Saturday, December 12, 2009

An Invitation to a Book Tour: A Puppy, Not a Guppy on December 15, 2009

There will be a virtual tour of the book : A Puppy, Not a Guppy by Holly Jahangiri which is scheduled in my other blog Jena Isle’s Random Thoughts on December 15. It's a collector's item, and you'll learn why on December 15.

To make it more exciting, a contest would be held; the detailed mechanics will be posted on December 14, 2009.

There would be four (4) winners of the contest:

1. Two (2) winners of the Contest proper, to be awarded by the book author – Holly Jahangiri.

2. One winner of a $10 prize (thru paypal) to whoever would be asking the book author the most interesting question. I will be sponsoring and selecting this winner. A link back to my blog, ( if you have a blog) would be the only requirement.

3. One free Inspirational Book (Anthology of Bloggers all Over the World) would be awarded to whoever has the most interesting comment on the blog post about the book tour.

More detailed information about the book would be posted at Jena Isle’s Random Thoughts on the date scheduled.

Holly Jahangiri would be answering all your questions.

I look forward to your participation!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The typical Kalinga man is tall, dark and handsome! He's intelligent, witty and generous too.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Meat Dish in Taloctoc: the old way of cooking

In the lowlands especially here in Pampanga, meat is cooked in various ways and in several different dishes that sometimes, the genuine taste of the meat is lost.

The natives of Taloctoc are usually vegetarians. There are special occasion however, that the butchering of pigs, carabaos and cows are considered appropriate. These are during marriages, peace pact agreements, and village fiestas.

Before the animal is butchered, certain prayers are done first by the “mandandawak” (village’s quack doctor.)


Then the animal is cleaned through the use of direct fire and a sharp knife to scrap the hair out of the animal’s skin.

The “message” of the gods is then interpreted from the arrangement of the lobes of the animal's liver.

The blood of the animal is also spread through a portion of the ground as a symbol that the people are honoring the gods.

The meat is cut into medium-sized pieces, and then placed in a big "silyasi" (wok.) These are boiled in water until tender, over a stone stove making use of firewood collected from the nearby forest.

There are no condiments added; no salt, no vinegar, pepper or whatever flavor enhancers that we usually add to meat.

Rice would also be cooked in a big pot.

After everything is cooked, all of it is placed in banana leaves, where everyone would then squat to eat.

There are no plates whatsoever.

Everyone eats from the two, big serving plates - the banana leaves. One for the rice and one for the viand (meat).

I can tell you, I have never tasted meat so pure in form and flavor.

Photo by Hulagway

Friday, October 23, 2009

Politics in Kalinga (The Coming Elections)

With the coming elections, the people of Kalinga are empowered to vote for their own candidates. Here they're proudly demonstrating their willingness to exercise their right of suffrage.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The BIBAK Officers - 1955

BIBAK stands for BENGUET -IFUGAO - BONTOC - APAYAO -KALINGA. These are the provinces in Mountain Province. These are the competent and able officers from these cultural minorities, who had brought honor and pride to their respective places.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Easier Way to Find the Right Hosting Service

Finding the right hosting service for your blog or website may seem to be difficult, especially for beginners. There are technical terms that will be new to you, such as disk space and bandwidth. Although you can easily find them by searching them, you don’t know how to choose the right one for you. If you choose the wrong one, you will not get the right services that you need and you will also be wasting money.
The best thing that you can do is to collect them and compare them with each other.

Afterward, this is only applicable when you can choose the right hosting service for you. However, collecting info about them takes a lot of time, and comparing them with each other is even more time consuming. Chances are you will just choose the one you first saw, and get their services with your eyes closed.

The good news is there are now sites that can help you, and is one of them. They have a list of the Top 10 Web Hosting Companies, including their features. They are arranged in such a way that you can easily compare them. Also included are reviews about each hosting service and their rankings. They will also help you if you want to switch to another hosting service. More importantly, they will teach you how to save money by helping you choose the features that you only need.

But I think the best part of their service is they have helpful articles and guides especially for beginners. This will certainly be a big help since choosing the right hosting service takes a lot of understanding and knowledge. Now, you can focus on providing contents for your site and then build links to promote it.

