By: Glo Abaeo Tuazon
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgWhat is this emotion called love that turn people’s (and even animals) lives upside down? This four letter word consisting of 2 pairs of vowels and consonants? So short a word to mean anything, but in reality is as broad as the universe itself. It defies all senses they say that the absence of one often saps the life out of the other. One famous quote according to Shakespeare is this, “When you depart from me sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave.” So much has been said and done for love’s sake that even if we look thru the pages of ancient history, there was never an era where a civilization has either been born or razed to the ground because of love. Love and legends has always been twins since the world was created. Trekking to Kalinga one time and viewing the panorama from the receding orange skies directed my eyes to the very prominent outline across the horizon. With the vista stark and dark against the soon slumbering sun, the outline of a lady lying on her back seemingly pops out of the rugged cordons of mountains. My lips gathering in a tight cone, I let a whistle escape knowing full well I will be asking some people nonstop questions in the morning.
So I learned the next day that the mountain known as Mt. Mating-oy is also the fabled Sleeping Beauty of Kalinga. But my source was quick to say I cannot go while checking me out head to foot and back up. My profile he smiles, does not smell like a survivor. And that it takes strength and stamina and endurance to get there not to mention the much needed patience to not complain and whine along the way.
And he said I look like I have all those he does not like from a hiker. Dang! So early and I was being turned down without even asking yet. Off to another source. Still mumbling to myself I went on to another acquaintance and he gladly said we could go trekking those parts but better to wait for when the sun stays up much longer. The rainy days are tricky because the foot paths are loose, sometimes flashfloods occur without warning and there’s always the danger of being stranded up the mountains. That added to my ever persistent phobia of leeches. Leeches, leeches and more leeches. Leeches big and small awakened and anticipating the hunt. I can stand the sight of blood, and the bites does not hurt any. But the scars the wound leaves behind stays for a long time. And the wound is open for like three days or more, bleeding non-stop like a broken faucet unable to close. So far the haunting of the leeches from past adventures were the only incidences of my freak-out moments.
Watching them suck on my skin as they bloat and no amount of pulling would disengage them from the hold, until you scorch them with a match or cigarette or drip a solution of water and salt where they have the grip on you and they fall easily. Taking my revenge one time, I had this innocent thought of putting the “well over bloated creatures” in a tin can and lighting them from under, from which they exploded and our faces looking closely down were splattered about. The issue of the leeches finally pacified me a bit but I surely was looking forward to summer when I come back and scale the bossom of “the lady”. Kalinga is one place rich in hiking destinations, and these are rather ardous hikes for seasoned adventurers. I could say I am one, could hike for miles without complaining, take in the heat and cold and dirt, and have the initiative and instinct of survival too given the circumstances. The extreme challenges are part of the fun for which one’s accomplishments are rated and more valued. In these parts the destinations more often have no established trails and hikers like the hunters have to use the rarely taken footpaths. Same I was told are the trails to Mt. Mating-oy. One would be taken into a maze of jungle, ravines, small creeks, rocky mountain faces and all. Sleeping Beauty is well based and footed in Tanudan but from where I was in Tinglayan, the sight was an unrelenting whisper of temptation. Mt. Patukan according to the people of the Lubo tribes, comprise the forehead of the façade. Sipping a cupful of the good Kalinga brew, the sad and haunting story of love was relayed to me. Sleeping Beauty was not named as such for nothing. Tale goes that in the early days a beautiful and enchanting lady lived over at the village of Dacalan. They called her Dinayao. As words went around villages of the existence of the fair maiden, a young lad named Binsay from Lup-lupa in Tinglayan took it a challenge to go see her for himself. The lad went his way and sure enough was this lady so fair that he was so engrossed to being with her. Dinayao fortunately felt the same. Flowers bloomed and birds chirped at the sight of each other, in other words love was embedded in bold cursive style on each other’s forehead with the furious and thunderous beating of young hearts. In time Binsay had to leave to go back to Luplupa, presumably to go tell and ask for permission from his family to be with Dinayao. With the promise of love and return, Binsay and Dinayao agreed to meet at the summit of Mt. Patukan. In Lup-lupa is happening another incident at the time. Throughout the history of Kalinga, tribal wars were common in those days and the very time that Binsay reached home, the village was preparing for another encounter. Having been brought the news that another tribe were to invade Lup-lupa every able mensfolk were on guard. “Mengors” (warriors) as they are, Binsay had to help defend his village. The clash soon happened and as most tragic love stories go, Binsay died in battle, taking the promise of love with him. Dinayao in all innocence and full of love was waiting at the summit for dear love to come. Hair flailing in the wind, she waited some more. A man did arrive, but it was not Binsay. It was his brother bringing with him the cold news of her man’s demise. Brokenhearted and full of sorrow, she opted to stay at the summit and contemplated “slow death by grief”. Her love will always be Binsay’s and there was nothing to keep them apart, not even death. So legend goes that in her last vestige of life, she laid down where she was at the summit of Mt. Patukan and rejoined Binsay on the other side of the horizon. Looking back at the outline while I was wading the waters along the Chico River in Tinglayan made me realize the extent of effect this four letter word does to people. So much so of legends and tales but in this modern days, so many still fall victims to the forlorn romance of supposedly forever loves. It would have been good if all succeed but like life, love has its many twists. Dinayao and Binsay found that out the hard way. Tinglayan folks called the mountain Mt. Mating-oy Dinayao in her memory. From afar one could easily make out the form of a face, the forehead prominent so is the well-defined nose and sultry lips. The neck is longish and the bossom protrudes just right, not too small and not very big either. She really must have been beautiful, worthy of the mountains that clad her and her sorrows. The love that fed her will to live was the same that nourished her sorrows and drove her to die in this lonely, windy summit.