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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

a "politicized" outhouse?

Here's another tickler from Anthony Herron (he got this pix from one of his churchmates).


Saturday, February 23, 2008

IGO Meet in Ifugao

The Igorot Global Organization (IGO) will hold its "7th Igorot International Consultation" in Banaue, Ifugao on April 12-15, 2008. The theme for this year's IIC is "NURTURING OUR CULTURE AND RESOURCES TO CHART AND SECURE OUR DESTINY." See program in PDF here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Womb of Water,Breasts of Earth" Launched


Francis C. Macansantos launched his 4,000-line epic poem, "Womb of Water, Breasts of Earth" during the "Panagbenga 2008 Poetry Reading and Book Launch yesterday afternoon at the UP Baguio multi-purpose hall.

The epic poem of the three-time Palanca awardee won the 2003 Writers Prize for Poetry of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), which published the book. book-launch.jpg

Noting the significance of the opus, poet-literary critic Alfred A. Yuson writes in the preface to the book:

We may now say that Mr. Francis Macansantos has followed in the footsteps of but a very few predecessors, in the persons of the esteemed Filipino poets Ricaredo Demetillo, Alejandrino G. Hufana and Cirilo F. Bautista.

No one else to my mind, but Mr. Macansantos has in recent years managed to complete an epic poem, one beholden not only to relative great length, but as well to a central unifying theme that is explored for its multi-facted avenues of extended expression, as well as manifestation of multiple if singularly sourced insights.

The affair was held in celebration not only of Baguio City's flower festival but also of the "National Arts Month" as designated by the NCCA. Representing the NCCA, Ms. Mylene Urriza delivered the opening remarks.

Veteran and budding poets thrilled those present with their provocative pieces. The readers, mostly from the Baguio Writers Group (BWG) and the Ubbog, were as follows:

1. BWG President Ms. Babeth Lolarga: “Miranda Far and Near,” “Open Letter of Resignation from Housewifery”

2. GUMIL member and Palanca Awardee Mr. Jimmy Agpalo: “Ti Buong Ti Ulo a Di Magalem,” “Ang Tilamsik ng Dalawang Batong Nag-uumpogan,” “Ang Kritisismo at Ang Komentaryo,” “Ayat iti Langalang”

3. BWG Founding Member Mr. Francis Macansantos: Womb of Water, Breasts of Earth (excerpts)

4. UPB Chancellor Dr. Priscilla Supnet-Macansantos: “Pagdalaw sa Burnham,” “Iti Ayat”

5. Dean of the UPB College of Arts and Communication (CAC) Dr. Elizabeth Calinawagan: “”Panagdalliasat”

6. BWG Member Ms. Mercy Dulawan: “Nene,” “Paslit Akong Walang Malay,” “Kung Ibig Mo,” “Pagtitimpi”

7. Ubbog President Janice Bagawi: "san si nu kob", (1 untitled)

8. UPB Instructor Junley Lazaga: "A Poem for February," "Ti Lipat," "Sa Anong Luha"

9. Ms. Abigail Dayawen: "Pagsilang," "Laro," "Untitled 3"

10. Ubbog member Rommel de Guzman: "Isang Langaw sa Salamin," "Kailan Nawawalan ng Lasa ang Chickenjoy"

11. Ubbog member Chinee Sanchez Palatino: "Ikaw ang Ulap Ko," "Pusod," "Sa Masugid na Bubuyog Ko"

* Thanks to Janice for the photos and to Junley for the updated programme! Tayab kakabsat, tayab!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Faith and Suffering

Perhaps the greatest test of faith for the Christian today is to believe that God is good. There is much in our lives and culture that, taken in isolation, suggests the know-why.jpgcontrary. Helmut Thielecke points out that a fabric viewed through a magnifying glass is clear in the middle and blurred at the edges. Because of what we see in the middle, we know for certain the edges are clear. Life, he says, is like viewing a fabric.

Around the many edges of our lives, much is blurred, many events and circumstances we do not understand. But they can be interpreted rightly by the clarity we see in the center -- the cross of Christ...

At times it is our reaction to suffering, rather than the suffering itself, that determines whether the experience is one of blessing or of blight. The same sun melts the butter and hardens the clay.

- Paul E. Little, Know Why You Believe: Connecting Faith and Reason (Manila: OMF Literature Inc., 2003), pp. 121-122.

