October 7, 2022

The City Tourism Office is supporting the planned declaration of September as a month to celebrate cultural diversity in Baguio.
City Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius Mapalo said declaring September as a multicultural month is in line with the initiatives done to further enhance Baguio’s stature as a melting pot of various cultures.
Asked by Councilor Jose Molintas if there was a need to hold a multi-cultural month when there are already days and a month designated for culture-related events, Mapalo said a multi-cultural month will be distinct for Baguio as no other local government units are observing the same.
Mapalo added activities for the multi-cultural month does not need to be month-long considering the various activities lined up in September to celebrate Baguio’s charter anniversary.
He said it would be more practical to designate a day to highlight the observance of a multicultural month.
When Councilor Elmer Datuin asked what will happen to the various days designated for other cultural groups in the city, such as Kalinga Day, Pangasinan Day, and Indian Day among other observances, Mapalo said these will not be affected because the multi-cultural month only aims to celebrate cultural diversity in the city.
He said through the multi-cultural month, the city government can invite other groups that do not have designated days to celebrate to participate or initiate events.
Mapalo said a similar event where various groups showcased their cultures through an exposition was done in the city in 2019 and can be replicated as highlight of the proposed multicultural month.
Proponent Councilor Leandro Yangot said the declaration of September as a multi-cultural month aims to instill among the residents the value of acceptance and respect for each other.
“This celebration will remind us of where we come from and the value of acceptance and respect for each other. It will encourage us to reflect on the diversity of each region which is critical to policy-making, enforcing anti-discrimination laws, and allocating funds for the community,” Yangot said.
Molintas and Councilor Peter Fianza have advised the CTO to also be sensitive when holding events relating to culture in order not to offend groups.
Molintas cited as an example the opening program of Baguio Day where the opening prayer was that of other cultural groups instead of an Ibaloy elder.
Mapalo said his office has always been sensitive about the culture if the IPs, and the reason the Ibaloy prayer was not performed during Baguio Day program was time constraints.
He said it would usually take 30 minutes for an Ibaloy rituals to conclude and considering the length of the program, it was not practical for an Ibaloy elder to conclude the ritual.
Fianza asked Mapalo to also be cautious when holding culture-related events in order not to bastardize other people’s culture.
The city council has tasked Mapalo consolidate the inputs and refine the resolution. – Jane B. Cadalig with a report from Jordan Habbiling