3 Cordilleran in Top 10 of PMA 'MASIDLAWIN' Class of 2020 (RMC- PIA-CAR)

Mayor Benjamin Magalong in a public address calls on Baguio citizens' active support and adherence to the General Community Qaurantine guidelines set by the city government. (Mann Sortejas/PIA Baguio)

Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey (c) with Sangguniang Bayan member and Chairperson on Committee on Health Jerome Tudlong, Jr., and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Johanna Padaen inspect the Rapid Test Kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided by the National Task Force to the Municipality of Bontoc. (Bontoc LGU photo)

Gov. Melchor Diclas leads the relief operation in far flung sitios in Itogon, Benguet .

Relief goods are delivered to far flung villages in Benguet that could be reach by hours of walking, thanks to the Philippine Air Force Tactical Operations Group Baguio(RMC-PIA CAR)

Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey and Sagada Mayor James Pooten(r) expressed their gratitude to National Task Force for COVID-19 Chief Implementor Sec. Carlito Galvez(l) for the test kits and personal protective equipment during the Joint NTF-RTF meeting in Baguio City. (RMC- PIA-CAR)

Coping with crisis, the Cordillera way

PARACELIS, Mountain Province, Philippines —The government-imposed lockdown across Luzon to arrest the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has activated age-old amelioration practices in the Cordillera.


CULTURAL TRAINING Young Ibaloy learn from their elders their history, traditions and values, which they are expected to pass down to their children and grandchildren. This is what keeps the Ibaloy culture alive in modern Benguet province and Baguio City. —PHOTOS BY KARLSTON LAPNITEN

Fear of diseases was one of the reasons many cultures in the region had suppressed attempts at colonial rule, according to history professor Raymundo Rovillos, chancellor of the University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio.

“Cordillera villages resisted Spanish conquest partly, or largely because they didn’t want to be infected by ‘lowland diseases.’ So they asserted their independence and relative isolation,” Rovillos said.

The book, “The Discovery of the Igorots,” by William Henry Scott, has an account about a smallpox outbreak in four Cagayan Valley towns in 1786, which led to a famine because there were only a few survivors who did farming. “This crisis prompted some Christianized residents to flee to the mountains and escape enslavement to Spanish benefits,” Scott said.

In Benguet province, the Ibaloy have accounts about “kulida,” apparently a reference to a cholera outbreak, concerning a man who buried a neighbor in the morning, and who died and was buried in the evening, said Zenaida Hamada-Pawid, former chair of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

All these events taught the indigenous peoples to rely on their communities for support, said Pawid, a retired history professor.


New ways, old ideas

That interdependence subscribes to a principle that “nan tago ya umiili” (people and community) must be the priority over self, she said, adding that this belief had links to cultural traditions and rituals that were still performed today.

Many Cordillera practices have been enforced since the first transmission of COVID-19 was recorded in the country.

A group of Ifugao volunteers that was organized online has been distributing relief goods and cash to over 1,000 Cordillerans who have been stranded in provinces as far as Cebu province.

As of April 23, the “Ifugao Baddangan for the Stranded” had raised more than P1 million for employees and students who were unable to return home and who had lost their jobs due to work and travel restrictions.

“Baddangan” refers to the cultural obligation of Ifugao residents to help members of the community who are reeling from a crisis.

“Work migrants, especially the younger ones, are the most vulnerable since the villages, cities or towns where they are located don’t see them as priorities in relief distribution,” said Manila-based Armand Camhol, who is from Kiangan town.

Camhol, a researcher of the UP Population Institute, launched on March 22 a Facebook group chat with a handful of Ifugao professionals to discuss how best to help stranded workers in Metro Manila. They resolved to gather donations so they could also help fellow Ifugao who were dealing with the same predicament in the provinces.


When word of the baddangan spread online, almost a hundred Ifugao folk responded with cash donations, a significant number coming from overseas.

In Benguet, a similar cooperative tradition, called “binnadang” by the Kankanaey, has sparked relief operations and at the same time helped check the low prices of vegetables grown in the province.

Since April 1, a group of volunteers has been helping farmers earn more, or “at least breakeven” by selling their vegetables at a set price of P10 a kilo.

“We have been taught by our elders the binnadang or ‘innatang’ and we wanted to exemplify the value of that culture to inspire others to do the same,” said Vice Gov. Johnny Waguis, whose volunteer group called Movement for Farmers helped facilitate the trade.

Waguis said that when the farmers learned it was for a worthy cause, many of them followed the arrangement even when market prices rose at the trading posts in La Trinidad, the province’s capital.

Other farmers simply donated tons of their produce, he added.

SENSE OF COMMUNITY Ifugaos continue to observe traditional practices, whether through community festivals like Banaue town’s “Imbayah,” (top) which celebrates the rice harvests and the rice wine (bayah), or by following farming rituals in communities cultivating Ifugao’s centuries-old rice terraces.

Sadanga sacrifice

Some vegetables were also bought and donated to a community kitchen operated by a La Trinidad entrepreneur, Elmer Macalingay. The kitchen cooked at least a thousand meals a day for front-line workers.

