Issue of April 7, 2019
Mt. Province

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Cordillera village set up at Baguio hotel
by Pamela Mariz Geminiano / PNA

Camp John Hay has opened its doors to the rich cultural heritage of the Cordillera by organizing the “Ili-ay Cordillera,” which will give tourists the chance to see, experience, and appreciate Igorot life.

“Ili-ay Cordillera” means depicting a village or town in the Cordillera, and observing the practices and the tradition of the people in the region.

The project is an initiative of the Manor hotel as a way to connect with and give back to the community that it belongs in.

The Manor allotted a space near the former “honeymoon” cottage, an area that is lined by pine trees, where the traditional “dap-ay” was built years ago.

A dap-ay is a circle-shaped outdoor place built using rocks with a bonfire area at the center. It was used by old male folks to discuss issues involving the community.

The village serves as a venue for traditional and modern indigenous arts and crafts exhibitions, performances, workshops and fora.

In 2017, the Unesco added Baguio to the list of 64 cities from 44 countries in the Creative Cities Network, with the aim of making creative innovations as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development.

The establishment of the Cordillera village is part of the hotel’s efforts to retain the city’s distinction from the Unesco.

The village includes a traditional Ifugao hut, a smokehouse that offers Igorot cuisine and delicacies, a carvers’ workshop that showcases loom and hand-woven crafts, a weavers’ corner with the region's finest woven textiles, an organic farmer’s market and an artisan’s shed that features Cordillera-inspired works.

The village brings the Cordillera food experience closer to the public with Chavi Romawac of “My Chef Romawac” and Pil-od of “Farmer’s Daughter” in the kitchen. The “ili’s” Smokehouse offers indigenous cuisine like “etag” or smoked meat, native chicken stew “pinikpikan” and “pinuneg” (blood sausage).

He said all ingredients that the Smokehouse chefs use come from the farmers’ market – a system in an ordinary “ili” in the Cordillera where a lacking ingredient can be sourced from the neighbor’s yard.

One of the stalls in the village, the Carvers’ Hhed represents the city’s creative city tag.

The intricate patterns and colors of Igorot textile go beyond aesthetics: every design tells a story and each of the several ethno-linguistic groups has its own story to tell in the Weaver’s Hut.

There is also a designated corner for artists and artisans.

From hand painted shirts to jewelry, the corner brings together both traditional and modern craftsmen and artisans offering a variety of creative products and services.

The dap-ay also serves as place for a young “mambabatok” (traditional tattoo artist) from ina Whang-od’s village, Barangay Buscalan in Tinglayan, Kalinga.

The village was launched last March 1. It will last until the end of May.

During weekends, the village is filled with events such as music, dance and theatrical performances, workshops demonstrations, artist talks, film showings, among others.

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