IIC-4

London, England June 2002

Date: June 28 – July 1, 2002.
Venue: The South Place Ethnical Society, Conway Hall, and the British Museum.
Theme: Igorot Roots to the Future: Perspectives on Igorot Responses to Globalization

Background

Initiated by Igorots in the United States in 1995, the Igorot International Consultation, now popularly known as IIC, was organized primarily to unite the Igorots all over the world and to identify issues and concerns of Igorots worldwide, and come up with paradigms for the Igorots to be globally competitive in different aspects of development.

IIC-1 was held in West Covina, California in 1995, IIC-2 in Lexington, Virginia, in 1997, IIC-3 in Baguio City, Philippines in 2000. At IIC 3, Igorot UK and the Igorot Youth UK took the challenge to host the IIC-4 in London, United Kingdom with Conchita Pooten, president of Igorot-UK, to chair the IIC4 Planning Committee. .
The Consultation

A total of 506 participants registered during the first day of the Consultation, increasing to 638 British guests and delegates on the third day, at the British Museum.

Of the participants from all over the world, the greatest numbers came from the USA and the Philippines. Other delegates represented Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Austria, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia. The three-day conference focused on development issues and challenges that continuously affect Igorots in the 21st century.

Dressed in traditional Igorot costumes, the IIC-4 delegates awed the public and provided a colorful sight at the University College London. The Royal National Hotel accommodated the delegates and Conway Hall and the British Museum were used as venues. Notably for the first time, this Consultation attracted a large number of delegates from throughout Europe.
Activities
Day 1: June 30, 2002 (Conway Hall)

After the registration of delegates and participants, IIC4 was formally opened with welcome remarks from Conchita Pooten and an opening statement by Rex Botengan, the president of the Igorot Global Organization. This was followed by an ecumenical service jointly officiated by the Rev. Alfonso Camiwet (Episcopal Church Philippines), Fr. Claro Conde (Roman Catholic – London) who delivered the homily, and Pastor Renato Copa (Free Believers – London).

After the ecumenical service, Mia Abeya presided over an Igorot opening ritual, in which the IIC gong was passed on by Ursula Daoey of the Philippine delegates, representing IIC-3 Baguio City, to Conchita Pooten and the London delegates, who accepted the gong on behalf of IIC-4. After the gong was passed on, representative leaders led their groups with the striking of gongs one after the other. This is the tebyag, in which the striking of the gongs was interspersed with the baliwat/ayyeng/bogao or the loud call by IGO President Rex Botengan to acknowledge God's (Kabunian) presence and a petition to Kabunyan to guide the Consultation to accomplish its objectives. The rites concluded with various tribal Igorot dances and songs.

Conchita Pooten read a tribute in memoriam for Jay Ebbot to acknowledge his contribution and dedication in raising the profile of Igorots in the UK into the mainstream of the British Society.
Day 2: June 29, 2002

Chaired by Joji Carino and Daisy Camiwet, the day's activities were guided by the thoughts presented by the plenary session’s keynote speaker, Dr. Albert Bacdayan. Dr. Bacdayan delivered a comprehensive paper on the challenges for indigenous peoples in the 21st century. The participants during the parallel sessions/workshops raised their concerns as well as the corresponding strategies in solving issues relevant to migration, consequences of loss of land and culture, and Igorot values and beliefs

The enlightening and very witty keynote speaker provided a purposeful and inspirational tone for the conference. In response to the speaker, Jay Sapaen Watan (IGO USA) provided a tickling reaction based on his experience as a young Igorot born and raised in the United States. On the perception of a professional medical practitioner, Dr. Alfred Andaya, Jr. of IGO-USA emphasized the core Igorot values contributory to development, while Rev. Alfonso Camiwet presented strategies on how the church is exercising its arbitrary role during tribal conflicts and the Church’s role in economic development by encouraging and supporting community cooperatives, which proved to be quite successful in the Mountain provinces. Hilda Bounggick also gave her reaction.
Workshops I
Land issues and loss of land and culture facilitated by Philian Weygan. The workshop identified three main issues:

1. The need for the empowerment of Igorots through education, political mobilization and advocacy to encourage participation in knowing and exercising their rights as Indigenous peoples.
2. There is a struggle in the implementation of customary laws and national laws in the Cordillera when it comes to ancestral lands and political structures. There seems to be a conflict on the interpretation of the ownership, utilization and possession of land, forest and other resources.
3. There is need to review IPRA (the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of the Philippines) and how it can be implemented, practically and economically.

