remembering the martyrs

backpacking in the North, and one of the highlights is the celebration of the 2012 Cordillera Day with the indigenous people of Abra.

a province of natural beauty marred by decades of militarization, political violence and warlordism, Abra is also the home of more than nine (9) katutubo tribes.  one of the sites of the 2012 Cordillera Day was held in the community of the Maeng in the upland town of Tubo.


Cordillera Day was first celebrated by the indigenous communities of the North to commemorate the death anniversary of Ama Macliing Dulag, a Kalinga tribal leader and martyr during the Marcos dictatorship. Macliing was one of the katutubo leaders who opposed the construction of a huge dam within the Chico River and was assassinated by members of the Phil Army on April 24, 1980. his death resulted to the cancellation of the dam project and brought forth unity among the many tribes in the Cordillera region. this annual celebration is facilitated by the peoples network Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA).

from Bangued, the capital of Abra, it will take additional 5 hours to reach the community of Maeng in Barangay Amtwangan. 


going across the mighty Abra river will require vehicles to board a makeshift barge. 

only in the Philippines :)

it  rained hard when we arrived in Tubo so we were forced to walk for more than one hour going to the upland barangay.  I love hiking so no problem, plus we need to cross suspension foot bridges, yey! 

the celebration was highlighted by tribal dances and songs, 


 camaraderie and integration with the katutubos,


understanding their issues and concerns,

and remembering Macliing and other martyrs.

....a very wonderful experience

2012 Cordillera Day


251 hours

revisiting the last 10+ days... a journey without moving, through meditation
yes yes i know, this is a travel blog and my personal senti crap should not be published in this wall :-). but attending the Vipassana meditation 10 days course, it felt like a roller-coaster journey of emotions even without moving physically. allow me to elaborate.
Vipassana is an ancient meditation technique, rediscovered and taught by Gotama the Budda 2500 years ago. Its a universal technique and Linkdoesn't require chants, mantras or rituals. It can be practiced by any person, regardless of their religion, ideology, race, etc. The course that I took was taught by Satya Narayan Goenka of Vipassana International Academy of India. the course officially starts at 8pm of Day 0 and ends in the morning of Day 11. the course itself is very challenging both physically and mentally. meditators will be in total isolation and will observe nobel silence, meaning any forms of communication with fellow meditators, verbal or gestures, are strictly prohibited. reading or any writing paraphernalia are also prohibited. a difficult predicament since no one forces you to isolate yourself. everyday, always hear this nagging tiny voice in my head saying "quit this crazy s@%t and go home!".
but thankfully, i stayed and managed to complete the course. it's a wonderful experience and Vipassana is a very useful technique that can aid anyone in their journey through life. you see whatever we are doing, running, walking or just being still, we are constantly moving, traversing our path in search of our happiness and "Truth".
since our childhood, we were bombarded by religion, society and literature of the true definition of the "Truth", and the right path that one must take to achieve happiness and salvation. knowing is a good thing but experiencing it, in the actual realm, is just simply wonderful.
i deeply encourage you to try this course. much has to be done still and for me, long path ahead. but every journey starts with one small step :)
for more info on Vipassana meditation and schedule of courses in the Philippines, check this site. cheers!


san agustin church

one of the four baroque churches in the country, the San Agustin Church is the only structure in Intramuros that survived the indiscriminate aerial bombings of Manila by American forces in 1945. a special sacred landmark both for tourist and religious devotees, the church is also listed in UNESCO World Heritage List.