March 5, 2024

The city government of Baguio has assured the Ibaloy community the design of the Ibaloy Heritage Garden will be given a priority in the proposed Burnham Park development plan.
Councilor Isabelo Cosalan announced during the celebration of the 13th Ibaloy Day on Feb. 23 the city government is actively coordinating with the Onjon ni Ivadoy for the design to be included in the final master plan of the park.   
Cosalan said there is a new axis to be introduced by the planners led by City Planning and Development Coordinator Donna Tabangin and Councilor Mylen Yaranon, which features a neo-vernacular axis. 
Neo-vernacular architecture is a way of asserting the distinctiveness of Filipino architecture by dominating an architectural design with Filipino features.
“Along that axis, we will see the statue of Mateo Cariño riding on his horse. It will be mounted somewhere along that axis,” Cosalan said.
The great oldman Cariño was the former chieftain of Kafagway, which is the old name of Baguio. It was in Feb. 23, 1909 that the United States Supreme Court released its decision on the Native Title which recognized the legitimacy of the claims of Cariño.  
Aside from the axis, other features of the Ibaloy Heritage Garden would include the history of the Ibaloy nation. He said fellow Ibaloy artist Lynette Carantes-Bibal is spearheading the design. 
The Ibaloy Heritage Garden would be further improved as a space where Ibaloys can gather and implement various programs gearing on the passing on the rich culture and tradition to the younger generation.  
He said the Ibaloys continue to exist because they are deeply connected with their roots. But the infusion of a host of other cultures also remains a threat, especially to the younger Ibaloys, which is why he urged the Onjon ni Ivadoy to continue programs gearing on cultural preservation. 
DepEd-Cordillera Director Estela Cariño also urged the Ibaloy community to continue passing down the rich heritage to their children such as speaking the native language.
Cariño, who spoke in a mixture of Ibaloy and English during her speech, said she observed that even teachers from Ibaloy areas do not know how to speak the language. This became a challenge especially with DepEd’s implementation of the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education.
“We are contributory to that because we are not teaching our children our mother tongue in our homes. It will not make you inferior if you speak your own language,” Cariño said.
The 13th Ibaloy Day was celebrated with the theme: “Mansaksahi tan mantitinudong kitjo pansegshan ni kaivadoyan (Let us unite and cooperate for the betterment of the Ibaloy community)”.
An exhibit of the works of the late Ibaloy artist and former La Trinidad, Benguet Councilor Geoffrey Carantes was also opened at the park highlighting his works in the ‘80s and ‘90s capturing the rich Ibaloy culture on ink and paper.
The Ibaloy Day was institutionalized under Ordinance 9, s. 2013 to be celebrated every Feb. 23 in the city. – Ofelia C. Empian