“If there's smoke, there's ‘Wat-wat” boiled/steamed pork meat). So goes the twisted statement among lowland Novo Vizcayanos that holds true in the cultural celebrations of Indigenous People’s (IPs) communities of Nueva Vizcaya.
But aside from cultural festivals, traditional gatherings and occasions of the various tribes in the province, then Representative Carlos Padilla’s birthday is included in this gesture of celebrations.
His September 19 birthday celebrations have been mostly held and devoted to the Indigenous People’s Communities (IPCs).
As an advance party, in the early 90s, we were in the frontlines with my former boss or on his orders, then Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Information Center Manager for Nueva Vizcaya and Regional Director Rudie Bueno, now Solano town Councilor to conduct Film Showings in the upland and remote barangays of the province.
With our Audio-Visual Technicians, we were there, the evening of the day before his natal day using our 16-Milimeter Movie Projector with a huge white screen to entertain the young and adults of a barangay with classic action and comedy movies and provide Information Education and Communication (IEC) campaign on government programs and projects before announcing the big day – a Medical, Dental and Surgical services that Congressman Padilla organized for the IPs.
Also with us was the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which donated 32-inch Sony TVs, Betamax Players and english and tagalog action movies as back-up, especially when the crowd craves for more until parents of the children call and beg them to come home and sleep.
It was a big hit bringing movies in the IP communities in the upland barangays then as TVs linked in endless channels like today are not yet in play then coupled with the lack of electricity in some areas.
Movies are mostly enjoyed by lowlands with an array of TV Channels while others are spent through Movie Theaters like the Diego in Bayombong, Ginto Cinema, Encar Theater, Cinema Royale in Solano and Reybal Theater in Bambang town.
Bringing the movies and government programs and projects in the upland and remote IP Communities in Nueva Vizcaya then is one of the good ways to lift the level of knowledge and awareness of our brother IPs.
Braving the terrain in these rough and rugged roads going to the venues of the Medical, Dental and Surgical Caravans is not for an ordinary drivers and cars. Thanks to our Nissan Patrol vehicle and our drivers in those moments.
Come rain or shine, it was a time where services of National Government Agencies (NGAs), Local Government Units (LGUs) and the private sector are brought together and closer to the IPs, a time for consulting the villagers and barangay officials on their concerns and how the government can address them.
Aside from the onsite medical services, it was also an opportunity for various government agencies in pooling their resources to provide various assistance to the host and neighboring communities such as blankets, free medicines, food packages for the poor, assistive devices to the elderlies and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and tree seedlings, among others.
For us in the agency, these were opportunities to rub elbows and immerse with the tribal folks to understand and learn more of their culture.
During those times, Padilla’s arrival in these venues such as in Barangays Lublub in Alfonso Castaneda, Belance in Dupax del Norte, Imugan in Sta. Fe, barangay Malabing in Kasibu, Castillo Tidang in Kayapa, Tiblac in Ambaguio, Ampakleng in Diadi, and Runruno in Quezon, to name a few are met with dancing IPs banging their gongs in an expression of praise and pride for his presence and assistance.
These were also the moments where local government and NGA officials to share their needed time and presence with Rep. ‘Caloy’ to celebrate his birthday with service to their constituents above all as unified Novo Vizcayanos.
Then Congressman Padilla’s visits in the remote barangays in the province were of great importance among tribal folks since these were also opportunities for the barangay officials and ordinary folks to share their problems, issues and concerns for the development of their communities and their welfare.
His Congressional District Office in Bayombong also serves its purpose while he was in Congress performing his duties for Novo Vizcayanos.
This activity was adopted during former Governor Ruth Padilla's time and onwards through the conduct of “Capitol on Wheels”, bringing the resources and services of the provincial government at the doorsteps of Novo Vizcayanos in the upland communities.
Our Movie Projectors and other equipments were gone but the gongs of IPs will always be played and reverberate in the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) in honor and respect to Congressman Padilla’s passing and great contributions as he left behind a life full of legacy and service among the IPs of the province. (OTB/BME/PIA NVizcaya) Photos from Legend of the North FB Page