Friday, April 21, 2017

5 Team Lakay Fighters Notch Victories In One Championship: Kings Of Destiny

Perfect night. This is the term that a fight club uses when every fighter in their team wins all their bouts in the same given night. Team Lakay pulled such a feat when all five of their combatants emerged victorious at the One Championship: Kings of Destiny event last night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

In a lot of ways, Team Lakay's dominance last night was sweet, sweet redemption. If you can recall, sometime in 2013 and in the same arena, five Team Lakay fighters suffered brutal defeats. In the main event, Honorio Banario lost his belt via knockout to Koji Oishi of Japan. In the under card, Kevin Belingon, Rey Docyogen, Eduard Folayang, and Geje Eustaquio failed to get their hands raised. If you juxtapose this 2013 event with what transpired last night, you can see how far Team Lakay's fighters have traveled to sort of undo their defeats during that cursed night in 2013.

"Ultimately, what defines you as a martial artist is how you mature from one fight to the next." As a mixed martial arts fan, this is a quote that stuck with me for the longest time. I can't accurately recall who said it (probably Chael Sonnen). I was reminded of this quote while watching Kings of Destiny last night with friends at a bar in Baguio City. The fighters of Team Lakay showed leaps of improvements. Like any fan of any sport, it's a joy to see fighters evolve every time they enter the cage.
Photo credit: One Championship
Kings of Destiny marked Eduard Folayang's first defense of his One Championship lightweight belt. Ev Ting, the challenger, proved to be a worthy opponent but everything he did was nullified by Folayang's movement, takedown defense, and wrestling.

In the co-main event, Kevin Belingon scored another highlight knockout win over Toni Tauro. And he did it in the very first round. Belingon started the fight a bit tentative but when he began connecting with his punches, a switch turned on and he went for the kill. The Silencer more than lived up to his nickname.

Honorio Banario continues his resurgence with his 4th win in a row over Jaroslav Jartim. The fight was pretty even on the first round. In the second stanza, Banario unleashed a punch to Jartim's jaw that sent him unconscious to the canvas.

Danny Kingad retained his undefeated record with a unanimous decision win over Muhammad Aiman. It was a back-and-forth fight but Kingad imposed his will whenever the fight went to the ground. Kingad escaped a nasty submission event in the third round and went on to secure the nod from the judges. The young prospect remains undefeated in five professional fights.

And last but not the least, Gina Iniong made a successful One Championship debut with a win over Natalie Gonzales Hills. Albeit it was a unanimous decision victory, it's more than enough to send ripples in One Championship's women's division.

See the full results of One Championship: Kings od Destiny here.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Student Dies In A Landslide Accident Along Kennon Road In Tuba, Benguet

One person died while other passengers were injured when the van they were riding got pinned by a landslide along Kennon Road in Camp 1, Tuba, Benguet on Thursday afternoon. The UV Express van came from Baguio City and was on its way to the city of Dagupan in Pangasinan.

The van was traversing a portion of Kennon Road when a huge mass of soil and rock boulders came tumbling down from the mountain slope above the road. The driver tried to stop the car to avoid the landslide but it was too late. The front portion of the van got pinned by the falling debris.

The fatality was identified as Izeiah Karl Jior Medalle, a college student studying Mechatronics Engineering at Saint Louis University in Baguio City. Some of the passengers who suffered injuries were brought to nearby hospitals for medical treatment and examination. The driver of the van who hails from La Trinidad, Benguet suffered a few minor injuries.

Due to the incident, Kennon Road was closed leading to the build-up of vehicular traffic on both ends of the accident location. The road is still currently closed but clearing operations are ongoing. It's possible that the landslide was triggered by the heavy rainfall that occurred around noon, just a few hours before the accident.

