Sunday, June 2, 2024

Igorot Girl in Tublay

"Igorot girl of Tublay." That's the original caption that accompanied this photo taken between 1898 and 1912. Unfortunately, aside from the caption, we don't know very much about this young lady in the picture.

However, we can gather clues from how the photo was taken, where it was taken, and other photos similar to it. It's pretty obvious that the subject was posing for a portrait. Her full getup, her stance, and the chair used as a prop are cues of a planned portrait session.

This is just one of several photos taken at the same location with other Igorot subjects. Most of these photos were portraits. Here's what's interesting - some of these subjects have been identified. They included Juan Carino, his brother, and his sister.

Juan Carino is the older brother of Mateo Carino, the Ibaloi leader who owned a good portion of the land that is now Baguio City. That said, it's possible that this "Igorot girl of Tublay" belonged to the Carino clan.

Image source: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Instructions on How to Wear a Bahag (Wanes)

An illustration on how to wear a loincloth (bahag, wanes). This is an illustration from a book published in 1929 titled Dress and Adornment in the Mountain Province of Luzon, Philippine Islands.

The book was written by Morice Vanoverbergh, a Belgian Catholic Missionary who worked in the Philippines for decades starting in the 1900s.

After being assigned at a mission in Bauko, Mountain Province in 1909, Vanoverbergh studied, researched, and recorded Igorot culture, traditions, and languages. He wrote several books containing his studies.

This infographic/poster was part of a textile exhibition at the Museo Kordilyera last year.

Igorots and Dogs

Taken between 1898 and 1912, this photo shows three Igorot men and one Igorot woman pausing at a trail to stand for the camera. The original caption for the photo stated: "Benguet Igorot carriers on trail. Dogs to be taken home and eaten."

One of the men was carrying a dagi or shagi, a traditional backpack. The woman was also carrying a backpack of some sort. Could also be a dagi or a kayabang.

Also notice that two of the men were wearing what looked like flat caps. This is a kind of hat that was very popular in the West during this period. It implies that the Igorots in the picture have had contact with foreigners before the photo was taken.

One theory is that the group just came from the lowlands to trade. And that's where they purchased the dogs. Even before the arrival of the Spaniards and the Americans in the Cordillera region, Igorots have been trading goods with their lowland neighbors for generations.

Image source: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Harvard University)

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Peter Tanan: Igorot Singer

This is Peter Tanan, the singer behind some of the most iconic Cordillera songs like Lumawig, Gingined, Kabanbantayan, Ili Mi ay Kordilyera, Sabsabong, and many more. His songs enjoyed the height of their popularity in the 80s and 90s. Peter Tanan casette tapes were very much in demand back in the day. If you had a radio with a casette player, most likely you had one or two of Tanan's albums/recordings.

Today, decades later, his songs are still being played in heavy rotation in the Cordilleras. His songs have proven to be timeless.

Some people refer to him as the father of Kankana-ey music. It's hard to disagree. Tanan played a huge role in the popularization of Igorot music.

Tanan also sang songs in Tagalog and Iloko. He is from Tue, Tadian, Mountain Province.

Peter Tanan: Igorot singer.

Wild Song by Candy Gourlay: The Follow-Up to Bone Talk

Received this in the mail today. Published just last year, Wild Song is the follow-up by author Candy Gourlay to her award-winning book Bone Talk (2018).

It tells the coming-of-age story of Luki, a young Igorot girl who visits the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. Luki was a supporting character in Bone Talk. The events in Wild Song pick up from where Bone Talk left off. This should be interesting.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Mt. Tugew in Alang-Salacsac, Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya

One of the perks of climbing mountains is the storytelling that comes along with it. You get to interact with the locals and listen to their stories about how a particular mountain got its name, how it was used generations ago, who first lived there, who built the structures there, etc.

Mt. Tugew which is located in Alang Salacsac, Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya is no exception. This is a mountain with a rich story (or stories) to tell.

In local folklore, the mountain got its name from Tugew, a maiden of the I'wak tribe. A long time ago, Tugew was betrothed to a man named Molmog through a "kalon". Basically, a "kalon" is a marriage arranged by the couple's parents. Tugew didn't want to marry Molmog so she ran away and headed to the nearby mountains. Upon reaching the highest peak, she sat down, wept, and wished that she would rather turn into a rock than marry a man she doesn't love. And poof, her wish was granted.

Today, sitting on the summit of Mt. Tugew is a huge boulder of rock believed to be the ancient remains of the young maiden Tugew.

Mt. Tugew is not just rich with legends and myths. It also played a very important role in the region's history. Just below the summit of the mountain is an ancient trail used by the Spaniards centuries ago. This is a trail that connected the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, and Pangasinan. It was also used as an evacuation route during World War II. The mountain's summit and slopes have these medium to large craters believed to be the remains of bomb impacts during the great war.

If you're looking for a good day-hike, pack your bags and head to Mt. Tugew. The Kayapa Tourism Office re-opened the mountain for hikers last Saturday (March 2) through an invitational climb which we joined. Barangay Alang Salacsac is the jump-off point. The jump-off point is about an hour's drive from the Kayapa Municipal Hall. There are guides to assist you up the mountain. For more information, contact Kayapa Tourism.

Photo credit: Arlee Baludda.

How Did the Hangar Market in Baguio City Get Its Name?

A lot of people are curious as to how this section of the Baguio City Public Market got its name.

The answer is simpler than you'd think. In 1955, an aircraft hangar (yes, a literal hangar) was moved into the location to serve as a selling place for local vendors. The place was referred to as Hangar Market and the name stuck to this day.

Today, the market has stalls selling all sorts of goods from flowers to vegetables to ground coffee.

So yeah, it's not because "hangers" are sold here. Adding to the confusion is the fact that there's a lot of clothes and hangers being sold in the nearby stalls and shops.

Hangar Market in Baguio City.