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Eyeing Kiangan as Ifugao’s ‘Cultural Capital’
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: By Juan B. Dait Jr.
Date: 2005-02-04
KIANGAN, Ifugao – This historic town, scenes of fierce fightings between the allied forces and the Japanese army during the last war, will soon be developed as the "Cultural Capital" of this province to entice tourists to come and experience an entirely different world of magnificent vistas, where the sky seems closer.

Located here is the Philippine War Memorial Shrine, a concrete building in the shape of a pyramid, that could be used as a viewpoint to see the poblacion, other neighboring barangays and the capital town of Lagawe.

Another must-see place here is the Million Dollar Hill that overlooks the poblacion of this town. It got its name from the last war when the allied armies spent millions of dollars worth of bombs and ammunitions to annihilate the enemies from the area.

Mayor Albert Indunan told in a meeting of the Ifugao Intangible Heritage Subcommittee here that the major developmental thrust of his administration during the next three years will be promotion and enhancement of the wealth of cultural assets of this highland town including its tourism potentials.

Annual cultural festivals like the "Gotad’’ which features colorful native dances, ethnic games and drinking of the traditional rice wine will draw visitors and boost our tourist industry, Mayor Indunan explained.

Indunan said that hand in hand with cultural promotion will be the development of the town’s historic and tourism sites.

"We will also intensively promote trekking activities,’’ he said.

Tourist destinations which Indunan cited included the scenic Ambuya Lake, the Ulo waterfalls, the Nagacadan rice terraces which have been included in the list of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Heritage Sites and the Rock of Pumbakhayon where the Ifugao Hudhud was mythologically handed down to the Ifugao people by the original Hudhud chanter from the Skyworld, Pumbakhayon.

The Hudhud chant, which is the longest epic in the country, was also proclaimed by the UNESCO as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.’’

On May 1, in conjunction with the Kiangan municipal fiesta, a province-wide Hudhud chanting contest will be held capped by contests in native dancing and performances of rituals. Attractive prizes for winners in the contests will be donated by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

A display center will be opened for the sales of native handicrafts and souvenir items such as woodcarvings, basketry, ethnic weavings, fruits and "Baya’’ or native rice wine.

Indunan also cited significant historic sites in this town like the surrender of Japanese Imperial commander Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita to the Allies at the Kiangan Central School on Sept. 2, 1945 and the village of Kiyyangan, known in Ifugao mythology as the "cradle of the Ifugao people."

Another attraction in Kiangan is the Provincial Museum where one can see Ifugao native artifacts, antique Ifugao weaponry, jewelry, tools, ritual boxes and old wooden gods and many other agricultural and household implements that depict Ifugao life and culture.


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