Delegates from the town’s 22 barangays in their colorful native attires carrying their produce such as vegetables, fruits, clay pots, baskets, and freshly caught fishes, participated in the civic parade that kicked off the celebration.
“Our celebration of this year’s Begnas is anchored on the fact that Bauko is our home of talents and opportunities. We are highlighting the conservation and preservation of watershed as our rallying call for this festival,” said Mayor Abraham Akilit.
Citing the town as the water cradle of Northern Luzon that supplies Agno, Chico, Magat and Abra rivers, he enjoined the people of Bauko to continue to protect their watersheds, especially the over 5,000 hectare Mount Data watershed, that serve as headwaters of the different water bodies.
Villar commended the people of Bauko for continuing their cultural practices and traditions and teaching it to the younger generation. She encouraged them to continue the traditions and become ambassadors of tourism focusing on the rich culture and tradition of the municipality.
With the town’s vast tract of vegetable farms and its present state of environment, Villar urged the people into farm tourism which can become a major economic driver.
The senator was adopted as a daughter of Bauko and given the name "Kadem-ayan,” a rich, caring, generous and loving woman.
Bauko Tourism Officer Arsenia Addon said Begnas is a culture of thanksgiving among the Kankanaeys of Bauko. It is celebrated once a year to thank Kabunyan and the spirits of ancestors, at the same time to ask favors in relation to the socio-economic and political concerns of the community. It is a celebration that not only serves as merry making but a cord that shall bind the umili (community) into collective action. (JDP/RMC-PIA CAR)