Motorists going out or coming to Baguio City are being advised to take alternative routes like Marcos Highway and to watch out for falling rocks when traversing Kennon Road.
Photo by Rafael Paeng Valencia of 911 On Call: Baguio

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Celebrate And Experience Ifugao Culture In The Upcoming Gotad Ad Kiangan Festival

It's all systems go for this year's edition of the Gotad Ad Kiangan Festival in Kiangan, Ifugao. The primary events for the festivities have been finalized. The theme for this year's celebrations is: "Mun-ammung, Mun-am-amlong, Mi-ohha Taku Te Gotad Ad Kiyangan". Translated to English, that means: "We Gather, We Celebrate, We Unite Because It Is Gotad Ad Kiangan". The festival will run from April 29 (Saturday) until May 3 (Wednesday). Below is a quick overview of the primary events scheduled for the five-day festival.

Events on April 29:
1. Fun walk and fun bike
2. Basketball competition
3. Thanksgiving service

Events on April 30: 
1. Cultural parade 
2. Opening Program 
3. Opening of the agro-industrial fair 
4. Basketball and volleyball games 
5. Cultural events and contests in Holyat, Baltung, and A-apo 

Events on May 1: 
1. Kolong di Nuwang (butchering of the carabao) 
2. Gottadan and Dog-al (traditional rituals) 
3. Opening Program 
4. Native dance competitions on the Dinnuy-a, Pagaddut, and Bhutageh 
5. Baklen di Bimmoble 
6. Ethnic games on Guyyudan, Akkad, Caba race, Uggub, Bultung, Hinnukting, Hanggul, Going to Gotad, Kadang-Kadang, and Batawil relay race 
7. Theater and ethnic ensemble competition 

Events on May 2: 
1. Marathon in G-strings 
2. Ball and ethnic games 
3. Launching of the Kiangan Go Negosyo Center 

Events on May 3: 
1. Neo-ethnic street dancing 
2. Ball and ethnic games championship matches 
3. Awarding of prizes 
4. Closing program 
5. Evening concert
Photo by Daniel Feliciano / The Cordilleran Sun

Special Edition Asics Shoes Inspired By Kalinga's Culture And Traditional Tattoo Designs

A specialty boutique and a global sportswear company have teamed up to produce and release a batch of sneakers featuring designs inspired by the culture and traditional tattoo practices of the Kalinga tribes in Northern Luzon. According to Commonwealth, a specialty boutique that opened a branch here in the Philippines less than two years ago, they collaborated with sportswear giant Asics Tiger with the intention of paying "homage to one of the country's preserved traditions". Commonwealth pitched the idea to the Asian office of Asics which the latter promptly approved.

Released earlier this week, the pairs can be purchased at the Commonwealth store located in SM Aura in Taguig City. Dubbed the GEL-Lyte V Kultura, the limited edition sneakers come in classic beige colors. Inscribed into the tongue and inner linings of the shoe are tribal designs often used by "mambabatoks" (traditional tattoo artists) in Kalinga. Each pair is currently priced at 7,900 pesos.

In an interview with FHM Philippines, Commonwealth co-founder Omar Quiambao stated that they "wanted to highlight a part of Filipino culture that is indigenous" so they decided to focus on the Igorot tribes of Kalinga. Quiambao added that he spent several days in Buscalan, Kalinga, experiencing first-hand the culture and traditions of the people there. Buscalan is most well-known as the home of Whang-od, the 100-year-old Butbut woman who single-handedly elevated Kalinga traditional tattooing to global consciousness.

To learn more about the sneakers and how it came about, you may get in touch with Commonwealth Philippines through their Facebook page or their official website.
Photo credit: Commonwealth Philippines
I think it's necessary that I include in here my take on the issue of cultural appropriation [or cultural misappropriation]. I've seen a lot of negative feedback about the shoes and most of these argue that the Commonwealth and Asics collaboration is a case of cultural commodification. In the simplest of terms, cultural modification refers to the act of partially or wholly using a particular culture's traditions, symbols, and fashion to create and market a commercial product.

So yes, the Commonwealth/Asics shoe is an instance of cultural commodification. There's no doubt about that especially if you consider the steep price of the sneakers. Only the well-to-do and the most avid sneaker enthusiasts can throw down 7,900 pesos for a pair of shoes. But there's a much bigger question in here that we need to ask: Is cultural commodification wrong?

