The yearly staging of the Grand Parade of Cordilleran Festivals, more commonly known as Cordillera’s Best, was held from November 28 to December 2 at Baguio City. Spearheaded by the Department of Tourism, the activity is a rendezvous of Cordilleran festivities unique from each province, along with products, artworks, crafts and tourism destinations.
Only in its third year, Cordillera’s Best has easily found a strong following from home-based as well as foreign tourists. The participating provinces, through their Provincial Tourism Officers, have consistently sent their contingent to compete in the various contested activities.
Grace Kidang, chief tourism officer of Kalinga, chose to field the Tanglag Cultural Group, made up of Baguio-based Kalinga cultural performers, for the Theatrical Performance Competition and the Indigenous Choral Competition held at the Center for Culture and the Arts at Saint Louis University.
For the Street Dancing, the group’s performance of the “Ullalim” Festival was adjudged as having the Most Innovative Choreography, for which they were awarded with P15,000.00. The “Lang-ay” Festival of Mountain province garnered the first place, with P45,000.00 as prize money.
The "Adivay" presentation from Benguet won for The Best Indigenous Communication Practices, with P15,000 cash prize. "Gotad ad Ifugao" from Ifugao won for The Most Colorful Festival, with P15,000.
As it has been a practice in the past, non-traditional performances were also staged. Baguio City National High School’s “Ragragsakan” was cited as the Best in New Concept" with P20,000 cash prize; the Cordillera "Paet" performed by the Saint Louis University was judged as the "Best in Audience Impact" with P15, 000; and the Cordillera Gardening Festival performed by the Baguio City National High School Quezon Hill annex was also given citation, with P10, 000 cash prize.
“Aside from the cultural performances, we also participated in the showcasing of our products, events and tourism attractions via an exhibit at the SM City-Baguio,” Ms. Kidang said. “I would like to stress that the provincial government is actively encouraging the different local government units, the Municipal Tourism Councils, and other organizations to promote their distinct cultural dances, songs, products and tourist destinations,” Kidang said.
Prior to the cultural performances and the provincial exhibits, the Regional Toruism Conference was held on November 29, which was attended – alongside with Ms. Kidang – by Mrs. Natividad Sugguiyao of NCIP, Mayor Johnny Maymaya of Tinglayan, Noel Macaiba and Clemente Basing-at (of Tinglayan’s Municipal Tourism Action Office), Tanudan Vice Mayor Eddie Pugao, SB Samuel Bongabong, PPDO Alice Busiley, Balabalan’s MTAO Sonia Duggoy.
Hon. Fernando Abay was the sole elected Kalinga provincial official who attended this actual gathering of all that is best in the Cordillera during the Cultural Parade on the November 30.