Saturday, 3 February 2018

Revisiting Barlig

Barlig is situated in the rugged high mountains and deep canyons of the remote center of Mountain Province.
Barlig in the mist.

Travelling over the snaking mountain roads to Barlig town is a thrilling adventure in itself.
At every corner you can view breathtaking scenery, winding streams, lush montane cloud forests, waterfalls and fields.
Ricefields through the fog.

Remnants of some old native huts with thatched roofs made of stick and grass straw - cogon, remind of an age just gone.
Traditional huts

The warmth of February comes to end the cold nights. It is the time to sow the rice seedlings for the season. And when the young rice shoots are in bloom, the hot season or maybe chacon will be here soon. But the cooler climes of Barlig is the reason - for the travelin’. And as the roads continue to wind, so strays the wanderin’ mind of the travelin’ kind.
Stunted hardwood in the cloud forests of a high mountain.

Modern times and roads have long transformed the communities and lifestyles of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera. Yet their customs continue to survive in these remote mountainous and self-sufficient communities that are also blessed by Nature’s bounty.

Centuries of established practices in preserving woodlots and watersheds have kept forests untouched and intact, thus sustaining the environment.
Deeply ingrained in the psyche of the Ibilig, is this respect of nature and recognition of the mutual connections between forest and field.
Tradition demands respect of customs and laws, land and forest rights; and responsibility and stewardship for the natural environment, including the observance of good practices of soil and water conservation.

And it is customary to leave certain areas alone, like the sacred places the spirits call home.
Lake Tufob

If you are passing through, go lightly. Do not stray, do not disturb. Tarry but not sully.

However, with the changing times the ancient knowledge systems from sangadom are disappearing/ through the thinning smoke rings of the woodfires/ down the foggy ruins of mournful pines/ felled before their prime… 
And as the traditions of the ancestors are dissolving into distant memory,
the mountains are washing out to sea.

Oh. Ole! Awllae (A what looks like an eskimo) seems lost in the jungleland.
Wandering the damaged mountainsides once grand.
Now I see two eskimos, inspecting a typical road construction conundrum up in the mountains.

Can they engineer a solution?
This is a slippery slope, literally. But rather think laterally.

 Oh lonesome me. Just walking, heart aching, still yearning.
Crossing bridges burning, not falling…


 Yes, and still the streams are flowing,
and the waters fall.
And a hard rain's a-gonna call.