In 1969, University of Baguio (UB) founder “Tatay” Fernando Bautista uttered these words as homage to the Igorots, who took him in their hearts as one of them: “… to the end that the native culture be allowed to flourish unhampered among the Igorots, to the end that this culture be further enriched and given more impetus for wholesome growth, and to the end that positive ways be sought to galvanize worthy groups with high ideals and great potentialities, this university will exert more than casual efforts.”
Anchored on such premise, the University paid tribute to Tatay Fernando last March 10, celebrating his 109th birthday. The event – dubbed UB Founder’s Day and Luzon Culture & Arts Festival – highlighted Tatay’s love and respect for the Cordilleran culture and its people. (He was conferred the title “The Great Kaafuan” which means “The Great Leader” by the Province of Benguet in 1999, signifying his adoption by the Benguet people and their recognition of his contribution not only to the people of Benguet but to the entire Cordillera region as well.)
The celebration kicked off with a cañao, where six pigs were butchered. An art exhibit on the Cordilleran culture by artists of Tam-awan Village/Chanum Foundation Inc. was also shown at the Centennial Hall. At the UB gym, cultural groups presented Cordilleran dances and rituals, followed by a storytelling session among the pupils at the UB Elementary Laboratory School where Cordilleran tales were told. The event concluded with a testimonial dinner for the UB passers and topnotchers of board examinations for school year 2015-2016.
The activity was spearheaded by the UB Alumni Foundation Inc. (UBAFI) headed by Engr. Eleazer Demayo, in coordination with the UB Research and Development Center headed by Dr. Rhoda Galangco and the UB Linkages, Alumni and Review Center headed by Dr. Esmeralda Gatchallan.
The activity is part of the UBAFI project called “Multiculturalism and Ethnic Identity: Experiencing Authenticity in the City,” which aims to “bring together the students of the Cordillera in Baguio City to celebrate their culture by participating in it.” Likewise, it seeks to “revive the good practices of collaboration between and among schools, the community, and the government through cultural and arts activities.” The project was funded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts under the Luzon Culture and Arts Festivals category.
A member of the Tuba-based cultural group Mumbayah takes part in the cañao.
An elder from the Mumbayah group leads the ceremony during the cañao.
An exhibit at the UB Centennial Hall followed the cañao. The exhibit featured artworks by artists of Tam-awan Village/Chanum Foundation Inc. alongside some of UB founder "Tatay" Fernando Bautista's portraits.
From left: Mark Gregor Dela Cruz, monitoring and evaluation officer of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA); UB president Prof. Rodas; and City Mayor Hon. Mauricio Domogan, who graced the cultural presentations at the UB gym. NCCA awarded the grant for the activity to the University through the UB Alumni Foundation Inc. (UBAFI).
The Ibaloi group Onjon ni Ivadoy, who organized the first Ibaloi Festival in Baguio, receive a certificate of appreciation from Prof. Rodas and Engr. Eleazer Demayo, UBAFI president (extreme left).
Members of the cultural group Onjon ni Ivadoy with Prof. Rodas.
The Mumbayah cultural group with Prof. Rodas.
UB's Ubbuk cultural group
Engr. Demayo presents a framed article showing "Tatay" Fernando Bautista in native Cordilleran attire to the Bautista family. UB's vice-president for finance Engr. Javier Herminio Bautista (left) and Prof. Rodas, two of Tatay's grandchildren, received the token.
The UB Voices, winner of an international choral competition award, perform during the presentations at the UB Gym.