Getting a hosting service is a part of investing, and a good hosting service is definitely a big asset for you. But even though there are helpful sites like, it will still be you who will choose. Therefore, you should be smart and decide wisely.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Memories of December in Taloctoc

These are the "BER" months once again and Christmas is just two months away!

Celebrating Christmas in the village of Taloctoc had been a unique and wonderful experience.

I will always remember those cold mornings around the hearth, drinking a hot cup of coffee while the firewood crackled happily. Christmas mornings were always cold then. I was 10 years old then and life was going good for me.

After the morning ritual, I and my friends would run off to the woods and prepare our caroling ensembles. We would arm ourselves with bamboo flutes, a bamboo treble, and a drum made up of the carabao’s hide.

In the evenings, we would go from house to house singing our disjointed Christmas songs.”

Merry Christmas to you all.
Merry Christmas to you all.
Dong-dong ay si dong-ilay, Insinali –dumma-ay.

We went all night long doing the rounds of all the houses. There were, more or less, 300 households in that small village, and we visited them all!

The folks were very generous to us. We would go home with our arms full of fruits, candies, rice cakes, sugar cane, and yes, even coffee and mongo beans. It was very rare that a household would not give anything.

But there were funny instances when we sang a naughty lyric to those very few who were lazy to get up, and then we would run as fast as our small feet could carry us.

I still laugh when I remember a friend who got drenched by cold water because he poked a sleeping old man with a stick, in between the bamboo floor slits. Lol… I know now, it was not really funny, but at that time, the audacity of the youth in us, was given free reign.

Some folks became extra generous when they see me with the other kids “Sa anak mistala anna,” (She’s the teacher’s daughter.) My mother was the only female teacher in the nipa school and they respected her a lot.

There were adult choirs too who sang the English, Christmas songs beautifully molded into the native tongue, and their musical instruments were totally a blast. I have never heard since then, something even closely resembling them.

It was like music coming from the heavens.

Taddoks (Kalinga dance) are also conducted in the school's plaza where food, wine and celebrations went on until the wee hours of dawn in the blazing illumination of a bonfire.

From my Kalinga folks and me, I greet you, “Mambayo eh Krismas yo at de umali e December!” (May you have a merry Christmas this coming December )

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Value of Honesty in Taloctoc, Kalinga

One thing that had made its mark in my memory as a young child is the honesty of the Kalinga native.

In our barrio - Taloctoc, houses were never locked. You could wander in and out of anybody's house, if you so desire.

You could leave your personal things anywhere and would still find them untouched when you get back.

Sometimes a child may be curious and "investigate"but he will always leave them where he found them, or report the found item to an elder .

If - apparently - the owner forgot it, then it will be brought to the barrio captain's
house where the person may claim it.

It was an unwritten code to respect the rights and properties of another person.

There were no documented and notarized papers to that effect (just like what we do now), but everyone respected that "law".
There were very rare occasions when a scalawag nicked an item, but eventually he himself surrenders and would be willing to suffer the consequences.

all Photos by glenmcbethlaw

Friday, July 10, 2009

Harvesting Rice in the Payaos (Ricefields)

Harvesting rice was considered fun for the ordinary Kalinga kid, but for me then, I considered it a harrowing experience because of what happened during my first exposure.

We were all geared up for the "payao" (ricefields); with wide brim hats, long sleeved-clothing and our sharp scythes. We were to harvest rice wheats in two paddies.

The practice was to start the harvest only when you were certain you would be able to finish it; it was believed that any remaining unharvested rice wheat stalks would be ruined because the diety of the fields might become angry with what was perceived as laziness.

So there we were in the ricefield, all lined up as we harvested the rich wheats- one by one, using our razor sharp scythes. It was fun at first but when the sun reached its peak, I could no longer converse with my friend as my lips became parched and dry. My hands too, were already blistered and bleeding because of the sharp rice stalks that had persistently sliced through my palms...and to top these all, leeches were all over the muddy paddies sucking the blood out of me. They were found on the leaves of the wheat and on the mucilaginous mud at my feet. God, they were so lecherous, like hedonists making love; and had only detached themselves when I had scorched their sucking appendages with a smoldering tobacco.

