One of the things I always look forward to whenever I visit my hometown is the early morning walk that leads to this river on a mountain. It is a breathtaking retreat from a busy life miles away. The silence is beautifully broken by the steady flow of the water which brings about a certain calmness to the mind and readiness to face a new day.
My daily routine of heading to work has been put on hold for sometime now. This has given me the opportunity to re-ignite hobbies of old: reading and writing. With more time to spare, I was able to read those pocketbooks gathering dust on the shelf. I got to unwrap subscriptions of unopened journals and magazines and read them all.
Coincidentally, I have had this longing to write about my own culture the moment I realised its slow demise and how much I have actually taken it for granted.
To blog: As I browsed through some photos of home, my ‘creative juices’ kicked off. I took courage and started writing. I decided I wanted a reader audience and learned the intricacies of blogging. This site, Opinions Matter, came to life.
My first attempt to blog about my roots, Hometown Fortress came to fruition.
I suddenly felt that I wanted to write more about anything and share my opinions from my heart’s point of view. Not only have I discovered that blogging is an avenue for doing such but also a way of knowing the eccentricities and convictions of other people. Blogging has indeed widened my writing horizon.
To blog more: My determination to share my culture in writing has not waned, therefore, a separate site, www.benguetsite.wordpress.com has been created.
I hope that through this specific site, I will be able to relay the significance of not just knowing but also remembering one’s culture and traditions. Hence, passing a priceless heritage to generations still to come.
You may click on Benguet Blogs in Menu to read about my life as a Kankanaey Igorota.
Otherwise, stay tuned to more of my opinionated blogs about a lot of things under the sun.
Where? Pls follow the sign
It’s the dry season in this tropical part of the world. At this time, monsoon rains are raging somewhere. Schools (except some universities) are on holiday, too. What could be a more ideal time to hold a family reunion than now. Therefore, you’ll find that in the Cordillera Region of the Philippines, a lot of Igorot clans organise such an important event during the months of April and May.
there is more to this than meets the eye
It should be a massive gathering for this Kankanaey clan that I proudly belong to. I am grateful to those who have painstakingly put this family tree together, which I’m sure took some years of research. I am now aware of my definite place within six sub-clans.
The sixth family reunion was held just a few days ago where it all started: Balakbak, Kapangan, Benguet in the Philippines. I am emotional as I write this because I wasn’t there. The one and only clan reunion I have ever been to was the fifth. It was a year ago when I flew halfway ’round the globe and took a grueling 10-hour road trip just to be there. I may have been half-asleep but immensely glad and proud that I made it.
Hometown Fortress, Dakiwagan mountain
Surrounded by the Hometown Fortress, my family danced, ate, chatted and took photos together. Just like last year but with more memories to look back to.
I have no excuses for not being a regular attendee to my family reunions. But like many other traditions, it should not be allowed to die out. The sad fact though is that a lot of us either live far away or lead busy working lives in the city. So a big kudos to those who make it and try to keep the tradition afloat.
My family is important to me. Blood is the tie that that binds us. Reunions make the tie unbreakable.
the front entrance
The building has seen better days but I now consider it a landmark.
This is the first and only Catholic Church that I have known in my hometown of Balakbak, Kapangan, Benguet, Philippines. It has spanned four generations (and counting) of my lifetime. It is a pleasant surprise that it’s able to withstand the test of time.
sidewall. the building is surrounded by a wide lawn with a volleyball court on the opposite side
Here’s something else to behold: Hometown Fortress
early morning panorama
a majestic magnificence
I’ve been hesitant about sharing this one other wonder of nature. I guess I’ve seen enough of what happens when some individuals exploit the very thing they admire. I prefer that the world remains oblivious to its existence. Nevertheless, let me put my negativity aside and find the right words to justify such beauty and splendour.
Dakiwagan mountain looms majestically over a tight-knit Kankanaey community of Balakbak, Kapangan, Benguet, Philippines.
There was a time when I have braved the cold, almost frosty mornings to trek to that opposite hill and capture a stunning scene of clouds which to me, seemed to have descended from the sky to kiss and tame Dakiwagan’s gargantuan frame. I have lingered long enough to watch the same clouds dissipate, while the sun maneuvered its way to envelope and waken a slumbering gigantic rock! A priceless panorama!
sun envelopes a giant!
Dakiwagan Is like an enormous mural on someone’s wall. It is the neighborhood’s awesome backdrop and at daytime, it appears to be keeping watch as the folks go about their daily routine wherever they may be; at home, the hills, the farm or the ricefields. I have wandered around this humble hometown of mine with the view of the mountain always visible at every turn.
As the day draws to a close, it gets engulfed in darkness and at first glance, becomes ominous. I have always accorded it a second look and my heart comfortably likened it to a fortress that shelters its people through the night.
Faces keeping watch
fortress through the night
I feel blessed that this magnificence is a part and parcel of my childhood. I took it for granted for a long time. But with more and more people exploring further than the common tourist spots, I now feel very protective of this hidden gem.
Photo credits: dehl/rizza