July 12, 2011

The Flight of the Igorot to Canada and the start of the BIBAK association

by Irene Mestito-Dao
The BIBAK association held it’s Canao on May 21st, 2011. This year’s presentation featured Bontoc Mountain Province. The four dances presented follow the story of a young boy’s journey to Canada. Here is a summary of the presentation:

Once upon a time a little boy named Padlon was born in a western Bontoc village called Besao. The village was 7km to the nearest available vehicle transportation. It had no electricity and no running water. The only people wearing shoes were the American missionaries and the 2 school teachers.

When Padlon was six, his oldest sister got married. Brides did not wear wedding dresses, they wore a tapis in their tribal colours, wrapped around their waist as a skirt.

Traditionally, it is the mother of the bride who weaves the bride’s tapis for the wedding. The first dance of the evening, Takik or Wedding Dance is performed to celebrate the union of two people.

One day Padlon and his friends climbed the tallest mountain. When they were on top, they were surprised to see other villages. They also saw their first airplane, but never having seen an airplane before they called it a big flying bird. On May 1, 1950 Padlon left Besao to go to school in Lepanto. He started his 7km hike to the town of Sagada to catch the bus to Lepanto. The bus was bigger than the houses in his village so he was excited to enter it, until it moved. Motion sickness kicked in after 12km. In Lepanto he experienced his first electric lights, flushing toilets and best of all, the radio. But since everyone spoke Ilocano instead of his dialect, Kankaney, he became very homesick. To cheer him up, his uncle invited him to Bontoc to watch the War Dance which depicts a clash between two warriors and ends with a peace pact ceremony. [Full story.]

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