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Culture and Practices: The Kalinga Ethos 1
April 29, 2017
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There are so many cultures and practices that seem unusual in the province of Kalinga. Some ethos that the local tribes molded of what they are now. It still exists and difficult to break down the beliefs despite the changes in the modern world. The old practices had been preserved and continued to pass on from one generation to another.

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It was interpreted as “feeling shame.” The act of showing respect to other people as a fellow human being. It has a similar meaning to the virtue espoused by the saying of Confucius: “Do not do unto others if you would not like others to do unto you.”

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It is strict adherence to taboos regarding social and economic activities. It also involves compliance with certain rituals to protect oneself and the members of the family from illness or harm. It dictates avoidance to what is offensive to “kabunyan” or Kalinga god to one’s own kind. “Mangngilin ka” means avoid doing evil is a common advice of the elders.

Paniyaw

The Kalinga people believe in a god called “kabunyan” who is the creator of all things and the master of life and death. “Mampaniyao” is the restriction on oneself acts looked upon as degrading, immoral and punishable by the mighty “kabunyan.” The Klaingas strongly abhor wicked acts such as “Ba-ug” (the killing of a stranger in the village where he has been given food to eat or water to drink).

Aawao

It is a very degrading and shameful actuation of a person. “Akaw” or theft leaves are more or less permanent stigma on the personality of the culprit and upon the repulsion of his family. A thief who stole animals such as pigs, carabaos or dogs will have bad luck and can never have it in the future. Most of the crops will never be in good quality.

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The Socio-Cultural Practices in Kalinga 3
April 28, 2017
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Angay

It is a practice where the local tribes dismantle a house or rice granary and transport all the materials to a new site. The owner makes an announcement at least a day or two before the “angay” activity. In the early morning, the local tribes gathered together to start dismantling the roof and the body of the house. For the sake of giving thanks to the local tribes, the owner needs to butcher a pig and shared with the local tribes who had to lend their hands in transferring the house to a new land area.

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Botad

A local tribe can call for an assistance within the community if somebody or someone is injured in the forest, ill in another village or death in a far place. It is an alarm call obliging the local tribes, either men or women, to run or go to the area. For minor injuries or illnesses, “basi” or sugar cane is being served for the local tribes arrived in the village. If the travel is too far from the village, then butchering a pig or dog will be offered to the people.

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Bangungon

When someone dies in the family, relatives, friends, and neighbors help in two- or three-day wake of the dead. It is called “bangungon.” All ricefields’ activities, “kaingin” or clearing of land, and others are suspended until the burial. Reinforcements were given to the members of the grieving family such as butchering the animals, serving “basis” or sugar cane wine and cooking meals to feed the people in the community especially at night. The neighbors and friends will bring pounded rice, firewood, tobacco and other materials needed during the wake period.

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Whachang

As it described as to help or give assistance, a voluntary done to a family whose harvesting or planting the rice lagged behind. Friends and relatives sympathized the family, we join together to render a whole day service of harvesting or planting. The sympathy arises from the common desire to prevent the rice grains from falling off into the mud or to prevent the rice seedlings from being spoiled for planting in the field.

Kalinga women planting rice

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The Socio-Cultural Practices in Kalinga 2
April 28, 2017
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Songa

This is a ritual for a newly married couple and the lasted for three consecutive days. The “man-i-la” or “mandawak”, an old woman will be invited to wed the couple. She performed the wedding ritual in the first evening. A prayer is recited to call for the spirits to bless the couple with children while using a coconut bowls and a winnowing tray to cast away the bad spirits. A hen butchered and shared the meat with the family. The second ritual will be performed in the late morning and the third ritual performed late in the afternoon, a pig butchered to seal the “songa” activity.

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Ontad

A newborn baby will be welcomed by butchering a hen and a rooster. The family will be staying at home and on the 10th day, a pig butchered and shared to the whole community. The pig’s meat should be eaten in the host’s resident.

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So-ob

A tribal practice done by Butbut tribe for a baby boy, it is a celebration for the sign of manhood or warrior of the village. The festivity will butcher a pig or carabao. This practice performs for the family who can afford it at present.

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To-or

Before harvest starts, “to-or” is observed by the community to be grateful to the harvest god. It is strictly practiced that the local tribes are not allowed to go out within the boundaries of the community and no outsiders allowed to go inside. If the simple rule was being violated, then they will be punished by paying some money or in-kind. It is also being practiced during the planting season. As they believed that “kabunyan” or harvest god will not bless the community with bountiful crops.

Philippines, Indigenous village, tribal village, Luplupa, Bado Dangwa, Kalinga, Cordillera Mts

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Katkat

“Katkat” is a form of “bayanihan” system by repairing and cleaning the communal irrigation. All local men tribes in the community will widen the dikes and irrigation to let the normal flow of water to the rice fields. It is the preparation for the soil to be plowed before the planting season.

