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Lingering Thoughts about KalingaJun 26, 2011

Lingering Thoughts about Kalinga

Head-Hunting and Modernism
Having spent 8 days in Kalinga, having talked to locals, slept in their homes, eaten their food, and also hearing what outsiders have to say, I appreciate it now with its added dimension and complexity, given my very limited perspective and experience. The lingering head-hunting stigma is more like a throw-back to its turbulent history, rather than its current-day norm. While the old-timers still relish the glory of their fierce heritage, the younger ones are almost in a denial about their head-taking reputation. But no matter which side of the fence they fall under, when a tribal war erupts, even the modern-day integration-card-carrying Kalinga professional is thrown into the front line in compliance to tribal pressure. With my visit, I saw a cultural landscape torn between tradition and integration.

Geothermal Energy
But tribal war is not the only thing plaguing the Kalinga. There is talk about geothermal energy. This means outsiders encroaching into their land, changing the landscape and building energy systems they hardly know, whose economic and cultural ramification they cannot speculate. Given their suspicion with outsiders specially during Marcos' time when the Chico River Dam threatened their very existence, it is understandable why they would feel belligerent about new talk of another energy program.

Goodbye Cordillera
As far as the Cordillera goes, Kalinga has been the only bucket-list itinerary that's been left outstanding for me. Now that it's done, somehow, I'm happy to put a closure on the Cordillera mountains and remain grateful for everything it has offered me. It's not just the 8 days in Kalinga, but my stay in Antadao, the 3 years I've lived in Sagada, the treks to hidden lagoons and waterfalls, backpacking and mountain bike rides in Banaue, Baguio and Besao, the river rafting on the Chico River, the Sunday night buffet at Log Cabin, etag, tapuey rice wine, etc. These are all wonderful things I'll commit to memory.

--- TheLoneRider

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