Category Archives: Ifugao

Baby Wearing

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A piece of woven cloth tied together to form a sling by this Ifugao mama for a hands free baby carrier.

Multipurpose Cauldron

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Caldero repurposed as ornamental plant container to beautify the unexciting steps of this mountain inn

Tourism Shack

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Registration shack for Batad visitors

Double Edged Blade

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Socket is used for mounting pole so it can be adapted into a spear. This size can be used to cut vegetables says my Ifugao host

My Ifugao host uses this dagger of primitive design as household tool (I saw it near the kitchen). Looks like an appropriate tool to kill small animals for food or for ritual purposes.

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Weaved rattan on the handle and across the scabbard

Looks like it can also be used (or has been used) as hunting tool for wild pigs, for instance. The hole at the base is for inserting pole to transform the implement into a spear.

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Dagger can safely lock in place in that open-faced wooden scabbard

Long ago when tribal wars still exist in the mountains of Cordillera, this double edged blade tool might have been primarily designed as weapon.

Banaue Snapshots: Town Center

Banaue town center as the commerce hub of the municipality.

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Sunday is market day

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Town Hall

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Topload is a way of life

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Meal from a carinderia

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Public transportation hub

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Jeepney scheduling

Toy: Cassava Leaves

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Ifugao children walking home from school in Batad

These children and those before them that have passed me by on the paddy dike are holding cassava leaves by their stalks. They would discard the leaf blades and use the leaf stalks to make kwintas (necklace). I remember doing this when I was at their age.  

To these children, the mountain slopes, the rice paddies and the space underneath their houses are their playground.  Anything found within can be their toys like cassava leaves. They may not have those toys citified children have nowadays, but it’s not an unfavorable circumstance, for when it comes to objects that are used for play, it’s the imagination that counts. If a child can create something out of anything, then this sort of learned skill is even more favorable, and that makes manufactured and assembled toys not a big deal after all.

Village Snapshots: Cambulo

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After about 1.5 hours of trekking from Batad village, the destination village of Cambulo is now visible from this spot. See those white specks in the slopes? That's the destination on foot.

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Traditional Ifugao shelters in Cambulo village

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Another Ifugao wooden house with thatched roof

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Foot bridge within the village

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A closer look of the foot bridge

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Ifugao child sitting on the doorstep of his traditional house

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Galvanized iron roof instead of thatched roof. Most houses have evolved

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Modern shelters made from hollow blocks with galvanized iron roof

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A Philippine playground is never complete without a basketball court, even in a mountain school

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Students trooping back inside the classrooms after recess

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Christian assimilation of the village

Endemic Ordinance

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At the bottom, “(Drivers are responsible for violations of their passengers)”

Necessary Muscles

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Muscles are necessary for transporting all sorts of stuff from construction materials, provision of guesthouses, coffin, makeshift ambulance (stretcher), and sari-sari store merchandise to and from a mountain village that is accessible by foot only.

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Batad is one of the mountain villages that’s accessible by foot only

Curtain from Chips Bag

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Ceiling ornamentation and curtains made from food foil bags or foil wrappers

Food wrappers or bags repurposed into ceiling ornamentation and curtains, as seen in a guesthouse in Cambulo, a village that is accessible by foot only. Processed food stuff (like chips or Choco Mucho) which are packaged in foil, have already reached the mountain villages in Ifugao. They’ve probably sourced it in Banaue town center.

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Closer look of the curtain

Those non-biodegradable wrappers can accumulate and litter the verdant mountains and rice terraces. It’s a wise thing they’ve repurposed these into something practical or decorative.

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Cambulo Guesthouse

In Batad village and Banaue town center I’ve also observed food bags or wrappers being repurposed into sellable products like wallets and pouches.

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Wallets or coin purse

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Sewing wallets while managing a tiny store of cold beverages and processed snacks (for hikers) at this shack in Batad rice terraces

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Repurposing paraphernalia

Crop Sentinel

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Late in the afternoon, this Ifugao farmer is just standing there on the paddy dike to protect the rice crop from birds. How about scarecrow? I asked. It doesn’t work, he answered without elaborating.

