LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, July 7 (PIA) - - Some elements of culture among Cordillerans in arts, craftsmanship, traditional techniques and practices, environmental protection which may be tapped and harnessed for the promotion of the Cordillera region’s ethnicity within the Southeast Asian perspective of culture of sharing
Professor Felipe de Leon Jr., former National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) chairman, who was one of the resource persons in the Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) Multi-Sectoral Forum in Benguet on June 30, shared this as he stressed the need to harness such elements of culture built upon communal or shared creativity.
But he cautioned the need to pass culture from one generation to the other as culture is about bearing and teaching. Culture does not pass through blood but need to be taught, he said.
One of the specialized craftsmanship de Leon appreciated is the ‘kabite’ or traditional rip-rap which the Cordillerans are good at. The Cordillera way of rip rapping is proven through ages as structurally sound and aesthetically interlocked. He broached the idea of having it be incorporated in the school curriculum to preserve such indigenous skill and practice.
Another high skill of craftsmanship de Leon believes that needs to be sustained is wood carving. However, the practice is limited due to regulation of tree cutting activities. He suggested that government should allow the establishment of mini-forest as source of wood for carving ventures.
De Leon also urged the promotion of the Cordillera culinary arts through the showcasing of indigenous food delicacies practiced in other areas.
Indigenous way of resolving conflicts is also one practice that the former NCCA official cited as this is anchored on protection of peace and stability which the primary aim of the establishment of ASEAN.
Environmental protection of water sources and forest protection are also practices which need to be harnessed, he added.
“The cultivation and wise utilization of our cultural assets - our ethnicities or indigenous knowledge systems, skills, and practices (IKSP) - is our comparative advantage in global society. Our indigenous wisdom is an inexhaustible resource and, thus, the basis of sustainable development,” de Leon said.
“It is high time that we take a different path, not one where the obsession with power “kills the goose that lays the golden egg” but one that harnesses to the full the strengths of our ethnicities and sharing these with other countries as the best foundation for building our societies and promoting harmony of civilizations,” the Professor said. Susan C. Aro(JDP/SCA-PIA CAR, Benguet)