Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Beautiful Memories When I was a Kid in Taloctoc, Tanudan, Kalinga

Sometimes memories can bring tears in your eyes or a smile on your lips. Whatever emotions they provoke, poignant memories are luxuries enjoyed by aged people, while there are still neurons that can recall momentous events in their lives.

These memories are like jewels coming to their brilliance when the physical body can no longer venture to the outside world, but the mind is still alive and kicking.

Photo credit to the Photographer

For me, my beautiful memories when I was a kid in Taloctoc, Tanudan in the Hinterlands of Kalinga are my most precious jewels. And even in my dreams, they keep recurring, like a long-playing record, never wanting to end.

Let me share these memories with you.

Water is precious 

During my time, there was still no running water in this little paradise. We have to fetch water from a well that was dug in the riverbank. You may not believe it when I say that the water has a distinct sweet taste that I have never tasted from other water sources.

You can understand what I mean, if you have drank from a river-well too. I was only 7 years old then, but I have to balance a big pot on my head from the river to our modest house. It was around 2 km away, and a little uphill.

Plus, I had to fill our water container until it was full. It was hard work, but it introduced me to the notion that to be able to drink, you have to endure the hardships.

The supernatural exists 

There was also a big tamarind tree in our backyard that used to visit me in my dreams, even up to this day. The tree was as tall as a three-story building, and it was robustly thriving all year through, with an abundance of fruits.

We never took care of it, but there it was proudly standing high, waving its evergreen leaves at the sky –defiantly – seeming to proclaim that no matter what – it will survive on its own. I’m assuming that the tree is where those eerie shadows emanated from.

During night time there were shadows that I had encountered that suddenly disappears when I spoke. One time, I thought the shadow was my younger brother, so I called out to him, but it disappeared right before my very eyes. It was scary, and at my young age, I have considered it a common occurrence in my village.


I have witnessed firebirds perched atop the rooftop of a soon-to-be-deceased person. Having a firebird visit your house when you’re sick is a death sentence. “Matoy sinsinna e algaw.” (He may die today.)

The bird had feathers that glow red during the night and produced a loud cooing that was heard a mile away; the sound seeming to call the dying person into the afterlife. However, today, I don’t think the strange bird survived the onslaught of development.

Summer paradise 

During summer, after working in the fields the whole day, we spend our late afternoons in the Chico River swimming and diving, filling our ravenous stomachs with wild berries and sweet guavas that grew abundantly in the riverbank.

We also went fishing using our bare hands. It was easy catching the small school of fishes as the water was shallow and all we did was to dry up the water bed. When it starts to get dark, we finally went home, exhausted but beaming with childhood glee.

Oh, yes of course, we swim in the nude. Everyone was naked but no one saw malice in it. I could go on and on, talking about my childhood days in Taloctoc, Tanudan, Kalinga, but the space for this post won’t suffice. So, let’s do it on installment basis.

While you're here, you may want to read more of my experiences in these posts:

This post is about Lubuagan, Kalinga and Its Poignant Memories

I would like to invite you to my village –Taloctoc, the paradise I had known as a child; the tranquil verdant mountains, the clear, rambling Chico river, and the unadulterated air in the atmosphere. Intakkon od Taloctoc, Kalinga! (Let’s visit Taloctoc, Kalinga!)

More stories next time folks. Let me share first this video of a Taloctoc – Ilocano chant we had usually recited when we were young:

Dong dong kawayan
Kawayan pinanggayan
Pinanggayan de olay
Olay e pagay uppay
Pagay uppay e dogway
Dogway e namillapil
Namillapil nang ngasil
Nang-ngasil dala-upa
Dala-upa kataba
Kataba pagiyokan
Ipos ti kabayo
a napiko-piko
Alam ta kanem.

Here's the video:

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