The UB Tragedy & Human Nature

[For a news report, click here]

Tragic events always reveal what stuff people are made of. All those directly or indirectly involved in and even those affected and unaffected by these occurrences -- be they bystanders and kibitzers, looters and scoffers, rescue workers and other volunteers, victims and sympathizers -- show by their verbal and non-verbal reactions the value systems and worldview they adhere to.

The UB tragedy has given us another peek into human nature through the various reactions of people to it.

Stories of heroism have started to be told, like this account of a working student named Jao de Leon who was assigned to the College of Liberal Arts. Instead of immediately scampering away to safety when the blaze erupted, he chose to stay on for a while to secure the Dean's office and to salvage some office equipment. Thankfully, although he ended up blackened and perhaps almost suffocated by the billowing smoke, he was able to save himself after performing his duty.

Then there were accounts of volunteerism and generosity primarily exemplified by the owners of Sunshine Supermarket who were said to have been among the first ones to respond to the emergency call by sending their own firetruck to the fire scene. Without being asked, they also sent in that afternoon a load of food for the volunteers.

Sadly, there were also accounts of villainy or callousness. Reports of a faculty member's missing laptop and some other school equipment's unexplained disappearance seemed to evidence small-scale looting. Unsavory comments have also been made via text message and other media making fun of the UB Family's troubles. It is sad to note that while we Filipinos are known for our resilience in times of tests primarily due to our sense of humor, many of us are also known for our unbridled feasting upon the misfortune of others.

The heroes in this incident deserve our kudos; the kotrabidas, our katós!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tragedy @ University of Baguio

Baguio City's celebration of the Valentine season and gay preparation for the big day of its flower festival is now marred by another tragedy -- the University of Baguio's wooden high school building, which also houses the historic Dap-ayan Hall, was razed to the ground just after lunch today. The fire also gutted some sections of the AMS building.

My wife who teaches Psychology at UB was at the building adjacent to the high school area at the time. She has just finished encoding the grades of her students when the fire broke out. She was informed later after she got out of the campus that the fire started at the high school building.

I am not privy to any other details relative to the fire, but there is no question that the damage costs millions and the loss is more than just material.

Let's offer our prayers for the UB family, the Bautistas and the other folks who have been adversely affected by this tragedy. Let's pray that they will be blessed somehow as they strive to build something new and something greater on the ashes of life's vicissitudes.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2 Quotes on Love

Love is time and space measured by the heart.

- Marcel Proust

If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance... There are three things that will endure - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love.

- Paul of Tarsus

hearts and flowers for my sweetie

It tickles me valentinestweety.jpgto realize that Baguio's month of flowers is also its month of hearts.

My beautiful and loving wife and I had wanted to take a stroll down Session Road and join dozens of lovers in savoring the spirit of the season, but upon realizing that our fridge is empty, we decided to go to market instead. Besides, there are paper works to do for the night. We'll find time for the romantic some other way. Flowers are out of our budget, so let me just give my sweetie , Ann, the hearts and flowers by saying "I LOVE YOU" in a hundred languages:

I Love You in 100 Languages

[lifted from this site]