“That is the essence the binnadang culture we hope the younger generation will continue,” Waguis said.

In the town of Sadanga, Mountain Province, the local government waived its food relief allocation to benefit the “less fortunate in other areas who can’t sustain themselves.”

Sadanga Mayor Gabino Ganggangan on March 30 instructed the town’s social welfare officer not to avail of the food packs sent by the Department of Social Welfare and Development “even if the lockdown would be extended.”

“It’s not that we don’t have poor and needy families, but we, as tribal communities, still have and should sustain our built-in and homegrown indigenous social structure, values and practice of taking care of our relatives, neighbors, ‘kailyan’ (townmates) in distress during hard times or economic crisis,” Ganggangan said in a social media post.

In times of economic crisis, such as food shortages or famine, rich clans are expected to lend their surpluses, he said.

Ganggangan said the local government could request the “kadangyan” (rich families) in every village to open their “agamang” (rice granaries) and feed their neighbors.

Indigenous lockdown

In the Cordillera, Mountain Province remained free of COVID-19 as of April 25, along with Apayao and Kalinga.

Local officials in these provinces have been restricting the movement of their residents and are among the first to establish quarantine checkpoints and isolation areas for probable COVID-19 cases.

But Mountain Province Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr. said the stringent imposition of “tengao” (indigenous lockdown) in their communities had helped the province maintain its virus-free status.

Lacwasan said when tengao was invoked, no one can enter or leave the community for a certain period, as deemed necessary by the council of elders.

Various towns in Kalinga and Benguet have also invoked this indigenous lockdown locally known to them as “te-er,” “to-or,” “sedey,” “far-e,” “ubaya,” or “tungro.”


Cordillera townsfolk still adhere to the collective advice of the elders out of respect and of fear of the “inayan,” which is the cultural equivalent of karma, Lacwasan said.

“The fear of violating the inayan, which provokes harmful future events in one’s life, has long been key to survival, and peace and order in the communities,” said Dr. Penelope Domogo, provincial health officer.

Domogo said inayan was not a superstitious belief but wisdom inherited from ancestors as means of keeping harmony within indigenous villages and their relationship with nature.

By: Karlston Lapniten



  • PAF TOG-1 airlifts relief goods to remote Bokod sitios

    BAGUIO CITY, May 29(PIA) -- Another set of relief goods reached the far flung areas in Bokod, Benguet recently.

    Mayor Thomas Wales Jr. and Philippine Red Cross - Benguet Chapter Administrator Oscar Paris turns over relief goods including sacks of rice to residents in Sitio Bakian, Barangay Ekip in Bokod, Benguet during the airlifting of relief operations  RMC PIA-CAR

    The Philippine Air Force thru the Tactical Operations Group 1- based in Baguio City with the coordination of the Philippine Red Cross – Benguet Chapter and the Office of the Civil Defense – Cordillera airlifted another set of relief goods to areas in the municipality of Bokod which are very hard to reach.

    Relief goods were airlifted from Loakan Airport and the Benguet State University Bokod Campus in Ambangeg to Barangay Nawal; Sitios Bakian and Naswak in Barangay Ekip and Sitio Bisal in Barangay Bobok-Bisal on May 23 and 25, 2020.

    Barangay Nawal received 120 sacks of 25-kilogram rice, one cavan of sugar and two cavans of NFA rice while sitio Bobok in Bobok-Bisak received 40 cavans of rice and one cavan each of sugar and NFA rice.

    In Barangay Ekip, Sitio Bakian received 20 sacks of 25-kilogram rice, one cavan NFA rice and one cavan sugar. Sitio Naswak received 30 sacks of half cavan rice and one cavan of sugar.

    The Philippine Red Cross-Benguet Chapter also distributed more than 200 food packs to the different areas and several boxes of Ready to Use Food Supplement for children and adults.

    The relief goods came from the Provincial Government of Benguet, the office of the Benguet Caretaker Cong. Eric Go Yap, Board Member Nestor Fongwan Jr., and the municipal government of Bokod and the PRC Benguet Chapter.

     Bokod Mayor Thomas Wales Jr. said that the areas where the relief goods were delivered are considered as the most remote areas in the municipality as these areas could only be reached thru hiking across mountains for several hours.

    “The sitios of Bakian and Naswak of Barangay Ekip, Bisal of Barangay Bobok, and Barangay Nawal are the most far flung areas in Bokod and are the most difficult to be reached due to lack of road and transportation means,” Wales said.

    “We are grateful for the two helicopters of the Philippine Air Force which were sent in the municipality to help us bring the relief goods to the said areas,” the Mayor added.

     The relief operations were joined by PRC- Benguet Chapter Administrator Oscar Paris, Board Member Nestor Fongwan Jr., and the Bokod Municipal Police Station led by PCapt. Ruben Tamiray with the PAF TOG-1 led by Lt. Col. Alan Macatingrao and Lt. Col. Jack Ray Mosomos.

     Last week, Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas personally delivered hundreds of food packs to the far flung areas of Ekip in Bokod as support of the province to the residents during the time of the COVID-19 crisis.

