Written by Yvonne Kay-an Belen on .

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the base figure is the gong, superimposed with a watermark of the European map. With the gong, we make ourselves heard rom the Philippine Cordillera to the world. It is also the instrument that beckons us when we have our gatherings. The Cordillera weave is an appropriate inclusion since it alludes to the Cordillera indigenous peoples' desire to have their lives intewoven, wherever they may be in the globe. It appears fluttering or waving as it denotes our ability to be flexible and adapt to our new setting. ICBE is fittingly in the middle and is spelled out at the gong's edge.Igorot Cordillera BIMAAK-Europe (ICBE) is an informal network of Igorot/Cordillera/BIBAK organizations, foundations, associations or groups in Europe. Being in the network means that a member(s) of an Igorot/Cordillera/BIBAK organization, foundation, association or group has attended an ICBE conference or a part of the event. 

The first gathering of Igorot Cordillerans in Europe was the “Assembly of Cordillera People in Europe” (ACPE) held in Gent, Belgium in April 2002 hosted by Cordillera Community in Belgium (Cordi-Bel). The acronym, ICBE, was decided during the 2nd Igorot European Consultation (IEC) held in Vienna, Austria in May 2003. In having ICBE as their name, the participants reached a consensus on the following:

(1) Igorot refers to the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, northern Luzon, Philippines;

(2) Cordillera recognizes the political and geographical concept as presently understood and

(3) BIMAAK pertains to the six provinces in the Cordillera region.

The participants considered ICBE as inclusive and therefore, appropriate.


As of 2023, those in the network are: Benguet Organization-UK (BOUK), BIBAAK Cordillera Barcelona, BIBAK Ireland, BIBAK Marbella, BIBAK Switzerland, BIBAAK Madrid, BIMAAK Sweden, Cordillera Community in Belgium (Cordi-Bel), Cordillera Germany Organization (CGO), Cordillera Migrant Workers Association (CMWA) of Milan and Como Italy, Cordillerans in Italy of Bologna and Modena, Cordillerans in Rome (Cordi-Rome), Dap-ayan di I-Montanyosa of northern Italy, Ifugao Organization UK, the then Igorot Austria-Cordillera, Igorot Cooperative in Athens Greece, Igorot-Czech Republic Community, Igorot in France Association (IFA), Igorot Organization in Austria, Igorot UK, Igorot UK Charity, Lang-ay Organization ti Frankfurt, MABIKAs Foundation-The Philippine Cordillera Connection in The Netherlands (MABIKAs Foundation), Mountain Province Federation UK, Rambak Austria, Solibao NRW (North Rhine Westphalia) Germany, ULNOS di Mountain Province Rome Italy, United Igorot Association of Napoli and United Kalinga Apayao Network (UKAN). 


The network began with the organizations: Cordillera Community in Belgium (Cordi-Bel), Igorot Organization-Austria, BIBAK Switzerland, BIBAK Ireland, Igorot Frankfurt and Igorot UK. Through the years, other organizations were added, namely: BIBAK Barcelona, BIBAK Marbella, BIBAAK Madrid, Cordillerans in Italy of Bologna and Modena, ULNOS di Mountain Province (Rome, Italy), United Cordillera Workers in Rome Italy (UCWRI), Igorot Austria-Cordillera, Cordillerans in Modena, Cordillera Migrant Workers Association (CMWA) of Como and Milan, and Dap-ayan di I-Montanosa of northern Italy. Individuals were from Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Eventually, Sweden was added and Luxembourg delisted.

In June 2015, United Cordillera Workers in Rome Italy (UCWRI) became Cordillerans in Rome or Cordi-Rome. And on the 29th of November 2015, Igorot Organization-Austria and Igorot Austria-Cordillera re-organized and re-united to form one organization: Igorot Austria. 

The year 2017 saw other organizations that joined, which are: BIMAAK Sweden, Igorot Cooperative in Athens Greece, MABIKAs Foundation-The Netherlands and United Igorot Association of Napoli.

In 2019, the following organizations joined: Benguet Organization-UK; Cordillera Germany Organization; Igorot in France Association; Lang-ay Organization ti Frankfurt; and Solibao NRW, Germany.

In 2023, there were members of Ifugao Organization UK that attended the 11th ICBE conference. There were also participants from a newly formed organization in the Czech Republic, Czech-Republic Igorot Community. Some members of the Ifugao Organization UK had already attended the 6th ICBE Conference held in London, United Kingdom in 2011. 


ICBE’s objective is to conduct biennial consultative gatherings aimed at preserving the Igorot Cordillera cultural heritage and passing it on to the next generation.

During the Vienna 2003 consultation, the participants decided to maintain a loose network and have a consultative character of these gatherings. A host committee plans each consultation. Thus, leadership is shared.

Each consultation usually consists of a plenary session and workshops on the theme, cultural night, liturgical celebration and a historical-cum-cultural tour. Planning for the next consultation ensures continuity.

