September 27, 2023

Before diving into the main topic, this near-sighted Ibaloy writer would like to congratulate the highly qualified and abled officers, members, and advisers of the Council for Baguio Creative City that includes no less than National Artists Benedicto Cabrera (BenCab) and Kidlat Tahimik (Eric de Guia). The council is tasked to spearhead the development and implementation of strategic plans and programs on crafts and folk arts pursuant to Baguio’s commitment as a Unesco Creative City, the first in the country.
I’ve said it many times and will say it again, the City of Pines is truly a haven for artists, artisans, writers, poets, and other creative types. I’m just wondering though why there seems to be no Ibaloy in the creative council. Does this mean that Ibaloys are not creative? Just asking. Ooway! Adivay! Whooo! Whooo!
Anyway, it would come as a huge sigh of relief for many to learn from traditional and social media that unlike Boracay, Baguio will not be totally closed to the public during its planned rehabilitation, according to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, and our very own Mayor Benjie Magalong. “It is impractical since Baguio is the gateway to the Cordillera,” they chorused.
Some quarters would opine, however, that maybe a total closure for a short period of time would be good for Baguio since it is now over-congested, over-traffic jammed, over-touristed, over-squatted by outsiders, and other “over-overs.” We should allow the city to “breathe” for a moment, in other words.
Correct me if I’m wrong but this plan of rehabilitation would not even be happening if we got our acts together in the first place. Maybe if we cared and actually did more for the city’s environment. Maybe if we constructively engaged more with the local government and shared more solutions and not be part of the problem. Maybe if we elected leaders who truly and sincerely cared for the city and not just because they are our kailians. A lot of maybes. Where to, Baguio?

FYI: In a report of the Philippine Information Agency Cordillera, Police Regional Office-Cordillera Director Gen. Israel Ephraim Dickson called on members of communist groups to lay down their arms, abide by the law, and take advantage of government programs. Recently, 23 Militia ng Bayan members returned to mainstream society through the Sallapadan, Abra municipal government and police and the Abra Police Provincial Office.
Dickson lauded the returnees for their initiative and assured them of a successful integration through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program after their evaluations.

Here’s “Kafagway, Part IV”(Advance Happy Ibaloy Day) by Gabriel Baban Keith: “Isn’t it ironic?/ Isn’t it sad?/ That some members/ of one tribe’s/ seeming penchant/ for begging,/ squatting and/ commercializing/ its culture/ affects all Cordillera tribes/ negatively in/ the eyes of/ those outside/ the region./ To many outsiders,/ Igorots are all/ one and the same/ in engaging and/ allowing their/ relatives/ to engage in these/ shameful practices/ when only some/ members of one/ tribe do./ And to think that many of/ Bag-iw’s respected/ and honorable/ leaders belong/ to this tribe./ I hope I’m wrong/ but if I’m not, then/ isn’t it ironic?/ Isn’t it sad?/ Peace.”

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May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.