Adventure springs life to Hungduan highland

By Anthony A. Araos

“ The village has the biggest number of voters in Lagawe. Sadly, Lagawe voters are known for being unsupportive of candidates who are intelligent and competent.”

A Hungduan municipal government employee or official’s first recommendation for tourist to visit, of course, is the famed Hungduan Rice Terraces, a United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. But, that’s another story.
Continuing with the natural wonders of Mt. Napulauan in Hungduan, let me once more point out that efforts should be exerted by incoming municipal government officials to aggressively push the promotion of the town’s attractions.
Mt. Napulauan is an ideal place for trekkers and mountain climbers to scale apart from the popular Mt. Pulag. This mountain is known for the obstacle-like and steep nature of the trail as well as the much-sought after chilly air at about 5 to 8 degrees centigrade at the summit by December. You’ll see the seas of clouds. Unforgettable moments and adventure only at Mt. Napulauan await the visitor. Take my word for it!
Indeed, this mountain was once considered as the next hub of mountaineers in the Cordillera Administrative Region.
It would be a pity if all those would go to waste if local and foreign tourists are not told to visit Hungduan.
Having had a good experience with the Department of Transportation as regional director of the Cagayan Valley, many are hopeful that the transport sector problems in Ifugao shall be a thing of the past if Timmy Mondiguing is elected congressman in the May 13, 2019 elections.
Small wonder, Mondiguing is eyeing to sponsor a House Bill aimed at amending Republic Act 4136 or the Transportation Code. He is zeroing down to address the problem on “no parking on public roads.”
Mondiguing, candidate of the ruling PDP-Laban, is focusing on this matter with legitimate reasons. He stressed that the attention has a “valid reason to address an urgent national concern,” If realized, to my mind, a relief to this problem should be a coup de grace for the country in the long run.
Still, stern measures should be taken by the government on the problems of overloading of passengers at jeepneys in Ifugao and non-implementation of the “helmet” law of motorcycle drivers and passengers.
Son of former Department of Transportation and Communications Regional Director Atty. Alfredo Mondiguing of Hungduan and the late Department of Tourism Regional Director Carmelita Apilis Mondiguing of Banaue, Mondiguing said that he believed that being a candidate of the administration party would provide bigger opportunities for him to better serve his constituents if elected in the coming polls.
Incoming Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) members from Ifugao’s second district should consider building food terminals in Mayoyao and Alfonso Lista towns to better distribute produce from the district’s four municipalities. Banaue and Aguinaldo also comprise the district. Mayoyao supplies most of the organically-raised vegetable requirements of Isabela and Cagayan provinces. Alfonso Lista is a major corn producer.
Who shall be at the forefront of this noteworthy initiative? I see come backing Board Member Samson Atluna as the answer to the question.
Likewise, I see Mr. Atluna pursuing programs underscoring the importance of training seminars aimed at providing farmers with alternatives to improve their day-to-day income through the production high value commercial crops like fruits and vegetables suited land and producing bio-safe commodities through the use of organic fertilizers as it opens the market for organically-produced vegetables at the same time geared at developing a market match for the vegetable farmers through SM, Robinsons and other supermarket chains.
Moreover, Mr. Atluna should seek the intercession of President Duterte in order to distribute lands and idle government lots to farmers and provide them with support such as seedlings and equipment to enhance agriculture production. The district’s main industry is agriculture.
Atluna, who was overwhelmingly elected by the people to the position of board member in 2007, 2010 and 2013, played a major role in the passage of the landmark ordinance on the Organic Farming Act of Ifugao. He is expected to emerge as the district’s top vote getter in the coming polls.
To the presumptive Board Member Samson Atluna: Please infuse more funds to the agriculture sector. It is high time to spend well for farmers and fisher folk. Subsequently, the people shall see results, and they shall see happy farmers and fisher folk and their happier beneficiaries. No reason is acceptable otherwise as Ifugao folks confront the obvious learning experience of low productivity due to officials neglect in their midst.
Tackling the issue of quality legislation at the SP from 2019 to 2022, crafting of relevant laws is evolving to give a better understanding and appreciation of the law-making process. I can see this as innovative. This is practical and do-able. If a board member sponsors a sound and well-attuned ordinance, he or she does not make a fool of himself or herself. So that is quality and responsive legislation. Thus, my say on ordinances commending so-and-so: Please put a stop on this maddening practice! Please let it go!