ICBE has had 11 consultations at these places and years, respectively: Gent, Belgium (2002); Vienna, Austria (2003); Aeschi, Switzerland (2005); Dublin, Ireland (2007); Vallendar, Germany (2009); London, United Kingdom (2011); Barcelona, Spain (2013); Vienna, Austria (2015); Rome, Italy (2017);  Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2019) and Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2023).

Except for the first gathering in Belgium in 2002, the consultation is held every odd year.

BIMAAK is an acronym of the six provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), northern Luzon, Philippines. These provinces are: Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Abra, Apayao and Kalinga. Another acronym commonly used is BIBAK, which stands for: Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apayao and Kalinga.


ICBE 2023 (The Netherlands)

MABIKAs Foundation - The Netherlands ushered in the decade by hosting the 11th Igorot Cordillera BIMAAK-Europe (ICBE) Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on May 18-20, 2023. The theme was, “Bridging the Gaps: Exploring Government Programs for OFWs and Perspectives on Cordillera Autonomy.”  

At the height of the conference, which was the Cultural Night, there were around 100 participants -- both old and young. They came from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Philippines, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 

The organizations present were: BIBAK Switzerland, BIBAAK Cordillera Barcelona, Cordillera Community in Belgium (Cordi-Bel), Cordillera Germany Organization (CGO),  Ifugao Organization UK, Igorot-Czech Republic Community, Igorot in France Association (IFA), Igorot Organization in Austria, MABIKAs Foundation- The Netherlands (MABIKAs), Rambak Austria, Solibao NRW [North Rhine Westphalia] Germany (Solibao) and Igorot UK Charity.

Included in this conference was the Igorot-Czech Republic Community and Ifugao Organization UK (although members of Ifugao UK had attended the 6th ICBE Conference in London in 2011). 

As the resource speaker, Atty Cheryl Daytec-Yangot, Head of the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) in Geneva, Switzerland delivered her talk on “Perspectives on Cordillera Autonomy.”  During the Cultural Night, Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands, H. E. Eduardo J. Malaya, gave an inspirational message. 

An important feature of the Cultural Night was the turnover of hosting the next conference.  MABIKAs Foundation headed by Myra Zymelka-Colis turned over the ICBE logo to Cordillera Community in Belgium (Cordi-Bel) led by Ric Cuyob and members present. The 12th ICBE Conference will be held in Belgium in 2025 hosted by Cordi-Bel. 

Another part of the conference was a raffle draw. The streamer was designed by Michael T. Bengwayan Jr. 

Earlier, BIBAAK Madrid said they will host the 11th ICBE Conference in 2023. However, in June 2022 they said they are unable to. So, MABIKAs Foundation volunteered to host the conference.


ICBE 2025 (Belgium)

The 12th ICBE Conference will be held in Belgium in 2025 hosted by Cordi-Bel. 

According to Ric Cuyob, the event will be managed by the second-generation Igorot Cordillerans. 

Earlier, BIMAAK-Sweden indicated they will host the 12th ICBE Conference in 2025. However, they informed the ICBE Preparatory Committee in 2022 that they are unable to. 

Members of the Preparatory Committee for the 12th ICBE Consultation are:

Ric Cuyob - 1st Assembly of Cordillera People in Europe (Belgium);
Rick Kilongan - 3rd ICBE Consultation (Switzerland);
Jane Klee-Morgens - 5th ICBE Consultation (Germany);
Conchita B. Pooten - 6th ICBE Consultation (United Kingdom) - assisted by Averil Pooten-Watan;
Gil Tiban Catimo - 7th ICBE Consultation (Barcelona, Spain);
Marjorie Abeya-Soaygan - 8th ICBE Consultation (Austria); 

Rosmar G. Smith and Grace Banto - 9th ICBE Consultation (Italy),

Myra Zymelka-Colis - 10th ICBE Consultation (The Netherlands),

Yvonne Belen - 10th ICBE Consultation (The Netherlands) and

Josephine Bohol Segundo - 11th ICBE Consultation (Madrid, Spain). 


ACPE 2002 (Gent, Belgium)

Igorots and Cordillerans in Europe first gathered at Ten Berg, Merelbeke in Gent, Belgium on 19-21 April 2002. The gathering entitled “Assembly of Cordillera People in Europe” had as its theme, “Strengthening the Cordillera Community in Europe and Fostering Solidarity with the Cordillera People’s Aspiration for Land, Life and Self-Determination.” The host was Cordillera Community in Belgium together with the local Belgian support groups: New World, Filipijnengroep België (FGB) and the Flemish support group for Indigenous Peoples (KWIA). Ricardo Cuyob was the coordinator.

In Belgium, the participants decided to continue with the European gathering and nominated Austria as the next venue. Igorot Organization-Austria delegates with their president, Patrick Bounggick, Sr, accepted to host the conference.

IEC 2003 (Vienna, Austria)

For this consultation, Igorot Organization-Austria, named it, “2nd Igorot European Consultation (IEC)” and chose the theme, “Our Cordillera People’s Culture: Our Heritage.” The consultation was held at Jungengästehaus Wien-Briggetenau in Vienna, Austria on 29 May-1 June 2003.

