Ubbog @ Kapangan-A A +A
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
IT WAS a fun day for members of the Ubbog Cordillera and friends on Sunday, September 22, when 10 of them were hosted by Kapangan-based artist, Mr. Asao Shimura, with a workshop on making mini-books and other crafts. For most in the group, the trip started with the first jeep going to Kapangan that departed Baguio City at 6:30 in the morning. I was supposed to board the jeep in La Trinidad town central but unfortunately, I missed it when it passed by. I was told by text to follow the group at Shilan where the jeep would have a stopover.
Another companion was also late and we both caught up at the stopover. Three others were following on another jeep but bound for another barrio.
The stopover was an eatery-bakery where the driver, crew (the jeep has two), and passengers can have coffee, breakfast or buy pasalubong or something to munch along the way. The jeep has a moniker Texas Rose written on the front panel and has the customized roof load carrier common to many provincial jeep. There are iron fittings that can be assembled to brace a canvas. The break of the journey is a time to fix this tent at the roof to shield the top load. Rain was expected especially that typhoon Odette was still at extreme north of the country. As the jeep departed, it lived to its flowery moniker.
"Simmabung" as they say in the local parlance, which is of course a common sight in rural Philippines.
Kapangan is more than 30 kilometers away from Baguio City. By my companions’ estimate, we would be there by around 8:30. It was more than an hour ride but as a first timer to the place, I enjoyed the scenery along the winding Acop-Kapangan-Kibungan Road. Fortunately, for most part there was no drizzle and the clouds were up revealing green mountains, falls, and rice paddies often mixing with vegetable terraces. Except for some landslides along the road, the scenery was cool to the eyes.
In time, the group arrived in Longboy, Labueg, Kapangan. The three who rode the jeep bound for another barrio caught up on a tricycle.
Fare from Baguio to Longboy is Php 55 (those of us who rode at KM 12, Shilan paid Php 45). The tricycle ride from Kapangan central to Labueg is Php 120 or Php 40 each. The group had a few minute walk to Poking where Mr. Shimura welcomed us to his home and art studio.
Workshop started with our host and mentor of the day teaching us how to bind a mini-book the Japanese way. We first worked for our own copy of his mini-book Mountain Tea Hunting. While waiting for the print of the texts we submitted for the workshop, Mr. Shimura made us try our hands on paper making from fibers of locally available fibers such as bananas and tree barks. He also shared us his cooking knack for lunch. And in the afternoon, we bound our own mini-books then he demonstrated printing from woodblocks and natural inks particularly solutions that includes insect extracts, soot, and gin. We were also shown to other artworks that included paper dresses, for emphasis, waterproof paper dresses.
The remaining time was dedicated for visit to a natural park that was near the place. The signboard near the road says it was an anthurium forest. The trail to the park, for most part involves steep descent. One needs to hold on to a railing and walk slowly, otherwise, hit one’s buttocks to the mossy concrete pathway. The communion with nature though – passing under coffee branches that naturally forms tunnel-like canopy of the trail, gazing to distant mountains and terraces, and smelling fresh scent of leaves and grass – makes the hassle worthy. The walk was around fifteen-minutes from the road and the group was greeted by a forest that shelters some wild plants and anthuriums which obviously had very minimal tending.
Mr. Shimura walked with us together with his six-year-old grandson who served as our lead guide. The energetic boy insisted that we walk farther into the forest but our host and the group are thinking of the last trip back to the city so we deferred going farther for another date. We went back to the studio, had our copies of the mini-book signed by the author, and walked down to the jeep departure point at Longboy scheduled to depart by 3:30. Everybody surely had fun and had a good idea for Christmas gifts – mini-books.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 26, 2013.