Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya—The organization of the Gaddang indigenous tribe in the province is pushing for a yearly cultural festival to promote and preserve their rich heritage.
Jimmy Calata, acting chief of the provincial government’s Public Affairs and Information Assistance Division, said the proposal was presented by the Nueva Vizcaya Gaddang Indigenous Peoples Organization, Inc.
“This proposal was presented during a meeting of the Indigenous Peoples Month Celebration executive committee,” he said.
The proposed festival, Calata said, serves as “a preparatory and component activity of the holistic approach and integrated strategy towards the conservation, strengthening, and promotion of the rich cultural heritage of the various indigenous cultural communities.”
It involves the revival of the wearing of the authentic Gaddang native attire and promotion of Inandila, a favorite delicacy among the Gaddang and Novo Vizcayanos in general.
“There will also be Inandila taste tests, as well as eating contests for children and adults,” Calata said.
Inandila is a favored delicacy of the Gaddang, which is made from native glutinous rice known as “dekat.” The milled and patted dekat is wrapped in a banana leaf and boiled for at least 30 minutes.
It is eaten with an accompanying rich sweet sauce the Gaddang call as “haleya,” which is made of “sinakob” or sugar cane molasses, and coconut milk.
“This native delicacy is usually prepared and served as part of the thanksgiving rituals of the Gaddang ethnic tribe for their bountiful rice harvests, as well as during the Holy Week and on special occasions and gatherings,” Calata explained.
Actual demonstrations of native cloth weaving and exposition of authentic Gaddang attires will also be showcased.
The Gaddang tribe is unique among northern Luzon communities for being so lavish with its use of beadworks that is elevated to an art form.
Gaddang women attire includes the “tapis” or skirt, a lengthy piece of cotton cloth wound around the waistline down to the knees, and a long-sleeved, round-necked collarless and waist-length blouse.
They are fond of wearing seed beads around their heads, necks, and wrists, but glass beads and precious stones and metals are especially prized.
Their arms are never without bracelets made of beads and precious stones and metals. Their headbands and combs are also lavishly tasseled and beaded.
The traditional costume for the Gaddang male is the G-string, which is held by a girdle, whose flap is weighted on the hem by beaded tassels.
An upper collarless, short garment is also worn, together with head-kerchiefs.
Most ceremonial garments have beaded seams and the front flaps of male G-strings, as well as male kerchiefs and shirts, display intricate beadwork.
The Gaddang textiles, with exquisite beadwork, used for these costumes are woven by the women themselves from homegrown cotton, and dyed in bright natural colors.
Tattooing is common to both men and women.
“These cultural symbols of the Gaddang culture is expected to draw tourists from here and abroad thereby enriching the meaning, excitement and spirit of the nation’s annual Indigenous Month Celebration,” Calata added.