The name of the succeeding consultations has since evolved into “ICBE Consultation.”

ICBE 2005 (Aeschi, Switzerland)

During the 2nd IEC, the participants suggested Switzerland as the next venue. BIBAK Switzerland, headed by Henry Foken, agreed to organize the next gathering called “3rd ICBE Consultation.” The theme was “Our Igorot Cordillera Culture: Heritage and Social Integration” and attendees met at Hotel Friedegg in Aeschi (near Bern) from 5-8 May 2005. 

Violeta Dianos-Passerini took charge of designing the streamer.

ICBE 2007 (Dublin, Ireland)

From the mountains, the next setting was an island, Ireland. BIBAK Ireland, led by Dave Aragones, planned the 4th ICBE Consultation. They decided to continue from the last conference’s theme and came up with, “Preservation and Promotion of our Cultural Heritage and Addressing our Issues in Society.” From 17-20 May 2007, the delegates met at the Marino Conference Centre in Dublin. BIBAK Ireland designed the streamer.

In Dublin, the participants asked Severino “Rhino” Oblas from Germany if the next ICBE Consultation could be held in his country of residence. And he said, “Yes.”

ICBE 2009 (Vallendar, Germany)

The Igorot group that hosted the 5th ICBE Consultation was composed of: Rhino Oblas, Jane Klee-Morgens nee Doga-ong, Mario Guinyawan and Norma Bayoya-Wellhausen. They chose Haus Sonnenau in Vallendar (near Koblenz), Germany as the venue. The consultation was held from 10-13 April 2009 with the theme,  “Igorot Cordillera Rituals: Their Features and Significance.”

The streamer was made in Baguio City with  details sent by me. 

During the 5th ICBE consultation, Igorots from Sweden – Michelle Budaden and her son, Kim – attended. Eva Dostani, a friend of Michelle, and Eva’s daughter, Daniella, also attended. It was the first time that delegates from a Scandinavian country joined an ICBE consultation.

This consultation will be remembered for the publication of a magazine, “Cordillera Rituals as a Way of Life.” It includes research on some rituals of the six Cordillera provinces. The research titles and authors are:

1. Cordillera Rituals: Their Features and Significance by Caridad B. Fiar-od, Ph.D.;

2. Mountain Province BEGNAS Ceremony: Its Meaning and Significance by Pamela B. Fiar-od;

3. Tingguian Abra Rituals by Philian Louise C. Weygan-Allan;

4. Keeping the Kalinga Heritage Alive in Rituals by Maria Luz D. Fang-asan, Ph.D.;

5. Apayao Rituals: Their Features and Significance by Caridad B. Fiar-od, Ph. D.;

6. The Bulul in the Social Life of the Ifugao People by Serafin L. Ngohayon, Ph.D. & Emily G. Alberto;

7. Ifugao Rituals: Their Features and Significance by Anastacia T. Lannaon, Ph.D., Nancy Ann P. Gonzales, Ph.D., Caridad B. Fiar-od, Ph.D.; and

8. Benguet: The Peg-as and Paypay Rituals by Caridad B. Fiar-od, Ph.D.

From the proceeds of magazine sales, ICBE donated US $1,085.00 to the Igorot Global Organization (IGO)’s scholarship program:  Igorot Scholarship Program (ISP).

In Germany, the participants nominated London as the venue of the 6th ICBE Consultation. Conchita B. Pooten, an Igorot UK member, who has been consistently attending ICBE consultations, accepted. She would later become one of the consultation’s organizers.

ICBE 2011 (London, United Kingdom)

The 6th ICBE Consultation was held at the Woodford County Hotel, Woodford Green in London on 22-25 April 2011.With the theme, “Living our Igorot Values,” the consultation was hosted by Igorot UK led by Robert Balagtey. Igorot UK made the streamer. 

Many Igorot and/or Cordillera organizations performed during the cultural night on April 24th. The evening before, the delegation from the Ifugao State University led by their president, Dr. Serafin L. Ngohayon, presented “Gotad ad London,” a series of dances and rituals from Ifugao.

The consultation had two accomplishments:

(1) A donation to the Ifugao State University to launch the ICBE Scholarship Program. The monies were collected from participants (as members of their organizations and as individuals) and from the church collection during the mass held at the St. Stephen’s Church on April 25th and

(2) Publication of pictorial proceedings. Dr. Caridad B. Fiar-od wrote the book entitled “Igorot Value Systems and Cultural Protocols.” Conchita B. Pooten reviewed the book and yours truly edited it.

During a planning workshop on the 7th ICBE Consultation, the participants proposed that the next consultation will be held in Barcelona, Spain on 9-12 May 2013. They agreed on the theme “Appreciating the Similarities and Differences of the Cordillera Ethnic Groups” and recommended Dr. Serafin L. Ngohayon as keynote speaker. The participants suggested that ICBE will request BIBAK Barcelona to host the consultation.