English - I love you
Afrikaans - Ek het jou lief
Albanian - Te dua
Arabic - Ana behibak (to male)
Arabic - Ana behibek (to female)
Armenian - Yes kez sirumem
Bambara - M'bi fe
Bengali - Ami tomake bhalobashi (pronounced: Amee toe-ma-kee bhalo-bashee)
Belarusian - Ya tabe kahayu
Bisaya - Nahigugma ako kanimo
Bulgarian - Obicham te
Cambodian - Soro lahn nhee ah
Catalan - T'estimo
Cherokee - Tsi ge yu i
Cheyenne - Ne mohotatse
Chichewa - Ndimakukonda
Cantonese - Ngo oiy ney a
Mandarin - Wo ai ni
Comanche - U kamakutu nu
(pronounced oo----ka-ma-koo-too-----nu) -- Thx Tony
Corsican - Ti tengu caru (to male)
Cree - Kisakihitin
Creol - Mi aime jou
Croatian - Volim te
Czech - Miluji te
Danish - Jeg Elsker Dig
Dutch - Ik hou van jou
Elvish - Amin mela lle (from The Lord of The Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien)
Esperanto - Mi amas vin
Estonian - Ma armastan sind
Ethiopian - Afgreki'
Faroese - Eg elski teg
Farsi - Doset daram
<!----> Filipino - Mahal kita
Finnish - Mina rakastan sinua
French - Je t'aime, Je t'adore
Frisian - Ik hald fan dy
Gaelic - Ta gra agam ort
Georgian - Mikvarhar
German - Ich liebe dich
Greek - S'agapo
Gujarati - Hoo thunay prem karoo choo
Hiligaynon - Palangga ko ikaw
Hawaiian - Aloha Au Ia`oe
To female - "ani ohev otach" (said by male) "ohevet Otach" (said by female)
To male - "ani ohev otcha" (said by male) "Ohevet ot'cha" (said by female)
Hiligaynon - Guina higugma ko ikaw
Hindi - Hum Tumhe Pyar Karte hae
Hmong - Kuv hlub koj
Hopi - Nu' umi unangwa'ta
Hungarian - Szeretlek
Icelandic - Eg elska tig
Ilonggo - Palangga ko ikaw
Indonesian - Saya cinta padamu
Inuit - Negligevapse
Irish - Taim i' ngra leat
Italian - Ti amo
Japanese - Aishiteru or Anata ga daisuki desu
Kannada - Naanu ninna preetisuttene
Kapampangan - Kaluguran daka
Kiswahili - Nakupenda
Konkani - Tu magel moga cho
Korean - Sarang Heyo or Nanun tangshinul sarang hamnida
Latin - Te amo
Latvian - Es tevi miilu
Lebanese - Bahibak
Lithuanian - Tave myliu
Luxembourgeois - Ech hun dech gaer
Macedonian - Te Sakam
Malay - Saya cintakan mu / Aku cinta padamu
Malayalam - Njan Ninne Premikunnu
Maltese - Inhobbok
Marathi - Me tula prem karto
Mohawk - Kanbhik
Moroccan - Ana moajaba bik
Nahuatl - Ni mits neki
Navaho - Ayor anosh'ni
Ndebele - Niyakutanda
Bokmaal - Jeg elsker deg
Nyonrsk - Eg elskar deg
Pandacan - Syota na kita!!
Pangasinan - Inaru Taka
Papiamento - Mi ta stimabo
Persian - Doo-set daaram
Pig Latin - Iay ovlay ouyay
Polish - Kocham Ciebie
Portuguese - Eu te amo
Romanian - Te iubesc
Russian - Ya tebya liubliu
Scot Gaelic - Tha gra\dh agam ort
Serbian - Volim te
Setswana - Ke a go rata
Sign Language - ,\,,/ (represents position of fingers when signing 'I Love You')
Sindhi - Maa tokhe pyar kendo ahyan
Sioux - Techihhila
Slovak - Lu`bim ta
Slovenian - Ljubim te
Spanish - Te quiero / Te amo
Swahili - Ninapenda wewe
Swedish - Jag alskar dig
Swiss-German - Ich lieb Di
Surinam - Mi lobi joe
Tagalog - Mahal kita
Taiwanese - Wa ga ei li
Tahitian - Ua Here Vau Ia Oe
Tamil - Nan unnai kathalikaraen
Telugu - Nenu ninnu premistunnanu
To female - Phom rak khun
To male - Chan rak khun
Informal - Rak te
Tunisian - Ha eh bak
Turkish - Seni Seviyorum
Ukrainian - Ya tebe kahayu
Urdu - mai aap say pyaar karta hoo
To female - Anh ye^u em
To male - Em ye^u anh
Welsh - 'Rwy'n dy garu di
Yiddish - Ikh hob dikh
Yoruba - Mo ni fe
Zazi - Ezhele hezdege
Zuni - Tom ho' ichema

1st Int'l Meet on Cordi Studies: My General Impressions

Overwhelmed. Shamed. Provoked. These words sum up my impressions on the recently conducted 1st International Conference on Cordillera Studies.Overwhelmed. Who would not feel swamped by the flood of scholarship pouring forth from the more than a hundred papers scheduled to be read during the three-day affair? Like apo newsman Ramon Dacawi who had wanted to attend each session , I was daily torn between dozens of "lovers." Realistically though, were the conference so scheduled as to have allowed me to listen in to every paper presentation, I'm sure I'd ended up in a hospital bed for "acute information diarrhea." Even the 23 papers I was able to listen to in full were simply too much for me, what with my limited lexicon boxed in for about 10 years by the language of sectarian theology. It was such a struggle negotiating the nuances of a different language of scholarship. There was just so much basic concepts to learn, and so little time to study for a working and family man like me. I must hasten to add, however, that although I was initially overwhelmed by this "flood," I did not drown. As I continue to stay afloat by just "dog paddling," I'm ever hopeful that in time I'll learn the right strokes and finally fearlessly frolick with other academics in the open sea of learning.

