Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lubuagan and Its Poignant Memories

Lubuagan holds numerous poignant memories for me because it’s where I spent my early teen years.

St. Teresita’s School (STS) was where I pursued my secondary education…the place just remains indelible in my memory because of so many "firsts".

STS is run by nuns. Yes! And I stayed in the dormitory for girls where strict compliance of rules is implemented.

We had breakfast at 6 to 7 am, lunch at 11 to 12:30, and dinner at 6 to 7 p.m. Any late comers won’t be served any meal. We have also to consume everything that was served, whether we liked it or not.

We prayed several times a day; before and after going to sleep, before and after eating meals and any occasion the nuns deem it appropriate to pray.

Mass was held every day and we were “encouraged to attend”.

The Holidays of Obligation were compulsory mass attendance for us…or else.

Well, I appreciate all that I have learned from that Catholic institution because it has become a part of me now.

Here’s a picture of the school, courtesy of Demetrio Buenavista. Thanks for the pic.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tips for Capturing Wildlife on Film

Expert photographers would oftentimes say that there is no perfect formula in vividly capturing wildlife on film. This is because there are various aspects that one has to consider to get that perfect shot.  This does not mean though that photographers should abandon this tremendous challenge. The following are tips in capturing vibrant and colorful wildlife images.

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*You don’t have to use an expensive camera – It is how you use it creatively that counts. No matter how expensive your camera is, if you do not know how to use it effectively, then it is useless. Before snapping those wildlife photos, or shooting a video, familiarize yourself first with the proper functions of your camera.

*Ascertain you have different lenses when you need them – Zooming in is not always needed, especially if you want to capture the surrounding spectacular landscape. The view of the habitat of
a wildlife animal could add to the character of your photograph or film. Know when to zoom in, and when not to.

*Use different angles for your shots – A different angle can provide a new perspective for your audience. You can take shots lying down, sitting, skywards, or standing up. You can shoot the image vertically or horizontally. Your creativity will come to the picture. Think out of the box, to capture extraordinary images from ordinary scenes.

*Provide the animal some space – You can get near to shoot images, but not too near to
endanger yourself or scare the animal. Your photos should depict naturally the animal in its peaceful and natural environment. Generally, the safe distance is 15 to 20 feet.

*Use your shutter speed to vary shots – Your shutter speed can make your pictures or films unique. You can decrease or increase the speed. You can lengthen the time of exposure or shorten it to capture different photos of the same animal. Some photographers come up with amazing pictures using these methods.

*Take a handy tripod with you – Even if your hands are steady, there are shots that need a tripod. It is also better if your camera is stable on a tripod because pictures could be more vivid and clear. There are light, handy tripods that you can easily carry around with you.

*Use the camera’s continuous shooting mode – This would allow you conveniently to capture sudden moments when the wildlife around you goes extremely mobile. You have to be ready to capture those momentous unguarded moments of animal life that may never occur again.

*Capture the eyes of the animal - Make the eyes of the animal the focal point of most of your shots. These would turn an ordinary shot into a riveting one.

These are simple tips that could help anyone who want to capture the beauty and wonder of wildlife. The crucial thing to remember is that safety comes first, because animals have that natural instinct to defend themselves to survive.

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.

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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."