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Ecology and life systems in the Cordillera

Summer is here, the birds sing, the flowers bloom and the soggy pathways beckon to the earth lovers and hikers. The sky paints a changing hue and the brown land turns into green, yet the inhabitants of the land hastens the changing of the earth and all that is in it.

In attempting to maintain ecology, there is a continuing clamor for the protection of the trees and the forest, yet every day I drive through Marcos Highway where one third of a portion of the highway is barricaded by Moldex for their construction after cutting all the trees on the slope of the hill. We have complained several times, Mayor Domogan was able to let them remove that barricade twice but such impertinence because the road portion is again overtaken by that barricade for the past two weeks. Also there is a growing protest over some construction going on in Sto. Tomas.

Baguio is the highest city in terms of elevation, in the whole Philippine archipelago and prides herself to be the only city without the fumes from tricycles, but that is no longer true. Tricycles of all sorts now run through the streets of Baguio from Marcos Highway to Kennon road to Trinidad road defying a City Ordinance No 28 s.2012 banning all tricycles in the city territorial limits. The ordinance was passed after a series of public hearings and consultations with bikers, motorcycle owners and riders, the taxi organizations, drivers and operators and the general public and after that the result was to ban the tricycles because of the terrain in the city of Baguio, a 45 degree road is too dangerous for a tricycle to climb because the cars following it are slowed down and once it stalls, the rest of the cars following are being placed in danger because of evading hitting the tricycle.

Ecology in the Cordillera is not something new, the Igorot culture tells us of a web in the environment. Our forefathers have an intense sense of commitment in the preservation of nature. To them the land, the forest, the waters coupled with the social institutions, the rituals and traditions are sacred parts of community life that are preserved and handed down from one generation to another.

Ecological imbalance manifest itself in the form of drought, famine, abnormal changes in temperature, increasing poor health and sanitation, pollution of water, air and soil. Include vanishing forests, dried up rivers and lakes and these all lead to a vanishing tribe. Retrospection tells us that such drastic changes in the environment made changes in the life systems of tribes in the Cordillera. The very tribes of indigenous peoples have been threatened by the source of life which is unnecessarily compromised. Source of life is the God given land, the forest, the rivers and the air. These are free, yet have been commercialized by few and suffered by most. Food production is the traditional life in our villages where rice, fruits, vegetables, cattle, poultry and river life sustains them. The ecological changed has altered that balance. Trees were cut faster than they are grown; forests are bared quicker than they are carpeted. Food source is threatened thus subsistence agriculture is looking at its demise. Free trade threatened the Benguet vegetable industry because of Chinese produce is dumped in the market.

We all blame it to climate change, but climate change aside from decades of natural occurrences, is also brought about by global warming because of human decisions, priorities and greed.

The life systems of the Cordillera changes, faster than we have envisioned it to be, yet when the end will come, we hope to see the Cordilleran standing tall when all have fallen.


After a month long stay in the US, my husband and I are back to Baguio, the City we love and where we grew up. The month was well spent especially because we had chance to bond with friends living with Ed and Minda in San Diego and with Grace, Royce, Alan and Raquel in Arizona. Arizona was spectacular with the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and Sedona experience that further strengthen faith in the Almighty Creator God and the commitment of people to preserve the present for the next generation.

Now, we are back and the past days have been gloomy and rains come easy, very much different from the summers I remember growing up. As a child, summer usually is no school except the Vacation Bible School, more time to play with friends and relatives. As a kid, I spent a summer in Bana-ao with my grandfather Juan Weygan and another summer in Padang-an with my grandmother Pinggay Cuanguey. In high school and college, summer was a lot of activities that included; summer class in BSBT or in college, attending weddings and other community activities with my mom or friends, climbing mountains and following rivers, raising pigs, planting corn and camote in Quirino Hill, and selling sayote in the market.

