To blog or not to blog

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 paperbacks gathering dust on the shelf. I’ve unwrapped and read subscriptions of unopened journals and magazines.

Coincidentally, I have had this longing to write about my own culture the moment I realized its slow demise and how much I have actually taken it for granted.

To blog:  As I browsed through some old photos of my hometown, my ‘creative juices’ kicked off. I took courage and started writing(again). I heard about ‘blogging’ and decided to learn its intricacies.

This site, Opinions Matter, came to life.

My first attempt to blog about my roots,  Hometown Fortress came to fruition.

As I designed my blog site, I felt that I wanted to write more. But about what? I knew what I wanted to do; to 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.

One Day. Two Stories.’Kevi and Santa’

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A quiet stream


The weather
may be muggy today, but it’s tempting not to stay indoors. So I decided to drive around and take photos of the town where I’ve lived for the last 13 years. Then I met Kevi and Santa. Here is the other story.  

I took a stroll into the woods and stopped by a quiet stream to cool down. A dog was already there doing the same.  Its kind lady owner allowed me to take a photograph of her dog having fun.
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As I took the shot, my attention got diverted onto a couple at the shallow end of the stream. Their backs were turned to me and both were busy getting something from among the overgrown bushes in the water. This scene felt familiar. It took me back to a river in a town where I grew up. What I needed to do now was to verify a wild guess!

The woman noticed me and signaled that I follow a narrow path leading to where she was standing.

Whoah! I was right! The couple was gathering fresh and (oh, well, call it organic) watercress! I knew it!

Watercress is called tungsoy in my Ilocano dialect.

Here’s a flashback to my neighbourhood in La Trinidad, Benguet Philippines. Many residents plant watercress in a river for free! Then it was sold fresh and in bundles. By the way, for those who grew up in the same neighbourhood, they would know exactly what river I was referring to.

Back to the present: Where I currently live, watercress is packed and sold for making vegetable salads. Some people are not aware that it can either be sauteed or steamed.

The couple from Nepal spoke broken English but I was able to get their names; Kevi and Santa. They generously gave me a bagful of freshly picked watercress! From a stream where you’d never expect was teeming with such nutritious green.

Not unless you have the slightest idea, then you’d never know.

img_2688Thank you, Kevi and Santa. Watercress happened to be one of my favourites. I hope we’ll meet again.

 

Here is the first story in one day.






Slow But Sure

Catapult

Isn’t it somewhat scary being catapulted to the top or to sudden success?  in our careers,  in our wealth or in any situation?
The unexpected jolt can cause us to lose our grip. Consequently, a faster and uncontrollable downfall!
Wouldn’t you rather work and learn your way slowly but surely towards your goals? I believe that doing so will give one the ample time to hone the skills needed to reach them. We ought to take the steps and avoid being catapulted to the top by taking the lift. No shortcuts.

Catapulted into marriage? Nah. Don’t rush. Get to know that someone you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. Regrets come last.

Catapulted to an idea or a belief? Think! Breathe! Keep calm. Your opinion matters. Make a choice. You don’t need to conform.

My Family Reunion

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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.

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2017

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.

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2016

My family is important to me. Blood is the tie that that binds us. Reunions make the tie unbreakable.

Let’s Hope She’s Not the Last

Apo Whang-od continues to catch the attention of not only the locals but the international community as well. She may not even be aware that her extraordinary story has reached way beyond borders.

She leads a simple life in a remote area of the Philippines and her story now extends to her roots, the Butbut tribe of Buscalan.

Many visitors found the long journey to see and experience her hand-tattooing skills totally worthwhile.

The Boy at the Beach

By the sea

I live and breathe

With the waves

I play and seek

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Keypads, the tube and minecraft

I need not

The raft, an oar and nature

My furlough, my solace

This corner of the world, I reign

I cruise, fearless and happy

In this home I own.

Judge me not, you see

My life is not less

but beautiful and free!

(Photo credits: dehl)
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Perfume

An Identifier

I scanned the glass shelf of a perfumery shop looking for that brand which fitted my budget and I couldn’t help but mentally label certain bottles with my friends’ names who use them often, if not all the time. Finally, I found one that gives a light and cool whiff. The purchase is completed and is happy. So you see, I am not inclined to constantly wearing a specific scent. At the moment, I have a few of them and I randomly choose whatever tickles my fancy, so to speak.

The smell of fish and chips whets my appetite. So does grilled fish. Although I am not a fussy eater, I struggle with the strong and penetrating smell of canned sardines in tomato sauce, especially if it’s just been microwaved! I don’t  understand how my son could eat that!

I like the following: scented candles, diffusers, scented plug-ins. My husband hates them! And oh, those car deodorizers! I find them missing every time my hubby borrows my car. And guess where I found them? They were stashed in the glove compartment or in the bin! I did ask why he finds them repulsive, he smugly said, ‘ I like fresh air’. Oh, alright.

While traveling on the highway, one relative said to me, ‘You’ve forgotten to take a shower again!’ Everyone laughed and I realised we were passing through a town where a thriving and massive poultry business is located.

We continued to travel away to where the fresh air reminded us of how amazing it is to breathe and live! Indeed, life itself is a lot like perfume!

Betrayal

I am not perfect
And never going to be
When I make mistakes 
Speak and let me see

When I invite
And you're in my company
I smile from my heart
And that's sincere 
as real as ever be

I'd rather you say no
than stand there and
Use a dagger behind my back
Your piercing tongue so 
deceitful and cruel, too 

Remember this and listen well
Behind a story you think you know 
Is another you DO NOT know
Ergo, cease the judgment, 
leave me be!

You make choices
So do I
You live a life
Let me live mine.
(Aug 2016)