Monday, March 7, 2011

Kalinga Tradition: An Ordinary Day in Taloctoc, Kalinga (when I was a child)

An ordinary day in Taloctoc, Kalinga when I was still a child had been so simple, that I wonder now how I had turned my life into a complex hurly-burly. I have made my life complicated. With all the gadgets like cell phones, laptops, video cams; and instant services (almost everything is instant) instant coffee, instant noodles, instant hamburger, fast foods; life passes by in a I can’t savor life anymore, as I should.

I don’t get to enjoy any longer the quiet evenings in the tranquil Chico River during dawn or dusk; the joy of looking down a mountain top and basking in Mother Nature’s incredible wonder. Oh, I miss all these things and more.

A day in Taloctoc during summer had been so uncomplicated, that its simplicity had made it uniquely fascinating. I was 9 years old then, and school was over for the year. I was not yet completely adapted to the village life during that time, because I had come from the city where I stayed during the early years of my childhood; so, it had been an entirely new challenging world for me.

I remember how I would fetch water from the creek down the mountain because I was staying overnight with my grandparents in the kaingin. This was because I was not as sturdy as the rest of my peers, who trekked to the kaingin day in and day out without suffering DOMS. Ha ha ha.

Those days were most memorable for me because I have experienced feeling “Godlike” atop my mountain hideaway, where everything was peaceful and calm; all I have heard were the cacophony of chanting cicadas and the chirping of birds around me. I usually woke up early in the morning and watched as the sun rose from the mountain top, slowly revealing its splendor amidst the white fluffy clouds drifting by. It was a breathtaking view that I would always remember.

I remember gazing down at the tiny huts below and thinking of myself as some sort of God. At an early age, I had loved reading so I had imagined I was some Greek Goddess watching mere mortals below as they labored and toiled.

After I had enjoyed the sunrise and the cool breeze playing on my face, I then proceeded to gather mushrooms from the tree stumps in the kaingin. Then, I would fetch water from the small creek at the bottom of the slope, until I have filled the big drinking pot. I carried a bamboo pole which was at least 3 feet in length on my bare shoulders, just like what the boys did, and I had taken pride that I had slowly adjusted to barrio-life in Taloctoc, Kalinga.

I had my battle-scars to show, so to speak: feet and hand blisters, hardened soles, darkened skin, etc. I oftentimes, had hidden my tears of pain in the night, afraid that someone would see them, and brand me a “sadot” (lazy bones.)

Those were the days, days that are forever etched in my memory. I suffered [physically but I consider them wonderful days of yore that I would always treasure forever.

Coming next, more Kalinga traditions and Kalinga culture.


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