Saturday, April 26, 2008

Back to my saddle again

After almost a week in the mountains covering local festivals, I'm back with darker skin, a little cough and a bunch of photographs. I also earned a new name from my media colleagues. Boy alcohol. I'm not alcoholic but why did I earn that name?

Maybe because I was drinking even when it's liquor ban in those places. Maybe I was drinking redhorse with my lunch and the rest are not. Maybe I was looking for gin when the stores are already closed. Maybe because I had to drink before going to bed so I could easily sleep with the snoring of my room mates.

The answer is all of the above.

 Visiting several villages made me realize how much we in the Cities have forgotten in our cultures and traditions. Customs that the foreign oppressors thought of as backwards. Many of us have already lost those customs with the influenced of the so called western or Christian cultures. With those influences, many of the old cultures are crumbled and along with it comes the deterioration of the people's love of their homeland.

In the far away villages in the mountainous regions of the Cordillera however, many still respect the old traditions and they still practice their old beliefs along with the new ones. The beauty of the old ways are still intact with their festivals and celebrations. Our camera shots are not enough to describe these beautiful and colorful traditions that has been intact for hundreds or thousands of years. But why would the Spanish and American Conquistadores thought of our old traditions as backwards when it brought balance in nature for many centuries?

The influence of the west is also strong in those places and perhaps someday, these beautiful customs and traditions will cease to exist. Let us hope that even though these people will embrace the Christian beliefs, they will still retain their customs that has been instrumental in bringing the beautiful terraced landscapes we enjoy today.