Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Calling of the Pen

Carl Cariño Taawan

Their pens are proven mightier than any sword. They helped bring down a system and forge a new government. The economy have risen and fallen with their words.

They are the voices when the masses wanted to be heard, and they are tools for the leaders to inform the masses. They are the instruments that bridge the gap between the peoples of the country.

The people demanded for their words on unforeseen occurrences. When revolutions happen they sacrificed so much to keep their voices heard.

When calamities struck, provisions were sent because their words had struck the good hearted people.

The merchants have supported them and they too have brought their end of the bargain by making their supporters wealthier.

The entertainment industry that made the people smile or cry after a hard day’s work has come to dramatic growth because of them.

The very politicians, for obvious reasons, have entreated for their assistance and many have risen to power with them behind.

The armed forces have sought them to cover their works as well as in defending their rights and these things too were granted countless of times.

Yet in a slight suspicion or for their own conveniences, those who asked for their help will not think twice to condemn them to hell. It came to be so that one of the least paid jobs in the country is also one of the most dangerous.

Many tears have fallen and their bloods have tainted the earth, their bodies have piled up to the roof of the heavens. The scream of their plea for justice has plagued the land yet their pleas have been forgotten.

Many will keep on trying to stop them, but atrocity will only fuel their burning desires to fulfill their duty.

This is not just a job that they must do. This is their passion. A calling like a burning fire inside that they cannot endure and have to let out.

Their desire to keep the people informed no matter what is their way of life.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blinds




Shelterbox Comes to the Highlands

Many evacuees have another reason to smile despite of the tragedy, thanks to disaster relief charity ShelterBox who delivered dozens of emergency accommodations to disaster affected areas of Benguet and Cordilleras.

Shelterbox is sponsored by Rotary clubs from six different countries. “ShelterBox specializes in providing emergency accommodation and other survival essentials to disaster victims,” explained Brian C. Joy a Rotarian from the United Kingdom. “The tents provided by Shelter Box is designed to help a family of 10 survive for at least six months.”

The charity has delivered a total 73 emergency tents to Benguet. The Philippines first receive 100 Shelterbox tents after a cyclone hit the province of Pangasinan in May this year. Earlier this month, the Shelterbox Response Team (SRT) has deployed more than 200 tents to the victims of typhoon Ondoy in the National Capital Region. Worth of each tent is estimated to be Thirty two thousand Five Hundred.

La Trinidad received 34 of the tents while Itogon got 27 and 22 went to the municipality of Tublay. Vice Mayor Armando Lauro of Tublay explained that “the tents are needed to ease out the cramped schools off the evacuees so that students could go back to school.” Most of the tents were deployed in schools. Children and women, including the senior citizens, helped out in setting up the tents in Coroz Elementary school where 148 families were evacuated. The evacuees decided how to divide themselves in using the tents. Close relatives will fill the 10 person capacity of each tent.”

Up to the press time, Shelterbox representatives are still doing surveys in affected areas. Twenty tents will soon be delivered to Tadian, Mountain Province and 200 more with complete starter kit will arrive tomorrow, October 27, 2009.

"The concern of Shelterbox is the needs of people who have lost their homes as the result of a disaster - politics and financial status doesn't matter when your house has been washed away," explained Fidel Demot, a Rotarian from La Trinidad. “Shelterbox operate irrespective of race, religion or political affiliation and with its links to different Rotary organizations worldwide, they were able to provide assistance in so many places.”

ShelterBox was set up by a Cornish Rotary club in 2000 and now has international affiliates established by Rotary clubs in six other countries. Since its inception in 2000, ShelterBox has firmly established itself at the forefront of international disaster relief providing shelter to over 80 disasters in more than 50 countries.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Women Power




Women and Children including a Senior Citizen helped in setting up emergency tent from Shelterbox in Coroz, Tublay. These tents were installed to help ease out the schools of evacuees so that kids could go back to school.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Time to Rest






A member of the Philippine army working in the rescue operation in a community known as little Kibungan in Puguis takes a rest, or perhaps praying for a miracle that the people still missing will eventually come home alive. But come hom...e to where when their houses were already taken by Pepeng?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Tenth Ray

By Carl Cariño Taawan

The senate agreed to include a ninth ray on the Philippine flag's sun to symbolize the courage, bravery and integrity of Muslim Filipinos who fought for the nation's independence. Shouldn't the senate also include the mountain people who sacrificed so many lives to fight oppression?

