Sun.Star Baguio

Karao tribe holds cultural workshop


WITH THE aim of preserving the roots and traditions of the Ikaraos, its own barangay council funded a seminar workshop of Ikarao Music and Dances last month at the Karao Elementary School, Bokod, Benguet.

The Karao tribe is one of the ethnic groups in Benguet inhabiting a small portion of the eastern part of Bokod and possesses a distinct and unique culture indigenous to the tribe, conceded to be at far variance from that of their immediate neighbors—the Ibalois and Kalanguyas.

Group of teachers in the locality initiated the implementa­tion of the three-day seminar which saw the importance of learning their own cultural practices for them to teach it properly in school and to the young generation. It was observed that Ikarao traditions are slowly dying due to lack of interest and only few find true meaning in it.

The training focused on the history and salient features of the “Itondak”-music, and “Taychek”-dance. Itondak is played with gongs by men wearing g-string and Taychek is danced by women wearing their native attire (sa-diy). The melody of the gongs and the steps of the dance are very different to that of with the other tribes in the region.

“Itondak and Taychek are only performed during a canao, also known to the locals as Babeng, for thanksgivi­ng or to cure sickness of a family member,” explained the elders who served as trainers and speakers.

The 50 participan­ts all agreed the event was very useful to them in facing the challenges of the K-12 curiculum, especially that Indigenous Peoples Education (IPED) is integrated in the Philippine educationa­l system. Martha Bangsao

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