Ifugao skills contest showcases creative talents in SMEs – HERALD EXPRESS

Ifugao skills contest showcases creative talents in SMEs – HERALD EXPRESS

As one of the highlights in the week-long celebration of the 23rd Gotad ad Ifugao, the Mina’lin di Immipugo or ethnic skills competition was held at the Ifugao Village, Capitol Plaza showcasing six indigenous skills and native practices of Ifugaos on June 15, 2023.

Among these skills are the following: munpa-ot hi bulul (bulul woodcarving), muntuknul hi otak ya hitokan (weaving the handle of a small bolo with scabbard), mun-abol (weaving), muntalakid hi atag (rattan mat weaving), munhalikat hi butilya (bottle weaving), and munlagga kubi (chichen pen weaving).

The participants joined on the different categories embodying their incomparable culture and ‘inabol’ textiles. Men wearing their wano while women are dressed in their tolge or ampuyo.

The main objective of this competition is to invite the Ifugao culture bearers with their respective knowledge with regards to indigenous skills and practices to show and encourage the younger generations for them to value and have the interest to learn, understand, and continue these cultural practices for the preservation of the Ifugao’s culture and identity.

One of the famous characteristics of Ifugaos is the Paot or wood carving due to their immanent talent in carving different wood products including figurines, souvenirs, and even furnitures.

In the munpaot hi bulul, a round log and the design for the bulul was provided by the event committee for uniformity. Each participant should be able to come up with a 2.5 ft bulul in a maximum span of seven hours. Carving tools and materials are brought by the contenders.

Mannuel Uyammi, representative of Mayoyao shared that he was in the woodcarving industry since he was 18 years old and he joined the competition for everyone especially the younger generation to appreciate and value these cultural practices so that it would not be gone and forgotten as only few are interested to pursue the paot practice.

Another skill is muntuknul, a process in which rattan straps were meticulously weaved around the handle of knives and bolo that serves as a cover and decoration of the tool. In this category, the small bolo and scabbard was provided by the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) event committee, however the materials and rattan strips were provided and prepared by the contestants.

Participants from the municipalities of Kiangan, Lagawe, Aguinaldo, Hingyon, Tinoc, Hungduan, and Asipulo showed their craftsmanship through the making of tuknul.

Moving on, mun-abol or weaving is one of the indigenous skills that was joined by seven municipalities in this year’s competition. Every entry has one adult master weaver and one male or female youth to assist in the process. With regards to the design, the weavers are given the privilege to incorporate their own creativity and signature designs to their crafts.

“Mayat nga sumalsali iti kastuy ng competitions tapno manaynayunan iti amo iti daytuy weaving skills ken tapno haan mapukaw jay native attire tayo. (It is good to join in these competitions for new learnings and for the perpetuation of our native attire.)” Daisy Angayon said, one of the participants in the mun-abol.

Justine Ananayo, a youth participant from the municipality of Hungduan also shared that it is important for the younger generation to continue these skills and practices to preserve what our forefathers had taught and this is also one of our pride and identity.

The criteria for judging includes 20% for the timeliness and 80% for the over-all quality of their crafts.

Meanwhile, contestants for the muntalakid hi atag or rattan mat weaving were given a working time of four hours to create a rattan mat with at least six feet long. The total number of the runo reeds must not be less than 100 pieces but not more than 110 pieces.

Also, the contestants are given the leeway in adding their artistry in whichever way they think that will enrich their crafts.

Fernando Bumalin, representing the municipality of Aguinaldo shared that as a farmer, these rattan mats are usually seen and used in the fields but due to modernization these practices are disappearing. Through this competition, it serves as an avenue to relive the cultural identity of Ifugaos.

Munhalikat hi butilya or bottle weaving features the creativity of the participants as they strategized and come up with their own creative designs. The bottle and rattan was provided by the event committee while other materials needed was produced by the participants.

Lastly, the munlagga kubi was participated by eight municipalities namely Hingyon, Aguinaldo, Lamut, Lagawe, Kiangan, Hungduan, Asipulo, and Tinoc. The participants are given a span of seven hours to create and show their skills in making a kubi or chicken pen that has a base of 20 inches in diameter, with a height of 14 inches from the base to shoulder and a 5-inch size of the head.

Participants’ art of ethnicity was showcased by patiently and artistically crafted the product by their hands.

Photo by Kate C. Cattiling (BSU)

Winners of the Event

In the munpaot hi bulul, the representative of the municipality of Banaue garnered the first place, the municipality of Lamut bagged the second place followed by the municipality of Alfonso Lista placing third place.

Next, the municipality of Aguinaldo bagged the first place, followed by municipality of Asipulo for the second place and the municipality of Lagawe got the third place in the muntuknul hi otak ya hitokan category.

Meanwhile, out of the seven pair of participants of mun-abol, Banaue and Hingyon was announced first place and Hungduan in the third place.

Furthermore, Kiangan and Asipulo bested among the others while Lagawe placed third after performing muntalakid hi atag.

Butilya The winners of the event are: Lagawe for garnering first place, Asipulo bagged second place, while Hingyon ranking third.

Lastly, the munlagga kubi’s patience and perseverance was paid off as the municipality of Hungduan ranked first, followed by the municipalities of Kiangan and Lamut garnering 2nd place.


Economic Contribution of Small Medium Enterprises in the Local Economy

According to the data of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)- Ifugao, currently, the province of Ifugao has 514 registered Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) particularly wearable and homestlyes in realtion to the skills showcased during the skills competition such as weaving, woodcarving and also blacksmithing.

Engr. Francis D. Pacio, OIC Provincial Director of the DTI-Ifugao stressed that these SMEs are important and has a great impact in the local economy for it gives livelihood opportunity such as employment and sales. With the fact that many of our locals are involve in these as their main source of livelihood, it helps the government in the employment rate of the community.

Having these indigenous knowledge and practices is a proof that Ifugao’s identity, creativity, and distinct talents through their indigenous knowledge systems and practices should be learned, understood, and be protected for the future generations. By Kate C. Cattiling


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