ICBE 2013 (Barcelona, Spain)

The 7th ICBE Consultation was hosted by BIBAK Barcelona headed by Gil Tiban Catimo. With the theme, “Appreciating the Similarities and Differences of the Cordillera Ethnic Groups,” the consultation was held at Centro Aragones, Barcelona, Spain on 9-12 May 2013. BIBAK Barcelona made the streamer.

To fulfill a workshop’s recommendation of the consultation, Conchita Pooten of Igorot UK initiated the “Balik Ili Reforestation and Cultural Exchange Programme.” She coordinated the program with Dr. Serafin Ngohayon, President of the Ifugao State University in Ifugao, Philippines. In Conchita’s report, she wrote, among other things, that on the second day, which is 16 December 2014, “we were able to participate in a well-organised tree planting program. During the planting of seedlings, participants were also allowed to hand mark each seedling planted in honour of a dignitary of our choice. It was a heart-warming occasion. … The ICBE Balik Ili group also donated PhP 30,000.00 to the ICBE scholarship fund.” 

As a background---

On the 11th and 12th of November 2011, some from ICBE (Cristabel Bounggick, Conchita Pooten and I) met with members and officers of BIBAK Barcelona headed by Gil Tiban Catimo. ICBE representatives explained the reasons for proposing Barcelona as venue and BIBAK Barcelona as host; they also answered questions of the organization’s members. After clarifying BIBAK Barcelona’s role, the officers and members, who were present, agreed to host the 7th ICBE Consultation. Initial plans for the conference were discussed.

Since the first quarter of 2012, BIBAK Barcelona and ICBE coordinated the consultation on different aspects, i.e., venue, overall program and program for the cultural night, historical and cultural tour, and so on.  

ICBE 2015 (Vienna, Austria)

The 8th ICBE Consultation was held in Vienna, Austria on 13-16 August 2015 with the theme was “Appreciating Ifugao (People, Land and Culture) in the Philippine Cordillera and Highlighting Experiences on Integration in Europe.” Igorot Austria-Cordillera, headed by Marjorie Abeya-Soaygan, hosted the consultation. Some sessions were held at Hotel Ibis Wien Mariahilf. The Igorot Cordillera-European Cultural Night was held at Pfarre Akkonplatz.

For the streamer, Hilda Bounggick-Alingcao contacted her friend, Maria Concepcion S. Bautista, who designed it. 

Worth noting in this consultation are the following:

(1) Souvenir Program, which is the first to be published for an ICBE consultation. Cristabel Olat-Bounggick headed the Souvenir Program Committee;
(2) Photo Exhibit of the past seven ICBE Consultations held from 2002 through 2013 produced by Rhino and Mechteld Oblas. It was exhibited during the “Igorot Cordillera-European Cultural Night;”
(3) A delegation of around 50 persons from Italy who attended the “Igorot Cordillera-European Cultural Night.” They are members (first and second-generation) of Cordillerans in Italy of Bologna and Modena. Marilyn Aro coordinated the delegates’ participation; and 
(4) Donation of US $200.00 to the 11th Igorot International Consultation (IIC) 2016 Golf Tournament aimed at raising funds for the Igorot Scholarship Program.

As a background---

While activities of the 7th ICBE Consultation were being discussed in 2012, planning for the 8th ICBE Consultation began during the last quarter of the same year. The first step was to look for a host. Cordillera Community in Belgium was requested to be the host. They declined and preferred other organizations to host. Igorot Austria-Cordillera was approached and their president, Leonida Ostermayer-Lunag, agreed.

ICBE 2017 (Rome, Italy)

The 9th ICBE Consultation was held in Rome, Italy from 28 April-1 May 2017. The theme was: “Appreciating Benguet: Land, People and Culture; Highlighting Cordillera Issues, and Experiences of Cordillera Migrant Workers in Italy.” Rosmar Gibson-Smith had the streamer made in Baguio City.

During this consultation, a Steering Committee was formed from the participants. Its tasks are:

(1) Ensure the smooth management of the consultation;
(2) Attend to problems that may arise;
(3) Certify the validity of the resolutions and financial report;
(4) Officially open and close the consultation and
(5) Take actions to ensure the holding of the 10th ICBE Consultation.

The Steering Committee is composed of those in the leadership of previous ICBE consultations, members of an organization that hosted an ICBE consultation, leadership of the host organization and a volunteer for communications of ICBE consultations. 

The members of the Steering Committee are:

Ric Cuyob - 1st Assembly of Cordillera People in Europe (Belgium);
Rick Kilongan - 3rd ICBE Consultation (Switzerland);
Jane Klee-Morgens - 5th ICBE Consultation (Germany);
Conchita B. Pooten - 6th ICBE Consultation (United Kingdom);
Gil Tiban Catimo - 7th ICBE Consultation (Spain);
Marjorie Abeya-Soaygan - 8th ICBE Consultation (Austria)
Rosmar G. Smith and Grace Banto - 9th ICBE Consultation (Italy) and
Yvonne Belen - Volunteer for communications of ICBE conferences (The Netherlands).

