After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gotad Ad Kiangan, the annual town fiesta of Kiangan, is back to showcase the town’s culture and traditions.
National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) Director-General Jeremy Barns and Department of Tourism-Cordillera Administrative Region Director Jovita Ganongan graced the two-day event with the theme, “Pamaptok hi Nunhituwan… Ya Nunlinikkodan ta Kiphodan di Bimmoble hi Gawwan di Pandemya!” (“Taking care of our homes and our environment amidst the pandemic!”).
Barns urged the people of Kiangan, being in the heritage town of Ifugao, to participate in the preservation, protection, transmission, and promotion of heritage for future generations.
Ganongan said that Kiangan is a place where genuine culture is at its best. “People are proud, passionate, and unrelentless in pushing for preservation; and that fire is coming from a deep understanding of the need for continuity and identity; and I am sure that your ancestors are proud of you and will continue to bless you and guide you to be the best of what and who you can be,” she said.
Gotad Ad Kiyangan is festival of traditional Ifugao performing arts of dancing and chanting. It aims to create, intensify, sustain understanding, appreciation, and interest in the different forms of Ifugao performing arts.
The Gotad festival is modeled after the “uya-uy,” an Ifugao prestige ritual required for a couple to be elevated to the kadangyan (noble) status. It involves several days and may even reach a month of performance of “ naba,” nights filled with the beating of gongs, announcing to the community that a couple is undergoing the prestige ritual.
Integral to the uya-uy is the observance of the “holyat” which culminates the long nights of observing the naba. The holyat then is a prelude and the start of the celebration of “gotad” when the whole community joins in the festivity with the beating of gongs, butchering of animals, drinking of rice wine, and dancing.
The festival celebration started with a “Dog-al” which means to drive away. This was a practice by the Ifugao ancestors to drive away whatever was harmful or detrimental in the homes and the environment.
Some of the highlights of the festival were the indigenous dances, chants, and games, and iKiangan Got Talent Competition among others.
Kiangan Mayor Raldis Andrei Bulayungan thanked the Almighty, the people and the guests for the success of the two-day festival after the two-year postponement.
“This pandemic brought us closer together. It made us work closer together. It became an opportunity for us to be more hardworking, to exert more effort in combatting, protecting and guiding our people,” said Bulayungan.
Vice Governor Glenn Prudenciano also shared that the province adopted an Ordinance establishing the Ifugao Provincial Heritage Museum, and its operation and management that aims to gather the culture, traditions or artifacts of Ifugao to maintain and preserve the Ifugao culture and a means of educating its people.
“There are many challenges today especially to our culture, and the best thing that we should do is not to get tired of practicing our culture,” said Prudenciano.(JDP/FBR-PIA CAR, Ifugao)