Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Kalinga Male Costume, the G-String

Just like so many Igorot costumes, the Kalinga male costume is basically only a G-string.

A G-string is a long strip of woven cloth that a male wears around his waist to cover his manhood.

Tying the woven cloth at the waist will ensure that it won’t fall down. There are no upper shirts or clothing for natives.

For women, ethnic beads are used instead.

Nowadays, however, the Kalinga costumes are now modernized with upper thin fabrics as blouses and undershirts for men.

The Kalinga male costume keeps on evolving as more and more folks are exposed to fashion in the cities and towns.

But the Kalinga ethnic costume will always retain its vivacity in color and style.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Paracelis, Mountain Province; An Undiscovered Paradise

By: Kristel Erica Banasan

Paracelis is the largest town of Mountain Province when it comes to land area. 

It is also located at the easternmost part of Mountain Province in the Cordillera mountains of the Philippines. 

This is not Paracelis but Baguio. Pics of Paracelis will be posted soon. Image credit: Erika Banasan

It is boarded by Isabela to the east, by Ifugao to the south, by Kalinga to the north and by Natonin (another town of Mountain Province) to the West. Paracelis is the hottest part of Mountain Province as it is mostly a valley. 

This is a town yet to be discovered and improved, and I say its people may need to prepare for the time when this town’s tourism boost. 

Paracelis is not without attractions, the town just needs nurturing, tourism wide.

The potential is great. For example, Paracelis has 3 must see water falls. First on the stop is the Canabo Waterfall.  These waterfalls are beauties to behold, with Mother Nature protecting them like children.

Find time to visit Paracelis and enjoy its exotic flora and fauna. You won't regret it!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Kalinga Ethnic Costumes, Igorot Costumes

Kalinga ethnic costumes are colorful and vivid. Among the ethnic Igorot groups, the Kalinga costumes stands out because it combines the beauty of all the other native clothing.

The "bongol" necklace made of rare beads can indicate the standing of a person; the thicker the "bongol" is the more affluent the person is. The quality of the beads denotes also the person's standing in the community.

The beads are made up of rare stones and gems, which may have originated from China, Malaysia and other foreign lands. It was believed that the ancient i-Kalingas traded with foreign people during the olden times.

For Kalinga males, the G-string is the popular ethnic costume.

Here are samples of the Kalinga ethnic costumes.

Bro. Ben in his G-string!

Our beloved, the late Lola Carmen, with her "bongol". Although the dress is not Kalinga, Lola Carmen is a true-blooded Igorot.

Bongol and some native colors

Male and female Kalinga costume

Benguet Igorot costume

Modernized Igorot Costume

Original Igorot Costume

Original Female Kalinga costume courtesy of Nats Dalanao

Various types of bongols (ethnic necklaces)

Benguet native costuume

Kalinga costume with modernized blouse and bongol

Female and male Kalinga costume

Ethnic male Kalinga costume

Modernized Igorot costume

Dance troupe costmes

Female Kalinga costume

Paracelis costume, courtesy of Erika

Kalinga warrior costume dancing tadok

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Why Wildlife Preservation and Conservation are Important

Nature and the ecosystem have a way of maintaining balance so that each flora and fauna would support and balance life.

Mother earth heals herself but people have to help her do it. One way that a community can aid mother earth to do this is by helping to preserve and conserve wildlife.

Wildlife has a role to play in the ecosystem. Just like lizards who feed on mosquitoes to balance the multiplication of these harmful insects, wildlife also helps in the balance of the ecosystem.

Here are other reasons why humanity should do this.

Wildlife is part of the balance of nature and the ecosystem. They interact with the environment and with this interaction other creatures survive and others are controlled.

Scientists may not have discovered all the wonderful benefits that we could derive in the preservation of wildlife.

It is a fact though that Mother Earth has a way of obtaining balance and this process could affect man’s existence in Mother Earth’s soil.

Wildlife can also add to a country’s economy through the exciting creatures and plants, and plant products it could provide.

There is also a scientific value of wildlife. It is only by studying wildlife that early processes and occurrences are discovered and created.

