Our Little Cabin in the Big Woods!


The Main Lodge


Our rented Trappers Cabin. Really one room en suite with a tiny kitchenette.



The interior and exterior details are exceptional. Old shotgun rack.

A good place to blog.

Looking out the front door.

This is a hand-carved inlaid storage chest/coffee table.

The bed is made of lodge poles with a buffalo light headboard.

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The backyard! A good place to chill out and swing and wait for critters to come and drink. You can see the cabin through the trees.

You never know who might amble on by!

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Cheers to you from our little cabin in the big woods!

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Ghost Towns of the Wild West~


Bodie is a gold rush era ghost town east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Mono Lake California. In its heyday it was a wild west era boomtown with shoot outs, bar-room brawls, stage-coach robberies, and murders. Dust and mayhem in the old wild west!

It had a jail, saloons, a red light district, and a morgue, everything you needed in the lawless frontier, just like all those western movies we’ve all watched.
Bodie also had a Chinatown with an opium den and Taoist temple. I don’t remember Taoist temples in the old western movies, do you? I guess this doesn’t quite fit with the six-guns and society ethos of those movies.

There was a Catholic and Methodist church, to counteract the lawless ways of the frontier, no doubt.
Bodie was founded in 1859 and at its peak it had a population of almost 10,000 people and around 2000 buildings.

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Samar : A Kiss of Pacific (Part 2)

The Wanderlust Keeper

Biri Island : Invading the Alien World of  Magnificent Rock Formations

Long before, I wasn’t awakened by this magic. I dreamt of going outdoors and wandering to places I have never been, but did not give any serious thought about it. It remained a dream. Eventually I had this scary feeling, the fear of the unknown.  I harbored unsettled doubts and I let negative thoughts dominate my being. That’s why I was stuck and remained stagnant and my world just revolved around me.

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On Ethnocide and Culture Authenticity of the Cordilleran Culture

MONTANYOSA _thriving culture_life and words

A few years back in a family gathering, an elder asked a girl, “What will you be wearing on your wedding day? A tapis or a wedding gown?” The girl replied, “Why should I wear a tapis! I would look so plain and ordinary on my wedding day.”

The response intrigued me. I wondered what could be so wrong about choosing a beautifully woven tapis over a plain white dress. I realized then that is not the tapis that is the problem, it’s the mentality of the person.

A tapis, is a traditional woven wraparound skirt worn by Igorot girls. It’s not surprising nowadays that in the highlands, the wearing of tapis is so rarely seen. Placing it in a broader context, it becomes apparent that the girl’s thoughts, along with the same sentiments shared by this generation’s Cordilleran IPs, are exactly what fuel the progressing ethnocide of the…

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Understanding Sociology: A Reflection

MONTANYOSA _thriving culture_life and words


Culture is an interesting field of study. Yet it is only now that I realize that when it comes to my own culture, I am not as knowledgeable as I thought I am. Doing my paper in “mortuary rituals,” I’ve come to realize that this is the first time I’ve focused my attention on this particular practice and this is the first time I’ve taken a keen in asking my mother (a native Ibaloi) about it. I have an Ibaloi blood but it shames me to admit I cannot really associate myself with being an Ibaloi.
The problem I’ve come to realize, is perfectly distinguished by C.W. Mills when he presented the concept of “troubles and issues.” At first I thought it was me. That it’s because of my disinterest in my own culture that caused my ignorance. But then I realized also that most of my contemporary Igorots…

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The Legend of Davao’s Pearl Farm Resort

Color My World

My wife and I had a recent Anniversary respite at the plush Pearl Farm Resort in Samal Island fronting Davao City. The Pearl Farm Resort is by far the most popular among Davao’s growing number of  classy resort hotels.

The resort got its name from an abandoned pearl farm which used to operate in the very area where the resort is located now. The farm used to provide livelihood and plenty of activity in that remote area of Samal Island. There is however an interesting tale that lingers, nurtured in whispers by the old folks who grew with the mysterious pearl farm. This is the story behind the pearl farm.

Japan invaded the Philippines right after the treacherous attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This was immediately followed by successful forays in what is now Hongkong, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar to as far west as the outskirts…

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Love and Sacrifice Keep our Family Together through Financial and Emotional Crisis



By Kevin G. Lopez


We were living a great life as kids, although, we did not get whatever toys we wanted or whatever food we wanted to eat, most of the time. Our father used to work in Saudi Arabia, after a few years of which, he found an opportunity to bring us to the Middle East to live with him… in an apartment, though, not quite big. We lived a life most people would dream of. We weren’t rich but the cost of living there was not as expensive compared to that in the Philippines. For instance, a bar of chocolate, say Lindt, cost an equivalent of around Php150+ while in the Philippines, the said candy could cost much more.


Anyway, going back to the track, we lived in Saudi Arabia for about 8 years. It was a good life in the eyes of most but for me, something seemed to be missing. We got financial affluence, like having a Chevrolet Lumina car, as our dad worked in Saudi American Bank as a Senior Executive Assistant of one of the top ranking executives in the company. Basically, we seemed to be having a good life, yet, I felt there was something missing, as mentioned earlier. We lacked communication within our family. We didn’t go out a lot for bonding such as what families are doing nowadays. Sadly, at the end of the day, I realized that good life is not only about money…


After my first year in high school, we returned to the Philippines. Our father bought a condominium in Cainta where we lived until the onslaught of typhoon Undoy. We left the town and looked for an apartment in Quezon City where some of our relatives were. Unbeknownst to us, however, our transfer in Quezon City was the start of our financial debacle. We transferred from one apartment to another until we finally settled in one while setting up a business – a salon, or a unisex parlor.


