Upon the invitation of my colleague from NCCA, Ms Ellenora Aliguyon of Ifugao, I went to attend the Gotad Ad Kiangan Festival. It’s a cultural festival for the ethnic group Kiangan. The native word Gotad means merrymaking or feasting. It is a thanksgiving ceremony for the gods of the sky world for all the rich and bountiful blessings given to the community and its people. It’s a festival with various events and activities.
It had garden show, spiritual awakening night, civic parade, beauty contest, medical mission, ethnic games, neo-ethnic street dancing, folksong competition, rice wine drinking and concert for a cause. I have seen the celebration on May 1 which is the very highlight of the festival. It was the performing arts competition where several ethnic dance groups performed. Prior to this, there were also native rituals performed by the Kiangan in the olden days such as butchering of animals. The competition for hudhud chant concluded the day’s activities.
There were several groups for the young and old alike. They have to choose the authentic and very much traditional in interpretation of hudhud. It is actually a world class oral masterpiece and intangible heritage cited by the UNESCO. It was so entertaining to watch all the groups. I even met Mr. Manuel Duluan, the person who lobbied for hudhud to be world’s intangible heritage to the UNESCO through NCCA.
I visited the agro-industrial fair which consisted of stalls with local products and produce. There was some traditional food I tried. But interestingly I discovered something new and that was the Ifugao taro cookies and cream.
It was so educational to see another Cordilleran culture even I just spent literally one day because I have to return back to Laoag.