franklin Odsey, who represented Mountain Province Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr., Vice Gov. Francis Tauli, and Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog, Jr. highlighted the cultures and traditions passed down by our ancestors that made Bontoc resilient and overcome challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Others present during the celebration were municipal officials and employees, officials and functionaries from the 16 barangays, non-government organizations, civil society organizations, and community members. – Alpine L. Killa