In all honesty, if you look around you, cultural commodification is everywhere. From the small bululs being sold in souvenir shops to the cultural groups being paid to perform in events: these are all instances of cultural commodification. It's more rampant than you think. I believe that cultural commodification is not inherently wrong. It's good if it's done ethically and with respect to the source culture. If you think that a shoe company using Kalinga designs on their shoes is wrong, then you might as well condemn everyone who practices the same thing. Why cherry-pick on who to criticize?

Is there any reason why it's okay for a business to mass-produce bags bearing cultural designs while it's not okay for another business to use the same designs on their shoes? No, no reason at all. As I said, if it's done with proper ethics and due respect, why not. The commodification of culture has been happening since the dawn of man. It's one of the many ways that culture evolves. Culture is malleable. It changes. It adds. It subtracts. It multiplies. It adapts. And it has always been on sale. Just make sure that when you decide to sell it, you should do it with respect and proper ethics. What constitutes "proper ethics"?  Well, that's a question we'll try to answer in another day.

I don't claim to be completely right here. These are merely my take on the issue. That said, I welcome those with opposing views. Feel free to chime in at the comments section below. Thanks.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sagada Caves Reopened For Spelunkers And Tourists After Brief Shutdown

The popular Lumiang and Sumaguing caves in the town of Sagada in Mt. Province have been reopened for tourists and spelunkers. It can be recalled that the caves were shut down for two days following the death of a local teenager in one of the caves.

Rael Gambican, a student at the Balugan National High School died when he fell while playing inside one of the caves. According to the Sagada police, the 15-year old boy used a back entry not the main entrance to access the cave.

Robert Pangod, the town's tourism officer, said that the local government ordered the reopening of the caves after much deliberation. In light of the accident, the local government and the townspeople will be meeting soon to discuss what needs to be done to avoid further accidents inside the caves.

Tourist guides are also scheduled to meet and deliberate on issues and measures that relate to the proper management of the caves.

Tourists are always briefed on safety by trained guides before they enter the caves. Locals, on the other hand, sometimes enter the caves without guides and using other access points.
Photo credit: Ivan Rudez via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

Friday, March 31, 2017

DepEd Benguet Is Looking For 135 New Teachers. Apply Now!

Here's a bit of good news for teachers based in Benguet who are looking for a teaching job within the province. The Schools Division Office (SDO) of Benguet has announced through a "Notice of Vacant Positions" that they are currently looking for 135 teachers. Successful applicants will be assigned in various Senior High Schools, Secondary Schools, and Elementary Schools in the province.

Interested teachers are advised to process their applications at the DepEd Car, SDO Benguet headquarters which is located in Wangal, La Trinidad. Don't forget to bring copies of the following documents:
1. personal data sheet (PDS)
2. service records
3. transcript of records (TOR)
4. performance ratings for the last three (3) rating periods
5. certificates from trainings you've attended
6. certificates from seminars you've attended
7. certificate of eligibility
8. other pertinent documents

Below is a quick overview of the vacant positions that need to be filled. We highly recommend that you visit the official website of DepEd Benguet to see the full requirements for the positions sought. Visit their website here.
Vacancy Position
No. of Positions
Deadline of Submission
Master Teacher II
SHS (ABM, Arts &Design, Sports, TVL)*
April 10
Master Teacher I
SHS (ABM, Arts &Design, Sports, TVL)
April 10
Teacher II
SHS (ABM, Arts &Design, Sports, TVL)
for RQA
Teacher II
SHS (ABM, Arts &Design, Sports, TVL)
for RQA
Teacher I
for RQA
Teacher I
SDO Benguet various secondary schools
for RQA
Teacher I
SDO Benguet various elementary schools
for RQA
*SHS: Senior High School; ABM: Accountancy, Business and Management; TVL: Technical, Vocational Livelihood; RQA: Registry of Qualified Applicants

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Top Tourist Spots in Benguet (Mountains, Caves, Farms, Etc.)

