October 24, 2014. I decided to tag along a good friend on her way to a workshop in Bontoc, Mt Province. It has been my tradition for my past few birthdays to engage in a giving back activity. It may not be that extravagant, but it is personal, and authentic. In a way, it is a perfect gift to myself; a celebration of life by giving back and having a few “me” times during the process. My 5 day trip was surely breathtaking (literally and figuratively), humbling, and refreshing. In retrospect; I just realize this trip is something for me to share to my children (and my children’s children).
What I love about going up the mountainous part of the Philippines is the view outside your window. It made me think what will these views look like after 20 or more years. Would it still be the same or would it be full of man made structures? I do pray that it still be the same. That’s why now, I make sure I appreciate nature whenever I have the chance.
I am very envious of people in these kinds of places. However, I am still grateful I live in the city where there are still trees around. Our host who lives in Bontoc (and apparently is the town’s “Ms. Popular”) brought us to this mountain top which is a good 10-minute drive from the town )and also a good idea to jog the road going up – it would be a good exercise for people who run like me.) The destination is a rich wide green meadow. We were lucky the sun is about to set and we were able to catch some few good photos.
When I go to places; I do not ever consider myself as a “tourist” rather; I make an effort to be a local. I am lucky I grew up in Benguet that I can relate mostly to the locals.
October 26, the crew went to Sagada to do some additional advertisements. It’s good that we have our own means of transportation we can pull over and take memories.
Afternoon of October 26, I am bound to Kalinga to visit my “home”. This time, there’s no crew – just me. Travelling to Kalinga, I always do it top load style. They say it’s scary, I say it’s breathtakingly exciting, and beautiful. This double rainbow may not be this awesome if I was inside the jeep. And don’t get me started about the hike going up to the village.
It’s my third time in the village and the part I miss the most are the people, the coffee, the pigs, the family I stay with during my stay… Okay! everything!
The price you pay when you travel up to the village alone is you take photos of yourself while your skin gets pierced by an orange thorn by an old beautiful woman who is the last and a world famous traditional tattoo artist who doesn’t even know how famous she is. But that intimate moment when you’re the only one being tatted up for the day makes it all worth it – actually, it’s an understatement if I say “worth it” because every part of getting there is exciting and just the awesome-st experience – the top load, the hike and the people greeting you with their locally made coffee etc… She even asked me if i want to add more to my tat… Lucky girl in the galaxy, I am. First traditional tat last year, I was being photographed by professionals who happened to go up the village with us and people lurking around watching if I wince in pain and now, I am alone and intimate with the Master; my ideal moment (I still did not wince in pain though). Hehe. Yeah!
There’s nothing much to do after my tat was done so I hang out with the kids instead and went around the village.
The afternoon of October 27, a friend came up the village too and got their tats done the next day… Good thing Grace was there to help out with their tats.
I can say now that this birthday is the best one… so far.
So let another cycle begin with lessons learned and an excitement for new ones.
Let this be the start of my year for reckoning and detachment.
Love and light!