The group's recommendation based on the issues were the following:

1. Review IPRA for fuller understanding and implementation by local governments, communities and the various government agencies.
2. There must be a continuous education and discussions on IPRA.
3. There must be political mobilization and advocacy.
4. IGO to pick a community to help out.
5. There must be an international response on the injustices of IPs (indigenous people)

Workshops II
Migration Workshop

The workshop was facilitated by Daisy Camiwet (Igorot-UK). About 100 people participated in this workshop. The workshop group identified the following issues related to migration:

1. Stereotyping of Igorots, the challenge of preserving the Igorot identity whilst living overseas and particularly to the third and second generations.
2. Challenge of accessing social and welfare benefits and entitlements, pension scheme, disability and sickness benefits.
3. Exploitation of migrant workers, abuse by recruitment agencies, issues related to illegal migrants, the aging first generation migrants.
4. Broken families, Incest, Adultery
5. Racial discrimination experienced by Igorots overseas.


After the identification of these issues, the workshop group participants proposed the following recommendations:

1. The need for increased knowledge and awareness about basic rights and about the Law of the Land in which the migrants live.
2. Strengthen the Local Igorot organization and build alliances with local organizations (Know your Race , Diversity and Equality Officer who is responsible for Race and Diversity Relations).
3. Develop a Youth Program to encourage networking, exchanges and the promotion of Igorot values amongst young Igorots.
4. If possible, migrate as a family.
5. In terms of addressing the issues of adultery and broken families, the group suggested that migrants should not send too much money to their children and families. (Too much “foreign aid” to families left at home seem to spoil family sanctity and productivity.
6. In terms of addressing the issue of INCEST, more development programs and confidence and awareness building programs should be developed amongst families at home and with migrants overseas.


Workshops III
Igorot Values and Beliefs in the Modern World: Culture on the Edge
The speaker was Bishop Ben Botengan and the workshop facilitated by Dr. Caridad B. Fiar-od. The group members were posed a challenge as to whether we could go global and still maintain our tradition.
After a lengthy discussion two divergent opinions emerged – a traditionalist group and those who advocated radical changes. While the corporate group answer was to change damaging traditional practices, there was consensus in NOT changing core Igorot values/beliefs.
The three core values stressed were:

1. Family Values as affected by globalization and internalization movements
2. Tribalism like kailian system in terms of its negative and positive effects
3. Spiritualism in which there is the strong belief that spirits exist which monitors especially the bad things that people. Such belief affects the making of decisions on which to do and not to do.


The group came up with the following recommendations:

1. Keep tradition/values and continuously adapt such values in the rural communities or modern world when practical ( e.g. retain dances, songs, dialect, etc.)
2. Igorots though they belong to the 4th world could contribute something to the modern world.
1. To teach people to do more and live with less resources.
2. To teach people in the corporate world as in the care for the environment and family.
3. To teach other Igorots wherever they are to compete globally by maximizing their potentials as Indigenous Peoples.

Plenary Sessions
The highlights of the three workshops were presented during the plenary session and the workshop recommendations were accepted.

Business Meeting
In the evening the IGO business meeting was held. (See separate coverage on “The IGO Business Meeting.”)
Day 3: June 30, 2002 British Museum. (Note: This was open to the public and not only to the IIC-4 delegates)

Chaired by Mia Abeya, with Vicky Tauli Corpuz as moderator, the day started with greetings of support from Dr. Brian Durrans, Director of Ethnography, British Museum, Honorable Cesar Bautista, Philippine Ambassador to the Court of St. James, and Mr. Rex Botengan, IGO President.

Panel Discussions
The panel of speakers was composed of Joji Carino, Rufino Bomasang, Cong. Laurence Wacnang of Kalinga and Congressman Roy Pilando of Mt. Province, who provided inputs in terms of their own expertise. Mr. Bomasang and Ms Carino emphasized the attainment of sustainable development where there is social acceptability. Poverty reduction was likewise articulated in terms of appropriateness of projects.

