The Sleeping Beauty Mountain


Kalinga province is a dazzling bounty of things to do and see. It boasts its pristine waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers, national park, subterranean river, hot springs, mountain lakes, rainforests, and rice terraces. It has legendary mountain ranges, too. One of which is the so called ‘Sleeping Beauty Mountain’ in Tinglayan, a grandeur that one may not opt to miss.
This mountain was named as such for something.
Tale goes that in the early days, there was a man in Tinglayan named Banna and a woman from Dacalan in Tanudan who fell in love with each other. Due to a war which ensued between the tribes of Banna and Edonsan, their love ended to a tragedy. Banna was killed and Edonsan left weeping in a mountain where she fell asleep. From where she lied formed a mountain shaped into a woman which they now call “Sleeping Beauty Mountain”.
This mountain is also known as Mt. Mating-oy. For the Lubo tribes in Tanudan, the ‘forehead’, which is its highest point, is the Mt. Patukan.
As folkloric as it is, beneath this mountain is yet another wonder that also deserves to be told. The legend of the mighty Chico River. This river is fed by waterfalls flowing from the Sleeping Beauty Mountain.
Legend has it that the Chico River was the sister of the Abra River.
These rivers, as the tale goes, were once two siblings who were very obedient, kind, and industrious. However, they had very cruel parents. Because of that cruelty, these siblings decided to run away until they reached the top of a mountain, to which these days, is called the Mount Data.
Knowing that they had nowhere else to go, they prayed to Lumawig, the God of the Skyworld, to turn them into streams of water. The brother became the Abra River while his sister became the Chico River.
Today, the Kalinga people regard the Chico River as the ‘River of Life’.
True to its name, the river is tapped for providing abundant sources of power generation, irrigation, and fishing.


Kneeling Carabaos

kneeling carabaos

Every May 14, residents of Pulilan in Bulacan, San Isidro in Nueva Ecija, and Angono in Rizal, commemorate the feast day of San Isidro de Labrador, patron saint of farmers, with the carabaos sharing celebrity status.

But while the three towns have similar cause for marking the day of the farmers’ patron saint, it is Pulilan town that always come on top as a sea of curious spectators gather to witness the carabaos’ special talents.

The select carabaos of Pulilan, on this special day, do not only display their enhanced “beauty” but they also showcase their unusual but remarkably surprising talent—that of genuflecting or kneeling or gyrating or doing the jig while kneeling. Because of this display of talent, the observance of the feast day in Pulilan is also called “The Kneeling Carabao Festival”.

The carabaos are brought by their owners in front of the church on this special day and are made to display their

famous trait. This peculiar show, no doubt, is a reason enough for the influx of local and foreign tourists in Pulilan town.

Known as the farmers’ best friend and indispensable ally in different kinds of farm works, the carabaos are given royal treatment on this day. In preparation for the festival, according to their owners, the carabaos are “retouched” starting early in the morning in order to be ready for the parade that takes off early in the afternoon on the same day.

Part of the preparation includes making the carabaos “kings and queens” wherein their “crowns” (horns) are

rubbed with oil for a shining sheen; their backs are adorned with special clothes serving as their capes; their bodies are scrubbed, cleaned, and painted; their legs are designed with knee caps; and their hooves, too, are either made shiny or painted with apt colors.

As in past celebrations, long before the clock ticked at 2:00 pm last May 14, which was the time set for the start of the event, the main streets of Pulilan town were already crowded with thousands of people, residents, and tourists alike.

They were eagerly awaiting for the passing of hooves, too, are either made shiny or painted with apt colors.

As in past celebrations, long before the clock ticked at 2:00 pm last May 14, which was the time set for the start of the event, the main streets of Pulilan town were already crowded with thousands of people, residents, and tourists alike.

They were eagerly awaiting for the passing of incessant popular request from the throng of onlookers, the carabao owners could not do anything but oblige to the delight of the spectators.

The San Isidro Labrador church, of course, was the ultimate destination of the animals’ show of “religiosity”.