It was then right after Grade 5 that I spent my summer in Bana-ao. It is an “ili”/community of Besao, Mountain Province sharing boundaries with Tubo, Abra and Ilocos Sur. My parents “paw-it” or send me off with Aunty Bernice (one of our relatives) who was going home to Bana-ao. We took the bus to Besao Central and slept in a relative’s home. At dawn we took the pathway from Kin-iway down to the river and up to Bunga passing the regular foot path that circuitously went through the mountain side underneath the pine trees besides rivers and tall grasses that occasionally wave when the wind passes. I remember we would take short rest to drink water from the brook that runs beside the pathway, look up the fruit trees for snack and take twigs for walking stick. By late afternoon we reached Bana-ao and I was left with my grandfather in his house which is also near the houses of our relatives. It was a new place, new people with a new language. My grandfather’s house was elevated with a wide sala, three bed rooms and a spacious porch with a connective dining room and the kitchen made of wood slabs and GI roof. But I was told that they had cogon roof before it was changed to GI. Underneath is where the chickens and other animals as well as storage were housed. He had a yard, with avocado trees, bamboo and other fruit trees. At the back of the house he had a camote patch lined with camoteng kahoy/cassava plant and soy beans. There was a pipe that brings water comes straight to the kitchen and near the front yard where neighbors also use to come and fetch water.

It was a perfect rustic setting, perfect getaway for a grandchild who was requested for the grandfather to come visit. I do not remember going to the rice fields or the kaingin but I know some of the people go there and sometimes when I wake up in the morning I will see my grandfather coming back home from bringing the carabao and goats to pasture. I remember that I had fun with the kids going to the river, to the church and to different homes. We never lacked food for they grow rice, fruits and vegetables. I can’t remember meat but I remember that fish came from the rivers that we would eat bare fingers (no spoons) and lick our fingers too. Milk came from goats which they add to roasted rice or soya beans for our drink. Coffee was abundant and sometimes I would sneak a sip from grandpa’s cup.

It was also the fiesta/festival of the church and me and my age mates danced to the tune of “Hey Jude” by the Beatles. I cannot remember what we did, but I saw photos in my Aunty Mary’s house which will continue to remind me of that summer in the church. We were in white t-shirts and in maong pants and we danced in front of the church with the community people seated around the yard and in the slopes overlooking the church. During the fiesta we had lots of food – rice, meat, camote, root crops and rice cakes which they said was a tradition in the community and we had visitors from different places who trekked the mountains for the day. The women and men take responsibility in preparing for the activities and the food that everybody enjoyed. Children were carefree and roam the mountains, either for fun or for chores. Then summer was over and I have to come back to Baguio not even able to remember the names of my playmates and their parents.

The second San Diego Grand Canao will be held on July 18 to 20, 2014 hosted by BIBAK San Diego. There is going to be a welcome party at the St. Matthews Episcopal Church on the evening of the first day, followed the canao at the Golden Pacific Ballroom of the Town and Country Hotel and Resort. The farewell party will be at the ROHR park at Sweetwater, which was where the dance practices and rehearsals were usually held.

The First San Diego Grand Canao was held in 2008 “the beat goes on” where they were able to gather more than 700 Igorots coming from the different states of the United States, the other continents and from the Philippines in a celebration at the Sheraton Hotel and Marina, at the park and several homes, including that of then SD Bibak President Robby Mina of Baguio City.
Similarly, another expected gathering will be in 10th Igorot International Consultation (IIC) at Vienna, Austria on August 7 to 10, 2014 coordinated by Alan and Margie Akistoy. In the Philippines one major contact is Virginia Tamiing Doligas of Easter Weaving Room. At this time we extend our condolences to her and the family as her husband was one of those who died in the recent vehicular accident in Aguinaldo, Ifugao and laid to rest last Saturday, July 5.

Going back to IIC, the Philippines first hosted it in 2000 in Green Valley, followed by the 7th IIC in Banaue and the 9th IIC in Baguio Country Club where it was agreed that the IIC will be held every after a biennium. Other IICs were held first in Los Angeles then in Arlington Virginia for the 2nd , the 4rth in London, 6th in Melbourne, 8th in Vancouver. These consultations always have dancing, talks on care and posterity of Igorots as a people. It has always been a complete regard for preservation of culture, traditions and environment.

The only exception for bringing the consultation to the Philippines after London was to coincide with the Centennial of the World Fair which included the Igorot Exposition the 5th IIC was held in St Louis, Missouri. Lifted from the website of Igorot Global Organization, that momentous affair was described by Martha Clevenger of the Missouri Historical Society described the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri in a book, “Diaries and Letters From The 1904 World’s Fair,” which she edited. “Indescribably Grand” is also a fitting description of the 5th Igorot International Consultation in St. Louis, Missouri on July 1 – 4, 2004. One hundred years ago, a group of indigenous tribes from North Central Philippines called Igorots, were on display at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. One hundred years later, descendants of these Igorots return to St. Louis to participate in the centennial celebration of the 1904 World’s Fair and to attend the 5th Igorot International Consultation. This is an historic event. In attendance will be people from all over the globe and from all walks of life. They will come to participate and experience an Igorot cultural and education extravaganza – workshops, seminars, exhibits, trade booths, an ecumenical memorial service, a grand reunion; a showcase of Igorot pride, intelligence, simplicity, and vision for the future.”

