Advocate of Indigenous Culture: Clifford Belgica
An erstwhile traveller having worked different places in the world he ended up with several academic and personal visits to Canada and Vancouver either as a faculty/ speaker or attendee at several conferences such as the Asia Pacific Conference on Disaster Medicine, the World Conference on Disaster Management and the World Disaster Forum; he was enthralled to immigrate for good. With a professional background he walked in and got hired at two Emergency Departments in the lower mainland in the same day. Armed with a temporary license he took on and joined the staff at Lions Gate Hospital under the then erstwhile North Shore Health Region, a conscious choice mainly because Vancouver especially the North Shore lent the environment and weather he was born in the Northern Philippines.
A nursing degree graduate from the Saint Louis University he at one point in his career also went for the Masters of Management Program of the University of the Philippines-Baguio majoring in Health Services Management but was not able to finish the program because of constant move. Back in Vancouver he finished the Emergency Program with the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He is now employed as a Clinical Information Specialist for Fraser Health and also keeps his clinical skills working on supervisory roles as site leader in a number of Fraser Health hospitals. He also joined advocacy for foreign trained nurses joining the workforce in BC as panelist for the registered nurses association of BC. He was also an invigilator for the Nursing Licensure Examinations.
Apart from established career in his chosen field he also at one point travelled back to the Philippines establishing the Baguio City Emergency Medical Services. This quasi government unit is one of the first integrated health emergency services in the Philippines with international standards and having brought initial trainers go through programs in Europe and Canada.
BIBAK Organization of British Columbia celebrates its 25th year as an established society in BC this 2016. This is a conglomeration of Canadians and BC residents who by descent or affinity hail from the different provinces and cities that line up the Cordillera Mountain Regions of the Northern Philippines. These are the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc (Mt. Province), Apayao, Abra, Kalinga and cities of Baguio and Tabuk. Collectively they are known as Igorots. Cliff ascribes to the culture having a mixed ancestry and lineage with parents from different tribes in the region as well as European “Castillian” heritage.
Cliff intimated that the main reason for joining BIBAK BC is to ensure that his children will not lose their cultural identity and be an advocate of the Igorot-Canadian.
The saving grace for the preservation of the richness of the indigenous culture of the Igorots is partly because of their fierceness and the geography of the mountains that discouraged the conquest and assimilation and subjugation that the rest of the Philippines endured. The challenge however is ripe for the need to continue preserving the culture amidst the current worldwide migration and assimilation. Thus organizations like BIBAK BC and the Igorot Global Organization had been established. Cliff intimated that the main reason for joining BIBAK BC is to ensure that his children will not lose their cultural identity and be an advocate of the Igorot-Canadian. He eventually was asked and had served two terms as the President of the organization. One of the highlight of his term was the hosting of BIBAK BC of the worldwide Igorot International Consultation at the grounds of the Simon Fraser University where Igorots from different parts of the world come together every two years to celebrate their unique culture and discuss issues that affects the global Igorots. In his time also saw the constant participation of BIBAKBC especially the youth to Canadian-Filipino and mainstream community events in BC as an education advocacy and providing authenticity of the cultural practices and dances in these events.
Cliff continues to be active with the community as a member of the advisory board of BIBAK BC as well as the Canadian-Filipino stream organizations like the United Filipino-Canadian Associations of BC.
As an arts and indigenous culture advocate he continues to support the Philippine Historama group as a technical director and focusing on the authenticity of the depiction of indigenous culture. As a proprietor of TRIBU Productions he also focuses on quality musical productions uplifting the cultural Filipino arts landscape in BC and Canada.