I thought the day would never end, but of course, just like anything else, everything came to pass. We were done alright, but not after I cried several times from fatigue and pain, with all the blisters , sunburn and wounds I had obtained. I had to hide my tears amidst my sweat as I did not want to be called "lazy" by my peers.

From that day onwards, my skin thickened, the sole of my feet keratinized and I became insensitive to the rays of the noon day sun. I slowly adapted to the way of life; from my protected city life to the harsh rural setting.

I would never forget those memorable experiences though as they had made me tougher and a better person.

Photo by purplbutrfly

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


My other paternal grandfather was a true blooded Taloctoc native. All that adorned his lean muscular body was a g-string which undulated with his every movement. He was as strong as a bull and sturdy as an oak. At age 70, he still trekked to the kaingin a mountain away from the barrio.

He carried bundles of wood like an agile, young man. During the evenings, we would sit all around the hearth and he would sing to us an "ullalim" (native song) about the legend of the "sleeping beauty" . In the mornings, before the cock has crowed, he would be up and about and already honing his bolo for a day's work in the fields.

When he passed away at age 92, I cried a river; but knowing that he is finally at rest, made me feel better . My wonderful memories of him will never fade away and will remain treasured in my heart .

APO LOMIWAN, we love you, and wherever you are, we know you're in good hands and that you are happy. Till we meet again!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The Taloctoc dialect has a certain accent that is specific for only Taloctoc natives. The letter "T" is most often pronounced as "K"; the letter "D" is most often pronounced as a cross between "T" and "D" (a heavy "TH" sound).

English to Taloctoc

1. What is your name? Umma ngadan no?
2. Where do you live? Umma ili yo?
3. Please come here. Umali kaod atna.
4. I love you. Laydok sika
5. Where are you going? Umma ayam?
6. Look at this! Ilam kad de anna.
7. Go ahead! Ingkayon ot.
8. What do you see? Umma ma-ilam?
9. You lied! nantul-li ka.
10. You are beautiful. Mambalo(l here is pronounced as y)ka.
11. Why have you done this to me? Pamman kingwa kansakon de katnat?
12. Take care. Ammam pay.
13. Where are you right now? Umma igom sinsana?
14. Wait, please. Unniyan ot.
15. I hope you are doing well. Mambalo ka ot yan.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thank You to my Top EC Droppers for March

I would like to thank all those who dropped by this blog, especially my top droppers. Cheers and happy blogging!

Dropper # of drops
The Esoterical Journey 20
Good Life Review 20
Happy Steps travel blog 16
My Opinion Counts 15
Lagawan 14
Make Money Online Info Center 14
Mrs. Mecomber's Scrapbook 13
Online Money Intelligence 13
Zataki 12
New York Renovator 12


Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Trip to the Waterfalls and a Question to be Answered by YOU!

There are several waterfalls in the surrounding mountains of Taloctoc; big and small ones. There was this small one that we used to bathe in when we had more time to venture farther from the village. It was situated in a mid-portion of the mountain and it was an ideal place to have picnics, take a rest and then just basked in nature.

On a Saturday, I and my friends had decided that we had enough of the river and would want the refreshing cascade of the waterfalls, so off we went.

We had planned to stay only for half a day so we didn't bring anything with us. We swam under the pool of water just below the falls and enjoyed the clear and sparkling coolness. We climb atop the jutted rock and dived downwards; it was exhilarating that we lost track of time.

(Our waterfalls looked something like this.)

We only noticed that it was already afternoon when our stomachs growled hungrily and our shadows were slanting towards the east. (Yes, that was how we knew what time it was).

Each one went scavenging for food, but we didn't have to go far as there were wild guavas and berries all over the vegetation. We stuffed ourselves and in no time at all, we were full. We then went back to diving and swimming. We only stopped when it was too cold to stay in the water.

We donned our newly-washed clothes - which we have dried during the interim. (Remember, we bathe with nothing but our birthday suits on.) We were as happy as a bee and feeling invigorated as we finally descended and found our way home.

