Benguet State U cultural group showcases vibrant Cordillera culture

BENGUET (PIA) — The Benguet State University (BSU) cultural group continues to connect Cordillerans with their heritage and cultural practices through traditional dances and instruments.

The BSU “’Kontad” cultural group composed of students was organized in the 1980s to perform traditional dances during important events, and entertain visitors.

Under the guidance of the BSU Center for Culture and the Arts, the group’s dedication to showcase  traditional Cordilleran dances and music has endured through the years, preserving and celebrating  the vibrant culture of Cordillera, nurturing talents, and fostering a deeper appreciation for indigenous practices.

Kontad adviser Melchor Lumiked shares about the activities of the cultural group in an interview.

Led by Kontad adviser Melchor Lumiked, the group continues to share the richness of Cordilleran traditions not only within the university, but in various venues across the region. The group is being invited by the different government agencies to perform during their special occasions. Moreover, it is joining cultural dance competitions.

“Rule number 1 is to make sure that we share diyay cultural practices tayo, specifically dagiyay da traditional dances, and how to play dagitoy da traditional instruments tayo specifically dagitoy da gongs within Cordillera,” Lumiked said.

Kontad in its various performances has been showcasing the different cultural dances of the Cordillera provinces. Among these are the tayao, tallak, and bindiyan of Benguet; the ballangbang, an-aninit, boogie, pallakis or pinanyowan, sakuting, takik, and turayan of Mountain Province; the taddok, tupayya, turayan, and salips/salidsid of Kalinga; the dinuyya/tayyu, banga, chalisug, and tobab/pagaddut of Ifugao; the talip and taddo of Abra; and the baliwes, and lablaba-an of Apayao.

Marvilene Bangao, a proud Kontad member, highlights the group’s impact on the youth, emphasizing its role in promoting and preserving the rich and diverse culture and heritage across the Cordillera, and inspiring the young generation to uphold their cultural roots.

“Kas maysa nga member daytoy Kontad cultural group ti BSU, nagdakkel ti tulong na launay karkaro kenya tayo nga youth. Haan ko ammu nga agtayaw ken agsala iti nadumaduma nga sala ti rehiyon karkaro ditoy Cordillera. Isunga daytoy nga grupo ti nangguyugoy kanyak tapno maki-part ken syempre, maadal dagiti dadduma nga sala ti rehiyon,” shared Bangao.

[As a member of the BSU Kontad cultural group, I can see its benefit especially to the youth. I don’t know how to dance the tayaw, and the other cultural dances in the region. But I was enticed by this group to become a part of it, learn the different dances  to preserve our heritage.]

Lumiked encourages individuals to take pride in their cultural roots, and contribute in the promotion and preservation of Cordilleran traditions. Kontad extends its invitation to all who wish to learn the dances and instruments  to join  in their rehearsals at the BSU Elementary School grounds every afternoon.

“Don’t be ashamed to join this kind of group. Be proud of our cultural practices – how to play instruments, how to dance our traditional dance – because in a way, we are maintaining this good practice,” he said.

“Learn all the traditional dances and instruments  of the Cordillera. Be part of the family that fosters inclusivity, uniqueness, and strengthens camaraderie,” the Kontad invites. (DEG-PIA CAR/ Novelyn Metua, BSU Intern)

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