Sunday, January 24, 2016

Kalinga: A treasure, indeed

Try to imagine an experience of a lifetime, so complete, you couldn't wish for anything more. Such is what we have experienced in a place so magnificent and with its people, who made Kalinga even more beautiful. The trek is definitely one for the books. It isn't for the faint hearted and unfit. You have to walk near cliffs. The beauty despite the hardships is that the weather is nice and cool and the view is breathtaking.

A lot could be said within the past few days we were there. But there are things I would never forget on my journey to Kalinga.

1. Have a tattoo done by Whang-Od and her grand daughters.
It is a privilege to have experienced this. I was so happy and humbled to meet them. Grab an opportunity to have your picture taken with Whang-Od and her granddaughters, Elyang and Grace. They are what they call The Master, The Young Master ang the Granddaughter or “Mambabatok” of Kalinga.

2. Go to a Pandayan or blacksmith
A great souvenir from a great place. If you want a remembrance from your journey, this is definitely it. The knife, that varies in length is handcrafted. Its price ranges from 300 to 600 pesos. You can also get a knife case for an additional 100 pesos.

3. Having attended a wake
Of course, I do not wish to have more deaths in the community, but rather, it was an enlightening and interesting experience. Like any remote places, Kalinga has its own unique practices in dealing with the loss of a loved one. The casket is open and there was a lot of chanting by the women. The wake lasts for 3 days and they bury the dead in the vicinity of their houses.

4. Photography
Have your newest camera ready for a never ending photo opportunities. You can enhance it for more drama or leave it as beautiful as it is.

a. Look for youth, women, men and the elderly with tattoos.
Ask them to show their cheerful smiles and you're good to go!

b. A lot of pigs (native) roaming around As if house pets

c. If you're a nature lover, you'll be amazed of the beauty of the paradise that is Kalinga.

d. You can take a picture of the elderly chewing their "nga-nga” which is said to make their teeth stronger. You can also see men in their loincloth (bahag) with their spears.

5. Food trip and drinks
If you love food, you have to try their "semi adobo" which is a combination of pork and chicken cooked in soy sauce. Their coffee and their wine from sugarcane are also a must-try.

6. Outreach program
The honor and privilege to offer your time and share to the youth is ours. During this trip, our goal was to bring happiness to the tribe of Butbut in Tinglayan, Kalinga in our own little way. We brought school stuff such as papers, notebooks, pencils, crayons, sanitary kit and watches that the kids can use. We also gave them food and candies which brought smiles to their faces.

It was a lot of fun. We even had games. The whole experience was priceless!

Overall, it was a wonderful experience. Be sure to allot at least 4-7 days. I can definitely say that this is not the last time I'll be in Kalinga.

Again, I would like to thank everyone who supported us in this program. We couldn't do this without your help. To our friends who are always willing to give a hand especially those who gave medicines. To the management team of 8layer (Miguel,Kates at Rosa—sabit na din si Edwin) and to our family at Daguso Mountaineering group  headed by Guevarra Family (Jane, Raymond and Francis) plus our family at Rotary Club/RCMD for their never ending support most especially for the pictures and documentary. Maraming Salamat sa inyo!

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