The carabaos knelt at the signal of their master as they passed one by one in front of the church. The kneeling was

for a few minutes with the carabaos not minding people and their reactions. What appears to be more interesting and greatly appreciated by the onlookers was not only the carabaos’ demonstration of their ability to kneel but also to “walk” on their knees like penitents in front of the church. This scenario left onlookers in a blaze of awe and surprise.

May 15, according to the Catholic Church’s account, is the day for the patron saint of farmers—San Isidro de Labrador (laborer) also known as Isidore the Farmer. The account said that Isidore was a

laborer who was always late in tending to his farm chores yet always finishes his job at the end of the day.

One day, his co-laborers complained to their master that Isidore was always late for work in the morning. Prompted with curiosity, the master went to the field and investigated the claim by himself. The master was astounded by what he saw. He found Isidore at prayer while two angels were helping him with his field works thus making his work equal to that of three laborers. Struck with awe, the master knelt and prayed before the

angels. San Isidro de Labrador was also known for his goodness toward the poor and animals. He was then called the patron saint of farmers.

Among the residents of Pulilan town, nobody can really tell how this practice of making the carabaos kneel in

front of the church started. However, the residents have been doing this practice for many, many years already.

Accounts said that the farmers took it upon themselves to make it a vow to participate in the parade, thus, they make big preparations for this occasion. In fact, many other residents from different towns in Bulacan come over to Pulilan town just to participate. This tradition continues to be passed on among generations

Leather goods that triumph quality over quantity

While the Philippine leather industry is facing manifold shifts, one product store using leather as raw material has withstand these challenges for more than 35 years now.

Leather products are known for their durability, elegance and appearances not easily affected by time. In fact, as time goes by, the look is enhanced.

In addition, these products are quite popular in the market due to its style and trendy look.

Our Tribe store, owned by Mario Tayag, Sr., is one of the best sources of leather goods in the Philippines that are handcrafted from carabao’s and cow’s hides. Other than handbags, Our Tribe also manufactures shoes, sandals, slippers, belts, wallets and other accessories for men, women, and kids.

The store, located at 167 Maginhawa St., Sikatuna Village, UP Diliman, Quezon City, started its operation on October 9, 1972. It later opened its branches in different supermalls in Metro Manila that include the SM Southmall, SM Dasmariñas, Market Market, SM Fairview, SM Megamall, and SM North.

Dorothy Cajulao, Our Tribe administrative supervisor, said, the leather industry is experiencing a slowdown due mainly to lack of carabao hide supply and fast-phasing fashion trends.

Leather products, however, continue to thrive because it never runs out of customers here and abroad, she said.

“Our buyers are mostly balikbayan. They love to bring it to other countries and give to their friends and relatives as a present,” she said.

She also said that they go on sale during their anniversaries and during sale seasons in the supermalls. On those occasions, she added, more customers come in to buy products of their choice.

“There are also customers who ask for reservations for particular leather product and buys it when the store anniversary comes,” she added.

Cajulao proudly said that their products are known for elegance and delicate craftwork that make them irresistible for customers. Our Tribe products are designed by Maria Angela “Lala” Tayag-Fajardo, the owner’s daughter.

Among the leather goods that the Our Tribe store offer are:

  • Leather bags, totes, and purses. Meticulously designed, these bags come in different sizes, colors, and shape that suit anyone’s preferences.
  • Footwear. The footwear for children, men and women, suits the taste of today’s fashion trend. It has several designs and colors to satisfy one’s tang for fashion.
  • Accessories. These include wallets, key chains, belts, mobile phone case, and bracelets. They come in different varieties for men and women with wonderfully designed shapes and styles.

Cajulao said their products are giving preferences to quality more than quantity.

Another fun Friday and wistful weekend get-away

April 15-16, 2011

Everything started from a spark of excitement brought by bonds developed on our way back home inside Alexis’ ever-accommodating car one Tuesday night.

Being the free-spirited and adventurous young bloods that we are, we came up of doing something unusual but exciting activity to keep the flame of friendship among us flicker more. And to give ourselves a break from the daily routines in the workplace.

