Sunday, February 28, 2016

4,000 IPs join 7th Ibaloi Day

A total of 4000 Ibaloy representatives from the 13 municipalities of Benguet and Onjon ni Ibadoy Hong Kong attended the festivities.

The theme of the 7th Ibaloy Day “Diteng tan Ulnos” or Peace and Order, was aimed to unite all the Ibaloy clans. The solibaos, kalsas or gongs and the tiktik were brought out and played to hark all Ibalois to gather, pray and dance in solidarity. February 23 was a historic day not only for the Ibaloys but for Indigenous Peoples around the World.

Before the Americans and Spaniards came, the city was already discovered and settled in by the Ibalois. Baguio was originally ranchlands owned by the a great number of Ibaloi clans including the Cariños, Carantes, Molintas, Suellos, Tagleys, Pirasos, Pucays and their extended family systems.

Many of these native Ibaloi clans were stripped of their ancestral lands through American colonial legislation, such as the Philippine Bill of 1902, the Land Registration Act of 1903, Baguio Town Site Reservation in 1907, and the Baguio City Charter itself in 1909.

Fortunately, Mateo Cariño decided to bring his claim to court, concentrating on the pasturelands, then called Ypit and Lubas, which were earlier converted by the US colonial government into the facility now known as Camp John Hay.

In his explanation how the Ibaloy Day came to be, Councilor Poppo Cosalan said that Cariño lost the case in the Philippine court. He appealed to the US Supreme court.

“On February 23, 1909, the US Supreme Court affirmed that Mateo Cariño was indeed the owner of Ypit and Lubas, by virtue of the legal concept of "Native Title," said Cosalan. 

Mateo Cariño, however, did not live to claim his victory, having died on June 6, 1908, a year before the final decision of the US Supreme Court. However, he left behind the legacy of the decision on Native Title which has now become part of the laws of the land and even used as legal document in international laws.

Cosalan said “it was during the Baguio Centennial Conference held last March 2009 at the University of the Philippines in Baguio that a resolution was passed that a commemoration of sorts must be done for the Ibalois on the 100th year of the city.” 

“With this prodding, the Baguio City Council decided to declare February 23 as the Ibaloi Day’, said Cosalan.
Members of the Ibaloi clans welcomed the declaration and for the 7th time since the resolution was approved in 2009, the Ibalois heed the call “Calajo” which actually means “Come over” and gathered for one festive day for a solidarity celebration. 

They brought out their tapey (rice wine), dukto (sweet potato) and caught and butchered black pigs and danced the tayaw.

NOTE: To witness the next indigenous cultural activity in the City or in the Cordillera, contact this writer.

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