That day, I defied the common belief that Buscalan is all about getting a tattoo from Fang-Od. In Buscalan. there's great joy from simple things; there are great experiences from a short moment; there is ample food from little amphibians, represented by frogs.
This set of frogs jumped to my stomach
Buscalan is a village where every visitor has no right to complain, even Justine Bieber. This is a village for resiliency. Residents here can survive with ease without the presence of continuous supply of water, power (to charge their cellphone battery) and Wi-Fi.
Preparing for the food
This piece you are reading now is a documentation of how I spent my first dinner and night in Buscalan. This is not the usual dinner I experience often in many restaurants. This dinner has a heart, a soul. It is very special that it is not easy to move this to the trash section of my memory.
My local host showed me what is our meal for that night. He showed me what's inside that silverware he is handling. I saw frogs.
Frogs, destined to be eaten
Frogs aren't new to me. I eat frogs in my hometown #VIGAN
#VIGANFAST FACTS: Vigan is the only UNESCO World Heritage City in the Philippines.
PHOTO: A girl handles an image of San Pablo during the city's Longganisa Festival Street Dancing. , actually. This is a childhood food. I grew up eating frogs.
Frogs on the plate
No frogs here. They have jumped to our stomach.
This is my first night in Kalinga, indeed memorable. I spent dinner with my local host's family and some other strangers-turned-friends I met for the first time.
The power supply wasn't able to wait for us to finish our dinner. We spent that moment with a candlelight and a chilly air. This is a moment where there is no room for complaining. This is the life here. It's simple, kind of deprived yet no one seems to complain.
We talked with joy behind the darkness. That dinner unleashed the real us. The candlelight was a silent witness of our fears, happiness and life's perspectives. All is well.
The talk went long, even longer than street conversations under street lights. The darkness cloistered us in one place. It bound us as one soul. It was a long night of exchanging stories of victories and heartaches. Then we called it a night. As the candlelight is about to be defeated by the darkness, I searched for that plate-of-frog. I should have picked another piece only to find out that the plate is already empty.
The next day I woke up and what happened was disappointing yet beautiful to the contrary. /to be continued...
*BUSCALAN SOLO INVASION SUB-SERIES | 1
[TINGLAYAN] The Day I Hiked Solo to Buscalan, Kalinga - Part 1/2TEASER: "I am soliloquizing under the scorching strike of the sun that is adding more agony to my weary self. I hope I am not yet lost. But if ever I'm lost, at least I'm lost in a paradise." | 2
[TINGLAYAN] The Day I Hiked Solo to Buscalan, Kalinga - Part 2/2
TEASER: "So I thought the hike is over, but as I took a turn on that road, I saw the other side of the mountain and it doesn't look like I am getting any closer. It goes farther, and farther..." | 3
[TINGLAYAN] Fang-Od (Whang-Od): The Last Tribal Tattoo Artist of Kalinga
TEASER: "She is unwittingly ending a tradition she is not supposed to end. She's ending the tradition not by her choice but by the call of our ever changing society." | 4
[TINGLAYAN] 17 Great Memories + First Time Encounters in Buscalan, KalingaTEASER: "Buscalan rose to fame because of Fang-od. But Buscalan is more than Fang-od. It is more than the tribal tattoo." | 5 | 6
[TINGLAYAN] There was No Sunrise in Buscalan, KalingaTEASER: "So the sun didn't shine that morning. However, I was able to understand the other side of the story."
[TINGLAYAN] Buscalan Rice Terraces Kissed the CloudsTEASER: "This is my story about the Buscalan Rice Terraces. At first there is a foreplay with the clouds but it always ends up with a satisfactory finish."