Etag, And Everything That Comes With It

We used to jokingly say you can never claim to have tried genuine Sagada “etag” (cured pork) if you haven’t had one with those wriggling “foodstuff” that sometimes come with a chunk. I had my fair share way back and fortunately had the stomach to literally stomach it. But of course that’s not a recommendation….

“Batik-o” Had Me At Hello

Food captivated me the moment I entered my grandfather’s nipa hut when I was barely four years old. My young mind vividly recalls the sight of corn, tied in a bunch and drying near the “dapwan” (hearth), meat that was darkened by the smoke, and the sound of chickens clucking somewhere in the corner. There…

Mini Trails, Big Delights

And so it was on a beautiful sunny February day when we decided to hit the trails for the first time this year. A rather late snowfall has visited Vancouver mid-February so skiers and snowshoers have been congesting the more popular Cypress and Seymour trails. As one not too fond of crowded hike spots, we…

Lessons from a Fur Baby

I thought I was smart enough to be able to teach my dogs, “Sit, paw, kiss mommy.” Unknowingly, they have been teaching me far more valuable lessons you wouldn’t expect to glean from someone who cannot utter a coherent syllable. Not unless of course it is a husky who is an expert in sassing. “Woo…

Sagada Folk Tales: Si Sal-salak-en

It’s that dreaded time of the year when the sun will never take a peep out from the ominous dark skies and you have to wet-proof yourself from the non-stop downpours. Such weather dampened an already gruesome Monday morning as I find myself stuck at the bus stop for a ride that will seemingly never…

As they light those fires, I reminisce…

My earliest memories of the Anglican cemetery of St. Mary the Virgin in Sagada that we fondly call “Kamusanto”  (Campo Santo) with the eloquence of the local tongue were when I was but 5 or 6 years of age. I went there with my old man for almost two weeks straight when he was constructing…

“Paint Me Like One of Your French Bulldogs”

If I fancy myself being immortalized in a painting, I’d be elated to be depicted as a poodle in a tutu. Not saying this because of my obvious devotion to dogs but because I’m aghast at the reactions of people who are socially crucifying a painter who had portrayed two anthropomorphized dogs donning  Igorot native attires…

Sagada Folk Tales: The Legend of Lake Danum

Way before this placid little lake became a subject of  boundary issues and there was no dissent whether to call it Banao or Danum; long before cows grazed its now dwindling patches of green, and before flocks of tourists did jump shots against a mesmerizing fiery backdrop of the sunset,  this place was once a plain plateau, a…

Barefoot Chronicles: Third Time’s a Charm

  Without hesitation, I claim that the mountains of BC are love at first sight and experience for me. Simply because I am reminded of home with the painfully familiar coniferous bounty that British Columbia’s forests boast of. I lived below the century-old pine trees of Tangeb back in Sagada so I got to smell the pungent sweetness of…

Home is where?

  A friend once told me it took her three years to finally come to terms with the fact that she has a different country from what she has known to call home. I held on to this, thinking my time would come. That give or take a few years, I would gradually have a…