Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Kalinga with friends from Dakila, Leni Velasco, Cha Roque, and Monique Laurel, and three amazing women from USA. Jaycee Gossette, a dancer from New York with a mission to “Dance The World”, Agustina Diez Sierra, an art designer who is based in Chicago but is originally from Salta, a province in Argentina, and Maggie Rife Ponce, a photo journalist and is also based in Chicago. Together, we embarked on a journey to the north to discover the art, music, dance, and culture of Kalinga.
The output: A short documentary film on the new and old cultures and art forms of the Philippines through different lenses. To be shown and released in August 2013 in Chicago, USA.
The collaborators: Jaycee, Maggie, Agustina, and Myself.
It all started here, where we took a plane from Manila to Tuguegarao (1hr). From Tuguegarao, we rented a van to take us to Tabuk, Kalinga (1.5hours).
A group picture first before entering Kalinga.
In Tabuk, we met with Nati, who was our host and guide, and who also shocked us with her Kalinga style arm tattoos. She is one of the last few young women in the Philippines who has this kind of tattoo. It was a great honor to meet her.
We stayed at the Golden Berries Hotel, very close to Tabuk town proper. Service was good, the staff were very friendly, and the accommodations where not so expensive. Our room had two double beds and it only cost P1,700 per night. Not bad for an airconditioned room. There’s also wifi in the lobby.
Here’s the link to Golden Berries Hotel.
The restaurant of Golden Berries Hotel. Where they serve local Kalinga coffee, a must try!
A rice field just across the hotel. Very photogenic area. Flat roads are also ideal for cycling and walking.
Given another chance to go to Kalinga, I would definitely bring my folding bike with me. I could just imagine doing a sunset ride.
Day 2 in Tabuk, we went to visit a small Kalinga Village.
On our way there, we stopped for some photos. It was soooo green!
Getting there, we had to cross this hanging bridge.
The hanging bridge.
I did it!
During our visit in the Kalinga Village, we got to listen to some of the stories of the women especially during the marshall law time when they had to go through some difficulties fighting for their rights. Most of them brought tears to our eyes.
Agustina breaks into tears while listening to their stories.
Just hanging out.
At the end of the day, it’s all about ones happiness. This community is overflowing with it. Thank you for all your love and stories. Until we meet again.
Part of Day 2 was meeting the last tattood women of Kalinga. Just to sit beside them gave me goosebumps. The energy was just amazing.
It was a great honor just to sit beside these women of Kalinga.
During this time, they taught us the traditional Kalinga dance.
Jaycee learning the Kalinga dance.
While the women danced, the men hit the gongs to play some traditional Kalinga music.
Day 3 was all about textiles. We got to meet some of the weavers of Kalinga.
Ate Joyce learned the art of Kalinga weaving through her mother. Now, her 16 year old daughter is also learning how to weave like her.
The next generation of Kalinga weavers. An art form passed on from one generation to another.
Here I am trying to learn how to weave. It’s harder than it looks.
This is Romana, my weaving teacher.
After day 3, it was a wrap. We headed back to the hotel and flew back to Manila the next day.
Meet the amazing women (and man) behind this documentary project. (L-R) Louise, Mon, Maggie, and Cha.
The day after landing back in Manila. We all regrouped in Dakila office and reflected on the amazing experiences we had.
Ay Ay Salidumay Salidumay Di Way!
An experience like no other. God Bless.
Credits & Special Thanks:
Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism
Yohan, husband and amor of Agustina for all the support.
Leni Velasco – for keeping everything together.
Nati – for everything.
People of Kalinga – for allowing us in your lives, and for all your love and generosity. Maraming maraming salamat.