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The Socio-Cultural Practices in Kalinga 1
April 28, 2017
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The Province of Kalinga displays enormous cultural practices which help community development as a whole. Somehow it hinders people in committing forbidden action towards people. Some local people in the Philippines can never know what’s behind the culture of the local tribes in Kalinga province.

Death and Its Ritual

Generally, when a person dies, a pig is immediately butchered to honor the spirit of the dead and the meat of the butchered animal will be distributed to the visitors or neighbors except for the relatives as they are forbidden to eat the said meat. When a dead person is an old man or woman, bigger livestock such as carabao or cow is butchered for the community to share and as usual, the relatives are not allowed to partake of the meat. Wake for the dead takes only two nights or three days. After the burial of the dead body, another set of animals that need to be butchered and distributed to immediate family, relatives or visitors. An exception to this practice, there is no butchering of any animals if the death comes from the hands of an enemy. In addition, the wake period is only for one day and one night.

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Weddings

During weddings, the venue of the celebration is the bride’s residence. Everybody in the community is invited where two carabaos are butchered for a wedding feast. The relatives can give gifts in the form of money or rice. The celebration would last for two nights and one day of singing and dancing. In the case of inter-tribal marriage, an alternate “plans” must take the place first before the wedding. The bride and groom will take turns in inviting the relatives of the other tribe. A pig is butchered for the visitors. Each of the visitors from the other tribe is given a token after the “palanus.” These items are normally donations from the relatives of the bride and groom.

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Travel: The Moon House in the Mountain
April 28, 2017
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“What can you ask for?” If you are a party animal and wanted to experience it in the mountain, then you can have all the experiences in the Moon House of Sagada, Mountain Province. It is located a 5-minute walk from the Municipal Hall. The only bar in town and tourists can have their cocktails or alcohol beverages to relax after exploring the caves all day long.

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The Poblacion area is so peaceful to have a fun time in the local bar. The friendly people are so accommodating to the tourists in town. It is also a good thing that the local people can never spit betel nut along the road of the place. In fact, there is an ordinance for the spitting “momma” or betel nut. It keeps the Sagada clean and green. The reminders can be seen along the road and need to observe the simple rules of making the environment preserved.

Of course, the Moon House will not stay up to past midnight. The local people usually go back home before the midnight strikes. Some tourists would enjoy staying in their rental rooms after having some alcohol drinks. It is a local province in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) that makes the indigenous different from the others. Some local people can even speak the English language fluently and foreigners around the globe can able to communicate with them.

It would be nice to have some drinks while having a side dish of sliced Sagada oranges. This is the best local product that tastes like in seventh heaven. Some local food can be an appetizer that matches to particular drinks in the Moon House of Sagada. “What do we need to lose, right?” It is where the fun begins in the bar and it ends of sleeping with the cold weather at night.

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Travel: The Mother of Greatness
April 28, 2017
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Traveling is the best way to reboot the total being. It is tempting but people need to be relaxed and explore the other side of the world. In Sagada Mountain Province, it is worth a try to hike and walk along the path of the Poblacion area. The different restaurants, lodges and coffee shops can be found in the town proper. Most of the local food and beverages are touched with the modern restaurants in major cities. Of course, it is more idealistic to try the local cuisine.

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Most tourists wanted to see the movie scene “That Thing Called Tadhana” (That Thing Called Fate). It can be seen after walking through Barangay Ambasing of the province and the end part of this is going to Sumaging Cave. The local celebrities Angelica Panganiban and JM de Guzman had a movie scene in Gaia The Mother of Greatness. At some point, it makes the local café known in the Philippines and proportionately increased their profit through the years after the first viewing of the movie in 2014. The young ladies can tell you the history of the place and read the books installed at the center of the café shop.

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It is a perfect place for the tourist to feel the strong cold wind while sitting in a customized tree house. The local food is so simple and enjoyable of eating a Gaia Camote Fries and drinking a cup of brewed coffee (The local food Gaia Camote fries is sprinkled with extracted lemon juice and muscovado. The brewed coffee is the local brand in Sagada). It was an affordable to pay the bills before moving along the path to Sumaging Cave or going back to the town proper. The road is passable but it will ruin the main point of being there. That is, to walk through the roads in reaching the tourist spots in the place.

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A Solo Fire Performance in the City of Pines
April 28, 2017
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In the night of 27th of April, there is a solo fire performance in the “City of Pines.” The city is situated in the northern part of the Philippines. It is also well-known the “Summer Capital of the Philippines.” It was expected that tourists visit the city because they wanted to escape the hot weather in the lowland areas.

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The fire performance captured the attentions of the passer-by in the People’s Park. The place is adjacent to the Lower Session Road. I must admit that this is the first time to watch such performance. In some islands near the beaches, these fire performers are commonly seen such as Boracay, Davao, Cebu, etc.

