An Igorot festival, the Grand Cañao in Austria was staged on May 18, 2013 at the Hall of Pfarre Akkonplatz in Vienna’s 15th District.
The annual festival was attended by the Igorot immigrants living in the Austria and a representatives from the Filipinocommunity in Austria.
The cultural celebration is organized by Igorot Cordillera-Austria headed by its Chairman Leonida Lunag Ostermayer.
This gathering of Igorots fuels camaraderie and fellowship among Igorots living in Austria.
„Our intention being an Igorot Austria-Cordillera is very important as we aim to promulgate the values we inherited from our forefathers, to integrate with other cultures and to adapt to the Austrian commmunity, thus strengthening our identity as Filipinos. I am very much proud to say that we are integrated enough to stand up through the challenges that are part of living in a foreign land. Having fellow Cordillerans and friends close enough to mingle with is just like being at home,“ Leonida Ostermayer, Chairman of IGO-Cordillera, Austria told Philippine-European Bulletin.
Ambassador Lourdes Yparraguirre likewise joined the event. The Ambassador acknowledged the contributions and efforts of the Igorots in Austria on the preservation of their rich culture, though living in a foreign land.
„It is so heartwarming to know how filipino traditions live on even outside the country,“ Ambassador Yparraguirre said in her inspirational message.
Cristabel Bounggick, one of the pillars of Igorot in Austria tries to preserve her Igorot culture by helping to teach the next generation about their traditions and beliefs through the Igorot Cordillera-Austria. Aside from passing on traditions, the group performs and educates other Filipinos and non-Filipino people creating a more accepting and friendly community.
„Igorot dances are such a rare and wonderful treat. Grand Canao 2013 was truly a festival of colors. That night, tribal identity or divisions no longer existed, as the different colors danced unified to one rhythm – the beating of the gongs,“ a Filipino guest commented.
Highlight of the Grand Canao in Austria was a parade with gong playing with attendees in cultural attire. The Igorot gangza (gong) is a cultural symbol of fellowship and unity among Igorots, an ethno linguistic tribe in northern Luzon, Philippines.
Igorots, meaning “people of the mountain,” are one of the recognized indigenous peoples of the Philippines’ northern Luzon island, from the area known as the Cordilleras. The five major tribes of the Igorot people are the Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apayao, and Kalinga, with various sub-tribes. Igorot Cordillera-Austria is an organization dedicated to teaching the history and culture of igorot people, as well as preserving and teaching traditions to future generations.