Devex’s photo of the week! This made my Friday :)

One of my former workmates, Yula, contacted me a few days  ago and asked if they could feature in the Global Development Briefing, a photo I took from Kalinga (northern part of the Philippines) as Devex’s photo of the week.  And, although I am kind of shy sharing my works with people, I said yes.  It is, after all, an opportunity to share what I got from my visit to the indigenous peoples communities in the Philippines in December 2012.

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Visiting indigenous peoples communities – how we did it

Tara and I spent some time doing research to really be clear on what we want to accomplish and get for the entire trip.  Tara, being a professional photographer, and me, being a person who loves taking pictures, based our initial list on the images that came up in Google.  We did a search for “indigenous peoples” + Philippines and if a particular picture would catch our interest, we would look it up further.

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Project Breaking Down Barriers: Sorta Creepy Bontoc Experience

We took the first trip to Bontoc.  We got to ride inside this time (phew!).  But, I admit that the view from the roof was way better than from the inside.  Nevertheless, the scenery was still beautiful and being given the chance to see the Chico River and the surrounding mountains still made me feel blessed.

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Project Breaking Down Barriers: Stuck in Tinglayan

The plan was, after leaving Fang-od‘s place, we would get our stuff from our hosts in Tinglayan and head to Bontoc, where we could find the bus to Sabangan.

So, we did the trek back to Tulgao.  It was way easier for me this time, when compared to the hike to Buscalan.  The night before, while getting ready to sleep, I revisited my first hiking experience.  And, as fulfilling as it was for me, all I could tell myself was that I was such a weakling.  I was, really.  For almost half of the hike, our guide was pulling me up the mountain because I was having difficulty breathing and my legs were just about ready to give up.  Tara said that, at one point, she doubted if I would make it.  And, I had the same thoughts.

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Project Breaking Down Barriers: How we got to Fang-od in Buscalan, Kalinga

Based on our research, there are several ways to get to Fang-od’s place in Buscalan, Kalinga.  But, if you wish to follow how we did it, here’s how:

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Project Breaking Down Barriers: Before leaving Buscalan

The following morning, Tara and I woke up with happy hearts.  We had an awesome conversation with Fang-od the previous day, met the very hospitable people of Buscalan in the afternoon, and slept really well on Fang-od’s home’s wooden floor.

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Project Breaking Down Barriers: Village of Buscalan, Kalinga

After Tara got her tattoo, we had coffee with Fang-od and had the opportunity to have another conversation with her. We talked about her life, beyond being the last Kalinga tattoo artist.

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