Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I'm not sure if my longtime online-turned-offline friend Lovelove would be delighted to hear this: It took me at least 6 years before I get to world premiere her sweet present all the way from Davao. My bedroom walls could serve as a witness how I wanted to use it as soon as I received it, but never really found the perfect attire to go with it. If it weren't for Kat's reminders to bring red outfits to appear festive for the Talaandig's festival, I wouldn't have racked my brains for mix-and-match possibilities for this shawl. [insert apology here]

Per my pre-travel outfit plans, I was supposed to wear a tube top underneath the shawl. I imagined how cute the slightly peeking sweetheart-cut of the top will be. But this idea went to the backseat upon realizing that it was brrrrrrreally cold in the foothills of Bukidnon! When I showered the morning after our arrival, I immediately fished for this long-sleeved tan top for apparent reasons. However, I felt incomplete not to don anything red. It was just the eve of the tribe's big day, but I really felt compelled to match the elders' dominantly red clothes.

Out of curiosity, I slipped this shawl and the ethnic necklace on top of the long-sleeved blouse and posed in front of my newfound friends Kat and Lorie for comments. In spite of their nods of approval, I felt the shawl should go with something tight-fitting. But, heck, I decided to go with it.

That's me against this soil painting about breastfeeding. Photo by Lakapati.

Plurkers Lakapati, moi and Kat with the Kublai Millan sculpture.

Talaandig soil painting

Talaandig soil paintings

Talaandig soil painting

Talaandig soil painting

Talaandig soil painting

Believe it or not, the artist behind this soil painting was a 3-year-old Talaandig. He's now 5 years old.

Lunchtime with Kat

When the temperature dropped even lower by nighttime, I opted to convert the shawl into a scarf. Believe me, it felt worse than what I had endured in Sagada! I had trouble falling asleep as I felt the chills penetrate my every core. But then again, I was far from prepared (i.e. except for one jacket, everything else is practically beachwear). Lesson learned!

Dinner time! Photo by Gerald Rago


We were lucky to have met Nanay Ipa. She treated us to a lengthy recollection of her life and experiences as a baylan and generous explanation to all queries that we have about their culture and tradition. I remember her say biblical passages like "Men can't live on bread alone" and wise reminders like "Sa langit, walang paligsahan" and that we must offer a prayer before taking any of God's creations for our nourishment. I felt my heart broke into pieces when she said angels play with our hair, hence we must not subject these sacred strands into damaging medicines or chemicals. She had this contagious smile that makes us all feel light and loved whenever she flashes a smile. I just sighed after recalling her sweet aura.

Nanay Ipa and her betel nut offerings

Gabfest with Nanay Ipa

We were part of history. Happening before us was the peace pact among tribe leaders in Mindanao who agreed to review the peace treaty with the Bangsamoro. Our brothers and sisters in Mindanao find it difficult to assert their own rights, particularly their territorial rights, as this treaty was made orally and passed likewise from elders to today's generation.

However, there's light at the end of the tunnel. In our conversation with Datu Anilaw, he mentioned of how a certain CariƱo (if I remember correctly, movie star Robin Padilla's uncle) fought for his rights in Camp John Hay in Baguio that was sold to the Americans. He inherited such property from his ancestors and had no recollection of selling them to foreigners. He lost his case and appealed to the Supreme Court in the United States and was granted ownership due to its similarity to the case of American Indians.

In a nutshell, this peace talk roots from their burning desire to reverse historical injustice brought about by colonization and fight for authorship of our own development. And this matter concerns us all Filipinos, not just the non-Islamized indigenous people of Mindanao.

Photo by Lakapati.

The tribe leaders in attendance. Photo by Gerald Rago.


  1. The shawl is lovely, looks great on you Lorns!! and I LOVE the print on your blouse <3
    Aaaww, "angels play with our hair" :) Natuwa naman ako dun! "hence we must not subject these sacred strands into damaging medicines or chemicals." I guess angels love playing with my hair then! hehehe!

  2. Yeah, I love the print, too! Got it from a bazaar in World Trade Center way back in 2005 ata.

    Correct! Angels play with our hair DAILY, according to Nanay Ipa. I wish I can feel them when they do because it really helps me fall asleep. I agree, the angels love your hair for what it is! ;)

  3. Wow, just read the updated version, you're lucky to have been part of that! :)

    At na-distract ako sayo, ngayon ko lang napansin kung gaano kaganda at kahiwaga ng mga paintings! Ang galing! Thank you for this, your post reminds me I should really travel and explore our country even more.

    Aww, I wish I could meet Nanay Ipa too! Now I know why my hair always manages to look un-brushed haha! Ginawa nilang playground ang ulo ko! Hehe! and yeah, I wish I could feel them too :)

  4. I just wish my BlackBlurry™ handphone gave justice to the beautiful soil paintings no. May those photos serve as an inspiration for you to be more in touch with your artist self. Hirap kasi sa Maynila eh, we're like mere robots who need to survive. We tend to forget that life is beautiful!

    You'll definitely enjoy pakikipagkwentuhan with Nanay Ipa. Sama ka next year? It seems this will be an annual thing for us. ;)

  5. Yes, I honestly need that inspiration. Totoo ngang para na tayong robot stuck in mindless routines~ ugh!..but I haven't forgotten how beautiful life is, I try to search for it everyday. hehe! Soon enough, I'd get to do all those things that nourish the artist in me. Again, thanks for this!!

    Uyy may babalikan. hihi ;) Hopefully maka-sama ako next year! :)

  6. Hindi lang pala ako ang may backlog...hmmm... but drapes nicely on you, Lorn :)

    How lucky of you to be in that ceremony! & ahhrmm... ;)

    By the way, the soil paintings are amazing.

  7. Ingrid, join us next tiiiiiime! Fris and I missed out on the fruit sharing ritual. Let's do it!

    Love, sorry for being unable to rave about the shawl (I remember how my receipt spelled it as showl hahaha!) right away. Glad to hear you liked it. Wait, what's with the "ahhhrmmm"?

    Exactly, the soil paintings are awesome. We should this particular arthouse in Maramag, Bukidnon. Lots of paintings, lots of sayote on their CR ceiling! ;)