The Mankayan Municipal Government recently revealed something big: the Biggest Igorot Gong. This massive "gangsa" or gong, 7 feet wide and weighing 175 kilos, is now proudly displayed in the town's hall. It's not just a hefty instrument; it's a symbol of Mankayan, Benguet and a cool thing for locals and visitors.
Crafted with Skill: The Story Behind the Gong
Mayor Frenzel A. Ayong proudly announced that the Biggest Gong, surpassing the one sold to the municipal government of Rizal, Kalinga, would be displayed in the municipal hall. This monumental gong serves not only as a town symbol but also underscores Mankayan's reputation as a source of top-quality gongs.
The Onio family, led by Mario Onio, made this giant gong. It's not just a musical gadget; it's a piece of Mankayan's history made by dedicated hands.
"We're thankful to Mario Onio's family for making the Biggest Gong. It's not just a symbol; it's also something cool for locals and visitors," said Mayor Frenzel A. Ayong.
Gong's History: From Wood to Metal
A long time ago, before farming, Mankayan folks played a wooden instrument called 'tal-lac' to keep bad spirits away. Fast forward to 1574 when Chinese merchants introduced gongs, and the locals were impressed. They asked the traders, "What's that?" and got the answer 'gong.' From then on, it's been called 'gongsa.'
The Gong's Role: More than Music
Gongs became part of Mankayan's traditions, believed to bring good luck and happiness. They weren't just for music; they also drove away spirits and, according to belief, helped sick people regain health.
Gong Making: From Copper to Bomb Shells
Before the Spanish came, Mankayan folks used copper for cooking stuff. But when gongs became popular, they started making them from their copper. Even after World War II, they found that gongs made from bomb shells sounded like the old ones.
The Biggest Gong Today: Tradition Lives On
The Biggest Gong is more than a big metal circle; it's a link to Mankayan's past and a vital part of the Igorot community's cultural legacy. Despite new tech, making gongs hasn't changed much. It's a way for today's generation, especially within the Igorot community, to connect with their ancestors.
In a nutshell, Mankayan's Biggest Gong isn't just loud; it's a shout-out to the town's history and a resonant echo of the Igorot culture. It's a piece of the past that still rings true today, holding significance for both Mankayan and the broader Igorot community.