    In the past weeks, the PAF with the provincial government of Benguet and the PRC-Benguet Chapter have been conducting airlifting of relief goods to the different remote areas in the province mostly those that could be reached thru hiking to ease the burden of bringing sacks of relief goods to their homes. (JDP/RMC- PIA-CAR)


    By Redjie Melvic M. Cawis


  • Gov't agencies send home stranded local tourists in Baguio City

    BAGUIO CITY, May 29(PIA) -- At least 26 local tourists stranded in Baguio City since the start of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in March were sent home to their respective hometowns today.

  • TESDA, police in Cordillera partner for face mask project

    BAGUIO CITY – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Cordillera and the Police Regional Office Cordillera (PROCOR) have partnered to provide face masks to the public using old police uniforms.

  • Cordillera records 11 days doubling time; 89% case recovery rate

    BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera region has recorded an 11-day doubling time for new cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the officer in charge of the regional health office said Tuesday.


  • PCR, extraction machines now available at BGHMC lab

    LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The machines donated by ACT-CIS and Benguet caretaker Rep. Eric Go Yap to the provincial government supposedly for the Benguet General Hospital (BeGH) has been stationed at the Baguio General Hospital Medical Center (BGHMC), boosting the hospital’s capability in detecting coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

  • Benguet shifts back to COVID-19 operations after typhoon

    LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, May 22, (PIA) -- Governor Melchor Diclas is thankful that the province of Benguet was spared by typhoon Ambo over the weekend   and the provincial government shifts back its attention to  COVID-19.

  • DPWH spells out construction safety guidelines under GCQ

    LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, May 23(PIA) - -  With the province  now under General Community Quarantine, all projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways(DPWH) are given the green light to proceed but must comply with construction safety guidelines.

  • PRO-Cor reaches out to almost 13,000 indigent families in CAR

    LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, May 22(PIA) -- The Police Regional Office – Cordillera (PRO-Cor) has provided relief assistance to more than 13, 000 indigent families in the Cordillera region thru the “Kapwa Ko, Sagot Ko! Adopt-A-Family Program.”

  • Relief goods reach more far flung areas in Benguet

    LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, May 16(PIA) -Families in far flung areas in  two municipalities in the  province  received  relief goods  which were  airlifted over the weekend. 

Mt. Province

  • LGUs cooperate in bringing home LSIs,returning OFWs

    BONTOC, Mountain Province, May 27(PIA) --In  continuing efforts to expedite  the  return of the  locally stranded individuals (LSIs)  and overseas Filipino workers(OFWs) to be reunited with their families, the  provincial and  municipal local government units complement  each other.  

  • Bontoc, Sagada thank NTF for PPEs, test kits

    BAGUIO CITY, May 22(PIA) -- Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey and Sagada Mayor James Pooten expressed their gratitude to National Task Force for COVID-19 Chief Implementor Secretary Carlito Galvez for the test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) they received recently.

  • Mt. Province CTFs convene to set unified GCQ local guidelines

    BONTOC, Mountain Province-- In the province’s aim to come up with a set unified guidelines for all municipalities in the province for the next phase of community quarantine from May 16 to 31, 2020, the Provincial COVID-19 Task Force (PCTF) met with the League of Municipalities-Mountain Province Chapter (LMP-MP) on May 15   at the Mountain Province Disaster Operations Center.

  • Mt. Province honors 2 fallen soldiers, gives aid to families

    BAUKO, Mountain Province, May 1 -- The  provincial  government  here gave due recognition to two  of its  sons -   soldiers from  the municipality of Bauko who  sacrificed their lives  for the country.

  • Work in PLGU frontline services resumes May 4; observance of preventive measures stressed

    BONTOC, Mountain Province, May 3(PIA) – With the province now under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), work for frontline services at the provincial local government unit (PLGU) will resume on Monday May 4.


  • Ifugao town slowly adapting to new normal

    LAGAWE, Ifugao, May 27(PIA) -- This capital town is slowly   adapting to the new normal   with the current   general community quarantine until May 31, 2020.

  • PNP’s charitable program serves more than 1,000 Ifugao families

    LAGAWE, Ifugao, May 20(PIA) - - Amidst the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), more than a thousand families in the province were provided assistance by the Philippine National Police (PNP) through its charitable program.

  • Ifugao PLGU sets rapid triage for returning employees

    LAGAWE, Ifugao, May 20 (PIA) - -As  precautionary measure against  COVID-19,the provincial government has started on May 18 the conduct of rapid triage assessment for its workforce and capitol-based agencies including clients and visitors with the province  now placed  under the  general community quarantine.

  • DTI invites ECQ- affected MSEs to avail of its loan facility

    LAMUT, Ifugao, May 15(PIA) - - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the province enjoined Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine to avail of the  agency’s Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing (ERF) facility.

  • Ifugao town records second COVID-19 case

    LAMUT, Ifugao, May 14 (PIA) - -  The  local government  here reiterates to the public to  follow   guidelines  such as staying  at home,  practicing  proper hygiene, wearing  protective mask and  observing  social distancing  as the   municipality recorded its second confirmed COVID-19 case.





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