The Igorots worldwide are fostering a spirit of care and a vision for posterity and yet sadly we have some of our present city leaders have displayed complete disregard for the care towards posterity and confused and deceived people. Take the Mount Cabuyao “rape of the bowels of the mountains and the forest” presently there are politicians and supposedly environmentalist believing in lies like “bulldozing is going on because they are protecting the road so it will not slide down to the water reservoir, avoid contamination “ in the first place why protect a road when in the first place it should not be there. When tree lovers propose that they will plant trees to cover the road, why do the leaders say planting to rehabilitate the bulldozed road will take years and they are willing to plant trees not on the road but somewhere else.” And yet people believed them, how gullible can the electorate be, why destroy the forest in the first place and they say that “it will take years to rehabilitate” of course it will take ages to do that so why massacre 740 trees and clear the underbrush that sustains the habitation needed for the other living creatures like the birds that fly the sky, the crawling and jumping creatures that traverse through the forest. Are we so deceived we cannot even see realities and perceived and analyze situations and motives. Who has seen the master plan of the Eco tourist center, for all we know there may even be a gambling den. For all we know, it would be a forest too- but who really knows? How unfortunate is this generation and the next.


(published in Cordillera Today – Feb 9, 2014)


“Accidents, and particularly street and highway accidents, do not happen – they are caused” said Ernest Greenwood. Similarly, we remember familiar quotes and songs about traveling and exploring the new and fascinating, the joy and dangers, flying, sailing and driving, the beginning and the end of the journey before we come back and rest down at our familiar beds and eat at our family tables.


Friday morning a Florida bus rolled down the road between Banaue and Bontoc to the bottom of the ravine resulting to 15 death and 32 injured persons.  This brought about numerous comments ranging from condolences to asking God’s grace for the survivors and thanks for sparing them. At the same we get criticisms that the bus company was negligent, the driver reckless coupled with the treacherous, poorly maintained mountain roads produced such an accident.  Such news is alarming and dampens the adventurous spirit that continues to plan for summer break travels. But at the same time such incidents sometimes become wake up calls for bus companies and road maintenance, even after the fact. But we should not learn safety because of accidents. How ideal it is if due diligence have been observed before such accidents because danger knows no vacation. Nothing can repay the pain of the loved ones left by those who died in accidents for they did not have time to hug, kiss or say goodbye.


We were based in Bontoc from 1989 to 1994 when we had the BSBT Foundation, Inc. that conducted outreaches to the municipalities of Kalinga, Benguet, Ifugao and the Mountain Provinces. Such outreaches were short courses in typewriting, computer, electronics, financial management, cooperative management, community development organizing, herbal gardens and other relevant courses needed by the communities.  This was also the time that I drove the rough, long and winding roads, when there were not many lady drivers. Some drivers, when they see my red and white jeep, they gave me extra road courtesy. At times when my jeep gets a flat tire or a loose bolt, I leave it along the road and someone will bring it home for me – a student, a staff or other drivers.  These experiences exposed me to the treacherous roads which were carved out of the mountains as a result of the indigenous labor and ingenuity of technical people. It continues to amaze me how such roads were constructed, more amazed at how drivers and motor vehicles maneuver those roads.


One summer we conducted an outreach in Barlig and after the graduation we packed up and the next morning we travelled from Barlig to Bontoc in an overflowing public jeep with people and baggage in and out of the transport. When we were just passing the saddle from Talubin climbing up the road I was overcome with a heavy dark feeling and I closed my eyes and said “God help us.”  As soon as I said it, someone was banging the back of the jeep yelling at the driver to stop because someone fell off the jeep. The driver stopped and we saw that we were just few inches at the edge of the ravine. The man who fell came and said that he was clinging to the back of the jeep and then a black object covered him and he cannot see, he tried to remove it in his face and that was when he fell because he removed his hands from clinging.  We had a short stop trying to settle nerves because the driver was also shaken that he was about to drive straight to the ravine.  After all the sharing we finally got back on the jeep and arrived safely to our destination.