Parallel Activities
The parallel activities was chaired by Edmund Bugnosen and consisted of the following activities:

1. Dr. Yvonne Belen provided an input on Traditional Medicine
2. Victoria Corpuz Tauli provided an input on intellectual property rights
3. Geof Nettleton provided an input on Mining
4. Woodcarving, film showing, etc.


The afternoon Panel Discussion consisted of input from Edwin Abeya (IGO -USA), Mark Watan (IGO -USA) and Averil Pooten (Igorot Youth UK)The three speakers gave inspirational talks about their personal experiences as Igorots living overseas and how they have valued and promoted their Igorot identity. Family relations, education and spirituality were the highlighted as important factors in achieving success and showing Igorot values and culture.

Cultural Hands-On Demonstrations in The British Museum

Demonstration I - Rice wine making by Dr. Caridad Fiar-od

The workshop was conducted in the afternoon at the lobby of the museum. There were about 30 participants composed of British scholars and Igorots overseas. The workshop started with the presentation of the rice wine making gadgets and terms used before the process was presented. This was followed by a presentation of the different stages of rice wine making from preparation, fermentation and the finished product.

The Tapey or rice wine is brought out during feast and social gatherings, which strengthens kinship and social concerns. It was noted that tapey is now being commercialized. Because of the rising cost of rice, it is recommended that Igorots experiment wine making with other products. But, it is also a reality to the Igorots that things given freely Kabunyan (God) should likewise be given freely.

Demonstration II - Back Strap Weaving by Easter Weaving Room

Back Strap weaving is a skill of the Igorots practiced in the past, but has not been passed on vigorously. At present, just a few Igorots practice back strap weaving. Ms. Virginia Doligas of Easter School Weaving (Baguio) demonstrated the back strap weaving. This drew participants from the IIC-4 delegates and the British Museum visitors. During the workshop, Easter School weaving products were displayed and orders were taken.

Demonstration III – Traditional Wood Carving by Mateo Cummiting

Mr. Mateo Cumiting of Hapao, Ifugao in full Ifugao regalia conducted the Wood carving work shop. Woodcarving is one of the legacies of Ifugao material culture. Local myths and legends relate that woodcarving is an activity of man as a statement of his spirituality. It is believed that Hapao is the birthplace of Ifugao woodcarving. It is now becoming a commercialized undertaking and people from Hapao are commissioned to do religious and decorative woodcarvings.

Mr. Cumiting began by carving an Ifugao "Bulul" (idol). The display of the indigenous skill and speed using rudimentary tools impressed the British Museum Curator and the participants. The art and the craftsmanship were impressive. (There is an unconfirmed report that the British Museum officials were so impressed by Cumiting’s carving natural talent that they plan to fly Cumiting back to the Museum to document his work.)

Demonstration IV - Igorot Dances and Songs by Dr. Elsie Padeo.

Dr. Padeo presented demonstrations with the use of indigenous musical instruments, and included audience participation. The participants claimed the time was not enough.

Gala Night

The humor-gifted Dr. Caridad Fiar-od was MC for the Gala Night, making the evening joyously entertaining. There were varied presentations from each country and groups, showing the creativity, artistic talents and versatility of Igorots around the globe. Presentations included the different Igorot costumes and dances. Variations of Salibi, Pinanyoan, Ballangbang and line dancing were enjoyed throughout the night. But the stars of the cultural presentations were the Igorot youth of UK, many born and raised in London. To the enthusiastic applause of delegates and guests, the Igorot youth of UK played gracefully, a medley of Igorot dances, such as the ballangbang, takik, pinanyoan, an-aninit, the Kalinga turayan, and an Ifugao dance. A commentator summed up the general delight and surprise of the audience: “How did these Igorot boys and girls learn to play the dances of their ancestors?” Credit for their success goes to the willingness and dedication of the youth as well as the London based mentors, led by Richard Stone Pooten.

Post Consultation Activities

Culminating the IIC-4 was an Educational Tour around London on the 4th day, July 1st, which provided a very appropriate ending to the 4th Igorot International Consultation, as everybody sighed and exclaimed: "Thank you IGOROT-UK for hosting IIC4!"

 

 
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