Roundup: News From the Boondocks

Here are some interesting links that you might want to read:

► If you were Takit Bersamin, what would you do first and why? asks its members and readers to give some unsolicited advice to Abra’s Governor-elect. Join them here.

► Do you remember the video of Luke-Abeya Torrevillas which we uploaded here? Apparently said video is now in competition at You might want to rate and vote for the video here. Voting ends May 23, so you better hurry up, my friends.

► After Batad sa Paang Palay, here comes another film about Ifugaos entitled Haw-ang (English Title: Before Harvest) produced by an independent outfit. We are, of course, looking forward to watching the movie but it seems like it belongs to that tired genre of movies about poor local villagers who have “slow spirits” and who live “little lives” and whose lives will improve only because of the help of an outsider. [Quoted words are from this article which appears to be a press release for the movie.] We never believed in those kinds of films, they may be well-meaning but they are patronizing and condescending. In fairness, we still have to watch the movie so we are keeping our mouths shut for the moment.

► Speaking of films about the Cordilleras, Louis Templado has a review of the film Abong/Small House which, according to him, is now being screened in different schools and churches in Benguet. Interesting quote from the article: “Some viewers–the very people whose way of life the film celebrates–paid their entrance fee with rice, sweet potatoes and fruits.” Sweet potatoes for entrance fees? I’m not sure whether this is a fact or Templado’s attempt to be cute. [Photo credit: Louis Templado]

► The coin toss heard around the world? Wow, looks like the news about our good friend Mary Umaming’s act of tossing a coin to decide who will sit in the Bontoc municipal council was picked up by media outlets around the world: the UK/BBC (Thanks Nashman); Middle East/Gulf Times; Taiwan/Taiwan News Online; North Carolina/StarnewsOnline; Vietnam/HanoiMoi; Germany/N24; Republic of Georgia/Contra; Switzerland/Tagblatt at marami pang iba. It’s refreshing to have a widely reported election news from our region that has nothing to do with violence, isn’t it?

► Are you wondering how alleged mutineers Ruben Guinolbay and Dante Langkit (who ran for Congressman of Kalinga in the recently concluded elections) are doing these days? Ellen Tordesillas has a photo of our two kailiyans which we are stealing from her site and uploading here (above, click photo to enlarge). UPDATE: Oops, it was actually Danzel Langkit, Dante’s twin brother who ran for Congressman. Please note Ellen’s post in the comments section below.

And here’s another update from her: “Throughout this ordeal that they are going through, Capt. Guinolbay and Capt. Langkit have shown themselves to be men of courage, principle and integrity. Each one of them is truly an officer and a gentleman. Capt. Langkit has gained a little weight now that he has been taken out of solitary confinement. As Danzel described it, ‘Naa-arawan na siya’.” Thanks Ellen. [Photo credit: Ellen Tordesillas]

► The venerable Baguio Midland Courier is now online. But whoever is managing the website is treating it as if it is a weekly paper. In other words, you have to wait at the end of the week to read any news of events happening in the Cordilleras. Thank God for Sunstar Baguio which is doing a good job of publishing daily news. Sandati is not impressed with how the website looks either.

► Want to read blogs that touch on life in the Cordilleras from an outsider’s perspective? Here are some links to blogs of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers writing about their life and work in the boondocks: Living the Dream (Kapangan, Benguet); Good Times in the Philippines (Bontoc, Mt. Province); Eva Peace Corps (Lamut, Ifugao); Freelance Life Specialist (Mayaoyao, Ifugao); and Jody’s Peace Corps Experience (La-Trinidad, Benguet).

► Congratulations to Bugan of Mountain Breeze who is going to Cardiff, Wales on a Ford Foundation scholarship. Yay! Visit her blog here. And make sure you read her article about Marlene Paredes, a kailiyan from Sabangan who works as a marketing strategist with the Texas Instruments in Dallas.

15 thoughts on “Roundup: News From the Boondocks”

  1. Hi Bill,
    Thanks for the great round-up on happenings around the boondocks 🙂

    BTW, have you checked out this new Newsbreak Online site yet?
    They’ve got very interesting reads on the past elections.

    Keep on rockin, bro.

  2. Last tagalog movie I watched was Chiquito in 1974.
    Can’t stand the dramas, as Bill mentioned, add also the “shouting, crying, presence of rooster crowing” in every episode. Most of their movies belong to the gutter at best.
    Here’s a very good example: my wife was watching a dvd she rented, I stopped briefly to watch coz I saw a background of the Banaue Rice Terraces, then the lady in the movie turned around, she was all of a sudden in tears because of the beauty of the terraces!!!! Hoy!!!! you don’t view the elegance of such landscape and cry a ton for no reason! That was so bizzare!!!
    These movie producers I think are just so cheap they can’t even hire a “Cordillera Consultant” prior to making these outlandish films!!! I’ve already recommended Bill Billig for this position!!!
    Sorry Bill, nagadu unay samet ti nausar ko nga exclamation marks…
    Cheers regardless and goodhealth.