“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it” said Cesare Pavese. For life is not in our hands it is in God’s hand, he gives and takes away. It is of innocent or arrogant perspective when we think we control our lives, because we do not. It is this reality that makes us seek the LORD and creator for eternity and meaning of the present.





Memories of Benguet: How I saw it two decades ago


I was born in Baguio and my first awareness that Baguio is not Benguet was in high school when I was helping my mother in her stall at Hanger Market because most of our neighbors in the market were from Benguet speaking Ibaloi and Kankana-ey. Every weekend I would be in the market if  we do not have school activity in UB Science High. I like going there because my mother will give extra money whenever we go and help. This awareness was heightened because one of our closest friends is Florita, a descendant of Suello of Tuba and Asin, and when they have a “canao” we were invited.

After the EDSA revolution and we organized the Association of Young Igorot Professionals (AYIP) our first President was Ruben L Tinda-an of Buguias, Benguet. Precisely he was elected because of his idealism, his clear understanding of the vision and mission of AYIP and he was a Benguet. In the Constitution the board was to be composed of two representatives from each of the provinces of the Cordilleras, highlighting the unity in diversity of the tribes. Being around these Benguet people was a learning experience on their ways, beliefs and practices. By 1987, AYIP organized a farmer’s seminar in Benguet State University and practitioners and teachers met to address concerns of the Mountain Trail vegetable terraces and the diminishing salad bowl of Trinidad.


 By 1990,  UGBO was also formed with then Baboo Mondonedo, Manny Onalan, Nestor Caoili and the past Fiscal Felix Cabading, and we were commissioned by Philippine Daily Inquirer to write a series on the Cordillera as a background on the Cordillera Autonomy Act. It included a secondary research on the history and lifestyle of the various tribes of the Cordilleras that afforded me to read deeper in the similarities and diversities of the tribes. Our next project then was to send rice and support to a small village Dananao/ Chananaw where Manny came  from.  Then we went around Benguet assessing the invasion of the potato farms overtaking the mossy forest in Ballay, Kabayan  and Cada between Mankayan and Sinto.


One time we went to Mt Pulag and passing a lake we saw various black big hoses tapped on it’s side where the farmers source their water for their gardens. Then further we reached Lake Tabeyo, at that time we were told that the farmers were not even sure how deep the lake was because they cannot see the bottom. I threw a long stick and it slid deep until I cannot see it. The lake was mystical as it was in the middle of the mossy forest and a thick under bush,  searching deep we  cannot see the bottom as leaves that fell into the lake for ages have rendered it opaque and the stillness of the water also gives an eerie feeling that spirits inhabit the place. Now, with the account of those who went there, the lake is no longer what it was. I read an article which said that portions of Lake Tabeyo have been filled with soil bulldozed when they made the road traversing the village.

In 1991, Fiscal Cabading picked us from Bontoc and we passed by Cada traversed down to Mankayan passing freshly burned mossy mountains giving way to potato forest. At that time we passed a clearing with a grass hut where children were running around bare, it was like a flashback of some olden time and place. I felt that the land was crying, raped from its cover, exposing its secrets. I felt anger on what I perceive is a meaningless abuse of the forest and could not comprehend how people would exchange their natural perfect habitat to an elusive progress in the guise of development.

AYIP did doing numerous medical missions in Benguet as far down to Ansagan, Pimingan, Pula,  San Manuel and other sitios of Tuba, Bakun, Buguias and Kibungan. However, one afternoon, out of the ordinary the group trekked to Bingaongao caves of Ambongdolan, Tublay.  Honestly, I do not remember how we got there for we were guided by Richard Bawingan and  Ruben Tinda-an caring less of the way, but making sure we have a foothold and  warding away the tall grass slapping our faces. We camped under the trees, sky and stars for the night after trying to persuade the mini crabs and the mudfish to swim towards us for our dinner. The next day was exploring the cave where we saw coffee beans on the floor processed by the civet cat. Which is now commercialized into one of the most expensive coffee, but come to think of it, how much coffee beans  can you gather when there is only a few existing civet cats around. By now, I presume this is no longer the picture you get when you reach Bingaongao.

            One of the most daring medical mission we had was going down to the Carino house in Ansagan using the pick-up of then Mayor Akia of Tuba. AYIP and volunteer doctors were loaded in and out of the pick-up traversing the river 21 times to conduct a medical mission. The village folks requested for circumcision for their boys and so that night the doctors set up a table to do just that. We saw some lining up were not boys they were young adults, but because they never had regular medical care it was only then that they had an opportunity to have one. This was also elicited  one funny story because after the medical mission,  one of the AYIP ladies got married and the joke was that she saw too many and wanted one.

