May 24, 2024

The city council has approved on first reading a proposed ordinance seeking to institutionalize the Baguio Gong Festival.
Once institutionalized, the festival will officially be part of the city’s schedule of activities. It will be celebrated every Oct. 29, coinciding with the National Indigenous Peoples’ Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated nationwide by virtue of Proclamation 486, s. 2003.
Under the ordinance, a Baguio City Gong Festival technical working group shall be created consisting of the city mayor as the chairperson; chairperson of the city council’s committee on tourism, special events, parks, and playgrounds as the co-chairperson; City Tourism Operations Officer as the secretariat/ action officer; and the chairperson of the city council’s committee on education, culture, creativity, and historical research together with representatives from the Baguio Tourism Council and indi- genous peoples’ groups as members.
The activities during the festival shall include, but not limited to, the celebration of the festival vis-a-vis the National Indigenous Peoples’ Thanksgiving Day, cultural outreach workshops, indigenous and cultural art exhibits, and showcasing of Cordilleran dances and games.
To cover the expenses for the conduct of the said activities, an initial P500,000 shall be included in the annual appropriations of the city government.
Baguio Gong Festival is a community cultural festival conducted every October in consonance with the Indigenous People’s Month celebration “to remember and acknowledge our ancestors’ wisdom through the sharing and exchange of cultural practices from the different Cordilleran provinces.”
“The Baguio Gong Festival is an educational activity and a venue for teaching indigenous knowledge and wisdom, especially in promoting awareness in the minds of our younger generation for them to pass on and (nurture) our authentic culture, art, skills, and values,” the proposed ordinance read.
Councilor Lilia Fariñas, who authored the proposed ordinance, said there is a need to institutionalize the said festival to “preserve, share, and protect our Cordilleran cultural heritage” and “encourage a deep continuing appreciation and respect for the indigenous culture.”
The proposed ordinance was referred to the city council’s committee on tourism, special events, parks, and playgrounds for review. – Jordan G. Habbiling