Saturday, 27 October 2012

Away in Kafagway

Images of Baguio in 2012.
Some of the landmarks of the old town still stand.

But while the old landmarks stand, the new landmarks sit. They are on prominent display everywhere now. Jeepney shelters have been sequestered to protect them. They attract tourists from all corners. Tourists that come on their wings. They fly in from all around. They make such a buzz.
They should bus all them attractions to city hall. I bet the council will come up with a solution quicksmart. Basura!

Ahh but these buzzing tourists drive me crazy. So I went to the outskirts of town. Climbed up on to a mountain.

I saw below me a ribbon of highway.

I saw above me, an ancient skyway.

And in the distance, a golden valley, or used to be.
Now there are mansions on the hills, and we're stuck in the ghettos.
In this land that was made made for them and us.

I spied with my little eye, some barangay beginning with I. Ibilig, Ibenget... Itcitira.
I retraced my steps. The ribbon of highway is getting shrouded.

And the welcoming ancient skyway is saying do not overstay.

But I beheld the invasion.

The urban sprawl from Irisan to Loakan.
Baguio has been divided and conquered by conurbation.

From Camp John Hay to Camp Allen.
O whispering pines, wherefore art thou?
Thy earth balls are rooted.
Pine needles, the sting is gone.
See Quirino Hill? There's room there still. for another sm.

I tried another vantage. 
But the old town still looks the same. As I looked down to the plains. 

The old pine trees that I used to play under are gone.
I'd like to stay, but I best be on my way.
Looks like it's the highway for me.
Eyak et ad bilig mi.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines

La Trinidad is the capital town of Benguet province in the Philippine Cordillera.
Cordillera today is as interesting as the times we live, as the photos below show.
Anything interesting always appeals to me, so I went to Trinidad and to Baguio.

As interesting as the photos are, I can't really stand this rubbish fill,
so I took to the hills.

These photos are via some goat tracks I found on the hills near Puguis via Longlong.
Ahh Longlong. Now there is a name famous all around the world.
Many a great treatise, or famous speech or judicial opinion, or a mere simple song, or the odd fairy tale, almost all these make mention of Longlong at some stage. Everyone has their own favorite Longlong phrase or expression. Many popular singers including the Beatles, Don Mclean and a thousand others have referenced Longlong.
One of the more popular ones in song are:
"A longlong time ago".
See I can still remember.

long long road, long long way, long long ago, long long trail, long long while
and all the long longs you can think of.
It's a long long way to Longlong
It's a long long way to home.
It's a long way to Tipperary
It's a long way to go.
It's a long long way to Trinidad valley
It's a long long way to Baguio.
I can see a mountain shrouded in fog in the far distance.
It's a long long way away, but I might just check it out.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The Mountain Trail, Benguet, Philippines

Sights and sites on the Mountain Trail.
The Benguet section of the 'mountain trail' traverses the municipalities of La Trinidad, Tublay, Atok, Kibungan and Buguias. Short parts of the highway also meander into Bokod, Kibungan and Bakun.
Sights on the mountain trail include Guerrilla saddle in Caliking, Mt Pulag, Ambuklao dam, the magnificent mountain ranges via the top deck in Topdac, the highest point of the Philippine highway system, the heights of Haights place, remnants of the Spanish trail, vegetable farms, etc.
Acop, Tublay.
Natubleng with vegetable farms on the mountainside in the background.
That's a picture of me as a young lad,
on the left side of the picture-
Half of the highway is for rocks only.
If you're in a ta-rock you may drive on the rocky transit lane.
But it's still in the curing stage.
A vehicle heavily laden with green gold.
Cabbages being transported to the markets.
There's too much side slope,
on the camera.

The Halsema highway winds its way around the rugged untillable rocky crags.

Side roads are just down on the side.
Where almost every mountainside nook and cranny has been cleared for vegetable farms.
Vegies. Did you have your allocation or dose today? 'Hey farmer, farmer, put away your DDT now. Give me holes in my vegies but leave me the birds and the trees - Please!'
"DDT is a highly toxic pesticide that was widely used. It was banned after it was proven that DDT was leading to the extinction of birds like the bald eagle because it affected the shells of the eggs and chicks couldn’t hatch. DDT was one of the first examples of chemicals introduced into the environment for one purpose ending up devastating a totally distinct, and at first seemingly unrelated part of the ecosystem."

DDT and other pesticides have long been banned in the developed world.
However, in the third world they are increasingly being used again.

Every thick jungle has been penetrated.

And every imposing Mt Rushmore has been tunnelled.
Tumpak. This is the Natumpukan half tunnel south of Sayangan.

Meat shop in Sayangan.

An abandoned irrigation channel carved out of the rock face of the mountain.
Local desperadoes waiting for the train.
The highest highway in the Philippines is way above the clouds in Cattubo.
The marker is decades old.  I used to keep it company.
In my day, I would sit with it and me and my friends would talk to it...
Abatan markets.

The sun once shone on Mt Shya-wen. Now instead of shining, it's shunning it.
These shorn mountains (above and below) were once beautiful,
thick with pines and streams flowing down from the heights.
Now they are even more beautiful, terraced for vegetables.
I'm back to hear their whisper, but the pines have been felled clear
With the summer days a-blazin’, thirstin' for some fallin' rain
Yes I am back a-weepin’, seein' bare mountains there
Trudgin’ along and longin', on the bends of the mountain trail
Mt Sia en.
One there were green hills kissed by the sun.
The scene as seen on the hills once green.
Now there are valleys where rivers refuse to run
(I'm not sure about Amburayan).
And the springs are silent, even in spring.
Rachel Carson has had us know.

It's time that government should implement more Natural Farming practices.

Sinipsip is right down the boundary of Buguias and Bakun.
The trail is dusty and the road is rough. Next time I'll catch the train.
Look out! But don't look down.
Come along and ride this trail.
Mountain Trail - Benguet section.

The  Mountain Trail (Halsema Highway) Bontoc-Baguio, Cordillera, Philippines.