The flaring effects of the fire lighten up the dark night of the city. It was a good performance that makes the local people feel the amazement. I anticipate that there will be more performances in this area. People continued to flock to the city and expected to see more gimmicks from different performers.

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As we walked to the Upper Session Road, a human statue is standing at the side. When it moves, the local people were surprised. He doesn’t talk but whistles as the people walked by and pointing to his coin box. It was like a jukebox that the human statue will move upon having some pennies from the people. There is nothing wrong to ask money because it is not begging for it. It is a decent job that can be used for earnings to survive.

After a few days, more and more performances will be seen by the people in the city. It cannot be denied that it really gives entertainment and more opportunities for the performers. They came from different places and surely, they wanted to perform for money. It is a skill that needs to be shared and learned to improve more in giving the best performance.

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Travel: The Hanging Coffins in Sagada Mountain Province
April 28, 2017
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For backpackers, they tend to explore the world with a great adventure. In the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), there are so many beautiful places to visit. It takes a matter of time knowing the tourist attractions. It is located on the mountainside of the Philippines.

If you wanted to explore the unusual cemetery, then you can found in the Sagada Mountain Province, Philippines. It was called “The Hanging Coffins.” The local tribes had been doing this for long years back and in some cases, they still continue the old practice.

It would be a great adventure to visit the place. It needs to have a tourist guide in exploring the pathway to “The Hanging Coffins.” At present, a concrete pathway was being created for the tourists to walk through the place. For some old folks, they had shown their sentiments. They prefer the old-fashioned way of walking in the untouched ground of the mountains.

Along its trail to the unusual cemetery, you can take the chance of visiting the “Echo Valley Hanging Coffins.” It takes 20 to 30 minutes hike from the Sagada Town Proper. It was unusual and even the tourist guide will ask you to shout out loud as it reaches the mountain view.

The old practices vary from one local tribe to another in putting the dead body in the wooden coffin. They usually put the dead body sitting on a wooden chair and smoke underneath. The local tribes didn’t consider them dead if it wasn’t laid in the coffin.

Some other caves in the Sagada Mountain Province laid their coffins inside, it takes a few minutes or hours to hike to these caves. There are so many things to do in the area. Accommodations are available at a low cost on a daily basis. Foods can be provided by the local restaurants and buy some local products as souvenirs.

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The Local People Aiming for the Festival of the Sea
April 28, 2017
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The last week of April to the first week of May, the local people are preparing for the annual festivity in Pangasinan, Philippines. It was called in their local dialect “Pista’y Dayat” or the Festival of the Sea. In the Philippines, every province has their own festivity. It takes a matter of preparation before the local people can carry out their activities.

Most local people in Pangasinan plunge themselves in nearby beaches and be grateful for what they had harvested. In Dagupan city, most of their products are “bangus” or milk fish. There are some parades or floats prepared for the opening of the festival. The participants of the events had their costumes while having a street dance to show. It is an entertainment that the tourists from different places will witness.

The milkfishes were cooked in different ways to come up with special delicacies. It is open for all the people to taste them. In addition, they usually have grilling event along the road and it was also recorded the longest barbecue in Guinness World record in 2014. The grilling of the milkfishes continued on a yearly basis.

There are so many ways to experience the different festivities of the country. Summer season is the best time to witness it. Every province in the country are the pride of the local people can never be replaced and the uniqueness of the festivals will continue to let the children of the future know the importance of the culture.

It was a hot season but swimming in the beaches can cool the body. The fun can is priceless especially if participated with the local people. It gives the life of the festival. It is also a practice that can never be stolen by just talking about. Instead, the local people’s effort will give the difference.

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Maasai Warriors Painting in Tanzania
April 28, 2017
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When I was still a volunteer, I had acquainted with the other volunteers and placed in different countries. It was the best experience for the outgoing volunteers. After the mission, we will send back to the Philippines. The international organization will put all the returned volunteers to share the experiences as it was been carried out in changing the lives of other people.

After a year mission, I am ready to go back to my homeland. I left my old clothes and bought some tokens with me. It has been an old practice of Filipinos to bring something as a souvenir. It is my hobby in collecting small to big things and keep them. I had collected key holders or key chains from different countries.

After a year in a mission. I had received a painting from Tanzania. I was so surprised and the painting presents the Maasai warriors. It seems weird for some and others even thought to be like barbecues. But it wasn’t. I tried to check on the internet but never seen one.

This painting was framed and hanged on the wall in the living room. Some people wanted to buy it and ask for possible to give them. Of course, the normal reaction is turned them down. It was a gift from my friend who had his mission in Tanzania. It can never be the same if giving it away.

Maasai warriors are still existed and continued to do their practices. The local artist had painted Maasai artist in details. I anticipate that this painting will be passed one from one generation to another. It could be the best keepsake for some people who gives importance to us. A simple or not, we still need to take care of it and save it for the last. It should be treasured and be proud of having it.

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