Shamed. Learning from foreigners certain facets of Cordilleran culture heretofore unknown to me was embarrassing. I have never been ashamed of my Igorot roots (finontok, or kinalinga), but I have never felt ashamed of myself in relation to my roots until the conference somehow blasted at my ignorance about my own culture. I realized how little effort I exerted to help in the documentation and development of our indigenous knowledge systems and practices (IKSP). I was brought to tears seeing Mr. Dulnuan stand as an authority of the Ifugao culture as I remembered my father who, even at the twilight of his life, worked hard for the preservation of the best of Kalinga culture. I regretted that I did not take much advantage of his amazing store of indigenous knowledge, and thus allowed almost a whole library to die with him. There were scraps from that lost library that I was able to save though, which is very encouraging as I don't have to start from scratch as I pick up from where he left off.

Provoked. In his closing remarks, conference organizer Professor Delfin Tolentino, Jr. expressed his hopes that the conference was provocative enough as to have somehow "altered the way we view things." It was to me, as it will continue to be. I deem it providential that a historic conference as this would be held at a time when I was tearing myself away from a sectarian background in order to engage in a more productive pursuit, one that can help me truly connect with my own identity and turn me into a better servant to my community.

May the University of the Philippines Baguio College of Arts and Communication (UPB-CAC) be blessed a hundredfold for sponsoring us in this rare event. May the CSC continue to be a strong tower of refuge for a heritage threatened by the lurking forces of apathy and malpractice, and a bastion of Cordilleran scholarship. Matago-tago tako losan!

Changes in Language

Languages are only as old as the generation that currently speaks them. There are no such things as prehistoric languages still being spoken today, they died out with the people who spoke them, and it is the language that they passed on to their children, and their children's children that eventually survives in the languages of today. Between two generations, the differences are usually minimal, but...they can be quite large. Grandchildren usually have quite different ways of speaking than their grandparents, these are the signs of language change. These changes can affect every aspect of a language. One of the most obvious of these is the lexicon, or the words we use.

Lawrence A. Reid, "Who are the Indigenous? Origins and Transformations," p. 7 (paper read during the 1st International Conference on Cordillera Studies, 08 February 2008.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Sadanga: The Land of Kadangyans"

“Sadanga: The Land of the ‘Kadangyans’”
By Augustus U. Saboy, Baguio Midland Courier, 20 February 1966
[See related article here]

SHOULD the supbprovince of Bontoc become a separate province, the municipality which will stand up to be its financial angel would expectedly be Sadanga – often referred to as the “Land of the Kadangyans.” The word kadangyan means “rich man,” an individual in Bontoc primitive society belonging to the opulent class.

A foresight view of the wealth that Sadanga unassumingly owns may yield the reason behind its being called a region populated by affluent individuals. For while today her kadangyans own flights of rice terraces, rows of roofed granaries, illimitable supply of basi (sugar cane wine) and herds of cattle, Sadanga’s wealth of tomorrow are its great storage of mineral ores in its bowels, timber from its virgin borderland forests and its potential tourist wealth.

Much could be appreciated in the simple lives of the Sadanga folks. Conservative and hardworking people as they are, they seasonally dish out one of the most expensive native celebrations in the Mountain Province – the chono which features prominently the mass slaughtering of carabaos. The basi which they brew from their sugar cane patches is considered “the best” in the province. It tops in the number of olog(s), a primitive dormitoary of unmarried girls. The menfolk stake periodically one of the ancient games in the province – a mock battle fought between young men with staves and shields and their version of the famous Bontoc “Fagfagto.”

In rice terraces construction, they are rated among the ablest. This is evidenced by the fact that in the hinterlands of Abra and elsewhere, their stonewall artists are favorites of people yearly hiring men to do excavation work.

