Cordillera gongs stolen in California
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Cordillera gongs or gangsas are so expensive that an ensemble of rare ones would cost a herd of carabaos. Gangsas, forged largely from bronze, is handed down through generations of clans or families and brought out during prestige rites and other Cordillera rituals. Some of the older ones even have handles made of the human jaws, usually coming from the heads of enemies.
The theft of the gangsa may not be enough reason for a tribal war but still, add to that the grief and tension of the village which had to contribute for a new set or face months of silence.
And so it came to notice that in San Francisco, California, someone broke into the car of Major Julian, the manager of Parangal Dance Company, and stole the gangsa ensemble of the American Center of Philippine Arts.
“They’re rare, expensive, and likely of no value to the thief,” wrote Scott Louie, in his Facebook wall.
The Oakland-based ACPA has been lending the gangsa to Filipino dance troupes in the area. The lost gangsas have ACPA stickers on them.
“Our gangsas were snatched out of one of our musician’s car while we were rehearsing,” said ACPA. “They smashed his car window and grabbed our bag of gangsas.”
“These instruments are so valuable to us and are only made in the Philippines,” it added.
ACPA and Kariktan would be staging Anihan; The Harvest on February 17 and the gangsas are integral in the musical.
Meanwhile, in Baguio, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples – Cordillera is teaching inmates from the Baguio City Jail on how to make gangsas.
Starting last month, NCIP Cordillera partnered with Brotherhood of Reforming Orderly and Disciplined Detainee (BRODD) in the project which targets only those with Cordilleran blood. The materials, equipment, and training are furnished by NCIP Cordillera while the finished gangsas would be given to the detainees.
Already orders have been coming in from LGUs in Cordillera and the neighboring provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Ilocos Sur as well as Cordillerans from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. – Rappler.com
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