Cordillera Autonomous Region of the Philippines

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posted on Oct, 8 2013 @ 10:13 AM
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I have been meaning to make a thread about the general location of where I live for quite awhile now. I am still a bit apprehensive for putting this information online because of the potential for the area to be destroyed over time for its resources. However, I know that most people don't travel, so I'm not too worried about it.

To begin, the Cordillera Mountains are a range of mountains located in the Northern area of Luzon Island, Philippines. (Pic below)



This is a large mountain range with elevations between 600 meters (~2000 feet) to nearly 3000 meters (~10,000 feet) in elevation. The people living in the region are indigenous and for the most part living their life in the same way as older generations have been. Unlike the rest of the Philippines, the Cordillera Mountains were never conquered by the Spanish or the Japanese, so they retained their culture.

I am not going to claim I am an expert or know the answer to every aspect of life here. I have only been living here a few years, and cultures (and languages) vary from one mountain range to another. There are several different tribes here as well, with a history of headhunting. Only in the last ~30 years has electricity been available to many villages, with some remote villages still lacking electrification.

Here is a great article to read, as an intro about the people of the Cordilleras. I never met the person who did this article, but some of my friends know him.



Jacob Images - Igorots of the Cordilleras

As you can imagine, it is called the Autonomous region for a reason. The people have lived without outside influence for hundreds of years since the Austronesian migration from Taiwan, South the the Philippines

The way of life is very simple, so I'll try my best to explain the basics of food, water, and shelter here.

Food:
The most common food is rice. Rice is grown on the terraces with 1 to 3 harvest per year, depending on elevation and the farmer. Mostly the rice is organic, but the closer to the road and cities the fields are usually means the involvement of chemicals.

Other extremely common food include: taro root, sweet potato leaves, chayote, chayote shoots, pigeon peas, sweet potatoes, green beans (white when dry), black beans, snails, mudfish, a variety of tropical fruits, wild "weeds", peanuts, arabica coffee, lima beans and others, and a whole lot more. The climate varies from mountain range to range, but average rainfall is about 10 meters per year.

In general, the diet is mostly rice with vegetables, and on some occasions there will be meat. The animals in most traditional village will be unfenced and running around free (pigs/chickens).

Food was cooked in village-made clay pots but now uses all metal pots. Most food is boiled. The fuel is pine wood, and cooking is done on a concrete/ribar platform with the wood burning under it. If cooking is outdoor, the pot is placed on 3 large rocks with the wood in the middle burning.


Water:
Water either comes from a spring, or is delivered (if there is a road.) The most common form is spring water that comes from high on the mountain and is diverted through a channel or a pipe to a public communal water area or directly to a house/water tank. The water most often collects on the leaves of trees/pine needles and condenses and fallto the ground where they flow down the mountain and collect in a location which is partially diverted to the people. The people will fetch water in containers for use in their home. Bathing is usually public. There is no toilet paper.


Shelter:
Traditional shelter would be a "modular" house made by hand from metal tools. These houses would typically take ~3 years to create by hand. The roofs are made of a frame of a bamboo-like grass, with grass leaves stacked on top to shield from the rain. The wood is held together by being slotted or through wooden pegs. There are no metal nails or screws in a traditional house. Cooking is done inside the house (like a box) n a corner of the house. It can be very smoky inside haha.


Land:
The land is beautiful and untouched. It is very difficult to acclimate to the unforgiving and steep terrain. The land I have experienced (and I'm sure others can relate) is so pristine that you can bath in a stream while drinking the water (but be warned the water is very cold.) There are crabs, small fish, and prawns in the rivers that are clean to eat. There is little to no pollution except for some bottles/cans in some footpath "highways" in the middle of the forest used for sleeping. There are respected tribal communal land boundaries and in general people respect each other. It is a culture where they believe in "Kabunyan", a lone God who watches everything they do on Earth even when no one is watching, so they should be good. This belief was pre-church.



There is a lot more I could add to this, but I think less can be more right now. I just wanted to share a different kind of lifestyle / place on the planet that is out there. My concern is that people who learn of this location views the area as a new location to exploit or change in a way that they believe is better. From what I have observed so far, the worst changes that happen here are at the hands of outsiders, and that is why the locals are very cautious on accepting outsiders without knowing them for years.

A point I would like to make is that once the Earth is releived of its resources or polluted/exploited to the point of desolation for any life, people should learn from that mistake and not move along to the next location to do the same. It's a deep concern I have for this region.

