To blog or not to blog

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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. I was able to read those pocketbooks gathering dust on the shelf.  I unwrapped subscriptions of Reader’s Digests and read them all. To further pass the time, I completed browsing through a pile of travel brochures.

Coincidentally, I have had this  longing to write about my own culture after realising its slow demise and how much I have taken it for granted. Thankfully, I found an online community, Igorotage,  which interestingly caters to topics about my tribal roots. Perfect! I signed-up. My tagline: “I am passionate about keeping the Igorot culture alive”.

To blog:  When I started writing for Igorotage, my ‘creative juices’ kicked off! It paved the way for me to take courage,  reach out to more readers and learn the intricacies of blogging. This site, Opinions Matter,  came to life.

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

The more I blogged, the more I wanted to write about anything and share my opinions from my heart’s point of view. Not only have I discovered that blogging is an avenue to  discover the eccentricities and convictions of other people but it has likewise widen 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 to highlight that goal.

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.

Please click on Benguet Blogs in Menu to read about my life as a Kankanaey Igorota.

One Day. Two Stories.’Kevi and Santa’

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The weather maybe 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 signalled 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.

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Thank 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

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 but 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 gruelling 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.

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.

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.