Mountain Paddies

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Today’s proof of the past

With no machineries but rudimentary tools, the ancestors of Ifugaos today have manually carved the slopes of the mountains into rice paddy terraces. Where there is water source, the natives can build terraces even if the slopes are rocky. The most important thing is the water source and of course, the incredible collective efforts of the Ifugaos.

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Structures seen on the slopes of Batad village. The Ifugao rice farming methods haven’t changed much, but the houses have evolved

There are many articles out there about the history, the way of life, and rituals of the Ifugaos and their rice terraces. What I have here are few snapshots of the cultural landscape of the past that is preserved until today, as I trek from Batad village to Cambulo village and back.

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Light rain at the start of the trek but thankfully the skies cleared. Trekking in downpour can be precarious in the narrow paddy dikes

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Heirloom rice crop

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The view of the Batad rice terraces as I sat at the topmost paddy dike

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Verdant look before harvest time

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Walking in single file for it’s a steep drop at the other side

Banaue’s Folk Typography

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They serve purple rice (or black rice mixed with white) and their staple viand is pata with monggo

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Students made paper flags and stuck them in plant pots for the Philippine Independence Day last June 12

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I like their squash pandesal

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Had lunch in here after 3 hour hike from Batad, and to sustain another 3 hour trek back to Batad

Chicken Coop Basket

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In Ifugao villages, one can notice this dome shaped basket with wooden floor and wooden door used for transporting and caging chickens.

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Every morning, they would let the chickens go to freely roam, then gather them once more in the cage before dusk.

Rita

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Meet Rita as she cuts gabi stalks

Rita is an Ifugao, a cultural minority group in the country. She lives in Batad and her place in the mountain serves as a traveler’s inn with a terrific view of the amphitheater rice terraces of Batad.  
 

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Wood fire cooking

She is very old and her upper body is bended at the waist when walking (like most elderly Ifugao women). She walks barefoot in the mountain trails aided by a wooden stick. Her countenance has the look of a wise figure with her prominently lined face. She is wise in fact and talks articulately in English (like most Ifugaos, as I’ve noted).

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Rita's inn straight ahead

Even though Rita belongs to a minority group, her family and her ancestors made a great contribution in the country’s cultural legacy by building and maintaining a national treasure – the UNESCO inscribed rice terraces.

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Rita's traveler's inn

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One's view in every moment at Rita's inn

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Rita's equally wise husband

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Grinding betel nut for chewing and spitting pleasure

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Having native coffee prepared by Germaine, Rita's daughter. This spot makes a perfect place to rest after a day's hike in the mountains and rice paddies

Kulambo Nights

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Sleeping with kulambo (mosquito net) is a must for nights in the bukid, or mountain, or in any place surrounded by nature. More so if the dwelling is not screened.

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No mosquitos in this mountain inn but moths, beetles, and other flying night critters that may bother one’s sleep

Signal Spot

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Batad, unlike Banaue is cut-off from the rest of the world. One gets around on foot only and cellphone signal is non-existent. But, there are particularly few spots a Nokia phone can intermittently acquire some signal coming from somewhere, like from the other side of the mountain.

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A semi-permanent place for the Nokia of the inn’s caretaker. She checks messages on this spot without removing the phone

I can’t seem to grab a signal even from the same spot, hence I believe only Nokia has the power to do that somehow.

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The inn’s caretaker phone’s still there at night time

Mountain Jeepneys

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Jeepney designed for the steep climb to Batad saddle. I like how the headlights are framed by lizards and that lizard on the side mirror

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Waiting for couple of hours before this jeep leaves for Batad saddle

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The “Mountain Lover”

Ancient Rice Landscape

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Watercress in Cordillera

Watercress

Watercress can be sautéed, or added in soups, or eaten as salad

Watercress is very abundant in Cordillera and therefore a household or restaurant staple in that region.

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