If you have any questions just ask, and try your best to preserve nature, especially for your grandchildren =)




posted on Oct, 8 2013 @ 10:53 AM
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Very nice.
There are too few unspoilt areas in the world anymore.



posted on Oct, 8 2013 @ 11:04 AM
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Sounds absolutely beautiful, and in this day and age, I don't blame you for being hesitant about sharing.
So, where you born there or did you move to the Philippines from somewhere else?



posted on Oct, 8 2013 @ 11:18 AM
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chiefsmom
Sounds absolutely beautiful, and in this day and age, I don't blame you for being hesitant about sharing.
So, where you born there or did you move to the Philippines from somewhere else?


I was born and raised in Texas, and moved to the Philippines through a strange course of events at the age of 23. After living/working in Manila I moved to the country area and have been in the region for a few years where I met my current wife =)

It really has changed my perspective a lot, but I have difficulties trying to explain it at times. I can't see myself living anywhere else now, I enjoy the simple ways too much



posted on Oct, 8 2013 @ 12:00 PM
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reply to post by Philippines
 


Beautiful place, I lived in the Philippines for a while. Loved it there. My biggest regret that I have is two fold: 1) Not eating more lechon, and 2) Not going to the mountains.

Thanks for the post OP.



posted on Oct, 8 2013 @ 01:02 PM
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From your info, the people have access to modern clothing and some kitchen aids, delivered water, but no toilet paper? What do they use and how is their bodily waste disposed of? Beautiful photos by the way, are they yours? Maybe you could provide some more. My actual point that I would like to bring to the table is the One God theory. Do you have any more info as to the origin of that belief or how many generations or how far back this tribe has believed in this theory? Is it only the one tribe or all the tribes believe likewise? Not tryin to turn this into a religious thread but wuld be interesting to learm more about it. Thanks.



posted on Oct, 8 2013 @ 01:21 PM
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StoutBroux
From your info, the people have access to modern clothing and some kitchen aids, delivered water, but no toilet paper? What do they use and how is their bodily waste disposed of? Beautiful photos by the way, are they yours? Maybe you could provide some more. My actual point that I would like to bring to the table is the One God theory. Do you have any more info as to the origin of that belief or how many generations or how far back this tribe has believed in this theory? Is it only the one tribe or all the tribes believe likewise? Not tryin to turn this into a religious thread but wuld be interesting to learm more about it. Thanks.


Good questions, thanks for them. Toilet paper is accessible, but it costs money. Nowadays it is more efficient and (important) free to use your hand to wipe with. Toilet paper was never part of the culture. Usually hands or smooth river stones were the tissue and when possible washed with water. If no water, then wiped on whatever natural was around. Also, in the village there are native pigs looking for a "homemade" meal so if in the village find a corner and grab a long stick or stones to defend yourself.

In this thread the photos are from a friend of mine and 1 of them is from the article I sourced, from a traveler who visited here I have not met. I have many many more photos but would like to only post them in context to something, this is still a forum.

On the One God theory you bring up that is interesting. It is pretty widespread among the indigenous here, long before religion. There are many central themes to the beliefs here combined with adaptations on rituals that are performed for the same reasons. The deity here would be 'Kabunian" or "Kabunyan" (use phonetics because there is no written language). If you have specific questions I can ask around, in the meantime, enjoy researching:

Wikipilipinas: Kabunian (Lumawig)

Philsites.net : Legends - The Legend of the Three Races

The people here also used to believe in spirits long ago, and they would see them, but now that belief is about vanished and people no longer see the spirits (for example a fire spirit)



posted on Oct, 10 2013 @ 07:32 PM
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reply to post by Philippines
 


I was in Pagudpud several months ago. So beautiful. The picture of the waterfall reminds me of Kabigan Falls.



posted on Oct, 10 2013 @ 11:08 PM
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OccamsRazor04
reply to post by Philippines
 


I was in Pagudpud several months ago. So beautiful. The picture of the waterfall reminds me of Kabigan Falls.


I still have yet to visit that area, I have heard many good things about the place.

Out of curiosity, is the water at Kabingan falls clean enough to drink? =D

Next time you can visit, try the mountains, it is something like it's own nation inside the Philippines.



posted on Oct, 10 2013 @ 11:20 PM
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reply to post by Philippines
 


Well I plan to return in 2 years, but will probably hit one of the beaches. Pagudpud has mountains, and really was very undeveloped. People swam in the falls water, I am not sure about drinking. I know the water at Paraiso ni Anton at the Patapat Viaduct was drinkable, but I never tested my luck.

