DOST intros modern tech in traditional gong-making in Cordillera

By Aldwin Quitasol

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — To help preserve the gong-making tradition in Cordillera, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is introducing modern technology in the fabrication of one of the traditional musical instruments of the indigenous peoples (IPs) of the region.

A gong or “gangsa” is a rounded metal commonly made of copper or brass used by the Cordillera IPs in accompanying their traditional dances and rituals.

“We fear that someday, the art and tradition of gong-making will die as gong makers in the region are growing old while young Cordillerans are less interested as technology gradually is taking over almost everything,” said Dr. Arnold Inumpa of the DOST Cordillera.

Inumpa said the DOST has already tapped an organization of gong makers composed mostly of senior citizens in barangay Bedbed to lead the project.

Inumpa said that fabrication facility is almost complete, noting that project started in February this year and was funded by DOST Cordillera.

The official said that they are just awaiting the delivery of fabrication machines from the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC), an agency under the DOST. Inumpa said the facility will be the first technology-assisted gong fabrication in the country.

However, Inumpa acknowledged that the quality of the sound of the gong still depends on the skill of the gong maker, who manually hammers the gong while he listens to the sounds being produced. “We still have to stick to the quality based on traditional standards,” he said.

DOST Cordillera regional director Nancy Bantog said that while the modern gong fabrication project is a marriage of technology and the Cordillera culture, the traditional quality of the sound of the gong will still be the paramount consideration.

She said the machine will only assist in the formation or shaping of the gong to make the work easier and faster but the rest will still be handled by the gong maker.

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