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.

So, I made a commitment of doing it on my own, as far as I could go.  Our guide offered to assist me several times but I would say to him, “Hindi manong, kaya ko ‘to.”  And, I actually could do it!  I was slow, yes.  There were even instances when I wasn’t sure if I was on the right track because I couldn’t see both Tara and our guide anymore.  But, I didn’t mind.  I enjoyed the trek, with the heat of the sun, the cool mountain breeze, and the beautiful scenery.  The only time that I actually asked for our guide’s support was on the last stage before we got to Tulgao.  Good thing I didn’t strong-suit it because, otherwise, I would have fallen off flat on my face.  That would have been embarrassing.  And, painful.

We got to Tulgao ahead of schedule and so we just waited for our ride back to Tinglayan so we could catch the last trip to Bontoc.  But, for some odd reason, the jeepney was super late, such that the last trip to Bontoc had already passed about 30 minutes before we got to ride the one back to Tinglayan.  Bummer.

Manong Brilliano informed us that, as part of a road widening project, they blew up a section of the highway that caused a landslide.  It took a while before the strong Igorot workers got to clear the road, which caused the delay of the jeepney back to Tinglayan.  The landslide also caused a couple of posts to fall down the Chico River so we didn’t have electricity until later that evening.

Tara and I just rested, re-packed our bags, shared how the trip’s going for each, so far.  It also became an opportunity for me to have some more conversations with the kids.  They did the “pick-up lines” on me and Tara (that was fun!) and we talked about our favorite actors and actresses, school, and dreams.  Ligalig wants to become a policeman, like his father, and Bullet wants to become a nurse, like her mother.

Bullet stayed with me until we were both sleepy.  Then, we called it a night.

The following day, our hosts gave us their gifts.  Ate Concepcion gave Tara and me Kalinga head accessories.  Manong Francis gave us coffee that he, himself, grew.

It’s an honor to receive the gifts from our host family.  In indigenous peoples communities, this gesture signifies that the outsider has made an impact to the community and that the community now considers the outsider as one of them.  This made my soul smile.


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Thank you! And, in whatever space you’re in now, I hope that you get something from reading my articles.

See ya,

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