It rained that night, and so a day after when we returned home the river was swollen and they had to tie a big rope across the river so we could cross. The men did well but when we were to cross, one of our doctors Dr. Minda who was then guided by Richard almost got carried away by the strong current. The rest of the ladies where then piggy backed on Mario, the staff of Mayor Akia as we crossed the river, hugging him so tightly fearing for life being snatched ahead its time. After crossing the river and waiting for the others to cross we were oriented on gold panning by those doing mining at the river banks. I remember so well, as I turned and saw the red pick-up swim the river and even today, that river crossing remains vivid as if it was only last month.  There are other stories that I will tell my grandchildren about how we explored Benguet by doing medical missions, career guidance, Adult education and  community service.

It is indeed a privilege to have seen Benguet before it gets completely changed by environmental abuse and mega projects.








Encounters with the Igorot Diaspora in Singapore


            Christmas approaches with weddings, reunions and church celebrations. By December 23, my nephew Osmen Balokey Jr. and wife Lingwan will celebrate their wedded life the Besao tradition. The family now resides in Singapore for the past couple of years and decided to come home to celebrate Christmas and have a church blessing of their civil marriage. I have known JayR as he is commonly known when I frequented Besao during my stint in the Mountain Province from 1989 to 1995 and he was one time the Sangguniang Secretary. This time we will be going home to Besao for their wedding.


My first  travel overseas was when I went with my dad  to the  Asian Convention of the  Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship (FGBMFI)  in Singapore in 1990.  This trip happened after we relocated to Bontoc, Mountain Province while  managing the community BSBT Foundation technical vocational school and leading the community education training of Upland Development Institute. In that first trip to Singapore, we were with the Philippine delegation and we met others from the different countries in Asia. The convention included a tour and we were able to visit Sentosa where we watched the dancing musical fountain, the dolphins and experience the man-made tropical forest. The aviary and safari was also fascinating to me at that time. (Later, it paled after I saw India, Indonesia and Australia)


After the convention we visited Fr. Alexander Paatan, who was then the rector of  St Hilda’s Anglican Church in Katong Area. This was a church founded in 1934 and frequented by those living around the area which were mostly of Chinese descent. The church is described as sacramental, evangelical and charismatic church. We attended the English service celebrated by Fr. Paatan who hails from Sagada, Mountain Province. He also brought us to the St Andrew’s Cathedral, which is a landmark being the Cathedral of the Anglican Church in Singapore and a mother church of more than 26 churches and more than 55 congregations. It was established in 1856 and they celebrated their 150th year in 2006. It was in St Andrew’s Cathedral that we met more Igorots from the different provinces of the Cordillera who were serving in the business establishments as well as domestic helpers. They also brought us to the shopping mall where more Igorots where milling around.  Some of them have been in Singapore for ages.


While based in Nepal as a Christian Missionary and development worker from 1996 to 2000, Singapore was my frequent stop over. It was at this time that I had more chance to see the Igorots. They were not organized but on Sundays, most would converge in St Andrew’s Cathedral where some would attend the sacramental service in the morning where the Holy Communion or Eucharist is part of the service. Some of them will attend the afternoon Charismatic service, and usually they continue the fellowship after the service, sometimes to welcome new comers of visiting fellow Igorots. In one of my stops, I attended a Wednesday evening prayer meeting and I was glad to meet one Filipino. And in the later years, I met some nurses, doctors, teachers, other professionals and skilled workers who are now working in Singapore. During those fellowships after service, most discussions were of the life back home, their children who are studying or refuse to study, the parents who are ailing and preparing for the next life. At times, they would pass the hat around for “abuloy” for a relative who died. Usually, they share a meal after service by going to a restaurant or a potluck which they share in the church grounds, I was blessed because they shared their meal to all, me included.

