February 27, 2011 in Baguio City
By ADELA DEYAEN WAYAS
BAGUIO CITY — There is a need to revive the authenticity of indigenous culture, said Ramon Dacawi of the Public Information Office of the City Hall last February 22, Tuesday.
At the media and students’ seminar on Cultural Sensitivity held at Baguio City National High School- Main, Dacawi emphasized the importance of respecting culture. According to him, in the hierarchy of things culture is next to nature. He said that the culture in the Cordillera developed out of respect for nature. Sustainable development is achieved, he said, because the people know how to care and respect the environment.
However Dacawi said that the hierarchy of things now is being interchanged. He explained that because of the evolvement of tourism, there is lack of authenticity of indigenous culture. Nature and culture become reserves for tourism, he iterated. To cite an example he said that some sacred rituals (which are only done at real occasions and situations) are being mocked for the sake “tourism” to document it.
“If tourism serves culture and nature in this chronology of things, then we are on the right path,” Dacawi pointed out. He said tourism must bow down to nature and culture to preserve the authenticity of indigenous culture.
Festivities and Tourism
Dacawi further said that in the different festivals, sensitivity to culture must be observed.
The purpose of the festivals is to pass on the culture to the next generation, he stressed. He said some of the festivals now are not culturally sensitive.
The issue of bastardization of culture has also been raised during festivals in the Cordillera. Dacawi said festivals should not be done for the sake of profit but to preserve the culture. On his own view, he said the Baguio Flower Festival known as Panagbenga is sometimes not sensitive to the indigenous culture.
Cultural workers should be considered during festivals he said and not the tourism showcasing culture to generate profit. He added local tourist guides should be the one assisting the visitors and not the guides from the low lands. He said local guides are more familiar with the place and could give more authentic information.
Culture and Beyond
Ike Pikpikan, curator of the Saint Louis University Museum, said it is time that cultural workers re-educate the people of the culture.
He said material culture of the communities is now fast disappearing because of the change of generation. Intangible culture as well is deteriorating, he said.
Pikpikan reirated there is a need to revive culture to preserve it.
He said consultants in festivals should come from the people of the community who are knowledgeable and practicing the culture of that community.
Because of the wrong information from the books that created wrong ideas among the people who are not Cordilleran, indigenization of the curriculum must be pushed, he said. The Commission on Higher Education, according to him, had already released memoranda to the different colleges and universities to incorporate indigenization and sensitivity to culture in the curricullum. The schools should follow the memo, he said, to avoid further misunderstanding of the people.
He suggested that there should be more printed materials on the cultural heritage of the Cordillerans to guide the people of the culture, norms and traditions of the various communities.
However, he emphasized that ethnocentrism or the belief of a person that his culture is the inferior culture and the center of everything should be avoided. He said as culture is relative, people should not be ethnocentric and should respect each others culture.
The role of the Media
The members of the media must practice cultural sensitivity, said Dacawi. He said this is very important because media has always been the source of information of the people. He reminded the media practitioners to be more sensitive of labeling people and their practices.
Twisting the facts, he said, would create wrong connotations that affect authenticity of the indigenous culture. Thus, Dacawi said, media should be careful at releasing information. # nordis.net