In war, Sadanga’s menfolk are among the bravest and fiercest. And Mountain Province tribesmen today have yet to duplicate the feat of Sadanga’s tribesmen fearlessly “invading” a lowland urban community in seeking revenge for the alleged killing of one of the tribesmen a decade ago.
For those hit by the sightseeing bug however, here are some of the outstanding sights that Sadanga offers.

Rice Terraces

For a change in rice terraces sights such as those which are offered by Banaue in Ifugao, the Sacasacan, Belwang, Bikigan and Betwagan rice terraces are open to the visitor’s vicarious delights.
The Sacasacan and Belwang rice terraces can be reached on foot from the municipal town of Sadanga with some two to three hours of hiking and climb up the rice terraces stairways. For the Betwagan terraces, a distant view can be had from the national highway north of Bontoc. A good two-hour hike to the barrio leads to the place where a panoramic view is caught from a hillside overlooking the village.

For a wider vista of the Belwang, Sacasacan and Bikigan rice terraces, a climb up to the barrio of Sacasacan will be rewarding. From this Sadanga barrio one catches a climpse of one of the massive sights of stone-walled rice terraces in the Mt. Province extending from the rest of the mountains down to the craggy banks of the Sadanga river below. During planting seasons, a gratifying scene greets the eye with irrigation aqueducts glittering in the sunlight down the terraced mountainside. The irrigation system of these rice terraces would send present-day civil engineers wondering over how these high stonewalled rice paddies are able to withstand erosion and cave-ins without the construction aids of slide rules and laboratories.

The Sadanga rice terraces are extensions of the terraces that are found in the barrios of Mainit, Guinaang and Malegkong on the northwestern highlands of Bontoc. Malegkong is only two-hour hike from Sacasacan, a village atop the municipal town of Sadanga.

Hot Springs

The Sadanga natives have found the medicinal and refreshing effects of hot springs that abound in the region. And so, they have with their own resources impounded one of the biggest springs in the municipality just a stone’s throw away from their municipal hall. A weary traveler can take a dip in one of these pools in the evenings. The hot spring pool is full of Sadanga villagers in the evenings bathing after a whole day of strenuous work in their farms.

More of these hot springs can be found along the banks of the Sadanga river – all catering to hot water needs of the villagers.

Lumawig’s Footprints

On a brushland between the barrio of Malegkong and Sacasacan is a huge rock sitting prominently on a hilltop like a sentinel guarding the fast receding tree lines of the undulating mountain range. Here in this uninhabited placed called Sidio are found huge human footprints left on the rocks.
Villages will readily tell that these are Lumawig’s – the legendary superbeing of the Bontocs who is said to have once ruled the regions long ago. Near these footprints are also hoofprints which appear to be those of a wild deer and another which is like that of a dog’s. Some small holes found in the rocks are said to be made by the point of Lumawig’s spear.

Whether these are footprints of a human being who lived once upon a time in the region cannot be established. But these are surely valuable tips for archaeologists who would like to refute earlier historical findings that point to the Himalayan valleys as the “cradle of the human race.”

Natural Lakes

Sadanga is one of the regions in the Mountain Province blessed with natural lakes. Among these which can be reached on foot are the Agaedon Lake found some kilometers above the barrio of Belwang towards the Mt. Province – Abra border, and the two lakes at Sacasacan. Fresh water fishes are found in these lakes where wild board and deer once frequent to wallow when they are driven by the noontime heat.

The Angoten Cave

This unknown natural cave made newspaper headlines a year ago when a group of school pupils, accompanied by their teachers and a US Peace Corp Volunteer, went for science class excursion to the place.

Only less than a kilometer up the hills of Belwang, the Angoten Cave got its name after its first discoverer, a certain Angoten who, according to a story, was a bat hunter. It was said that Angoten strayed into the caverns of the cave while hunting bats and after which his torch went out.

For days, Angoten wandered around the cavernous portions of the cave until he decided to follow the subterranean river below. Angoten was given up for dead by his fellow tribesmen until one day, word was received by the villagers that he appeared in the town of Sagada.

Another version of the story tells of Angoten coming out from one of the limestone caves of Sagada, to be welcomed as a “god” by the barrio folk. After Angoten related his story, he was borne on the shoulders of his hosts back to his home barrio in Belwang.

Whether the story is true or not, Angoten’s exploits gave him the distinction of being the first human being to discover that one of the rivers coming out of Sagada’s limestone caves has its source in Belwang and that a long subterranean river is found inside the mountains of Bontoc.

