The Cordillera Project Philippines (Kalinga Province)

The Cordillera Project Philippines has three primary goals, which are the following; 1. The interplay of social dynamics (socio-economic, religious and linguistic ) with groups of volunteers locals and foreign [traveling to various parts of the Philippines] and locals [Filipinos] who receive them as guests, communicate and interact on a specified travel time; 2. Integration to local or indigenous communities [or families] and understanding of various practices, customs and traditions; 3. Providing sustainable medical and educational support to marginalized indigenous communities through local and international aid.

The “CORDILLERA PROJECT PHILIPPINES” was created in 2016. Three years ago, I backpacked the Philippines and went to Kalinga to get a tattoo from Apo Whang-Od. I got a tattoo and interview from the legendary tattoo lady and my guide was one head teacher of a village nearby. I fell in love with the culture and people of Kalinga and I vowed to help them out in any way possible. This community outreach has reached not only Kalinga but also in Mount Province, Benguet and other provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region. The Cordilleran Region is known to be enigmatic and exhilarating with its amazing mountains and terrains; to meet its people is even more magical. They are often called “Igorots”, originally coined during the Spanish colonization era which means “of the mountains”. Infamously, the people of Kalinga are known to be "head-hunters" due to the clan and tribal wars prevalent to the cultural practices of the pre-colonial era. With more than a month traveling to the region, they are more than “mountain people”—they are one of the most hardworking, most modest and kindest people of the Philippines. The Cordillerans are one of the most hospitable people of the Philippines. I spent almost two weeks to trek the mountains of Tinglayan to meet Whang-od, the most celebrated and oldest living tattoo artist (100-year old) of the Buscalan tribe. Getting a tattoo from her is spellbinding; to be a part of this thousand-year old tradition of the Kalingans is one of the highlights of my trip to the north.


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