Under the leadership of Bonifacio, the Filipino people started fighting the Spaniards in the late 1800's. But the Igorot people had been fighting these invaders for the 333 years they colonized the Philippines. The conquerors were not able to fully establish a foothold in the Igorot territories.

One of the biggest battle recorded by the Spaniards was in 1760s in Tonglo, part of the modern Tuba. In this particular battle, most of the Ibaloi warriors were united to battle the Spanish-led armada of lowland soldiers. It was during this battle that many of the brave Ibaloi warriors were killed and the town of Tonglo, one of the biggest communities of Igorots in Benguet was erased on the map.

It was only in 1846 after so many battles and so many sacrificed lives that Colonel Guilermo de Galvey was able to establish a rancheria in Benguet and named the capital La Trinidad after his wife.

In the Spanish records, when their historians first arrived in La Trinidad, there were more than 100 houses in the valley. However, in the later remarks, there were only about 30 huts. The continuous battle has decimated the population of Igorots in the territories closest to the enemies.

Colonel Galvey also attacked deeper in the Cordilleras into the Mountain Provinces and Ifugao but he wasn't able to establish a permanent stronghold. Until the time the Americans bought the Philippines from the Spaniards, most of the Igorot territories are free from the foreign invaders. Practically speaking, they were not conquered by the Spaniards.

When the Americans came, the Igorots also were the last to be conquered after many bloody battles. Most of these battles were of course not recorded or in a term used by their historian William Henry Scott, these records were whitewashed by the Americans. There was a story of American soldiers who eradicated a whole community of Igorots in Ifugao. After so many battles and many more lives were sacrificed did the Americans started sending teachers to educate remnants of these brave Igorot warriors.

Of course, the Americans won't be that interested in these so-called wild men of the Philippines if they will not benefit from their lands. Like the Spaniards, they were after one thing, resources. The Igorot land was rich with gold and timber. After their conquest, they started harvesting lumbers and mining the gold. Thankfully, even after robbing them of their riches, the Americans were able to educate these wild men and up to the present, they were among the well-educated people in the Country. Another good thing about the Americans is they know how to replant the felled trees and many of those seen in Baguio today were planted by them.

So the Americans taught the Igorots a more peaceful way to live and the humbled fierce warriors abandoned their shields and spears. They now relied upon the American government for protection.

After 40 years of the American invasion came another oppressor, The Japanese imperial army. After fighting so many battles with the Spaniards and Americans, and after being abandoned by the people who promised them protection if they lay down their arms, the Igorot people were easily humbled by these new invaders. However, after witnessing so much cruelty, the Igorots once again rose to fight and they created a legend that the Japanese army came to fear and the Americans came to respect, the 66th infantry battalion.

When the Americans came back to fulfill their promise, the Igorot battalion fought hand in hand with them. They were able to drive the Japanese army out of Baguio and the enemy's number dwindled after they were chased away deeper into the Cordillera Mountains. Until finally with the 66th infantry on their tail their foremost General Yamashita, the conqueror of Malaya surrendered in Kiangan, Ifugao. The Japanese armies were fearful of the 66h infantry to the end that they have chosen to surrender to the Americans.

After the war, the Americans granted the Philippines "freedom" (or should we say, partial freedom since the Americans continue to share with the country's wealth) and the Igorot people were free to govern themselves. The Igorots has now adjusted to modern living and they have migrated to the different part of the globe providing services of their respective skills. Visiting the Cordilleras now, one would notice the American-educated communities where English is understood and spoken.

The plight of the Igorot people is unknown to many Filipino people. Their name is used as a derogatory term by some. But they were people who valued their freedom like the rest of the Filipinos. They fought for it like the Filipino heroes written in history books. Are their sacrificed thousands of lives fighting for independence and exploited resources not enough to be part also of the Country's symbol?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Motion Emotion.




I was trying to shoot motions but no matter how small the aperture and very low the ISO, the speed is still fast. I tried to use my sunglasses and I got this shot. Background is not so neat to look at but I was able to capture the motion.



Loooooonganisa!!!




Baguio's longest Longanisa parade on September 19, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Igorots in Motion


They were once mighty people of the earth and mountains. They carved the mountainsides to create big stairways of rice fields reaching up to the skies. They have braved the rough terrains and adjusted to the kind of living the mountains have to offer. They protected the treasures from invaders. When their efforts failed and their trees were harvested by invaders, they changed the sculpture of the bald mountains by creating vegetable farms that can supply the needs of the national capital region. They were called by their lowland brothers in the outskirts of the mountains Igolots.

