Nueva Viscaya recognizes Bagkacuture
(The Philippine Star) - November 3, 2019 - 12:00am

The Nueva Vizcaya Council for Culture and the Arts has unanimously voted to recognize Bugkalot elders who were identified as culture bearers of indigenous arts and crafts of the province.

The council, a multi-sectoral agency which oversees the province’s culture and arts scene, made the action in its recent regular meeting. The body is composed of representatives from the government, the private sector, the academe, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the Department of Education, the tourism council, local historical society, the art community and chaired by the provincial governor.

Nueva Vizcaya has several elder tribal artisans led by 84-year-old Adolfo Quewigh of Pelaway, Alfonso Castañeda town, an expert maker of the Bugkalot kaget (brass belt for women), kina-wit (belt accessories) and musical instruments like gisada (violin with human hair strings) and kulising (bamboo guitar).  

His wife Nanay Sublina is also an expert in indigenous embroidery, and the Quewigh couple play a significant role in the remote community by teaching other and younger family members their craft.  Some elders from Dupax del Norte and other indigenous peoples’ groups are also being eyed for local and national recognition.

The tribe was formerly known as the Ilongots, who were fierce headhunters in Alfonso Castañeda, Dupax del Norte and Dupax del Sur towns, which have well-preserved indigenous customs and traditions.

The provincial government, through the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, plans to legislate ordinances declaring them as local treasures or local cultural bearers. 

It also hopes to nominate these tribe elders to the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (GaMaBa) or the National Living Treasure Award given by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and conferred by the President of the Philippines. 

The GaMaBa is the highest award given to Filipinos engaged in traditional art whose distinctive skills have reached a high level of technical excellence and have been passed on to and widely practiced in his or her community. 

The Bugaklot’s tribal art and cultural heritage will also be showcased in the province-wide observance of the Indigenous People’s Month set in the capital town of Bayombong this month.

CULTURE AND THE ARTS
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