The Steering Committee constituted itself as the Preparatory Committee of the 10th ICBE Consultation to be held in the Netherlands in 2019, with the addition of those in the leadership of the next host organization: MABIKAs Foundation-The Netherlands. They are: Myra Zymelka-Colis, Chairperson of MABIKAs Foundation-The Netherlands and Yvonne Belen, who volunteered to coordinate the consultation. 

In the meantime, the following organizations were added to the network: Igorot Cooperative in Athens, Greece and United Igorot Association of Napoli. 

The 9th ICBE Consultation donated €100.00 to the Igorot Scholarship Program. Cordillerans in Rome and I each donated €50.00.

As a background---

During the 7th ICBE Consultation, participants from Italy were consulted about the possibility of hosting the 9th ICBE Consultation in 2017. Francis Kiwang, president of “ULNOS di Mountain Province,” came forward and said that their organization is unable to commit anything yet because he has to consult the members. Afterwards, Marilyn Aro of “Cordillerans in Italy of Bologna and Modena” stood up and said that if Rome will not take on the hosting, then Bologna will. The audience clapped.

Months after the consultation, Marilyn wrote that the venue will be in Rome. After negotiations between ULNOS di Mountain Province and Cordillerans in Rome, they reached a decision.    

In a June 1st 2015 letter from Rosmar Smith, president of Cordillerans in Rome, she said, “We had our meeting yesterday and we are accepting the hosting of the 9th ICBE consultation in 2017 here in Rome.” 

During the turnover ceremonies in Vienna, Marjorie Abeya-Soaygan turned over hosting of the ICBE consultation to Grace Banto, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Cordillerans in Rome. Grace said they have tentatively set the conference sometime in August 2017.

ICBE 2019 (The Netherlands)

The 10th ICBE Consultation was held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on 26-29 July 2019 and was hosted by MABIKAs Foundation-The Netherlands (MABIKAs) with Myra Zymelka-Colis as founding member and chairperson. The theme was: Celebrating 17 Years of ICBE’s Existence and Appreciating Abra’s Land, People and Culture.

Noted was the participation of Benguet Organization-UK; Germany Cordillera Organization; Igorot in France Association; Lang-ay Organization ti Frankfurt; and Solibao NRW, Germany.

During the Igorot Cordillera-European Cultural Night, MABIKAs headed by Myra Zymelka-Colis turned over the hosting of the next consultation to Josephine Bohol Segundo, president of BIBAAK Madrid. Another feature of the consultation was a raffle draw. The streamer was designed by Michael T. Bengwayan Jr.

Since this consultation was the 10th of a series, the 10th ICBE Consultation Preparatory Committee decided to publish a Souvenir Book.

The Preparatory Committee composed the Editorial Team.

The Souvenir Book was arranged according to the ten ICBE Consultations. In each consultation, the following were included: keynote addresses and other main topics, feature articles of and photographs on the event, and photos of sponsoring organizations and individuals. Also included in the book are the  articles: “Igorot Cultural Heritage” by Rex Botengan and “Who are the Igorots: Shadows of the Past Falling on to the Present and Reaching into the Future” by Kate Fumnag Chollipas-Botengan.

The following organizations and foundations sponsored the Souvenir Book: Benguet Organisation-UK; BIBAK Barcelona; BIBAK Ireland; BIBAK Switzerland; BIBAAK Madrid; BIMAAK Sweden, Cordillera Community in Belgium;  Dap-ayan di I-Montaniosa Northern Italy; Igorot Austria; Igorot Cooperative in Athens Greece; Igorot in France Association; Igorot UK; MABIKAs Foundation-The Netherlands; Kawayan Filipino Deutsche Interkulturelle Gruppe; Igorot Global Organization; Igorot Scholarship Program; and Stichting Bayanihan, Philippine Women’s Centre in the Netherlands.

Other sponsors were: Amy Balbawang’s Touch of Cordillera (Belgium), Ifugao Travel and Tours (Kiangan, Ifugao, Philippines), Dr. Eduardo V. Roquero Memorial Hospital (Bulacan, Philippines), A-7 House [Nellie’s Chalet] (Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines); Prime Apartments (Baguio City, Philippines), Sophie Lonogan Photography (The Netherlands), Leticia de Jong’s Book and Gospel (The Netherlands), Inandakos Bed and Breakfast (Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines) and Pooten Forwarding Corporation (United Kingdom) & Pooten Asin Resort (Asin, Tuba, Benguet). Individuals who sponsored the book were from: Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Philippines, Spain, Switzerland and the United States of America.

Myra Zymelka-Colis designed the Souvenir Book’s cover and interior layout.