This is one event I would never forget because the following morning, we were all "sick" in bed. Not one in the group acknowledged the real reason why! We just said, we were sick and needed to stay home.

But truth is - CAN YOU GUESS WHY?

I will award 3,000 EC credits to whoever could give the real reason why we stayed home the following day.

Photo by Li-Ji

Friday, March 6, 2009

An Award From Untouchable Earth

The Premio Dardos Award is given to this blog by Noni of Untouchable Earth;
a cool blog that features poems, documentary, stories, paintings, comics and many more; written by the author's unique style is one site worthy of your time.

“The Premio Dardos Award (Italian word for "prize darts"), is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.”

To noni thanks and more power! I have many friends who are worthy of this award and I don't want to select just five, so I'll make it available to all my blogger friends who would want to take it. Happy blog hopping!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Bodong, The Taloctoc Experience

(Second time around)

In the province of Kalinga one of the provinces in the Cordillera Autonomous Region of Northern Luzon, Philippines, the tribes are bound or beholden to each other by a system called the "bodong" (peace pact).

The bodong is similar to the international treaties, in that it has provisions, constitutions, and by-laws that include, territory, people and government which are covered by the terms and conditions of the "bodong".

The provisions also include the following: care, assistance, protection, as well as imposing penalty on cases of violation of these provisions. The "bodong" protects people and visitors from both tribes, especially in emergencies.

The system has an oral constitution and by laws which is called "pagta" (oral statement of the terms and conditions, manner , limitations, ways and means in business, in emergencies in the relationship of all persons within the territories of both agreeing tribes). The penal code is orally given for specific violations. When a problem arises, the leaders of both tribes would convene and would recall the "pagta's" oral provisions relative to the case at bar; and then and there, solve the existing problem.

The bodong is usually established when an individual member of a tribe or barrio has a business relationship with another person from the other tribe. This is a specific example: Mr. Suma-il of Barrio Taloctoc, Tanudan living on the eastern slope of Mt Patokan bought a carabao from Mr. Dumawig of Tanglag, Lubuagan. Dumawig then will barter goods also - a coconut for a cup of beans, etc. - this is called "abbuyog' (sharing).

From there the relationship intensifies; Suma-il now sends a spear or javelin to Dumawig. Dumawig in turn sends a bolo (big knife). This is called "allasio" (the beginning of the peace pact). The People involved may or may not retain the original partners but in most cases, the people retain the original partners out of respect.

During the celebration of the "allasio", the parties may discuss the arrangement for the "inum" the preliminary celebration of the bodong.

When the "inum" is celebrated the discussion on the permanent pact holders may be brought out for deliberation. This maybe the original people involved or their nearest next of kin.

The final selection will be based on the required qualifications of the peace pact holder.

1. He/she must belong to a big clan, having many relatives, many brothers, sisters, cousins 2. He must be intelligent, a good leader, of good financial standing and must have the respect of the community.

The reason why the size of the clan is important is that violators of any provision will fear vengeance or punishment inflicted by the clan in retaliation for an injury or offense as orally embodied in the "pagta".

Wealth is likewise important because visitors from the other tribe usually stay at the peace pact holder's house whenever they travel and would be expecting the generous hospitality of the peace pact holder.

One special feature of the "bodong" is that in order for the holder to be able to protect the members of the other tribe, the holder must be informed whenever one or two people enter the other one's territory. If the peace pact holder is not informed, any assistance to the visitor may be denied and he will have problems leaving the barrio.

Whether the visitor stays at the peace pact holder's house or not, the holder must still be informed as a form of courtesy. It is considered a major offense not to.

Today, "bodongs" have written constitutions and by - laws suited to the present needs, likes and dislikes of the people involved in it.

Present day "bodongs" do not have the so called "top-al", where in very valuable things costing 5-10 carabaos are given as a symbol of agreement. Any visitor committing an offense would pay the same designated value.

The "bodong" in the past were binding in spite of the fact that the constitution and by-laws were done orally.

