July 23, 2024

It’s great to see relatives, some of whom I got to meet for the first time, at the Ibaloy Heritage Garden, Burnham Park, where the Ibaloy Festival is being held for the whole month of October.

I had a titillating time having lunch with several of my lolos and lolas, uncles and aunties, and cousins reminiscing on various topics including the latest happenings in Baguio City – the original home of our Ibaloy forebears.

Of course, one of my visit’s highlights is being offered watwat to take home to my family which I gladly accepted. Thank you.

However, this near-sighted Ibaloy writer would like to make a teeny-tiny observation which I hope it does not offend any of my fellow Ibaloys.

How come inside the venue are separate booths for the different clans? Can’t we just be a united Ibaloy group? Isn’t one of the criticisms hurled against us is of being divided? These separate booths for the various clans only reminds me of how dis-united we Ibaloys are.

It’s also great to know that Baguio has currently three Ibaloy councilors since for the longest time, there was only one or even no Ibaloy alderman at the local legislature.

By the way, did Baguio ever had an elected (not appointed) Ibaloy congressman, mayor or even vice mayor? How about department heads? I can only think of one Ibaloy who is a department head at present. Have we ever had a true-blue Ibaloy police director, fire chief, jail warden or even Miss Baguio?

Lest I be misunderstood and accused of discrimination, I strongly and truly believe in meritocracy where one is chosen for a position based on merit and not on one’s skin color, religion, political party, tribal or ethnic affiliation, or whatever. I hope this is clear.

In a trying-hard democratic country, there should be no place for discrimination and even palakasan of any kind. One’s hard-earned merits and proven track-record of service should be the primary reasons for being promoted or voted on. The reality, of course, is a different matter. We live in a Third World country overwhelmingly ruled by political dynasties, after all, with seemingly very little chance of changing for the better in the near or even distant future.

Again, I just find it a little sad to see that Ibaloys, Baguio’s first “residents”, are now just an almost invisible minority in this lovely melting pot called Baguio, their original home, and are usually only remembered during Ibaloy Day and Month, other festivities and during elections. Most of the time, Ibaloys are rarely seen or heard. Happy Ibaloy Festival!