As a Background---

It was during the 7th ICBE Consultation in Barcelona when Julio Allidem, president of BIBAK Marbella, was asked if the 10th ICBE Consultation could be held in Marbella, Spain in 2019. A few months after the Barcelona consultation in May 2013, Julio wrote that he asked members of their organization if they would like to host an ICBE consultation. The members agreed. On 28 June 2015, a follow-up was made to Julio asking if their offer still holds. Julio replied, “For me, it would be a great pleasure to host 10th ICBE. Also good for the BIBAK of the south of Spain, especially the young generations. Hope to give you a confirmation before the said date.” (Deadline set for his reply is 31 July 2015.) In August 2015, Julio wrote that they regret they’re unable to host an ICBE consultation. He said though they will attend future ICBE consultations.

Meanwhile, Igorots in The Netherlands volunteered to host the 10th ICBE Consultation in 2019. The host was the newly-formed group of Igorot Cordillerans in the Netherlands: MABIKAs Foundation-The Netherlands.  

ICBE 2023 (Madrid, Spain)

Plans were being made for the 11th ICBE Consultation to be held in Madrid, Spain in April 2021. The host organization is BIBAAK Madrid headed by Josephine Bohol Segundo.

However, these were set aside due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was to move the event to 2023.

The main features of the 11th ICBE Consultation are:

(1) Commemoration of the 1887 Madrid Exposition where Igorots were exhibited,

(2) Recognition and honor awards by ICBE and  

(3) Appreciating the Mountain Province: History, land, people and culture.

As a Background---

In September 2017, some Igorot Cordillerans in Sweden began meeting to set up their organization. On March 20th, Michelle Budaden wrote: 

“We are pleased to inform you that we now have an organization of cordillerans here in Sweden. Last March 18, 2017, we had our first general assembly where we discussed our Constitution and By-Laws and elected our officers. We named our organization as BIMAAK Sweden. We hope to unite all cordillerans living in Sweden, as we are geographically spread in this long country. Through this organisation, we also hope to work for the promotion and preservation of our culture and identity.

We look forward to actively participate in ICBE gatherings as a united body and to get inspiration from you all for a dynamic and self-sufficient organisation.”

BIMAAK Sweden elected Michelle Budaden as their  president.

On 28 March 2017, Josephine Segundo, president of  BIBAAK Madrid, wrote: “Good evening, we, the BIBAAK MADRID would love to host the 11th ICBE in 2021 if it’s still available. Thank you very much.”

Members of the Preparatory Committee for the 11th ICBE Consultation are:

Ric Cuyob - 1st Assembly of Cordillera People in Europe (Belgium);
Rick Kilongan - 3rd ICBE Consultation (Switzerland);
Jane Klee-Morgens - 5th ICBE Consultation (Germany);
Conchita B. Pooten - 6th ICBE Consultation (United Kingdom) - assisted by Averil Pooten-Watan;
Gil Tiban Catimo - 7th ICBE Consultation (Barcelona, Spain);
Marjorie Abeya-Soaygan - 8th ICBE Consultation (Austria); 

Rosmar G. Smith and Grace Banto - 9th ICBE Consultation (Italy),

Myra Zymelka-Colis - 10th ICBE Consultation (The Netherlands),

Yvonne Belen - 10th ICBE Consultation (The Netherlands) and

Josephine Bohol Segundo - 11th ICBE Consultation (Madrid, Spain). 

ICBE 2025 (Sweden)

Since the 11th ICBE Consultation is planned for 2023, it is presumed that the 12th ICBE Consultation will be held in Sweden in 2025. These are plans and its implementation will depend on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a Background---

While an ICBE consultation was held in Rome, Italy in 2017, another consultation could be held in a different part of the country. According to Marilyn Aro’s letter of September 14th  2015, she said, “For our Hosting in the future, we can decide it in the next years. Uray umuna pay dagiyay haan nga nakapag-host. Dibale ta next ket dakami amin ditoy Italy.  Anyway we are very happy we already have hosts for the next years. (Translation of italics:

“…Let the ones who have not yet hosted be the first. Anyway, the next will be us here in Italy.”)

Earlier, she wrote that when a consultation  is held in Bologna, there are other places to visit like Venice, Florence, Verona or San Marino.

Grace Nabus of Igorot UK said in her September 9th 2015 letter: “…Anyway, I’m not speaking for the whole IGOROT UK, but I’m pretty sure our doors are just open for future ICBEs ...... If you ever get stuck with possible hosts, we are always here.....”    

In the letter of Michelle Budaden on 30 July 2018, she said that a few of them Igorots in Sweden, her family and a few friends will be willing to come together to host the 12th ICBE Consultation in Sweden in 2023.


Since the 1st Assembly of Cordillera People in Europe (ACPE) in 2002 until the 7th ICBE Consultation in 2013, a member(s) of the following organizations have attended:

(1) AMISTAD (Women’s Organization in Barcelona),
(2) APIT-TAKO (Alyansa iti Pesante iti Taeng Kordilyera),
(3) BAYAN International,
(4) BIBAK-Ottawa Organization,
(6) Filipijnengroep België (FGB),
(7) Igorot Global Organization (IGO),
(8) IGO Philippines,
(9) KAWAYAN (Filipino-Deutsche Interkulturelle Gruppe),
(10) KWIA (Flemish support group for Indigenous Peoples),
(11) Migrante-Europe,
(12) New World (Belgium);
(13) Philippine Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks); 

(14) Stichting Bayanihan, Philippine Women’s Centre in the Netherlands; and

(15) SANDIWA (Philippines). 