Effective lessons and projects are not commonplace these days here in Ifugao. In keeping with the government’s mandate to modernize current systems across all levels in education, the next vice governor of Ifugao should endeavor to ensure the digitalization of the public school operations as flexible and efficient as possible. The incoming vice governor should also look into the curriculum development concern, particularly on learning materials that are not tailored for students and teachers’ needs. As presiding officer of the powerful and influential SP, the vice governor working alongside with the chair of the committee on education and public information, should work for the promotion of cultural diversity through the crafting of relevant laws and formulation of multi-cultural policies for indigenous peoples (IPs) and indigenous cultural communities (ICCs). It is surely a step in raising the standard of education in Ifugao. Elevating the curriculum’s soundness and fitness at par with the others and meeting the challenges of the times have yet to be realized. So what’s the position of outgoing Board Member Victor Bunnol Jr. of Lamut, outgoing Board Member James Frederick Dulnuan of Banaue and outgoing Alfonso Lista Mayor Glenn Prudenciano on this matter?
At a campaign sortie of former Ifugao governor Atty. Eugene Balitang, who is a candidate for congressman under the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), youthful leader Denmark Butic of Lagawe also addressed a crowd of nearly 200. Butic is an independent candidate for councilor. Honestly, to say that Mr. Butic is well-qualified for the position he is seeking for in the forthcoming polls is an understatement. He has very good credentials. When Butic spoke of the scholarship grant he got from a university in Thailand, only two women clapped in the audience. Earlier, Butic tried unsuccessfully to wrest the chairmanship of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) at Poblacion East in the capital town. The village has the biggest number of voters in Lagawe. Sadly, Lagawe voters are known for being unsupportive of candidates who are intelligent and competent. For most voters here, most especially the vast uneducated and lowly-educated ones, a nominee of the prestigious search for the “Ten Most Outstanding Students of the Philippines” like Mr. Butic is no big deal.
Small wonder, Lagawe is still a fourth-class municipality. The town is in dire need of young and visionary leaders. It needs world-class, forward-looking and not backward-setting legislators. Sadly, to this day Sangguniang Bayan members hold their sessions at a cramped up wing of the old municipal hall. The future of a new Lagawe lies in the citizens’ appreciation of the root cause of the problems besetting this town. Responsible segments of the electorate need to remedy and put an end to the kind of politics which breeds the politics of personalities, money, mediocrity and electoral shenanigans. Politics that discourages the pursuit of good governance and good thinking should be weeded out.
My recommendations: sufficient time be provided to well-meaning candidates like him to speak at candidate’s fora during the campaign period. Hopefully, it works. But then, good-to-be true candidates like Mr. Butic are up against heavy odds and a seemingly impregnable wall inhabited by insurmountably ignorant folks fed by moneyed politicians.
It is puzzling, to say the least, how Ifugao voters are behaving when being asked of their preference for the next congressman of the province. The five candidates are Eugene Balitang, Solomon Chungalao, Jonathan Cuyahon, Pedro Mayam-o and Timmy Mondiguing. When I asked a Lagawe voter who is his choice in the coming elections, he replied “Secret.” I got the same answer with twenty six others. Hard to believe when none of the candidates is even casting his ballot in Lagawe. Little wonder, Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) are staying away from Ifugao for their surveys. This is the downside of a backward mentality among Ifugao folks. The voting fundamentals of the Ifugao electorate are indeed still weak. Thus, we have to ensure that we keep on improving the environment to secure maturity among voters through a massive re-education campaign.
Local and foreign visitors in Kiangan will surely enjoy the treats offered by Take Out Center, which is situated at the main market section of Barangay Poblacion. As for the food, the small restaurant’s menu features Italian, American, Chinese and Filipino fusion cuisine shared with a number of rare food items. The chowfan meal is highly recommended for lunch or dinner. For those who have yet to experience the beauty of Italy, try its pizzas and get a true Italian touch of a pizza. Or plan a meeting here and experience eating adventures in an easy, approachable and more fulfilling fashion. Food preparations are also enriched by local flair. Of course, don’t forget to order a glass of chilled cucumber juice. Another favorite of this popular place is brewed coffee. It is owned by Eliseo Alonzo Jr. Well, I told him to come up with a Saturday Sisig Special. Certainly, it is also worth considering chicken barbecue and baby-back ribs, With Take Out Center, tourists from Europe, Asia and elsewhere shall have exciting and memorable times ahead of them while in Kiangan. All told, Take Out Center has truly become more than a food hub brand- it has become a lifestyle!
For our food delights corner: it is time to bring out the best of my all-time favorite dish of sweet peas with shrimps. Just be generous with the onions during its preparations. Best served with java rice and breaded pork chop. For appetizers and dessert: chocolate cake, bananas and chilled mango juice is absolutely a great idea. It’s another yummy treat for the family or loved ones at the table at lunch or dinner and it should be fittingly complemented with a prayer. What are you waiting for guys?
Finally, some thoughts for our readers: “If society cannot help the many who are poor, it will find it difficult to ensure the safety of the few who are rich.” Ernie Cecilia, president and CEO of EC Business Solutions and Career Center
“Possibility comes with perseverance.” Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Bong Osorio
“I would rather have a government run like hell by Filipinos than a government run like heaven by Americans.” Manuel L. Quezon, second president of the Philippines
“Call out to Me and I will show you wonderful things you do not know.” Jer 33:3**

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