  3. Hi Omom,
    Thanks for that link, I was actually trying to look for them on the web. Newsbreak is a magazine that I admire a lot. Too bad they stopped publishing their print version. It’s good that they now have an online presence.

    Hi Nashman,
    Pustahan tayo, di mo pinansin ano? You should have said, “Yo Joel! What you doing here in Baguio?”

    Hi Trublue,
    LOL. Oo nga, para kang si Dmitry Tursunov na mahilig gumamit ng exclamation marks hehe. He’s a funny guy and his blog is a fun read, you should read it if you are into tennis. Ooops, na off-topic ako.

    Umiiyak while watching the rice terraces ha? That’s really crazy.

    I’m a little bit lenient with independently produced films kasi wala talagang pera ang mga iyon. What I can’t stand are movies produced by Regal, etc. etc. Thanks.

  4. Trueblue, parang alam ko who is the actress and what film you’re talking about. Leave it to us girls to see and like (I almost said love pero baka masyado na kayong matawa)movies like that…

    Di ba???

    Peace… 🙂

  5. And Bill, it’s not Crazy! I do it every now and then! OK???!!!

    lol, didn’t mean to throw a tantrum here… kayo kase eh! nawala tuloy ako sa context!


  6. Hei po! Sir Bill…daz not crazy I guess…sorry to disagree po…but I guess there’s some kind of stereotyping here…hehehe. Trublue…yes women cry a lot and its because of a reason…wehehe…sorry po talaga at disagree ako sa inyong mga “men”…well…life’s like dat naman…iba iba talaga tau ng opinion…well, men can never fathom women and vice versa…hahaha…ewan ko…parang lau ko yata sa context…yaaay!


  7. Hei po…Abong was filmed in one of the barangays of Tublay…Tuel. I’m not sure all of the movie was filmed there though. Some of my relatives were asked to be as extras or some sort. (Actually, kapit-barangay ng aking birthplace ang Tuel). Sayang nga lang I haven’t even seen it yet. Tagal na nun ah…nasa college pa ako. Pero pangit naman kung kailangan na magbayad pa ng mga pipol jaz to watch dat film and even use as entrance fees ang kanilang mga staple food. Hindi naman makatarungan yan!!!…un lang po!


  8. Hi Ferri and FBI,
    Thanks for the correction and my apologies for saying it was crazy. Unfortunate use of words, no? What I meant really is that it was strange for a character in a movie to cry all of sudden while viewing the rice terraces for no reason. Pero as FBI pointed out, there is always a reason naman. Nakalusot ba ang aking palusot hehe. Please say yes 🙂

    Ferri, don’t worry you didn’t throw a tantrum, friendly reminder lang which I appreciate. Ano kaya ang movie na ito? Might watch it if I had the chance.

    FBI, wow your relatives are in the movie Abong ha. Yes, I think this is not a new movie but siguro ngayon lang sila nagdecide to bring it to the different towns in Benguet which is good so that more people would watch it. Strange nga lang yung report about people paying camote ano?

    Thanks both of you 🙂

  9. Hi, it was danzel, dante’s twin brother, who ran for congressman. Unfortunately Danzel lost.

    I can post more pictures of Capt. Guinolbay and Capt. Langkit. I’ll see look at my files.

  10. Hi Ellen,
    Thanks for the info. Will have to correct what I posted about Dante running as Congressman. And thanks for the pictures, I depend on your blog for updates regarding the two captains. It’s reassuring to know that they are still doing okay despite their incarceration.

  11. Throughout this ordeal that they are going through,Capt. Guinolbay and Capt. Langkit have shown themselves to be men of courage, principle and integrity. Each one of them is truly an officer and a gentleman.

    Capt. Langkit has gained a little weight now that he has been taken out of solitary confinement. As Danzel described it, “Naa-arawan na siya.”

  12. Hi Ellen,
    Thanks. That is a delightful and encouraging update on how our two Cordillera kailiyans (kababayans) are doing 🙂

  13. That’s another bizzare way of paying to see a movie! Really hope there’s no truthness to such hearsay. Granted it was true, did the entrance fee-collector had a scale to measure up how much kilo/s of camote or patatas were required???
    Even cavemen didn’t go thru this process, there ain’t movies yet, hoy! joke lang, hehe…goodhealth.

  14. Hei po!…well sir Bill…papalusotin ko po kau if you will treat us (me & Ferri, might as well bring along some friends too..har har har) one of these days…nyahahahahaha..oh,btw bring along ur wife as well…;-)

    Thanks in advance.


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