In addition, participants from these academic institutions have graced the events:

(1) Ifugao State University and
(2) Mountain Province State Polytechnic College.

Finally, some participants have attended from: Germany; Canada; Israel; Luxembourg; Philippines; and Scotland, UK. 

PERSONALITIES who have ATTENDED  (or could have attended) ICBE Consultations

According to Ric Cuyob of Cordi-Bel, he said, “Another thing that we could add that I have in mind was the presence of some of the Philippine officials like the ambassadors of the Philippines to Austria (2nd and 8th ICBE consultations had two different ambassadors) and to Switzerland (3rd) plus the consuls for Catalan during the 7th ICBE consultation and the consul in Ireland during the 4th ICBE. There was also the pastor in Ireland who came during the cultural night and offered their church for our concluding activity. Maybe it will be good to acknowledge their presence for the record…”

And Gil Tiban Catimo of BIBAK Barcelona said, “I like to add, aside from the presence of the Catalan Honorary Consul Jordi Puig and Consul Catalino Dilem representing the Philippine embassy, there was also the presence of Bishop Felicisimo Cordero of the Episcopal Church in Barcelona.”

In summary, except for Ambassador Domingo-Albert, who sent her regrets for the cultural night of the 5th ICBE Consultation in Vallendar, Germany, and CAR Regional Director of Tourism Marie Venus Q. Tan, who was unable to attend the 9th ICBE Consultation, the following ambassadors and honorary consuls attended the cultural night of the ICBE consultations:

(1) His Excellency Ambassador Victor. G. Garcia III (2nd IEC, Vienna, Austria, 2003);
(2) Her Excellency Ambassador Rora Navarro-Tolentino (3rd ICBE, Aeschi, Switzerland, 2005);
(3) Mr. John Ferris, Honorary Consul of the Philippine Embassy in the Republic of Ireland (4th ICBE, Dublin, Ireland, 2007);
(4) Her Excellency Ambassador Delia Domingo-Albert (5th ICBE, Vallendar, Germany, 2009);
(5) Philippine Embassy Consul General based in Madrid, Mr. Catalino Dilem and the Barcelona-based Philippine Honorary Consul General for Catalunya and Aragon, Señor Jordi Puig (7th ICBE, Barcelona, Spain, 2013);
(6) Her Excellency Ambassador Maria Zeneida Angara-Collinson (8th ICBE, Vienna, Austria, 2015) and
(7) His Excellency Ambassador Jaime Victor Ledda (10th ICBE, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2019).



(1) The Rev. Katherine Poulton, parish priest of the Parish Church of St. George and St. Thomas (an Anglican Church of Ireland Parish). She attended the Cultural Night and offered their church building as part of the concluding activity of the 4th ICBE Consultation.
(2) Bishop Felicisimo Cordero of the Episcopal Church in Barcelona. He was present during the “Igorot Cordillera-European Cultural Night” of the 7th ICBE Consultation. 


Sometime in February 2020, Igorots Cordillerans in Europe thought of coming up with a book project. To enable them to have an idea of what they will write on, these are some of the details taken from the ICBE website’s, “Call for Submission”:

“Are you an Igorot Cordilleran who migrated to Europe and have an interesting story to tell about how your Igorotness has helped you in navigating your way as a migrant in Europe? Or are you a first-generation Igorot Cordilleran who would like to narrate your journey from the Philippines to Europe taking into account your dream and the realities you faced along the way and how you have empowered yourself? Or perhaps you are one of the second- and third-generation who has much to share about your family’s oral history as well as success stories?

Do you have some travel narratives during any of your tours or holidays that you would like to share?

If YES, is your answer to any of the above, please join us and together let’s educate, encourage, inform, inspire and entertain others by sharing all these experiences and stories in a book we shall call, ‘The 3Ts of Igorot Cordillerans in Europe: Travels, Travails & Triumphs.’”

There were eight women from different countries and organizations in Europe, who volunteered to be members of the Book Committee. They are: Kristine Gayep Kawi-Gorans from France and the UK; Yvonne Belen, Myra Colis, Christina T. Moncado from The Netherlands; Lorena Clerc from Switzerland; and Evangeline Martinez, Grace Nabus and Averil Pooten-Watan from the United Kingdom.

The deadline for submission of stories (poems, anecdotes, jokes) was originally set on 30 November 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline was moved to 30 June 2021.

The Book Committee decided to invite  Igorot Cordillerans from the Philippines, who studied for a year or more in Europe, to write their experiences on and/or with Igorots in diaspora in the country where they resided.


