Friday, June 3, 2011

Cordillera Life: A Guided Tour of Baguio's Tam-awan Village

For most of us who haven't had the distinct privilege of seeing a traditional Cordillera Village up close, Tam-awan Village is truly the next best thing. 

In 1998, the Chanum Foundation, Inc. began constructing authentic Ifugao huts and Kalinga houses with the hope that visitors, like you and me, will come to know more about Cordillera life, culture and history and in the process become enriched by the whole experience.

Today, Tam-awan Village is more than just a cultural site. It has become a favorite venue for all kinds of events ranging from art activities to a variety of workshops and seminars.

In order to enter the village, we went up this steep yet ruggedly beautiful stony path. When I saw it, it seemed to be a prelude to all the adventure inherent in this quaint village.

On my left, I saw the Alang (Rice Granary-Bontoc), built in 1950 but was acquired only in March 2006. It is such a small granary that only one person can fit inside it!

Cordillera people normally put a bul-ul (Rice God) inside the Alang to guard their harvest.

Here's the info card plastered on the Alang's entrance.

A few more steps up, and then we were led to another interesting looking hut.

It looked like another bul-ol guarding the place or it may have stood for something else.

Although Tutapel and myself looked well-rested here, we were really having a hard time trekking the stony path.

Just beside us was the infamous Wishing Pond where some of the visitors threw in their coins with the hope that their most desired wish will eventually come true.

This was how the pond looked like from a shot taken a few more steps up.

But eventually, we went down again to look for the Bugnay Hut, a 4 -sided hut built in 1921 for a middle class family. Now, Tam-awan Village makes use of this area as a secondary gallery featuring a plethora of works from artists nationwide.

That's the info card again!

Yes. We took off our shoes to enter the hut but didn't take any photos inside because it was strictly prohibited to do so.

A few steps up, we found the "Binayon" (Luccong Hut), the traditional octagonal house of those living in the Southern Kalinga Province. This particular hut though was constructed in 1923. Do you know that only rich families can afford to build a house such as this?

More info was found at the entrance of the Luccong.

Beside the Luccong, was a rather handsome house called the Dap-ay, an exclusive hut for men living in the Mountain Province. In some parts of the Cordillera region however, females are also allowed to stay inside the Dap-ay.

Pillows and mattresses covered in multi-colored indigenous fabrics were the only things seen inside the Dap-ay. The hut looked so cozy so much so that I just wanted to throw myself right into the mattresses! No wonder, Tam-awan is renting this hut out to interested visitors.

Still a few steps up, we were led to the Dukligan, a fertility hut especially built for married couples who were having problems having a child of their own.

The info card said it all!

When I gazed up from where I was standing, I saw a gazebo and thought how interesting it would be to just see it up close.

Between Bala and myself, he's really the one interested in hiking. In fact, during his younger days, he even climbed up Mt. Fuji with his friends! That day however, he had to carry Tutapel up so he told me to just proceed without them.

That I did with Bala's firm reminder embedded in my brain to be careful due to my rather weak ankles.

It turned out that the gazebo was a haven for visitors exhausted from all the "anaerobic exercise" involved in the climbing!

But of course my stay there won't be complete without a snapshot!

The journey down was more difficult but still fulfilling.

During our exploration, we found an Art Gallery and Craft Shop selling one-of-a-kind art trinkets and house decors.

On my way to the Coffee Shop, I even found these fascinating symbols created and widely used by the villagers themselves. 

Nearby, was the hut where all the Tam-awan Village artists sketched portraits for a minimum fee. I must say that touring the Tam-awan Village was certainly worth all the time and effort. Just imagine, my family and I were given the opportunity to get a glimpse at Cordilleran life like we've never known it before. And for that, our trip to Baguio was made even more meaningful.

You might be interested to know that right across Tam-awan Village is another great art site, ARKO ni APO ART GALLERY! This is the gallery-workshop-cafe and residence of Philippine sculptor Ben-Hur Villanueva.

Mr. Villanueva of course was the one who created the beautiful bronze sculpture at the entrance of the Baguio Botanical Garden.

I'm definitely looking forward to visiting this place on our next trip to Baguio!

Entrance Fees: 
Php 50.00 for adults/senior citizens
Php 20.00 for students
Open daily from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Address:  366-C Pinsao Proper 2600 Baguio City
Mobile:    +639-21-588-3131
Phone:      074- 446-2949
Website:  Tam-awan

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  1. Feeling ko nagfield trip ako sa mga entries mo. Suddenly missing Baguio now. :)

  2. That's so sweet of you Toni!Yeah, I miss Baguio too. Thanks for the visit!

  3. Feeling ko nagfield trip ako sa mga entries mo. Suddenly missing Baguio now. :)