July 24, 2024

I must congratulate the City of Baguio, the Baguio Tourism Council and the Department of Tourism-Cordillerafor the grand staging of the back-to-back openings of the 2nd Cordillera Festival of Festivals 2023 at the Rose Garden and the gala opening of the ”Ibagiw 2023” at the Baguio Convention Center.

These outstanding undertakings are truly amazing events that make the City of Baguio the fulcrum of arts, culture and festivals. Take a bow ladies and gentlemen!

And now I must applaud Kidlat Tahimik, National Artist for Film, for being honored as Esquire Philippines’, “Man at His Best – Artist of the Year” for 2023. This is an accolade being bestowed on extraordinary Filipinos who are reshaping society.

Kidlat’s youngest son, Kabunyan de Guia, with Oliver Olivete and Guiller Lagac famously known as the Mighty Bhutens, a three-member mosaic group of artists from Baguio; Randy Bulayo, a wood carver from Ifugao; Kidlat Tahimik and DOT-CAR under Director Jovi Ganongan were at present spearheading an “art community initiative.

The project aims to preserve one of the many fallen trees in Baguio and is called the “Urban Kamote project” at the old DOT–CAR building at Governor Pack Road.

This is part of the “Ibagiw 2023”. The final installation will be launched sometime last week of November after the workshops on mosaic and mixed media for high school and college students have been completed.

In a letter to schools penned by the Mighty Bhutens, It states: “One of the fallen trees during Typhoon Egay, in this urban kamote project will serve as a reminder that modernization and preservation of our culture can be done without compromising one another. Thus, we are appealing to the students, schools and organizations to participate in our art initiative. The fallen log will be turned into an urban kamote artwork; hence we are asking for volunteers and students from esteemed institutions to take part in our mosaic workshop.”

Those interested may email them at <[email protected]> or call/text Kabunyan at 0995 218 3723.

Our very own “Kamote” the “musical fruit” takes the center stage in this project as the fallen tree resembles a kamote, a staple root crop that is demand in local festivals which has been transformed into various forms and delicacies like:  the famous Kamote Pie of Arka’s Yard, Kamote bread of Café by the Ruins, Kamote fries of That Little Café, etc and is  of course an ingredient of our yummy halo-halo. What else?

“We have to bring back the awareness of kamote as an ancient food security staple and a legacy of our indio-genius elders,” quips Kidlat Tahimik, “Kamote is life!” (Photos by Kabunyan Mosaikero and Gari Buenavista) – Stella Maria L. de Guia