BAGUIO CITY — The works of a former La Trinidad councilor, educator, historian and artist who belonged to the group of original settlers of this summer capital are currently on display at the Ibagiw Festival exhibit at the Diplomat Hotel here.
Geoffrey Carantes’ masterpieces are on exhibit as part of this year’s November Arts Festival.
Baguio received an accolade from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as among the creative cities in the world, specifically on folk arts and crafts, in 2017. The city’s inclusion in the list led to the institutionalization of arts-related events in the month of November.
“Finally, he got the recognition he deserved,” Carantes’ daughter Lybet Carantes–Bibal, who showcased her father’s ink on paper drawings featuring locals in their native attire.
One of those on display is a 2 feet x 5 feet drawing on the history of the people of Baguio and Benguet which was the cover art of the History of Benguet People publication in the mid-’80s.
A 2.5 x 6 feet work again on Baguio’s past practically dominated the wall of the exhibit which was opened during the grand launching of the festival last Nov. 16, kicking off the two-week event that will highlight the city’s status as a Creative City for Crafts and Folk Arts.
The holding of the exhibit entitled “Pengsasan: Drawings and Prints of Geoffrey M. Carantes” is the fulfillment of Bibal’s “overdue promise” to her late father.
It is also a tribute to Carantes, the first Ibaloi graduate of the University of the Philippines – Diliman Fine Arts school who “rendered his time and talent to further promote, explore and document Cordilleran culture and history through his visual arts and writings,” Bibal said.
Carantes’ youngest son Bahaghari said, “My dad’s works are on the life of Ibaloi folks and how it evolved in the past 500 years. He had his own version of the Battle of Tonglo, the bloodiest battle waged by the Spaniards against the usually docile Ibalois in search of gold.”
The exhibit was opened with nephew Bobby Carantes singing an original Ibaloi song entitled “Ajuran”, meaning hammock.
Bobby, a Philippine Military Academy professor who founded with his siblings the band Bagiw in the late ’70s, continued plucking the guitar as his uncle’s achievement was read and offerings were made to the gods consisting of boiled camote, boiled pork, tapey and gin.
Carantes died on Feb. 22, 1998, just before he finished his second term as councilor of La Trinidad, Benguet.
In his first term, he authored the “Panaspulan Ordinance” which institutionalized the celebration or meeting that is now the La Trinidad Strawberry Festival, said George Babsa-ay of the office of La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda.
“The festival was first staged in the late 1980s and way ahead of Baguio’s Panagbenga,” he added.
The late Carantes also taught at the University of Baguio, the Cordillera Career Development College and Benguet State University.
Cartooning was a sideline that helped send his four kids to school, recalled Bahaghari, who was named after his great grandfather Kustacio, who the late Carantes said was known among the circle of Ibaloy resistance fighters against Spanish rule.
Carantes was the contemporary of Mateo Carantes and cousin Cuidno Carantes, who were honored by the Baguio Centennial Commission in 2009 as builders of the city. Pigeon Lobien / PNA – northboundasia.com