Category: Indigenous

Kris Aquino & the Ivatan Women


At first glance, I thought the beauteous Kris Aquino was doing a selfie amidst a group of women suffering from extreme bad hair day, and that perhaps Kris was there to offer advice about using Pantene; after all that is what our intrepid Queen of Philippine Media does. ūüėČ

With a quick googling of these Batanes women, I found out that they are called the Ivatans and what they were wearing was not long hair or wigs. The headgear is actually called a vakul, its function is the same as that of an umbrella. It is designed to protect the wearer from sun and rain. Apparently it is made from abaca fibre of the vuyavuy palm.

Busol Watershed SOLD?!!!

annoyedWhat a shocking revelation!  Please see chart below.

Who are these people behind The National Commission on Indigenous People?  Probably these people needed a dictionary.  The word indigenous seems to have gone over their heads.
Shame on you people!  You call yourselves public servants!
The lands should be taken back as it is not legally distributed to appropriate recipients.
Also abolish the NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLE at once.  They are useless, overpaid cretins.  Total waste of (4)
Why did they give away the lands to all and sundry?  Did money changed hands?!!!
Situations like this could have been preventable if there was a Freedom of Information (FOI) in force!!!  I rest my case, for now!!!





Down Under

Australia in numbers

BBC News

Aboriginal Australian

  • sixth largest country by area (3m sq miles)
  • 13th largest economy (GDP US$1.6tn)
  • 52nd largest by population (23m)
  • ranked 232nd for population density
  • indigenous population 2.5%
  • citizens born overseas 25%
  • world’s leading exporter of coal
  • home to many of the world’s most venomous snakes

Muhammad Ali

 Muhammad Ali

The legend passed away at the age of 74 on 3 June 2016.

The Greatest: See our iconic pictures of Muhammad Ali
We trawl through our archives to share a gallery of classic  pictures from his legendary career
The sporting legend, Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Clay on January 17, 1942 and changed his name to Muhammad Ali after converting to the Muslim faith in 1964. By then he had won the Olympic Gold medal in the 1960 games in Rome and gone on to “shock the world,” stopping Sonny Liston to become the-then youngest ever heavyweight champion of the world, aged just 22, in 1964. He defeated Liston in a rematch the following year and defended his title a further eight times before being stripped of his titles after refusing to be drafted into the US armed forces for the Vietnam war. Three years later he returned to the ring and became a legend, taking on Joe Frazier three times and sensationally defeating George Foreman in the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” to reclaim the titles he never lost in the ring, ten years after he originally won them. To commemorate his 71st birthday, here’s our gallery of stunning Muhammad Ali pictures from our archives as we run through his remarkable career, in and out of the ring.
Ali’s Quotes:
At home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. ¬†Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.
– Ali
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
– Ali
He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
– M Ali
I am the greatest.
– Ali’s slogan originated in 1961
I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me.  It would be a better world.
– Ali
It’s just a job. ¬†Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. ¬†I beat people up.
– M. Ali
It’s gonna be a thrilla, a chilla, and a killa, when I get the gorilla in Manila.
– M. Ali
If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.
– M. Ali
I’m so fast I could hit you before God gets the news.
– M. Ali
Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.
– M. Ali
Pleasure is not happiness.  It has no more importance than a shadow following a man.
– M. Ali

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
~Mohammed Ali

The man who has no imagination has no wings.
– M Ali

The woman is the fibre of the nation.  She is the producer of life.  The nation is only as good as its women.
– M Ali

How to Eat Betel Nut the ILOCANO Way in the Philippines!

Whilst walking through Quiapo we came upon an Igorot (native of Kalinga-Apayao) looking woman selling Betel nuts, tobacco leaves etc.

Amongst her wares, she also had tobacco leaves, green leaves called Gawid, Apog (lime ash) and chewing tobacco.(Photo by Peter)

Gawid Leaves and Betel Nuts (Photo by Peter)

These catapulted us immediately to our far-away childhood when my Daddy would let us have a tiny piece of betel nut to chew whilst listening to a horror radio program by Ben David called Gabi Ng Lagim (Night of Horror) just before bed time.

Thinking about it now, My father probably believed in betel nut’s mild tranquillising property that would send four active children well into the land of nod.

Anyway the “proper” way to eat betel nut as told us by the elders of our barrio was to wrap a piece of the nut in a green leaf called gawid, also enclosed with the tiny parcel was a small piece of tobacco. The whole ensemble was shaken liberally with apog (lime/carbon/ash). ¬†Never tasted this offering but seen people chewing it this way and their mouth would turn red. ¬†Whilst chewing, they would spit often making their vicinity stomach churning blood-red and eventually their teeth would turn more black than red. ¬†The apog is what makes the red colouring.

Inside of the betel nut

Inside of the betel nut

Peter bravely chewing on a betel nut

Peter bravely chewing on a betel nut..not a mouse! (Photo by Jean)

Peter the virgin betel nut chewer

Peter the virgin betel nut chewer! (Photo by Jean)

Mambabatok: Kalinga’s last traditional tattoo artist


Whang-Od Photo via

By¬†¬†|¬†The Inbox¬†‚ÄstSun, Dec 30, 2012

Mambabatok: Kalinga’s last traditional tattoo artist

Text and photos by Aileen Camille Dimatatac, VERA Files

In the small village of Buscalan in Kalinga province, 92-year-old Maria “Pangud” Oggay has been practicing the traditional art of tattooing for almost 77 years now. She is the province‚Äôs only living traditional tattoo artist or¬†mambabatok.

Pangud learned the craft from the male mambabatoks by watching them.  She uses pine soot for ink, pomelo torn for a needle, a bamboo stick to hold the needle and a hammering stick.

At first, Pangud prepares the ink by scraping the soot from under the pot and mixing it with a little water. Then she readies the bamboo stick in which she will insert the pomelo thorn or gisi (kisi).

Before she starts puncturing the skin, she first puts a stencil of the design which usually starts with two lines to indicate the length and position of the tattoo. Now she is ready to do her masterpiece.

After dipping the needle into the ink, Pangud holds the stick with the needle on one hand so that when the hammer strikes, the needle would be driven into the epidermis and then spring back to its position above the skin. The tapping sound is called tek-tek, which means to hit slowly, hence forming the wordbatek.

After she finishes one part she rubs the wound with the ink. The amount of time Pangud takes to finish the work depends on the size of the tattoo, but on the average it takes about one-and-a-half hours.

Why do people choose to suffer the pain and possible illness from this kind of art? What do they gain from this? During the early times, the people of Kalinga considered tattoo a form of beauty for women and a sign of courage for men. They started tattooing themselves at puberty, and for them tattoos are an essential form of art that reflects their roles in the society, status in life, tribal identity, eligibility for marriage and, of course, beauty. For women, the absence of a tattoo meant they would be less attractive to men. For men, a tattoo is a symbol they have entered manhood, and for warriors it serves as a trophy after a  successful hunt or fight.

The usual intricate designs of Kalinga tattoos are centipede (ginay-gayaman), python (chila or urog) and honeycomb (ufog), which can mean either fertility, long life, protection, and a relationship to their ancestors and spiritual world.

Pangud lives a very ordinary life. Whenever she is not busy tattooing, she attends to her wild pigs and ricefield.  But as the only remaining living mambabatok,  she is proud of her choosen profession. Although she has been suffering headaches and fatigue, she still plans to continue this unique art and lifestyle that has been passed down to her in order for their culture to remain alive not only for the people of Kalinga but mostly for those whom she marks.

(VERA Files is put out by senior journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. VERA is Latin for true.)