Saturday, October 22, 2005

Tribes At War

I picked up the Northern Philippine Times this morning while on an early morning stroll down Session Road in Baguio City. Chances are you don't know it, though they have a website. The blazing headline and news story reads,
Tabuk, Kalinga--the Balatoc and Guinaang tribes, both of Pasil town in this province are at odds over at their conficting claims on a gold rich area t their border, site of an American mining operation before World War II.
In a bid to resolve the dispute without bloodshed, peacemakers within the two parties are now trying to restore the bodong or the peace pact between the two tribes severed in 1999 due to the dispute. It was the first time the pact was scuttled in 117 years.
For the sceond time since 1999, the two tribes, said to be building their arsenal for a possible showdown, have entered a sipat the first stage of the bodong restoration in August, through intervention of the National...

A wedding brought me up to Baguio this week, with none other than the new Bishop of the Cordilleras, Bishop Carlitos Cenzon of Baguio officiating, who hails from Tabuk. (Yes, Virginia, there is such a place). I got assigned the task of assisting him throughout the long ordeal of sealing the marriage compact, and the wild reception that followed.

Bishop Cenzon was recently elected to the Permanent Council of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), composed of 12 members out of about 180 members. When I asked him about these tribal wars, he seemed to feel the weight of history and his responsibilities upon his shoulders. On top of such weighty matters as Gloriagate, are conflicts like the aforementioned tribal war, which cannot seem to find basis in the greater national context for their resolution. He must deal with both the micropolitical problems as the grand national issues.

The effects of the divisiveness Gloria Macapagal Arroyo predicted would occur if she stayed in office, reaches even the headlines of our small local papers. Though there may not seem to be any direct connection, there is nothing the Presidency does which won't affect the rest of us in a fundamental way. In this case, the recent Mining Act and the prospects for renewed gold-mining in the contested area, are important incentives for a tribal war. (Maybe Mike Arroyo will even put his big fat finger in this Igorot pie, now that he's back, as many comment-posters at are noting this morning.

The good Bishop is gonna be a blogger and Philippine Commentary will be there when he launches, so watch for it! May his tribe increase.

BOONDOCKS GAMBLING: The other big news being bruited about in the boondocks is that a GAMBLING CASINO may be in the offing for Baguio, but it is being vehemently opposed by the locals as "malas" after what happened to the last casino they built here (the ill-fated Hyatt Terraces which was destroyed in an earthquake over a decade ago.) Unfortunately for these old-fashioned codgers, the idea is being backed by Luis "Chavit" Singson and the aforementioned Mike Arroyo (it'll happen they say when these two decide on the "splits"). I heard about all this much earlier this year, when it seems, the meningococcemia scare which devastated the local economy may have been started by a PR firm in Manila, "to teach these local yokels a lesson about recalcitrance." It seems the wrestling match between Baguio City Council and Mayor has something to do with this issue, but who is whose pocket?

Durn! I thought I was gonna have a peaceful respite from the miasma of Macapagal Manila coming up here. I was wrong. Lucky the World Wide Web is alive and well in Igorotland, where armies of Kakanaey, Ibalois and other highlands kids are getting connected to the global mind, or at least, the global playground. Dozens of Internet Cafes are humming up and down Session Road, at every nook and cranny and baraco coffee suq, and at the SM Mall which dominates the landscape like a huge white salakot of commercialism. I'm blogging this at a P10/hour station.

But I leave you today with the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as I saunter up the mysterious hills
THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.
This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it
Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland the voice of the huntsman?
(from Evangeline)

SCIENCE POSTSCRIPT: Can't resist adding this little item. (Nothing to do with politics, everything to do with the exploding possibilities of humanity freed from its tyrannies, to reach for the stars, or the quarks.)


Amadeo said...

Re your Science Postcript, I am as I write listening to a podcast downloaded from, with Scott Mize explaining the many breakthroughs of nanotechnology in the real world.

Just to show that even a non-scientific mind cannot help but be curious about and be awed by these trailblazing technologies.

What's even better is that their knowledge is available to most everybody at the less than nano-distance between you and your keyboard.

Rizalist said...

Hi Amadeo, thanks for dropping by. I'm definitely going to do a fair number of essays on scientific and educational topics, not just from a political perspective but from a well, "global cultural" one because when you get right down to it, science IS the culture of the modern world.

I for one have always thought it curious to separate "science" from the "humanities". What could be more essentially "human" after all, as distinguished from "brute animal" as scientific endeavour of all sorts, in all fields?

Rizalist said...

Just checking out the Profile Image feature of Blogger...

ciscoblog said...
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