While we wait for explorers to duplicate Angoten’s accidental feat, the cave bearing his name is one of the potential tourist spots in the Mountain Province. A waterfall lazily drops from eaves of the cave above down to the mouth of the cave. For science students, the Angoten cave is an ideal hunting ground for exhibits and souvenirs.

This is Sadanga – today’s land of the kadangyans and a great source of provincial income for tomorrow’s “Province of Bontoc.”

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Cordillera Studies Conference - Day 2

There is no doubt that all participants eagerly faced the sunrise of Day 2, looking forward to being fed with more fruits of scholarship.

Among the early birds at the conference site, apo newsman Ramon Dacawi and I chatted for a while as we awaited the start of the first set of the parallel sessions for the day. Like the rest of us, he was torn between 47 "lovers." For who would want to miss even one of the day's 47 paper presentations in a rare learning event as this? The respected Baguio-based journalist had wanted to listen in to the reading of papers at Panel 18, especially Janice "Maya" Bagawi's "Shiyay Ak Mango: Affective Meanings of an Ibaloi Expression" but now finds himself tugged on the sleeves, so to speak, by another equally inviting discussion group. He said he has been keenly interested in the "Shiyay ak Mango" paper largely because he is planning to write something about some of the popular expressions that somehow serve as cultural markers of the different provinces in the Cordillera region. I suggested that he include "Adjina man-work!" which is a byword among my tribemates in Balbalan, Kalinga.

I would have wanted to listen to the famous anthropologist June Prill-Brett talk about the contribution of the eminent ethnographer Roy Franklin Barton (1883-1947) to Cordillera Studies, but having found out that she would also be delivering another paper on health issues the following day, I went back to the ILC where "Cordillera Languages" was to be discussed.

After Maya, UPB College of Arts and Communication Dean Elizabeth Calinawagan presented her paper on "The Function of Affixes" in three Cordillera languages -- Kankanaey, Ibaloi and Ilocano. The dean was followed by Diane Decker of SIL-Asia who, assisted by her husband Gregory, enlightened the audience on the "Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education Innovation" program they have been experimenting on in Lubuagan, Kalinga.

Having been engrossed in uploading my notes in the internet room just after the break, I missed out on the chance to hear the lecture of University of Hawaii Linguist Lawrence A. Reid during the day's plenary session. He was to speak on, "Who Are the Indigenous? Origins and Transformation."

For the first set of the afternoon sessions, I attended the discussion group where Ruby Rosa Jimenez (UP Baguio) and Maria Stanyukovich (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography) were to successively present their papers -- "A Preliminary Study of the Aesthetics of the Ifugao Hudhud" and "The Symbolic Meaning of Ethnographic Objects in Ifugao Hudhud Tradition." I then chose Panel 25 (Cultural Heritage II) after that. In this last session, Caroline Acosta of St. Mary's University, Manuel Dulawan of the Ifugao Academy, and Ana Labrador of UP Diliman (assisted by ina Julia Bete of Bontoc, Mt. Province) talked on the following, respectively: "The BALAY: Important Issues on Its Cultural Sustainability," "The Need to Preserve a People's Culture: The Ifugao Experience," and "Out of Context/Out of Peril: Two Views on Caring for Ethnographic Collections from Bontoc, Mt. Province."

Learning Points and Impressions (to be continued)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

"appropriating one's own"

The academic is one path that the detour of reflection and thinking can opt to travel -- which sometimes takes too long -- to a destination that turns out to be quite proximate, stark, and blinding in its familiarity. What is familiar and near is usually farthest from the mind. But because there is a general need for making our own what is farthest, there is a general problem of distanciation, and therefore of thinking and reflection. It is perhaps part of the human fate too that we have to appropriate what is already ours. "To appropriate is to make 'one's own' what was 'alien' (Ricoeur 1976, 43), but what we already own, and are, may also stand farthest.

- Julius D. Mendoza, "Alterity and Cultural Existence," in B. P. Tapang, ed., Cordillera in June: Essays Celebrating June Prill-Brett, Anthropologist (Quezon City: The University of the Philippines Press, 2007), p. 1 .

Cordillera Studies Conference- Day 1

Rousing Start

UP Baguio's "Bulwagang Juan Luna" looked gay yesterday with the colorful hand-woven tapestries (courtesy of Narda's) hanging on its walls as it warmly welcomed about 300 participants to a yet another historic event in the region and the country, the "1st International Conference on Cordillera Studies."