According to early 20th century historian Dr. Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, golot is an old Bago tribe word meaning “mountain chain” or “mountain ranges” and the prefix “i” means “people of” or “dwellers in.” Igolot was the term the early people of the lowlands describe these mountain dwellers that came to trade goods with them. When the Spaniards came, the name was anglicized into Ygorrotte, to be spelled later as Igorot.

Although many of the people of the Cordillera don’t want to be called as such for some reasons. Many don’t like the negative connotations associated to the name. Some say they weren’t called by their ancestors with that name so it’s not appropriate to use it for their tribes and opted to use their own tribe’s name. Some have chosen to be called Cordillerans, although the term cordillera is of Spanish origin and is a common term in every country colonized by the Spaniards.

However, many people in the Cordillera Region of the Philippines already accepted the name given to them by their lowland brothers. They still use their tribe’s name such as Ibalois, Kankanaey, Ibontoc and such but accepted the Igorot term as their collective name.

From the first worldwide exposure of the Igorots as live exhibits in St. Louis Fair in Missouri in 1904, the Igorot people continue to migrate to different lands and countries. Nowadays Igorot communities have spread throughout the globe. Igorot online organizations are springing up and effort to clear the negative connotation of the name continue to spread.

The Igorots always help each other. It was the nature of their old culture. They made use of the internet as a means to expedite material aids when someone needs assistance especially when disaster strikes home. When disaster affected their lowland brothers, they too make extra effort to extend help. When Mt. Pinatubo erupted and thousand of people including the Aetas were displaced from their homes, truckloads of vegetables were sent as aids and the following famous quote came out: “Aetas very hungry, Igorots in a hurry.”

Yes, the Igorots are always in motion. They are respected worldwide and they are not ashamed of their name. Some of them may not be able to speak their local dialects anymore, but the values of their ancestors will always stay with them. After all, the Igorot way is about honor and respect.

Last April 2010, the online communities of Igorots met and created the Cordillera Global Network. It is an organization that involved not only the Igorot people but every person who became part of the Cordillera Region. The purpose is to help the new generations learn and appreciate their own culture and to shine as lights to other people to make them understand the history that brought wonders to these mountainous lands. A fitting organization to reunite them after decades of adventures that shaped their modern culture.

By Carl Carino Taawan

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Yellow Ribbon for Tita Cory

by Carl Carino Taawan

The very first thing I remember about Aquino’s rule was when I was creating my own city on the ground as a child. I was playing with other children carving roadways from the dirt infront of our house loading our little trucks with pebbles and sands when suddenly we were mesmerized by thousands of armed men in trucks passing by the road. Later on I found out that they were the group of Balweg going down the mountain to talk peacefully to the newly elected president.

It was during her time that the solidarity of the Communist Party of the Philippines was shattered. Part of the party were in favor of her and to amnesty yet some were against it. The party was divided and their strength built during Marcos’ regime was never regained again as described in the book “The Journey of Edgar Jopson and the First Quarter Storm” by Benjamin Pimentel Jr.

Some would say Aquino wasn’t intelligent enough to be the president. She herself admitted it when she said "I don't know anything about the presidency” a year before she run against Marcos. And yes, when she was the president, there were stories about the manner she does things like she's doing chores in her own house. At one time I read about a joke told by James Baker that she didn’t get.

She may not have the IQ of many yet, I believe she started something that was denied to the Philippines for a long time, real freedom; one particular was the freedom of speech. Although Philippines have a high percentage of killings of journalists, I believe we do have the best freedom in the whole of Asia after the so-called iron-hand rule was ended.

Described by many as an iron-hand or dictatorship rule, many have bled to fight Marcos' regime and many lives were sacrificed. Marcos stunned the nation in November 1985 by calling a snap election in a bid to shore up his mandate. The opposition urged Aquino to run but the results favored Marcos. Journalist, foreign observers and church leaders alleged massive fraud.

Her fight after the snap election was the most dramatic in the history Philippine politics. During that time the citizens were called to help defend the military groups who mutinied against Marcos. "For the first time in the history of the world, a civilian population has been called to defend the military," Aquino said during the first people’s power revolution. Photos of nuns and civilians stopping tanks became icons etched in our minds.

On February 25, 1986, Marcos fled to the states and Aquino was sworn as president. Yes, a housewife who lead the Filipino people to a historic revolution that humbled a powerful enemy.