Charged with an impulse to do so, we came up of having a Friday night out and weekend escapade in Alexis’ hacienda.

Right after office hours, I and my friends-officemates went in this seemingly welcoming place—Digdig, Carranglan.

While all the others are searching for fire woods and setting-up the camp tents, I, together with these lovely men and women, busied ourselves preparing the vegetable fillings for the fish set to be grilled off.

Having talented guitarists and singers with us, we opted to sit down while waiting for the foods to be cooked and letting the sounds of music provide us the appetizers.

Though our ears were full with entertainment, we just can’t wait to be filled with the sumptuous, palatable, and lavish eatables on the table ready to be partaken by hungry stomachs.

And when I tell you it’s lavish and palatable, I mean it’s really a table of over-flowing foods and deliciously cooked by our ever-dedicated cooks headed by Venus.  And the most exciting part of this food partakes? Boodle fight! Who says we can’t hand-eat? Toothsome, isn’t it?

And because we just can’t contain ourselves with this dazzling place, we took some poses for mementos to bring home and immortalized them in photos.

Since we are conking on the riverside, the air is just as cold, but smooth-touching, as the waters in it. The bonfire was just not a warm and light provider but it also fired up our excitement for a night camp. Coupled with acoustic trips, bon fires are really enthralling!

To heighten up the fun, games likepinoy henyo,‘di ka makararating sa paroroonan kung di lilingon sa pinanggalingan’, and other exciting, mind-boggling puzzles were funneled. And the anticipated beguiling and hilarious night was indeed granted.

And guess what? The games lasted until 2am! Yes, we just can’t get enough of it. Forgive us but big laugh among us is just inevitable!

As the atomic blast of laughter and side-hurting burst of fun sink among us, we savored and enjoyed the infinite display of dazzling, awe-inspiring tiny bright lights in the sky. The stars seem to twinkle more indefinitely as they conspire to join us in our engrossing and exciting night. Star gazing is just captivating!

The morning comes so wake up sleepy-heads! Time for our water escapade! 😀

Who can say we were not excited and ready for our swimming excursion? These dahlins are simply fresh-looking and super lovely! Aren’t we?

Our nerves were so much filled with tingling excitement as we rode off in this inflatable tyre-turned-floater. And we called it…water rafting! Haha!

We were not only captivated by the river’s crystal-clear water and coldness but its giant rocks too that are as beautiful and breath-taking as these two women are. Agree!

Finally, taking with us another memento—a pose in this tree-turned-bridge. The view here is simply magical! And it’s not every day that we get to cross a river through this big, sturdy tree, yeah?

What seemed to be an unplanned get-away turned a very memorable, full of fun (and I mentioned the word ‘fun’ very often), and undeniably jaw-drop beauty only nature can offer. To encapsulate everything about the excursion (though I already used a lot of adjectives here), is that it was another FUN FRIDAY NIGHT AND A WISTFUL WEEK-END get-away!

There’s no other perfect place but the beach (Lemery, Batangas)

Being the adventurous and free-spirited that we are, I and my family decided to take a week-end get-away to the beach which is also a celebration for my brother’s 24th birthday.

The beach presented itself a grandeur formation of crystal drops that are seemingly coming from the hovering grayish-blue sky above. The sun, on the other hand, seems to be over friendly as it hides it scorching heat sparing our skin to get burned.

Even though it wasn’t a white-sand beach, at least there’s a li’l boat that can be used for some wave adventure. Plus the view from the other side is just equally magnificent.

What’s also good about being in the beach is that you can write anything with your bare feet and it looks utterly cute and dainty.

My slippers are having a good time, too.

What else is good about the beach is its being so friendly with kids who can freely play around and while being constantly amazed why the waves keep getting back and forth.

And yes, how about some kicks and acrobats in the water?

These folks just caught a school of fish! Yipeee!

No, these fish did not come from the beach. We bought it from the market. We could have tried fishing, though. But we’re just too busy playing and enjoying the waters that we didn’t mind getting to the middle of the sea to catch fish. Plus, it would be impossible anyways.