The affair went off to a rousing start with the opening ceremonies graced by UP President Emerlinda R. Roman who, in her keynote speech, lauded UP Baguio for this key contribution to the centennial celebration of the UP System, the country's "premiere educational institution." The hall also rang with the laughter of gongs accompanied by a guitar, and would have jigged -- if that were possible -- with the dancers in full indigenous attire.

Initially dilly-dallying over which of the 14 Panels to get into as I argued with myself about the importance of each of the 46 titles of papers to be presented for the day, I finally decided to join Panel 4 (Identity and Representation - I) for the morning segment, and Panels 9 & 11 (Music and Literature & Cultural Heritage - I, respectively) for the afternoon session.

Panel 4

Jimmy Fong (UP Baguio) - "Constructing Igorotness and Popular Culture"

Ruth Tindaan (UP Baguio) - "Imaging of the Igorot in Vernacular Films Produced in the Cordillera"

Roland Rabang (UP Baguio) - "Kailyan di Cordillera: Imaging a Nation through the Lens of Eduardo Masferre and Tommy Hafalla"

Panel 9

Jennilyn Dula & Jaime Raras (Univ. of Northern Phils. - Candon) - "Two Cordilleran Songs -- Dung-aw and Uggayam : Bridges of Understanding"

Michiyo Yoneno-Reyes (UP Diliman) - "Undoing Identity Projection and Myth of 'Tradition' in Salidummay Singing and Narratives in a Northern Highland Village in the Postcolonial Philippines"

Ma. Elinora Peralta-Imson (UP Baguio) - "Two Cordillera Legends from Fil-Hispanic Literature: 'El arbol de oro' and 'Antamok'

Rosario de Santos del Rosario (UP Diliman) - "Introducing the Ifugao Alim - A Male Discourse on Couplehood, Sexuality, and Prosperity"

Panel 11

Marlowe Aquino (Department of Agriculture) - "Methodical Analysis of Cordillera Artifacts: The Case of the Itneg Natural Dye Weaving"

Purificacion Delima (UP Baguio) - "The State of Heritage Learning in the Cordillera: Views and Reviews of Determinants"

Remedios Mondiguing (UP Diliman) - "Ifugao Woodcarving as Embodied Thought, Memory and Imagination"


Listening to the lectures and forums during the day was like exploring the fastnesses of our tribal territory in Balbalan, Kalinga -- at first familiar; in the long run, strange.

The program's theme, "Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in Transition," at once allowed me to pick up where I left this concern off in 2005 when I resigned from DILG-CAR (the year before that, I had the privilege of representing our regional office in the following workshops: "Mainstreaming Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Local Governance" held on 13 September 2004 in the city under the joint sponsorship of the Japan Foundation and DILG through its training arm, the Local Government Academy or LGA; "Mainstreaming Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Local Governance in the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop" held on 14-16 October 2004 in Pasig City and with the same sponsors; and "Workshop on Local Good Governance and Indigenous Peoples" held on 19-20 November, also in the same year but this time under the sponsorship of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance or CPA). Further, the wealth of information presented by the panelists initially connected with my memories of home and my experiences in various parts of Northern Luzon's highlands.

As the discussions deepened, however, the theme and the world -- my own culture -- that were familiar had become strange with my realization that I have, to a great extent, been ignorant of my own cultural heritage for whose exploration, preservation and/or enrichment I had contributed so little.

On a more cheerful note, however, I am gladdened by the fact that I have now started to pursue the academic and professional path which will enable me to be a better servant to my ili, my binodngan.

Also, it is greatly encouraging to once again realize how many stakeholders -- foreigners and locals alike -- have banded themselves together to help steer the grand Cordilleran ship across the troubled waters of today and on to a better shore of historical development.


