IN THE morning of July 14, we motored down to Tabuk via the Ambuklao Solano road with my husband, Councilor Alangsab, Mary Ann and Roel. Along the way we passed by the members of the staff of the mayor while the dancers led by lawyer Augustin Laban were following us. Our new mayor Benjie Magalong followed in the wee hours of the next day.
We were going there for the celebration of the Cordillera Day and host Kalinga province included a pre activity with a trade fare, a Cordillera heritage and a Laga fashion show. This is a celebration of the region for the creation of the Cordillera Administrative Region created on July 15, 1987 through Executive Order 220 signed by then President Corazon C. Aquino.
We had an uneventful trip stopping by to eat some fish and vegetables in one of those restaurants along the rice field and the river of Isabela. I missed to get the name but the food was freshly cooked. The trip was about seven hours compared to the 12 hours trip we used to have in the past when I would join the audit team of my father, Galo Weygan to audit several businesses in Tabuk way back in the 1980s-1990s.
I was able to go back to Tabuk in 2000 to 2003 as the executive director of Upland Development Institute when we implemented a project funded by Caritas Australia. We had Sipa – School of Indigenous Peoples Advocates, a school that brought us to Tabuk, Abra, Benguet and Bontoc in having community leaders become advocates of the Igorot Culture and traditions.
In this trip, we went to Kalinga as part of the Baguio delegation. Kalinga prepared a red carpet and Naty Sugguiyao made sure we come with our Cordillera inspired gowns. It was another opportunity for me to use my gown for the third time, one that I used during my oath taking last June 30. We were entertained with Pasil’s pakidum, a cultural Kalinga dance and music, ate the Kalinga native and organic dishes including their famous Nambaran organic pigs cooked in an appetizing dish. My husband was a willing participant, considering that it was his first time to travel to Tabuk despite having so many friends and relatives from Kalinga.
We were billeted in Golden Berries with other delegates from the different provinces. The Baguio dancers were billeted in Las Vegas Hotel owned by my friend Dono Bonguick, how in the world she ended up there is one that I need to know when we get back to Tabuk for the Igorot International Consultation next year. After breakfast on the 15th we were brought to the starting Carabao landmark for the parade, it was a long one until the Capitol Building.
But it was made joyful with our players and dancers as street dancers, at one time my nephew El Bisor of DepEd Apayao joined Mayor Benjie Magalong in a patong. It was just right timing that as soon as we reached the Kalinga Sports Complex the sun came out. It would be very inconvenient walking and sweating while the sun beats you walking those streets.
The series of speeches completed with repetitious acknowledgements of people sitting on stage including some cultural dances, native snacks and an appetizing lunch. But it was also a chance to meet those from the provinces. I was able to meet some of my relatives from Besao and saw some of them from Abra as well.
After lunch we have to go back to Golden Berries, took some pasalubong and then packed our things. I did not even have time to visit relatives and friends and we were on our way back to Baguio. We discovered a nice stopover for dinner at Kainyugan. You make your own sawsawan and you go to the hearth where a big pot of soup is placed for you to get your own soup. They had roasted “ugsa” and their pinakbet was a real Ilokano cooking.
The short trip to Tabuk was for me seeing a rural town of years ago rise up with determination to become what it is today, a rising city with a lot of potential to become a regional center that it dreams to be.