[Note: This is a work-in-progress. If you have suggestions and recommendations, please feel free to chime in at the comments section below. Or send me an email at or connect with our Facebook page. All photos used here were taken by me. Needless to say, if you are going to use them for whatever purpose or reason, please take the time to ask for my permission as well as provide credit to whom credit is due. I'm an advocate of the free use and proliferation of creative content but a certain level of policing needs to be done to curtail the rampant rehashing of creative content without crediting the source.]

1. Mt. Pulag – Mt. Pulag remains as the most popular hiking and mountain climbing destination in the Philippines. It offers a plethora of surprises to those who dare endure the several hours that it takes to scramble to the top. The picturesque grasslands. The amazing views during sunset and sunrise. The rolling sea of clouds. The cold temperature that sometimes go below the freezing point. Exploring the natural wonders of Benguet won’t be complete without pursuing a detour to this mountain which a lot of the Ibalois (one of the tribes of Igorots that live in and around the area) consider as sacred. Legend has it that Kabunyan (sometimes spelled as Kabunian), the Igorot god, lives in the mountain. For a panoramic view of Mt. Pulag's peak, go here.

2. Mt. Ulap – Very accessible from Baguio City. The trail isn’t that difficult even for beginners. Getting in and out of the mountain won’t take more than eight hours. In short, Mt. Ulap is the perfect day-hike. These are just a few of the reasons why hikers are trooping to this mountain (technically, it’s a mountain range). Located in the town of Itogon, you can reach the place in under an hour.

3. Mt. Yangbew – Think of Mt. Yangbew as the mini-me of Mt. Pulag. There’s a reason why it’s often referred to as the Little Pulag. The two mountains share quite a few attributes: grasslands and beautiful views of distant Benguet mountain peaks. Located in barangay Tawang in La Trinidad, hiking to the top shouldn’t take you more than an hour. Overnight camping is also allowed on the mountain provided that you pay the corresponding fees to the barangay.

4. Aran Cave
– The town of Tuba has quite a few caves but it’s Aran Cave that attracts the most attention. Just a stone’s throw away from Kennon Road in Camp 3, the cave is perfect for a few hours of spelunking. It has pools of water inside, some of which are deep enough so that you can have a swim in them. It also has waterfalls inside. As icing on the cake, the cave system is adjacent to a small resort where you can have a beer or two, relax, or sing karaoke after hard hours of crawling, climbing, and swimming inside the cave.

5. Ambongdolan Caves (Paterno Cave and Bengaongao Cave) – The town of Tublay is home to several caves. Two caves that have been developed and opened for tourists are Paterno Cave and Bengaongao Cave. Both of these caves are located in Ambongdolan, a barangay that’s about 30 minutes to 1 hour away from the capital town of La Trinidad. Before going to the caves, visitors are required to register at the barangay hall and pay the corresponding fees. You will be provided with a guide, head lamps, and other necessary equipment.

6. Strawberry Farm – The province of Benguet is the biggest producer of fresh strawberries in the country. Most of these strawberries come from the Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad. Visitors of the farm can purchase packed strawberries from the stalls near the farm or they can go and pick the strawberries themselves. The farm is located in Km. 6 and is just a few minutes of walk from the main road.

7. Mt. Kalugong - This mountain which towers over the La Trinidad valley got its name from the huge boulders of rocks atop it that look like a hat from a distance. “Kalugong” means hat in the local language. The mountain can be accessed either through Banig, Tawang or through barangay Cruz. Mt. Kalugong is an ideal location for picnics. There are huts and picnic tables scattered within the eco-park. The place also has its own coffee house where you can sip on local-flavored coffee and munch on strawberry and chocolate cakes.

Other places of interest (write-ups coming soon):
1. Mt. Ugo
2. Mt. Purgatory
3. The Flower Farms of Bahong
4. The STOBOSA Hillside Homes Artwork
5. Timbac Cave
6. Mt. Timbac
7. The Kibungan Traverse