Here's one tasty, bite-sized info I picked up from Jimmy Fong's presentation:

The "e-gorot." Prof. Jimmy Fong prefaced his presentation with a PLDT ad showing photos of three male Igorot elders in their native garb one of whom says, "Someone emailed me about starting an e-business" to which another quipped, "That will make us 'e-gorots.'" The lecturer then went on to note that the last statement is a "self-fulfilling prophecy" as evidenced by the Igorots' increased participation in today's cyber-race and their creative mobilization of pop culture "to construct their identity." Today's "Igorot Agenda," he says, is "Ethnic Cleansing" -- by which he meant the rooting out of stereotypes embedded in the term "Igorot." He convincingly showed this burgeoning movement through the Igorots' engagement in showbusiness (read: Marky Cielo), and pop music (Buguias-made country music, for one), among others. Ending with a note on the neologism "Kinnoboyan" (to be a cowboy) coined by Igorots, Fong remarked that as the Igorots continue to find their hold in a fluid era, "the Igorot has become a 'cowboy' -- spartan, flexible."

(Day 2 Notes here)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Christianity in a Postmodern World

Karl Barth, in a play on Ludwig Feuerback's name, once wrote that Christianity would have to pass through the "fiery brook" of Feuerbach's critique in order to address the world with integrity. In a nod to deconstruction, I would agree that we must be very zen when we come to the art of interpreting tradition and Christpicasso.jpgian faith. It is said that when you begin zen training, a mountain is a mountain; during zen, the mountain is no longer a mountain; and after zen, a mountain is a mountain.

The point, of course, is that when we engage in the process of deconstructing our cherished realities, nothing seems the same anymore. This leads to fear and consternation because we do not know what to believe. The solid, settled, and secure is no longer thus. The mountain is no longer a mountain. When we embrace the critical deconsrtruction of our naive world constructions, when we see the mountain for what it truly is, it ceases to be obscured by our naivete. In the move to postcritical reconstruction, however, we have a new mountain, a different mountain, but a mountain nonetheless. As Christian faith takes its journey up the mountain of postmodernity, it will also find a new faith, one vastly different but the same nevertheless.

- Jeffrey C. Pugh, The Matrix of Faith: Reclaiming a Christian Vision (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2001), p. 27.

xīn nián kuài le!

To our Chinese friends out there,

xīn nián kuài le!


Friday, February 1, 2008

Education, Dogmatism and Truth

Were I to be offered to select between knowledge of all truth and the impulse to seek the truth, I would, as did Lessing, reverently select the second as a greater boon than the first. Education ought to foster the wish for truth, not the conviction that some particular creed or dogma is the truth, because the purpose of education is to produce thought rather than belief. Weducation.jpgere I to formulate certain mental habits that should be instilled in the minds of the youth, I would -- instead obedience and discipline -- aim at independence and impulse. Education should try to develop justice in thought, instead of simple credulity; it should stimulate constructive doubt, the love of mental adventure instead of blind imitation. Towards the opinion of others, it ought to produce not invariable acquiescence, but discerning opposition, combined with imaginative apprehension and a clear realization of the grounds for opposition.

- Jose P. Laurel, "The Twofold Aspects of University Education," Assertive Nationalism (Manila: National Teachers College, 1931), p. 53.

Historic Meet at UPB


The University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB), through its Cordillera Studies Center (CSC), will hold the 1st International Conference on Cordillera Studies on 7-9 February 2008 in Baguio City, Philippines.

Held in conjunction with the celebration of the Centennial of the Philippines' premier university, the conference.jpgconference will address the general theme of "Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in Transition." The theme is meant to direct attention to significant transformations in the Cordillera region of Northern Luzon, Philippines where contemporary forces of change (such as globalization, electronic technology, and migration) are profoundly altering the lives of the indigenous peoples often given the collective designation of Igorot.

The over-all objective of the conference is to present different perspectives and approaches in the study of indigenous society and culture, and to provide directions for future research on issues that concern the peoples of the Northern Luzon Cordillera.

Among the topics to be covered by the conference are:

  • Approaches to indigenous studies

  • Identity and representation

  • Material culture and oral traditions

  • Cultural heritage

  • Natural resource management

  • Migration and indigenous peoples

  • Urbanization in upland communities

  • Women, gender, and culture

  • Governance and public policy

  • Indigenous knowledge systems and practices

  • Institutions and economic development

  • Issues in health and education

  • Information and communication technology and indigenous communities

  • Social and political movements

Some 140 papers have been organized into 42 panels addressing these themes.

For inquiries and assistance, write or call:

1st International Conference on Cordillera Studies
Cordillera Studies Center
University of the Philippines Baguio
2600 Baguio City, Philippines

E-mail:, cordillerastudies@g

posted with permission, lifted from CSC website -