And what else is more fun spending a week-end trip with family?

It’s also a perfect place to just stare at the endless horizon of the sea while allowing the waves to be the only sound echoing through. It’s simply magical and a wonderful breather.

And of course, it’s also a perfect place to take some pretty pose. After all, I’m on a vacation.

Red Fort, India

I promised to make a blog about my very first travel abroad which is India but my schedules have been very unforgiving. So to start off, here are some photos I took (and some friends) during my visit at Red Fort.

As a first-time traveler abroad, I was overly amazed by every building I saw during my tours around New Delhi. When we were approaching Red Fort, I was stunned looking at the stretch of the fort, which according to accounts, Red Fort is perhaps one of the most magnificent specimens of Mughal architecture which portrays their creative and artistic genius to the fullest. In fact, it took several decades to build this extraordinary monument.

The Lahore gate

I, together with co-Action Partner, went to Red Fort basically to watch a show. We were expecting some surprises about the show. And guess what? We did get a surprise.

The organizer of our conference who brought us to Red Fort told us there will be a great show which starts at 7pm. So when we arrived it was already dark. The sight of the fort, however, is just magnificent as everything around is dramatically shed with different colors of light.

The entrance going to the ‘show’. I’m quite not sure what they call this gate.

We spotted our seats and waited for some surprise from the show. We were anticipating a real good show as the surroundings is in total darkness. Until different colors of light were coming through and sounds (like that of a war) echoing around.

Then we saw these:

And this:

For the first 10 minutes of the show, I was turning my head to every direction where the voice (rather sound) was coming through only to realize at the end that the show is portrayed through special lights and sounds alone.

Now I understand why we were greeted with rainbows of lights when we first entered the fort. It was a fantastic light show, though. Plus the voice overs sounded like real people doing a theatre play.

I had fun! 🙂

Coming next: Sikh temple 


At Enchanted Kingdom, the magic lives on

As a getaway to the south away from the subtle and bustle of office routines, I and my friends (who are also my officemates) planned to give a surprise visit for our dear friend (ex-officemate) in time for her birthday last June. Alongside with this, we also went to the Enchanted Kingdom (EK) to fill our bloods with exciting treats.

EK, as most describes it, is a perfect place to visit for another level of excitements. The place enthralls the throng with its seemingly magical kingdom. It is engulfed with various venues where the height of exhilaration keeps on going a notch higher with every experience.

Let the magic begin…

The gateway to the magical kingdom. Our friend, Leslie, celebrated her birthday with us here at EK.

Upon entry, EK greets you with its stunning fountain.

We also had an enchanting moment with Eldar the Wizard and Princess Victoria.

Anchor Wat. One of the best rides ever! I kept on roaring during the entire ride I nearly lost my voice! It was uber fun, nevertheless.

Flying fiesta!

Roaming around the kingdom and feeling every inch of magic flowing through our curious nerves.

It also offers exciting games where you can shoot exciting prizes such as huge, huggable stuff toys. My friend here just won a cute giraffe.

The giant ferris wheel!

For exciting mumble rides, Rialto is the way!

They also perform live shows when the moon starts to peep through the kingdom.

The Space Shuttle Ride

I was nervous, and twitchy, and scared beyond words! It was the first time in my life that I literally felt my soul departed from my body! For the whole duration of the ride, I was praying hard saying: God, if I won’t make it out alive today, please take good care of my family and please, please, let EK management burn this shuttle ride to save more lives! I was cursing the whole time my life was in peril!

So glad we made it alive! And I realized I just had the ‘bestest’ ride ever!

Bump cars!

Where there is magic, there is treasure.

And oh, the lovely carousel…

The EKStreme tower ride. So extreme I didn’t dare to ride. I’ll try it when I gain enough courage though. I am crossing my fingers and toes.

The magic was in full circles as fireworks splashed through the dark sky. It was simply captivating.

We bid goodbye to the magical kingdom. Our fantasies which ran free in our dreams for years were made real. And as the EK motto puts it: The magic lives on. And so it does.