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Friday, June 21, 2024

Celebrating glorious heritage

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“Town fiestas provide an opportunity for Filipinos to mark their cultural identiy and heritage while providing a key role in shaping the contemporary workforce”

Summer months in this multi-lingual, multi-ethnic country of 114 million are decked with festivals, verily an expressive way to celebrate glorious heritage, culture and traditions.

Observers have seen this as a salute to special moments and emotions in the lives of those in the community and their loved ones which play an important role to add structure to social lives, and connect everyone with their families and backgrounds.

A festival, seen in colorful town fiestas, centers on some characteristic aspect or aspects of one community and its religion or culture.

Garlic cloves hung on wooden rails along the Macarthur Highway in Barangay Darat, 4 kms from the town due east.

It reflects a community’s cultural identity, showcases its history, traditions, and heritage and may involve traditional music, dance, clothing, and rituals that have been passed down through generations and displays in the process values and religious or spiritual beliefs.

In many town fiestas following the millennium rollover, these occasions have provided an opportunity for Filipinos to mark their cultural identiy and heritage while providing a key role in shaping the contemporary workforce.

While contemporary festivals are often represented as flourishing grounds for extraordinary experiences, they increasingly, in the eyes of observers, serve as a platform to create cultural identity, lifestyle, community, belonging and self-actualization.

The first comprehensive book on Pinili, written by Pinili-born Honor Blanco Cabie, named Outstanding Piniliño in 2000 and 2018.

They provide a podium for traditional customs, rituals, music, dance, art, and cuisine, helping to pass them down through generations.

They also foster a sense of belonging and unity among members of the community. At the same time, they bring communities together, encourage social interaction, cooperation, and solidarity.

While on the topic, we take this space for the garlic-producing town of Pinili in Ilocos Norte, where warriors walked during the second world war and the Philippine American revolution, which will pause for five days of merriment from April 2 to 6 for its annual town fiesta, aptly called Bawang (Garlic) and Inabel (Woven Fabric) festival.

It follows the 104th founding anniversary of the town set on a hill 42 meters above sea level surrounded by lush tobacco and garlic fields – with the theme “Nurturing Tradition: The Life History of Nana Magdalena as a Reflection of Piniliños Resilience and Industry.”

The town is the birthplace of Ilokandia’s first of two National Living Treasures, 99-year-old Magdalena Gamayo, recognized by the national government as master weaver in 2012 and is still active on the loom pedals in her barangay in the town’s eastern outskirts where a museum has been built by the government.

Ilokandia’s first of two national living treasures, Magdalena Gamayo, 99, and still active on the pedal looms. She was recognized by the national government in 2012.

Ilocos Norte Vice Gov. Cecilia Araneta Marcos will be the guest speaker during the Balikbayan Night, attended by Pinili’s Overseas Filipino Workers and members of Pinili-Metro Manila Residents Association headed by Josie Lane on April 2 in colorful extravaganza at the town’s amphitheater with music from Don Podring de Guzman of Basista, Pangasinan.

Pinili’s overseas workers will be flying in largely from Hawaii, the US mainland, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, other Middle East nations as well as Britain, Spain, Italy and Germany.

The festivities will be capped by the Barangay Night, with Ms Pinili – chosen from the 25 barangays – to be crowned by the provincial treasurer, Mrs. Josephine Calajate, according to Mavi Cercado, the town’s accountant and concurrently tourism officer.

Ms Pinili 2024 is Krye Moniche Fagaragan, who will turn 32 on April 11, a tourism in hotel and restaurant technology graduate, an artist, entrepreneur, wife and has three children.

Pinili, which used to produce Virginia tobaccos from its loamy soil since after the second world war, now concentrates planting garlic after it was named the province’s garlic capital following the government’s One Town One Product Program.

The OTOP – a priority stimulus program for micro and small as well as medium-scale enterprises to drive inclusive economic growth– was launched in 2004 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and was scheduled to end in 2010 but then President Benigno Aquino III authorized its continuation, allowing the Piniliños to plant more garlic with their mulching hays in their erstwhile Virginia tobacco terraced lands.

There will also be cultural shows and street pageantry during the town fiesta, which honors as well the town’s patron saint, the Madrid-born Isidro Labrador (1070-1130), a Spanish farm worker known for his piety towards the poor and animals.

Today, particularly during summer, garlic harvests are hung on wooden rails on crowded spots of the nearly 500-kilometer MacArthur Highway that cuts through the Ilocos Region from Manila to Pagudpud town at the border of Cagayan.


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