Her rule may not be the best that happened in the Country for like the others, there were many flaws. Even the Military group who put her to power tried to bring her down. But there is only one Edsa revolution and it may never happen again. And like the old country song where the yellow ribbon tied on the old oak tree was a symbol of hope, the yellow color symbolized the time when a nation’s hope for reform was realized.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vege Float




It's not an egg, it's not a plant, it's an eggplant from Dupax.

Who says vegetables are only for the table?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Speedo




Been shooting with the "no credit photographers" lately. Here's Mr. Speedo wearing almost yellow, passing over signs that are yellow, overtaking a parked car that's not yellow.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Leaf Onion Farm




One of my shoots during the Strawberry Festival Photo competition. She was cleaning her leaf onions she harvested. Danggo is the name of this product in the native dialect.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ammungan Lady




Nueva Viscaya's very first Ammungan Festival. This street dancer is one of the major attraction during the Ammungan Street Dancing Competition that took place in Bayombong Nueva Viscaya on May 22, 2009.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shoot Happens Photography Workshop

June13-14, 2009
10am-5pm

Location: Beggang Resto Grill
Day 1: Lecture & Shoot
Day 2: Shoot! (Chosen photo will be exhibited at the new Shooters Sports Bar, Abanao)

Registration Fee: Php 1,250

Inclusive of the following:
- Food and drinks on the first day
- Certificate
- A chance to have your first exhibit at the new Shooters Sports Bar along Abanao with fellow students. 8"x12" photo and frame included.

For Registration / Inquiries:
Contact Waffy
Mobile: 0917-626-WAFF || Email: Waffy@nocreditphotographers.com

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Igorots: The People Behind the Name




In many parts of the country, the word Igorot is used as a derogatory term for idiots. In 1958, Even the former representative Luis Hora of the Third District of the Old Mountain sought to prohibit the use of Igorot in a house bill he presented. But what does the word really mean and who are these people who are proud to be called as one.

Dr. Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, a Tagalog scholar in the early 1900s, stated that it was composed of the root word golot, meaning “mountain chain” or “mountain ranges” and the prefix i, meaning “people of” or “dwellers in.”

The fact that golot is a place has still survived in the speech of those “Bagos” living in the outskirts of the Ilocos provinces who are believed to be related to the Igorots. We still hear people say, “Nagapodad Golot” (They came from golot) when people arrive from the mountains.

"The word Igolot, therefore, appears to be perfectly indigenous Filipino origin, and it is in this form that it first appeared in Spanish records. The substitution of R for L in the word did not become popular until the 18th century when Antonio Mozo used the word in his 1763 Noticia Historico Natural changing the letter ‘L’ into letter ‘R’".

There is no record if the people in question called themselves Igorots (or Igolots) in the olden days. It would be more likely that this is what they were called by non-mountaineers in the lowlands. We have no idea if they ever have a collective term than can identify the highland tribes.

The name was imposed on the mountaineers by American Authority in the present century in accordance with the American ethnological surveys. The people of the old Mountain Province (namely Bontok, Ifugao, Benguet, Apayao and Kalinga) started using the term as their unique identity.

Presently, some people from the Cordillera Region refuse to use Igorot as their own identity for they argue that they were never called as such by their ancestors in the first place. And another reason is the derogatory meaning that lowland people associated with the name. Some wanted to be called Cordilleran instead. However, the word Cordillera is not an indigenous but a foreign (Spanish) term. It would then defeat the purpose of identifying the uniqueness of this distinct culture and people. In the first place, they pride themselves unconquered by the Spaniards so isn't using a Spanish term connote defeat.

Igorot is the closest local term to call these unique people. However, even the people it seeks to define are divided. In this writer's opinion, if they therefore can't agree with this name as their collective name, they should find a local terminology that they are all comfortable to use.

So what should be the perfect name to call these distinctive people of these mountain ranges or “golot”?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Igorots: The People Behind the Name

In many parts of the country, the word Igorot is used as a derogatory term for idiots. In 1958, Even the former representative Luis Hora of the Third District of the Old Mountain sought to prohibit the use of Igorot in a house bill he presented. But what does the word really mean and who are these people who are proud to be called as one.

As far as the meaning of the word Igorot itself is concerned, Dr. Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, eminent Tagalog scholar at the turn of the century stated that it was composed of the root word golot, meaning “mountain chain” or “mountain ranges” and the prefix i, meaning “people of” or “dwellers in.”

