UP Baguio celebrates Peoples’ Cordillera Day to honor region’s struggles, triumphs
BAGUIO CITY — Progressive organizations and individuals concluded the week-long celebration of the 39th Peoples’ Cordillera Day at the University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) recently.
With the theme “SUMKAD: Rise Up for Land, Life, and Honor,” the celebration that ended on April 28 sought to honor the struggles and victories of the Cordillera people since the 1980s.
The celebration started with a book-launching activity at the University of the Cordilleras (UC), featuring an anthology of experiences about Martial Law in the north in a book entitled “Panaglagip: The North Remembers” last April 25.
Most of the activities, however, commenced at UPB, headed by Franz Calanio, the current Indigenous Peoples (IP) Desk councilor from UPB University Student Council, along with other outside organizations such as the Tongtongan ti Umili—Cordillera Peoples Alliance.
Calanio said the decision to celebrate inside the campus is not only to recognize it as a UPB event but as a community event inside UPB that integrates other sectors and communities.
“The Peoples’ Cordillera Day is symbolic because it looks back at the struggles of Cordillera during the past, and it must be understood that one of the influential sectors that carry the campaigns for IP rights and other issues related to this are the youth students, this is why we brought it to UP Baguio,” he said in Filipino.
The activities held at UPB included an exhibit, mural-making, educational discussions, and a cultural gathering to cap off the celebrations.
An exhibit called “Balligi ti Aldaw Kordilyera ti Umili” (Victories of the Peoples’ Cordillera Day) was set up at the Institute of Management Plaza in UPB last April 26 and and ran for three days.
It showcased the struggles and victories of the Cordillera people through the years through paintings, artifacts, posters, and other materials.
“More than just a social gathering, People’s Cordillera Day has become a political statement on present-day realities. It embodies and celebrates the historical advances made in the struggle for the defense of ancestral domain, self-determination, and national democracy,” said guest speaker Jill Cariño, the overall coordinator of the Partners for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines (PIKP) and member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA).
With “Sinsinapo: A Cultural Gathering for Land, Life, and Resources,” the organizations and students capped off the celebrations, with cultural performances and Cordilleran songs.
The gathering was held at the UPB Parking Lot on April 28, and was attended not only by students in Baguio but also by members of different Cordillera peoples’ groups, advocates, and other supporters.