There was a time in the past when the two barrios of Tinglayan were engaged in a tribal war. The Philippine government sent a battalion of soldiers to stop the fighting but nothing came out of it; the tribal war raged on. It was only after the late Congressman Antonio Ganoa of Lubuagan (being a well, respected native himself) intervened between the warring tribes that the killing stopped.

The fighting stopped when the congressman stepped in because of the "pagta" which stipulated that both tribes should maintain cordial relationships to enhance prosperity, peace and order between them.

There was a time that politicians tried to abolish the practice and this has resulted to the rise in crimes in the province.

For the "bodong" to be successful, the "bodong" holders and the members of both tribes must cooperate to uphold the ideals that it has -for many years- stood for.
This is the Taloctoc experience. This custom is still being practiced in most provinces in Kalinga and modifications are done to adapt to each tribe's preferences but the basic rituals are still observed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Taloctoc, Kalinga House

I would describe the native Taloctoc house as extremely simple.

It is composed of one small square usually measuring around 14 X 14 to 20 X 20 floor areas. If I were to compare it to houses now, then it would be a hut.

This would be elevated and made up of bamboo and coconut lumber. The roof would be composed of nipa leaves or cogon.

Since the floor is made up of bamboo slits, one could peep below where chickens and other farming materials are housed.

Observe the background and you could visualize how a Kalinga hut looks like.

It has two doors on both sides and therefore, there is nor need for windows as the two doors in such a small area were enough to provide sufficient ventilation. What more the holes from the rattan woven walls add to the fresh air.

There would be a small veranda where visitors are received. A stairs made up of wood, served as the access of people to the house.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Beverly Hills Dentists in Taloctoc?

Going to the dentist always scares me. When I imagine the sharp object drilling into my teeth, it gives me the shivers. Back in Taloctoc when I was a kid, there were no dentists around and people resorted to homeopathic treatments for toothache. They also had devised natural ways to extract the tooth by using a variety of concoctions which were almost always effective.

Nowadays though, people undergo dental procedures as easily as brushing their teeth. The local apparatus though could not match the ones available abroad.

The Beverly Hills Dentist would be a professional who is highly specialized and skilled, and who have had excellent training experience in areas like the academe and the clinical setting. The twenty five (25) year - experience of the staff could surely ensure appropriate skills in the performance of intricate and delicate dental tasks.

The utilization of the state of the art apparatus in various procedures, like cosmetic dentistry to treatment of bad breath, would put to rest the anxiety of patients about the dental treatment.

There is also an ongoing discount of $ 50 for new patients, which is a welcomed privilege amidst the economic recession.

At present there are dentists now in Taloctoc. I do hope they’re as good as those dentists from Beverly Hills.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Similarity Between Taloctoc and New Jersey

One of the traits that the Kalingas are famous for is possessiveness over their territorial domains. This has been the source of many tribal wars where innocent lives were wasted.

In the 1960s, the natives tilled the land and derived their livelihood from it. There were no land titles but only oral agreements between the natives to separate their properties from each other, but these were honored without question.

Only stones marked the demarcation line of one property from another.

When a big dam was planned to be erected by the government, Taloctoc and all the people of Kalinga, had united as one to protest the project. The natives won and their rice fields, kaingin and villages had remained safe and undisturbed.

There were a few feuds among the villagers regarding properties but these were resolved eventually by the elders. The land was rich with natural resources and no one would go hungry as long as one worked. Mother Nature abounds also and made the place a small paradise.

If I were to compare Taloctoc to a state in the powerful nation of America it would be New Jersey - the 2nd wealthiest state. This bustling state has several cities that speak of historical landmarks - like the Ellis Island monument-to name one. Big businesses are also found in this state, like Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson and many more leading pharmaceutical companies. What's amazing also about this state is that the peace and tranquility nature offers could be found just around the corner.

The Real Estate New Jersey has several attractive options for those interested to buy real estate. New Jersey promises a haven amidst the economic recession that now plagues the world. It is a place where you’d be sure to live comfortably because the economy is stable and the cost of living is affordable.

