July 19, 2024

With the upcoming national and local elections, Benguet elders held a rarely performed ritual on April 19 in Datakan, Kapangan invoking the guidance of Kabunian and past leaders of the province. 
Provincial Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative Sario Copas said the ritual is performed in recognition of the tradition and culture of the province, which is also held by previous provincial leaders.
The rituals, performed in Kankana-ey language by Copas and fellow elder Gaspar Mayos, saw the butchering of six pigs which represented the six leaders of the province who have gone to the great beyond.
Copas said the previous leaders called upon were the late governors Bado Dangwa, Ben Palispis, and Raul Molintas; former lawmakers Andres Cosalan and Samuel Dangwa; and Apo Anno, the province’s great ancestor. 
He said these leaders were the ones who strongly practiced the traditional culture of Benguet, hence they will be the ones to guide other provincial leaders who have gone ahead to take part in the activity.
Copas added the ritual, where more pigs are supposed to be butchered according to tradition and will take several days to be performed, was shortened to adapt with the times and also due to limited budget and time constraints.
Mayos, who conducted the bile-reading of the butchered pigs, said it read of good fortune for the upcoming officials of Benguet. 
“This is a tradition started by our forefathers; we ask the blessing of God, the Creator for the upcoming election to go well,” Mayos said in the vernacular.  
The elders also asked for guidance from the Almighty to guide the people of Benguet to choose the right kind of leaders during the May 9 elections.
The ritual was organized by the One Benguet Alliance led by Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan, who is running for congressman and gubernatorial candidate Atty. Jerry Marave and attended by local officials and former Rep. Ronald Cosalan. – Ofelia C. Empian