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Showing posts from 2016

Treasures and Pearls

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COGNITIVE DISSONANCE 
Someone privately commented that my language is too technical and culturally obscure for the new generation of hip netizens.  Like if I were to communicate my thoughts to a new generation, I should speak their language.  But I do not like the direction the internet has taken: these days I would rather keep my treasures and pearls to myself.

Hapid 1981

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Hapid, Ifugao - Part 1 [ Part 2| Part 3| Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6]

On my way to graduating from Philippine Christian University, I had to do community work/research as part of an elective I took in my last term.  That brought me to a little barangay called Hapid (16.727253, 121.241320).  It is off the beaten path and does not even register on most maps, Google Maps broadly includes it as a part of a nearby barangay, “Nayon”.  Initially, it was a letdown since it was technically in the lowlands of what should be the “Mountain Provinces”, shattering my illusions of pine trees, fog, and cold weather.  As the research part began, it became “interesting” and took on a different meaning.

I was there for about a week in March of 1981 and would come back from that sojourn a different person.

Before Hapid, I was a war-freakish techno-geek who was preoccupied with technology especially in relation to warfare: aircraft was on top of that list.  Before Hapid, I was bent on a life outside my country …

The Return to Hapid

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Hapid, Ifugao - Part 2 [ Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 ]

Aging does strange things to you, like recalling those stuff that brought you to where you are now, which explains why I am here writing this…

I originally went on that trip with the simple goal of doing my work, fulfilling the academic requirements to graduate college and moving on.  It was not in my mind or plan that I would ever want to go back again.  So I did not really form deep relationships with anyone—including my own classmates in the team.  Two names stick: Danny, who was my roommate, and Mang Ramon, who hosted us in his house.  But I do not remember anything else: conversations, doing things together—all draw a blank.

And the awareness of an “awakening” of sorts was happening was only realized in hindsight long after I have moved on.

But will anyone remember me after thirty five years?  Going back to Hapid was kind of awkward and empty because who was my connection with the place?  Mang Ramon was way past hi…

Hapid 2016

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Hapid, Ifugao - Part 3 [ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6]

To describe Hapid as being in the middle of nowhere may be an understatement: to go there you basically have to go north along the Pan-Philippine Highway (AH26) which veers toward the east side of Luzon, going through Nueva Ejica and Nueva Vizcaya.  Just before reaching the northern end of Nueva Vizcaya, you turn to what appears to be a secondary provincial road that goes to Ifugao; the road narrows a bit but traffic becomes way lighter as you realize that most of the traffic on the Pan-Philippine Highway is going further to Tuguegarao, Cagayan.  That “secondary” road ultimately takes you to Banaue, the tourist destination known for the Rice Terraces.  Other than that, everything is uneventful.  The last major urban area was back in Nueva Vizcaya (Solano) after which the vestiges of civilization (i.e., fastfoods) are gone.

Somewhere after Solano you pass a small town called Lamut and somewhere there you turn off into a…

Hapid: Finding Candice...

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Hapid, Ifugao - Part 4 [ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5 | Part 6 ]



Talking to Mang Maning and Joyce refreshed my memory of how we got there: Hapid was an alternate research site decided by folks in Philippine Christian University's College of Social Work when politics got in the way of a primary location.  That transpired in 1975 (a mere three years after then dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law) and would lead to a first group of students visiting Hapid—which included Joyce.  Five years later, a second batch was organized, this time I was part of it.  It was broadened to include, not only social work students, but also sociology and psychology students.  The stories revolved around connections and personalities that decided on things that eventually brought people together—the big picture so to speak.  Mang Maning and Sipin played host to some of the students and Joyce—as a student paved the way for the second batch.  Except for Sipin remembering that Candice followe…

Hapid: The Mountain is on Fire

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Hapid, Ifugao - Part 5 [ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 6 ]


So what is it about Hapid that was life-changing?  Nothing.  Precisely that—nothing.  As the techno-geek that I am, my world in 1981 has become noisier.  In 1979 the Sony Walkman was marketed and life has not been quiet ever since for everyone.  Although I would not own one until after college, with all the stereo components we were beginning to twiddle both in the household and in the cars, life was already noisy.  Hapid did not have electricity in 1981 and things shut down after dark.  And it was too far for television or the FM stations that I preferred listening too.  And an insomniac, I tended to stay awake up to close to midnight long after the whole village has gone to sleep.  Too afraid to venture out in the dark, it was my mind that went all over the place.  Then there was a night where the night sky was lit up because of kaingin (slash and burn).  I looked out the window in awe.  I think I can hear Him.

I am…

Hapid: Endings and Beginnings

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Hapid, Ifugao - Part 6 [ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 ]

The symbolism behind baptism by immersion (as Evangelicals generally would like to have it done) has to do with death and resurrection: immersion is dying and being buried and then coming out of the water is coming back to life as a new creation.  If you ask me my opinion about it—I do not care: the Bible was never absolute about it and as far as subsequent historical writings (i.e., Didache) have it, anything goes.  And basically, in various communities I have been involved with, I was baptized both as an infant (sprinkling) and as an adult (immersion).  Hindsight, I should have stayed with the infant part…that was effective as it can get (look at me now mom!).

But there was one baptism that I went through which adds another layer to my experience in Hapid: I nearly drowned.


Take note of the spot in-front of where I was doing the laundry in the old photo—the waters were calm.  Calm enough to walk in waist deep water a…