Just like Taloctoc, you’d certainly find a happy home in New Jersey.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Way It Used To Be in Taloctoc: The Underwear Experience

Clothing has never been a problem with the natives of Taloctoc. This is where I truly learned that a book should definitely not be judged by its cover. This is because the natives way back in the 1960’s were occasionally in their birthday suits without worrying of malicious stares / intents or of being ostracized by society.

It was me who was considered the alien when I came home from the city, with my undies, slippers, boots, and umbrellas.

A native child usually was barely dressed and oftentimes was naked. The old women were dressed in “tapis” a rectangular woven cloth which was fastened at the waist. They were topless! While the men wore g-strings only.

But no one was raped or sexually molested. Women were respected and revered.

The children rarely got sick. They were made stronger by the exposure to the elements in their environment.

When I arrived at the village from the city, I was fully dressed: complete clothing, boots, undies, and an umbrella (it was raining at that time). The native kids made fun of me and called me “botas” (boots).lol… and there was a time they even called me “panti” lol…referring to my undies.

Previously, when they bathed in the river, they did not make any effort of covering their private parts. But when I arrived, they became conscious of their nakedness. At times I had thought, that I was a "bad influence" to them. I stood out like a sore thumb - the butt of jokes.

I survived all of those though, and befriended them instead; and taught them how to use the things I had.

I also tutored most of them in the bamboo classroom that we had when my mother cannot make it to class.

Soon they learned how to use panties, boots, slippers, umbrellas, etc. When we grew older they learned to wear bras.

I enjoyed being their fashion model.

I ‘m sure if I would see them now, they would be wearing the latest and classiest underwear as they had also pursued college education and are now respected professionals in their own right. Their undies would certainly be elegant and classy.

All of these they could easily obtain from intimates, a classic source of exotic, exciting and enticing underwear. And which I would gladly recommend to them.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Summer Labor and the Kaingin Rice

Photo by: Jenn of Jenn Was Here

One of the cycles of labor that the Taloctoc youngsters go through is the summer labor or “Uma”.

This is the “kaingin” time in which an area in the mountains is cleared for planting rice during the summer months.

The month of April would see the native folks, burning and clearing the area making it ready for rice planting after the first rainfall.

We had built a small hut in which we could take a rest during lunch. This hut was our house in the evenings when the native folks usually went home to the village after a hard day’s work.

Since I was not used to hard labor and the hike every morning and evening to and from the mountains, I would stay with my grandparents in the kaingin hut. This would save us the hike everyday.

Before the first rainfall, the kaingin would be cleaned thoroughly and weeded. I would wake up very early in the morning and take a walk savoring the nippy, fresh morning air.

The awesome view from the mountain top as the sun arises from the east, and the wonderful, morning silence when all one can hear were the chirping birds and the melodious sound of the cicadas , was something I always looked forward to.

I would have fun picking up mushrooms from tree stumps for viand. Then I would fetch water down the stream with my bamboo pole.

It was heavenly!

You have to experience it to know what I mean.

Eric of Ruminations of a Small Town Mountain Boy describes aptly the peace and contentment nature brings to a person in his post- "The Games They Play".

It would be during the months of May that rice planting begins.

The succeeding rains then would allow the rice seedlings to grow robustly into a full grown rice plant ready for harvest in the month of June or July.

Harvesting was also a whole day affair. It has to be finished in a day. The labor was done through the cooperation of all the native folks until all of the villager's kaingins would have been harvested.

Everyone helps everyone – the true “bayanihan” (unified) spirit.

The kaingin rice varies in color from those harvested from the ricefields. It is pinkish to red; bigger and fuller than the field rice. It is also more delicious and believed to have more nutritive value.

It contains more essential nutrients than the field rice and could be eaten without any condiment, viand or side dish. Its aroma is also pleasant and is an appetite inducer.

If the ordinary rice has vitamin B12, the kaingin rice has more vitamin B12. It also has niacin (vitamin B3) which are essential substances in cell growth and blood cells development.

After all the hard labor in the kaingin, it was pleasurable to sit down and eat the kaingin rice which was still the best that I have tasted so far.

Oh, how I miss those days.