Last March 13, Malcolm Square, People’s Park became a venue for showcasing the culture of the Cordillera people in the culminating event of Kaigorotan Youth Week (KYW).
Launched in March 02 in the same venue, KYW aims to commemorate the various protest actions of the youth in Cordillera in 1983. These protest actions were launched against conceived commercialization schemes in the region such as the construction of the Chico dam, the logging project of the Cellophil Resources Company and the holding of the Grand Cañao during that time.
Several youth from various organizations participated in the Search for Mr. and Ms. Kaigorotan 2011 with Erick Gatawa of BSBT-Sinagyaa and Kim Basali of Irisan National High School emerging as this year’s winner. Ashley Filog of BSBT-Sinagyaa and Liz Punasen of PWU Bibak were chosen as the 1st runner-ups. Absolom Toyeng of BSU Kontad and Gina Chopchopen from Salidummay-Kings College of the Philippine’s Chapter were the 2nd runner-ups.
Ivan Torafing, convenor of the event and Secretary-General of the Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN) said that one of the primary objective of the whole event is to promote their campaign for the Youth’s advocacy for the defense of environment and culture (YTADEC). YTADEC is designed to reach the widest number of indigenous youth and educate them about Cordilleran culture and issues. “Hamon sa katutubo ‘yung hindi pag-iintegrate ng katutubong kultura at kaalaman sa mga paaralan. ‘Yung activities natin ay nagsisilbing venue para matutuo sila at marealize ‘yung role nila para protektahan ang kultura ng Kordilyera,” Torafing said.
He added that they plan to achieve this through school hoppings, mainly among the student councils and school publications. From there, the more comprehensive planning for the YTADEC campaign will start. Torafing added that out-of-school youth are more encouraged to join the campaign. Likewise, non-IPs who have a pro-IP advocacy can also join in the campaign.
Whne asked about the success of the pageant as the culmination of KYW, Torafing said, “Naging successful ito. Base sa mga kabataang nauod, sa mga nagparticipate. Sa opening pa lang, marami nang nahikayat sa mga hinanda nating events. Maganda rin ang naging tulungan with student organizations. Matagumpay ding nailaunch ‘yung unang kampanya ng katutubong kabataan – yung YTADEC. Ang tagumpay ng KYW ay simula pa lang ng mas mahabang kampanya ng YTADEC.”
Aside from the opening program and the beauty pageant, events like Cultural Showdown, Quiz Bee and Cultural Interaction and workshop were held in line with KYW. Students from high school and college level joined in the said events.