Princess Urduja: The Mother of Ibalois?

Have you ever heard of Princess Urduja? If your elementary teacher was like ours, she would have told you about the warrior princess who is believed to have ruled the Kingdom of Tawalisi way before Magellan begged the Queen of Spain to give him those danged ships to, in the words of George W, circumcise the globe. [Note: The painting above right is a visualization of Urduja by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo.]

Princess Urduja and her kingdom [queendom?] was first mentioned in the travel accounts of Muslim explorer Ibn Battuta. Our national hero Jose Rizal then speculated, based on the time and distance it took Battuta to travel from said kingdom to China, that Talawisi was in Luzon. Subsequent scholars placed the kingdom in Pangasinan and its neighboring areas.

Anyway, there is an ongoing debate whether Urduja ever existed and whether the Kingdom of Tawalisi really is modern day Pangasinan. Incidentally, the province of Pangasinan honors the memory of Urduja by naming its capitol the Urduja Palace and by putting up a statue in her honor.

Continue reading

Our Town: Bagulin, La Union

The town of Bagulin is found in the Cordillera mountain ranges but, administratively, it is a part of the province of La-Union. The town’s name was either derived from the name of a Kankanaey chieftain or from its original settlers, the Bago Igorots. More here.

Historically, Bagulin used to be a part of the old Mt. Province (i.e., the present Cordillera Administrative Region except Abra) but it was transferred to La-Union in 1923 following an agreement by the governors of the two provinces. At present, about 85% of the population of Bagulin are Kankanaeys or Bagos.

Continue reading

Chi Balmaceda Gutierrez on the Uglification of Baguio

Chi Balmaceda Gutierrez gives us some background on the “uglification” of Baguio. Chi has a blog here and a photo site here. Thanks Chi for sharing your thoughts on this issue.
Chi Balmaceda Gutierrez:
When Steve Hamada coined the word ‘uglification’ for the Skylandnews — (which was popularized later by his cousin Jack Cariño, Skylandnews publisher, for the 2007 elections) — the term didn’t at all pertain to the congestion of Baguio per se.

What was being alluded to, first and foremost, was the proliferation of kitsch (objects/realities/ manifestations borne out of taste worse than “baduy.” Bad-uy, take note of the etymology. Ha-ha).

Precisely, both of them meant it as “the over-commercialization of every single square meter of land in the city.” (Go figure the implications, greed, even corruption…).

Continue reading

Outgoing Ifugao Governor Glenn Prudenciano Quotes Santayana

Here’s a very interesting speech by outgoing Ifugao Governor Glenn Prudenciano sent to us by a tipster. It is a bit long but we hope you will still read it. In case you don’t have the time to read the whole speech, make sure you read the most interesting part [7th paragraph onwards or the part preceded by “arrows”], where the governor talks about Ifugao’s version of blood politics.

It’s not deadly like Abra’s version but it can be just as dangerous. We’re with the governor on this one. In this day and age, why is pure bloodedness an issue? [We’re sure though that this became an issue not only in Ifugao but in other provinces of the country as well with politicians claiming that they are the only true son of such and such a place.]

Continue reading