When people maintain wildlife, the circle of life is maintained and hence man’s survival as well. The role of the conservation and preservation of wildlife is crucial because it also helps to maintain the natural balances of the ecosystem.

The IUCN releases now and then a list of the threatened species to make the world aware of these wildlife threatened species.

Lions, seabirds, and some species of lions and tigers are among the list. Even amphibians are declining in population, like the golden toads.

Scientists also noticed a decline in primates, such as monkeys, gorillas, and apes. Some wildlife creatures feed on other creatures, which prevents the proliferation of another species.

This acts as a food chain which balances the creatures existing in the ecosystem. If all of these wildlife creatures are eliminated, then this might create a redirection of the food chain, which could be dangerous for human beings.

Humans should stop hunting and selling these wildlife creatures but instead men should preserve and conserve wildlife with its plants and animals.

This is so that the balance of the ecosystem is not disturbed. Any imbalance would affect the existence of man and could be detrimental to man’s health, economy and safety.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Learn Common Taloctoc Sentences

If you’re traveling to the boondocks of Taloctoc, Kalinga, you will certainly need to know some of the common sentences, so you can at least communicate using the dialect. 

What’s your name? – Umma ngadan no?  (Letter “d” is pronounced like a cross between the “t” and “d” sounds)

Where are you going? - Umma ayam?

What’s your viand? – Umma sida yo?

Let’s go to the river.  – Intako adte dawang.

Where are you? – Umma igom?

Let’s eat – Mangantako.

Let’s go – Intakkon.

I’m fine – Ambaloak. (Letter ‘l” is pronounced as  a rolled “y” )

I love you – Laydok sika.

I don’t know – Ikpon agammo.

Yes – On

No – Na-i

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kalinga Native Fish Dishes

Kalinga native dishes are simple dishes meant to bring out the natural flavor of the food. One of the most delicious foods I have ever tasted in Taloctoc is the fish dish.

Image credit:

This is usually cooked during swimming picnics along riverbanks.

The fish is caught using our bare hands, and yes you can catch them this way. It’s a skill I came to learn and it was fun.


1. Wash the fish thoroughly

2. Add salt to taste and mix. Some preferred not to add salt.

3. Wrap them in banana leaves.

4. Place them in bamboo containers. These are small bamboo trunks/tubes that are freshly cut to expose the hollow cavity inside. The bamboo is cut in such a way that the “node” covers the other end of the bamboo.

5. Place the wrapped fish in banana leaves inside the bamboo container

6. Cook in low fire.

7. Serve hot.

This type of cooking brings out the natural taste of the fish, and I tell you, I have never tasted such delicious flavor in my life.

You have to experience it to believe.

Go ahead, and try it at home. But you have to buy fresh fish (still alive), and some banana leaves and charcoal.

Good luck with your Kalinga dish.

Here's an additional pointer from an Aunt who had lived in Taloctoc but now resides in America.

Fe Potter  says:

"The bamboo tube should also be a fresh cut so it will not burn right out over the charcoal. This method of cooking is excellent in any kind of fish dish."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

I’m an i-Kalinga (Igorot) and I’m Proud of It

Just because you’re one of the cultural minorities (an Igorot) does not mean that you’re a second class citizen. It’s this perception that causes some Igorots to deny their ethnicity.

It’s a misconception that only uneducated and misinformed individuals have.

For those who don't know it; Igorots come from the Mountain Province, which is composed of 5 major provinces namely; Kalinga, Apayao, Benguet, Bontoc and Ifugao.

If you’re well-informed, learned and have traveled a lot, you’ll be aware that Igorots are one of the most honest, sincere and intelligent Filipinos.

I have lived in Taloctoc, Kalinga during my childhood and I have never seen such honest people; you can leave your house unlocked and nothing will ever be stolen.

You can trust them because they honor their words and consider them unbreakable. There’s no need for legal pieces of paper, because their words are good enough to serve as binding contracts.

During college, and even now, there are still ignorant and misinformed people who look down upon Igorots. But, I just think that they’re ignoramuses and are insecure individuals.