The book, Travels, Travails & Triumphs of Igorot Cordillerans in Europe, was published by ICBE and MABIKAs Foundation-The Netherlands in November 2022. The editors were  Kristine Kawi-Gorans (France/UK); Myra Zymelka-Colis, Christina T. Moncado and Yvonne Kay-an Belen (The Netherlands); Lorena Domanog-Clerc (Switzerland); and Evangeline Martinez, Grace Nabus and Averil Pooten-Watan (the United Kingdom).

The book is a collection of essays, poems, songs and anecdotes written by 35 Igorot Cordillerans in Europe. The writers included two from the Philippines. They  studied in Europe or attended an Igorot Cordillera BIMAAK-Europe (ICBE) Consultation. The other writers were from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. 

It was launched virtually on Sunday, 27 November 2022. The masters of ceremonies were Myra Zymelka-Colis, founding member and chairperson of MABIKAs Foundation-The Netherlands and Lorena Domanog-Clerc, past president of BIBAK-Switzerland.

Dheza Aguilar, Managing Editor of The Filipino Expat Magazine, who is based in the Netherlands, gave an insightful book review. Marilyn Velasco Magoo from Austria also reviewed the book, and said it is easy to understand and read. She is a member of RAMBAK Austria and Union of Youth Centers in Vienna, Austria.

The authors, who were present during the book launch, read an excerpt from their entry. They were Ricardo Cuyob from Belgium; Kristine Kawi-Gorans from France/UK; James Leroy Quintin from Ireland; Cesar Tomilas Taguba, Rachel de Weerd, Myra Zymelka-Colis, Christina T. Moncado, Yvonne Kay-an Belen from The Netherlands; Ruth Tindaan and Maureen Belen-Loste from the Philippines; Lorena Domanog-Clerc from Switzerland; and Averil Pooten-Watan and Evangeline Martinez from the United Kingdom. 

In Lorena Domanog-Clerc’s closing remarks, she aptly described the book when she said, “Self-representation in literature is scanty among Filipinos; more so for Igorot Cordillerans. Very often, we read books that tell about us, about who we are, and we seldom read stories about us written by us. It is about time we write our own stories so that readers of our origin will find someone who looks like themselves in the book they read – the way they think, speak, the values they hold – affirming their own reality.”

The book launch could be viewed on YouTube through the link:  https://youtu.be/kEOO_00V0cg. Myra Zymelka-Colis produced the video.

There are also articles on the book and the book launch on the ICBE website: www.icbe.eu.

There were 250 pre-orders and all the books were sold out. Some of the authors donated or will donate the book to a foundation and to the Philippine Embassy in The Hague; to libraries, colleges and schools in the Philippine Cordillera, and outside the Cordillera Administrative Region like Cervantes, Ilocos Sur and Quezon City.

Due to interest in the book, 50 more books were reprinted in 2023. To feature more articles from Igorot Cordillerans in Europe, Volume II of the book is in the pipeline. The aim is to publish the book in the last quarter of 2024. 

The Book Committee of Volume II is composed of: Marilyn Velasco Magoo (Austria); Ric Cuyob (Belgium); Yvonne Kay-an Belen, Myra Zymelka-Colis and Christina T. Moncado (The Netherlands); Lorena Clerc (Switzerland) and Averil Pooten-Watan (the United Kingdom).  


Glenn Amora requested his friend, Marciano A. Paroy Jr to make the logo. According to Marciano---

“The base figure is the gong, superimposed with a watermark of the European map. The Cordillera weave is an appropriate inclusion since it alludes to the Cordillera IPs to have their lives interwoven, wherever they may be in the globe. It appears fluttering or waving as it connotes their ability to be flexible and adapt to new settings…”   


In 2003, Jürg  Hafner of BIBAK Switzerland, created the ICBE website: www.icbe.eu. He took care of the website’s maintenance and administered it until 2013.

Glenn Olat Amora of Igorot Austria took over as administrator from 2013 until the present.

The impetus for the ICBE website was to post Proceedings of the ICBE consultations. Through the section on “Consultations,” it was not only speeches and articles that were posted, but also other pertinent materials. Afterwards, sections on relevant subjects were added such as: In the Network, Life in Europe, Getting to Know the Igorots, The Cordillera, Folktales of the old Mountain Province, My Cordillera Childhood and Re-incantations of Cordillera Folktales and Legends. In the section, “Articles” are speeches and articles that are informative and educational.  

Presently, the website is being maintained financially from contributions during consultations and from a private donation. 

And as of 17 October 2023, there are 1,992,957 visitors to the website.


The ICBE consultations have become an effective instrument to link up Igorot Cordillera organizations and individuals in Europe. In future consultations, we in ICBE look forward to having delegates from other countries in the continent and the United Kingdom (despite Brexit).

The theme that has emerged from these consultations is on Igorot Cordillera culture–its preservation and how it could be passed on to the next generation of Igorot Cordillerans in Europe. 

 Yvonne Kay-an Belen (MABIKAs Foundation-The Netherlands)

  For ICBE

  By Yvonne Kay-an Belen

 17 October 2023  

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