Benguet State University
Art can take any kinds of form such as paintings, sculptures, architecture and much more. Visiting Benguet State University showed us Cordilleran art in the form of dance. The Kontad dance troup and the Dramatics Club showcased 6 different indigenous dance namely Boogie, Sakuting, Palok, Turuyan, Insalay and Dinuyya. The students danced with grace and passion. These dances celebrate life and are for various occasions such as courtship, weddings, victories, fertility and many more and are mostly an immitation of the movement of birds. Musical and weapon-like instruments were used which helped in further conveying what their dances were all about. Even their colorful costumes showed Cordilleran art.
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We also visited the BenCab museum which was filled with Cordilleran painting and sculptures. Named after the national artist “Benedicto Cabrera”, the museum is composed of his collections together with some of the contributions of other Filipino artists.
The artworks we saw there were very impressive. It included traditional and modern artworks which represent much of the Cordilleran heritage. The traditional and historical artworks consist of sculptures that were well-preserved.
Most of the sculptures found inside are weapons, containers, household materials, furniture and statues of the indigenous people of the Cordillera, similar to what like can be found in the Tam-awan village.
Most of the sculptures included are the different kinds of bulols in stone and wood figures. Some sculptures were also made from wood, stones and animal parts like horns, hairs and skins. As for the modern artworks, most of what was found are Philippine Contemporary paintings and Erotica paintings which were all made and mixed with numerous modern materials.
Not only did the museum represented the culture of the Cordillerans, in a way it also has a mix of national and international meanings and situations in view of the modern life of Baguio people.
The Tam-awan village can be found in the Northwestern area of Baguio city. It treasures hundred year old sculptures of "Bulols" or the Ifugao rice gods.
Nipa huts can also be seen in the village. They are mostly scattered along the high and low ground of the mountain and looking at how they were built truly amazed us. They were simply built but have that "wow" factor... beauty in simplicity. The arts of the people who used to live there are well preserved and have little or no sign of damage can be seen on them.
Since there were so many bulol statues scattered around the area, it could have probably meant that those sculptures are there to protect their rice field and the people themselves.
Overall, what we have learned from the art of Cordillera is that all of their dances, sculptures, paintings and architecture reflect their lifestyle, their environment, their culture and the events that happen around them.