Whenever someone asked where I came from, I readily stated that I was an Igorot, an i-Kalinga, to be more specific. Sometimes, some were surprised, because perhaps, they didn’t expect that I could be standing - dignified - among them, and, in addition, I was proud of my origins.

I can go on to list factual names of Igorots who have made it successfully in the local and international arena in various fields, but this page would not be enough.

Do I have a tail? I don’t. I’m as normal as you are.

To all Igorots out there, be proud of your heritage because you come from a noble tribe that is composed of honest, intelligent, sincere and hardworking people.

Umali kayo losan atna Kalinga! Matago-tago tako losan.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Memoir: My Funniest Gardening Experience in Taloctoc, Kalinga

I grew up amidst the splendor of Mother Nature in the hinterlands of Taloctoc. I’m sure many of you don’t know where Taloctoc is.

Taloctoc is a small ethnic village located in the heart of Kalinga, north of Manila. Previously it was inaccessible to vehicles, but at present, a narrow, rugged road was constructed that made traveling easier.

This story happened several years ago when I was in grade school. The significant lessons learned though are timeless, and these are what I want to share with you.

In the village, gardening was a way of life. It was unusual for a villager not to have a garden somewhere, because a garden was a crucial part of the village’s subsistence.

Our garden was a few steps away from the teacher’s quarters where we were staying temporarily, as we had just come from town.

My mother, Asuncion, was a grade school teacher, and as expected, she had to be a role model for the folk in every aspect - including gardening.

“Do you think you could help me with this?” Mother asked me, one sunny Saturday when she brought me to an area below our house.

I looked around and noticed verdant, robust weeds growing abundantly in the area.

“What would we do here, Ma?” I asked curious.

“We’ll make a camote (sweet potato) garden,” she piped enthusiastically.

I was not enthusiastic about it because I hated gardening, but I followed her instructions, anyhow, weeding and digging the area to make the soil soft and ready to form into plots.

We made small garden plots, creating small canals for water drainage. The soil was rich and soft and we had no difficulty planting the ‘camote’ tubes. I was instructed to plant them about 3 inches away from each other.

“The roots would grow more rapidly, and there would be more tubes,” mother said.

Afterwards, I was tasked to accompany mother in tending to the garden. Every morning I went with her down that small patch of land.

I began to appreciate my quiet moments with mother. It was also fun weeding and adding more soil, so that the tubers would grow bigger and more delicious.

Within more than a month’s time we began reaping the fruit of our labor from our small ‘camote’ garden.

One time there was a contest in school to bring a simple food that was nutritious, and that had many health benefits. I had thought instantly about my ‘camote’ garden.

Excitedly, I harvested the shoots and the tubers and cooked the shoots with anchovy and tomatoes, then I prepared vegetable salad from the shoots too. I had cooked also the tuberous roots into barbecues and prepared sweet jam.

Yes, I won the contest, because the shoots were rich sources of vitamins, minerals and iron. The roots were sources of carbohydrates and fibers too. They ate voraciously the delectable food I prepared for them.

There was an underside though; some people gave off unwanted gas that made people scamper away. This turned the event to a comedy scene.

This is not the significant story though; the most important thing that I have learned while tending the garden with my mother were the precious lessons in life that she had taught me.

I could still remember mother patiently digging small canals so that water would not accumulate on the plant’s roots.

“What would happen if the water would amass?” she asked me.

“Well, the plant would die?” I replied, unsure.

“Of course dear, so remember any good thing could become bad if it’s in excess.”

“Even love?”

“Even love. Genuine love is tough love. We love you, but we reprimand you when you get out of hand.” She said sotto voce.

“If we don’t nurture and tend to our plants, do you think it would still live?” Mother queried again.

“Some of it would die,” I stated, sure of my answer.

“Smart child and the few that manage to live could be unhealthy and lost.”

“Love is like a plant that should be properly watered and exposed to sunlight to survive. Having too much of either would be damaging to the plant. So, when it’s time for you to love, think about love as a plant that needs nurturing and proper care.”

These are only a few among the many lessons that I have learned from her.

Now, that I am a professional, I would always remember the lessons gleaned from these gardening moments with my mother. I hope you have learned something as well.