It is evident that the church becomes a converging place for Igorot Diaspora, unfortunately the church affiliations and doctrines, which are not necessarily Biblically based becomes the points of bitter discussions and disagreements contrary to what our LORD desires towards a unity of all peoples. This is reflected in our Cordillera communities today, that used to have one or two churches but in this generation,  churches are more than the clans affiliations in the community. We witness a breakdown in family relations and community unity because of this. But though it is so, we also witness a stronger bonding because of the Igorot identity. When Igorot Diaspora call based on the ethnic lineage, a lot will come together for a feast, support a cause for the suffering or victims of calamities. The Filipino is a strong people, more so , the Igorots. As the social media is maximized for this purpose as it is evident in the Igorot Diaspora of Singapore coming together because of Ethnic affiliations. (Dec 15, 2013)



Head hunting takes several definitions like a literal act of beheading before or after killing a person, moreover, a custom of cutting and preserving the head of enemies as a trophy by the killer. Head hunting is also a slang to mean an attempt of removing power and influence of political opponents.


However, in the management context, head hunting is a recruitment process of searching for the head or executives of corporation and organizations.  There are several recruitment outfits calling themselves “Head Hunter” “head hunting” or similar words.  This term also found its way into the music world as “Head hunter” is the title of an album of Herbie Hancock released by Columbia Records last October 13, 1973.


Head hunting was practiced in various countries as well as in ancient times most specially to display prowess of heroic fighters as well as martial arts combats. European headhunters were common among the Celts, West Germanic tribes, the Vikings, Scythians. The tribes of Melanesia, Papua New Guinea, Wa tribes of Burma China border, Borneo, Indonesia and other islands of South East Asia. Other Asians like the Japanese, China, and Taiwan have practiced head hunting and sometimes as raids. The Nagas of India and Burma as well as other tribes of India have practiced head hunting.

During the World War Two as well as in the Vietnam War, there were records that the heads of opponents were kept as “skull trophies” by the soldiers.


In the Cordillera Region of Northern Philippines, the men were described as warrior by early writers including Albert Henry Jenks in his book “the Bontok Igorots” published in 1905 and gave a vivid description of battles they undertook “Men go to war armed with a wooden shield, a steel battle ax and one to three steel or wooden spear. It is a man’s agility and skill in keeping his shield between himself and his enemy that preserves his life. Their battles are full of quick and incessant springing motion. There are sudden rushes and retreats even sneaking to cut off the enemy.   These battles lasted about 30- minutes to an hour and often ceases after the taking of a single head by either side. But there were cases where fights last for half a day and a dozen or more heads taken. At times, rocks were thrown and sometimes hit and knock down enemies and there he loses his head if he was not assisted by friends. “


These battle skills were recorded when the Igorots fought against the Japanese. General Douglas Mac Arthur in his communiqué   included “Hampered by the dense undergrowth and lost in the confusing maze of bamboo thickets, vines and creepers, the tankers would have been impotent had it not been for the aid of the Igorot troops of the 2nd Battalion, 11th infantry.  Hoisted to the top of the tanks where they were exposed to enemy fire The Igorots chopped away the entangling foliage with their bolos and served as eyes for the American tank crew, firing with their pistols while guiding the drivers.


“When the attack was over,” said the General, “the remnants of the tanks and of the Igorots were still there, but the 20th Japanese Infantry Regiment was completely annihilated.

“Many desperate acts of courage and heroism have fallen under my observation on many fields of battle in many parts of the world. I have seen forlorn hopes become realities. I have seen last-ditch stands and innumerable acts of personal heroism that defy description. But for sheer breathtaking and heart stopping desperation, I have never known the equal of those Igorots riding the tanks. Gentlemen, when you tell the story stand in tribute to those gallant Igorots.”

My husband relates a story that happened in the 1950s as kids when; he and his brother Alex were spending their vacation in Alab. One night there was a commotion in the village because the men arrived from their head hunting. Some of the kids were afraid, but some of them found it as festivities for a bountiful harvest.  They were told that the hunters took the jaws for their gong handles. When my husband asked his grand pa what happened to the other parts of the head, he was told that they were buried beneath the slabs of stones in the dap-ay. This brought chills and nightmares to some of the young kids sleeping in the dap-ay. But these were easily forgotten as they frolicked under the sun and bath in the rivers.

In the present day, head hunting may take some other form, though not as brutally killing the person, but making them “inutil” unable to function or stripping opportunities for opponents  to exercise their responsibilities. This can take forms of boycotting people in authority. It could mean walking out of a hearing or a dialogue to incapacitate those who need to the consultation towards a resolution of an issue or a problem.  Head hunters are in the social media with their irresponsible attack on people in authority without the facts or simply hunting them down blaming opponents with every problem that the community experiences.  There are other strategies that have been developed in warfare including modern day head hunting.



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