Benguet celebrates 119th founding anniversary

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — It was a festive mood on Saturday as the province celebrated its 119th founding anniversary and 14th Adivay festival.

“This is a good year, there were no major typhoons or rains. Our vegetables and animal produce are overflowing,” Governor Melchor Diclas said.

A total of 15 pigs were offered to Kabunian (native god), killed through the traditional “owik” with the use of a sharpened wood struck directly to the animal’s heart.

A total of 48 pigs were also butchered — three each for the 12 towns, four for this capital town, and eight for the provincial government.

“This will feed everybody. We are all invited to be here to dance the “tayao” (native dance) with the beat of the gongs and partake of the tapuy (rice wine). We have a lot to celebrate for,” said Diclas, who is celebrating the festival and founding anniversary for the first time as governor.

There were 18 huge parachute tents set up at the venue in Wangal Sports Complex. At each tent, people danced and passed the “sabut” (coconut shell made as cup) for a drink of rice wine or “4×4” (a commercial alcoholic drink that is always served on occasions), while some elderlies drank native coffee.

Some also enjoyed riding horses that went around the complex.

“The culture of Benguet is really different, they make people feel like a family. Food is great,” said media practitioner Romy Gonzales in Ilocano, an Abra native who had been covering festivals of other areas.

Brig. Gen. Israel Ephraim Dickson, Police Regional Office Cordillera Regional Director who was guest speaker, lauded the people of Benguet — Ibaloys, Kankanaeys and the migrants for their peace-loving nature, accommodating and always striving to improve themselves and their place.

“This is what is call celebration, I was so full with the food served. I congratulate you all. Benguet was tagged as among the top local governments recognized internationally. It has grown to become a seat of fast socio-economic development that manifests good governance and genuine political will,” said Dickson who is from Abra.

Benguet has been recognized with various awards like the Big Leap to Human Development Award and High Human Development Award which were both awarded by the United Nations Development Program in 2009 and 2013.

In 2011 and 2012, the Department of the Interior and Local Government awarded the province the Seal of Good Housekeeping. In 2015, Benguet was also awarded the Seal of Good Local Governance for transparency and accountability.

In 2018, the foundation day and Adivay festival were celebrated with the cleansing ritual following the series of devastation experienced — the Ompong that killed around a hundred people and the more than a month of continuous rain that damaged vegetable crops and caused the closure of roads due to landslides.  Liza Agoot / PNA –