Cordilleran tradition lives as Benguet musicians raise funds for each other
In Benguet, musicians are also stepping up and showcasing “binnadang” by performing live on Facebook. Clef Siguaben (left) and Isko Macgui-ing initiated the project together with fellow local artists.
Isko and Friends Facebook Group

Cordilleran tradition lives as Benguet musicians raise funds for each other

Euden Valdez ( - April 30, 2020 - 12:49pm

MANILA, Philippines— Since the time of their ancestors, Cordillerans have practiced a tradition that has been deeply ingrained in their ways of life. It requires them to watch out for and help each other in the most trying times.

This trait, called “binnadang” among Igorots or “baddangan” among Ifugaos, is even more apparent in the time of a global health crisis. Ever since the Luzon lockdown in March, help and support have flowed from Cordillerans.

In Mountain Province, Sadanga municipality waived their relief food packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, so that these could be given to more needy communities instead. In Ifugao, a local project was able to raise over P1 million for stranded employees who lost their jobs and students who could not return home.

In Benguet, musicians are also stepping up and showcasing “binnadang” by performing live on Facebook. Not only have they entertained online viewers, they also provided relief to people’s anxieties brought about by the pandemic.

For Clef Siguaben, the Benguet-born now US-based Igorot who initiated “Facebook Live Music For A Cause,” the performances also aim to give back to local musicians who have been impacted by the lockdown.

This idea was formed together with Isko Macgui-ing, one of Baguio's pioneer musicians, and friend Ned Micklay.

“As various local talents serenaded their hometown and their folks across the globe, it was also their brilliant idea to encourage donations to support themselves and their families; an admirable Cordilleran characteristic of being resourceful and not relying as much on the government,” he told in an online interview.

“These musicians, they make a few hundred pesos every gig, just enough to survive in the next day or two. Ngayon dahil sa quarantine, walang-wala na talaga sila, and these guys have families too,” he added.

Since the live Facebook performances began last April 7, the musicians have so far raised about P300,000. They continuously perform at least twice a day to call for donations.

Carlos Puno, one of the local music artists, said, “Kami pong mga musikero ay palaging handang tumulong sa mga nangangailangan. Hindi man po material na bagay pero sa pamamagitan po ng mga talento na nanggaling sa Maykapal.”

A blind couple who were beneficiaries of the donation drive showed their gratitude by singing and posting their performances online. “This is to express our gratitude to all the generous hearts who supported this music for a cause,” shared Mario Bateg.

“This goes to show how united the Cordilleran people are especially in times of hardships. It is referred to as ‘binnadang’ or ‘ug-ugbo,’ our trait that reflects the gesture of blessing or helping one another,” Siguaben said.

You can also support the local musicians of Benguet by donating to the following channels:

  • BDO Savings

Ned Micklay


  • GoFundMe

  • G-Cash


Watch the live performances and catch updates at Isko and Friends Facebook Group.

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