It probably has the same use with the old tagalog word "golod" found in a 1613 Tagalog dictionary. The fact that golot is a place has still survived in the speech of those “Bagos” living in the outskirts of the Ilocos provinces who are decendants of the igorots. To people who just arrived from the Cordillera Provinces some would still say “Nagapodad Golot” – They came from golot.

The word Igolot therefore appears to be perfectly indigenous Filipino origin, and it is in this form that it first appeared in Spanish records. The substitution of R for L in the word did not become popular until the 18th century when Antonio Mozo used the word in his 1763 Noticia Historico Natural changing the letter ‘L’ into letter ‘R’.

There is no record if the people in question called themselves Igorots (or Igolots) in the olden days. It would be more likely that this is what they were called by non-mountaineers in the lowlands. But they did not call themselves by any other one name either.

The name was imposed on the mountaineers by American Authority in the present century in accordance with the American ethnological surveys. The people of the old Mountain Province (namely Bontok, Ifugao, Benguet, Apayao and Kalinga) started using the term as their unique identify.

Presently, some people from the Cordillera Region refuse to use Igorot as their own identity. Some wanted to be called Cordilleran instead. However, the word Cordillera is not an indigenous but a foreign (Spanish) term. It would then defeat the purpose to identify the culture as unique. Igorot therefore is still the perfect word to call these distinctive people of these mountain ranges or “golot”.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kibungan: Where Monkeys Roamed

By Carl Cariño Taawan

Deep gorges separating and isolating many sitios and barangays, rocky cliffs formed as human faces, and pine covered mountains that is said to resemble those of Switzerland. A place named after a primate.

In the mountains of Kibungan dwelt monkeys that are believed to have vanished because of the degradation of the forests and hunted for food. These monkeys were bigger than their common families found in the area today. The Americans named this municipality after these primates. They were called by the locals “Kibengan”.

One of the people who saw the said monkeys was Bernabe Wance. “It was probably in 1932 that they still roamed these mountains, “he said. “As the population grows, the monkeys were hunted for food. The monkeys eventually run away or have been wiped out.”

Increase of population in Kibunga escalated when the logging and mining industry expanded in the area. Bigger communities like those from Sagpat and Lobo were formed during the gold mines that closed down sometime in the 80s.

Today Kibungan is subdivided into 7 Barangays. Badeo, Lubo, Madaymen, Palina, Poblacion and Sagpat. The language in this municipality is mainly Kankanaey. It is located within a cool highland mountainous zone with elevations at more than 2500 meters above sea level. During its coolest months of December - January, Barangay Madaymen experiences chilling temperature of 0 degrees Celsius causing the famous Frost of Madaymen.

The municipality has many sites to offer but many can be reached only through hiking. Here are some of them.

Les-eng Rice Terraces
These magnificent terraces can be reached after 6-hour hike through lush pine forests in Barangay Tacadang.
Mayos River
Located at the northeastern part of Barangay Poblacion. It is approximately 2.5 kilometers in length and is about 3 kilometers awayfrom Poblacion Proper. The river originates from ridges of nearby Barangays Madaymen, Palina and Tacadang and supplies water to rice paddies and vegetable farms along the vicinity.
Palina Rice Terraces
In Barangay Palina at the foot of Mt. Kilkili believed to be a former volcano because of its conical shape. Constructed following a century-old system of rice terraces built with stone walls and neatly arranged one after the other. The rice terraces are at their best in December and June when the rice paddies turn golden yellow, near harvest time. The Palina rice terraces is known as the municipality’s rice granary.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Air Up There, Mt. Kalugong




If you go up there, bring the 4x4. I'm not talking about car though you will need it on the very rugged, narrow steep climb. I'm talking bout the 4 sided clear container with a burning liquid that you share with your friends while enjoying the view of La Trinidad and Baguio. One of the highest if not the highest peak in La Trinidad, the home of the famous strawberries.

Rock Monsters of Mt. Kalugong




Monday, March 9, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Baguio City Market Fire




On our way home with batteries exhausted from shooting the Panagbenga Floats and Drums & Lire competition and an all night drinking party with fellow photographers, we saw the market ablaze. I was able to get a few shots before my battery finally ceased on me.

Wasn't able to shoot the burned out sign. I left Sir Monching with the Mayor still shooting. More photos from him. Some photos from Waffy too who's batteries are as exhausted as mine.