We stayed at the Pannzian Beach and Mountain Resort. Basically no wifi or signals, it was a great place, and very reasonably priced.



posted on Oct, 12 2013 @ 10:56 AM
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Philippines

StoutBroux
From your info, the people have access to modern clothing and some kitchen aids, delivered water, but no toilet paper? What do they use and how is their bodily waste disposed of? Beautiful photos by the way, are they yours? Maybe you could provide some more. My actual point that I would like to bring to the table is the One God theory. Do you have any more info as to the origin of that belief or how many generations or how far back this tribe has believed in this theory? Is it only the one tribe or all the tribes believe likewise? Not tryin to turn this into a religious thread but wuld be interesting to learm more about it. Thanks.


Good questions, thanks for them. Toilet paper is accessible, but it costs money. Nowadays it is more efficient and (important) free to use your hand to wipe with. Toilet paper was never part of the culture. Usually hands or smooth river stones were the tissue and when possible washed with water. If no water, then wiped on whatever natural was around. Also, in the village there are native pigs looking for a "homemade" meal so if in the village find a corner and grab a long stick or stones to defend yourself.

In this thread the photos are from a friend of mine and 1 of them is from the article I sourced, from a traveler who visited here I have not met. I have many many more photos but would like to only post them in context to something, this is still a forum.

On the One God theory you bring up that is interesting. It is pretty widespread among the indigenous here, long before religion. There are many central themes to the beliefs here combined with adaptations on rituals that are performed for the same reasons. The deity here would be 'Kabunian" or "Kabunyan" (use phonetics because there is no written language). If you have specific questions I can ask around, in the meantime, enjoy researching:

Wikipilipinas: Kabunian (Lumawig)

Philsites.net : Legends - The Legend of the Three Races

The people here also used to believe in spirits long ago, and they would see them, but now that belief is about vanished and people no longer see the spirits (for example a fire spirit)



Thank you so much for responding to my inquiries, I think this thread deserves a bump and accordingly I would desire to do so. I am still interested in the religious/theology aspect if you could get some more info. Also, the pics would be nice, you can use them again and again!



posted on Oct, 15 2013 @ 03:52 AM
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StoutBroux
Thank you so much for responding to my inquiries, I think this thread deserves a bump and accordingly I would desire to do so. I am still interested in the religious/theology aspect if you could get some more info. Also, the pics would be nice, you can use them again and again!


A lot of the traditional practices are disappearing over time as various denominations of Christianity keep asserting itself into villages. Because the locals would not simply abandon all aspects of their livelihood, the Christian churches have to bend the bible and accept the villages "pagan" ways or no one would listen to them at all. The end result are a lot of hypocrites that think they are Christians but do not follow 100% the ways of Christ (worldwide phenomena.)

Like I said before, the main deity is "Kabunian". The belief here is to always be good in what you do because he is always watching from above. This belief does not prevent tribal war from happening, which is usually caused by bloodshed happening, accidental or not, between two people of different tribes.

The people here could also be considered animists. There is a belief in many spirits and animal sacrifice is very common for spiritual reasons -- to cleanse bad spirits, or to bless a house, rice terrace, or other event. In some cases if a ritual is going on, no one is allowed to enter a village until the ritual is over. This could last a few nights. The reason for this is to keep out any bad spirits that may be following someone who wants to enter the village while the ritual is going on. The animal's blood is collected and used for cooking, along with the rest of the animal.

In the last 100 years, the people would believe they could see spirits wandering the mountains, there are even some stories of spirits "shapeshifting" to a familiar relative only to run away after being suspected a bad spirit. However, as beliefs have changed over the years and people believe in spirits less and less, the people have stopped seeing them. The term for a spirit here is "anito".

Another bit of curious information is that in most villages the term "ama/aba" is used for "father", and "ina/ira" is used for "mother". The pronunciation is very similar to the hebrew terms for father/mother.

If a person dies, the body is left out on a chair or in a box (depends) for all family/relatives/friends to see and say goodbye to. The body is buried after ~3 days of exposure, before it starts to smell bad.

I could post some pics of animals being slaughtered, but I'm not sure if that's against the rules. Let me know if you're looking for anything in particular to see =)

Pic 1: pounding rice grains to be separated and then winnowed and cooked for a meal:


Pic 2: hand-powered blower used to blow air to the coals, keeping them hot for the blacksmiths



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 08:08 PM
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Wow!
If where you live is so remote, how do you manage to have internet, electricity and do the type of work that you? Are all your clients from online and handled via e-communication and phone? Interesting.



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 11:09 PM
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Galadriel
Wow!
If where you live is so remote, how do you manage to have internet, electricity and do the type of work that you? Are all your clients from online and handled via e-communication and phone? Interesting.


I'm surprised at the quality of internet here, it's all done though one cell phone tower on a motorola canopy antenna. I can skype, email, and even play online games if I want. All work is online. Electricity is fine except during strong typhoons when it may not come back for 2-5 days, which is fine after you get used to it =)





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