At first, everybody in the family pitched in running the business, enjoying every bit of our learning how to manage it. Several years after, it was hell. Although, we tried our best in managing the business, we were just so unfortunate for having personnel who were untrustworthy. Betraying our trust, they filched from the daily earnings, to the extent of even offering their services outside the shop and keeping the payment for themselves. It was a painful experience for us. Our personnel were highly valued and trusted by our mother, but which they betrayed. They were even found to have been involved in the taking of illegal drugs, sometimes right within the salon. We were alarmed.


One of our personnel was set up for a “buy-bust operation”. He was chased by drug operatives. It was made to appear that he was selling illegal drug, although, in reality, he was just a plain user. One time, we found drug paraphernalia in the premises which they promptly threw away. They swore to my mother that they would change their ways. My mother who was kind bit the bait. She warned them, at the same time giving them a second chance. Unfortunately, in a few months, they were back to their old ways.


Several months ago, we sensed that something was being concocted by all our personnel to leave us which they did not long after. Their “mass departure” practically “killed” our business, though our initial reaction was to persist by all means.  Despite our concerted effort, the business flopped, shut down and later sold, whatever was left of it.


We returned to Cainta. My parents were without jobs as they were solely dependent on the salon business. I was fortunate to have been able to be taken in by a BPO company early this year. The pay is good which enabled me to assist my parents occasionally for the needs of our family. Eventually, we started a food business which enhanced the additional income derived by my dad from driving an aunt’s car under Grabcar.


Not all things went the way we expected them, though. Months afterward, the small food business failed and to top it all, my aunt got a new driver in place of my dad who instead of being downhearted, looked for another car that he could drive. He fortunately found another which he drove under Uber. My mom meanwhile, started another food business with the money which I raised for her. My elder sister, today, is finishing a college course with the help of our relatives. Our eldest sister on the other hand studies at home under Brother Bo’s Home School program on account of her having psoriasis, and still with financial assistance from our relatives.  Our parents on their part, are doing their best in generating an income to sustain our daily needs.


As a family, we have plans for the future, part of which is my pursuing a BS Criminology course next year. Such pursuit shall not affect my desire to help my parents financially, to the best I can. Currently, I am working for a Certificate as a Security and Safety Practitioner that could be helpful in satisfying a requirement for my course in the future. In that quest, I tried my best to be on top of my class, where I am now! I am also engaging in small businesses from which I derive funds for other small investments that would give security to me and my family in the future.


Our family has experienced more difficulties than what I have mentioned above, however, despite all those, we have survived. I admit that we had our share of mistakes and misunderstanding but we have been bound together by our love to each other. As a family, we were not used to having bonding moments that would make us “stick” together….but that was years ago. Today, we successfully went through the emotional trials which made us hold on to each other and the rails of security with steadfast resolve, while strengthening our foundation in this new decade that is suffused with various difficulties.


Today, at t twenty-one,  I may not be directly involved in activities for the sake of our brethren on the street, but what I and my family have been through, made me realize that our life is not different from those who sleep on sidewalks. In retrospect, I realize a lot of lessons from them which make me a better person….one who has a desire to have a better perspective in life and a deeply-felt love for my parents and siblings!


Dahil sa Pahabol na Dalawang Tulong, Nabuo ang Anim na Kariton para sa mga Kaibigan kong Scavengers



Ni Apolinario Villalobos



Nang mag-“clearing operation” ang Manila social workers ay maraming natutulog sa bangketa ang hinakot sa mga pansamantala nilang detention sites tulad ng Boys’ Town sa Marikina. Sa kuwento ng isang mag-asawa na may dalawang buwang sanggol, sapilitan ang ginawang paghakot – ang sanggol ay hinablot mula sa ina kaya napilitan itong bumaba mula sa karitong hinihigaan, nabinat at muntik pang mamatay. Kinumpiska ang kanilang kariton pati ang mga gamit, kasama ang sa sanggol. Ang nangyari sa kanila ay nangyari rin sa iba pang nakatira sa kariton.


Ang pinakamurang kariton ay nagkakahalaga ng Php1,700 kaya ang mga taong kinumpiskahan ay hirap sa pagkaroon uli. Sa ganitong kalagayan nang makilala ko ang unang apat na pamilyang nakilala ko, na nadagdagan ng dalawa pa. Pinarating ko ang kanilang problema sa ilang pinagkakatiwalaang kaibigan na nag-ambag ng pampagawa subalit ang nalikom ay para lang sa unang apat na pamilya. Mabuti na lang at may sumalong dalawa pang donor para sa pinahabol na dalawa pa.


Ang dalawang humabol sa pagbalikat ng gastos para sa dalawang kariton ay sina “Mr. F” at “Angel Baby”, ayaw kasi nilang magpabanggit ng tunay nilang pangalan. First time nilang magpaabot ng tulong sa ginagawa ko. Napag-alaman kong may sarili rin pala silang paraan sa pagtulong ng mga nangangailangan. Maraming natulungang ibang tao at kamag-anak si “Mr F”.


Si “Angel Baby” naman ay madalas din magbigay sa mga kapus-palad na kumakatok sa kanilang gate. Tuwing summer naman o bakasyon sa eskwela, ilang mga batang nakatira sa squatters’ area malapit sa kanila ang tinitipon niya sa garahe nila upang turuan ng mga Marian songs na pang-Flores de Mayo at pinapakain ng meryenda. Marami rin siyang mga nakalaang damit, sapatos at iba pa na hindi nila ginagamit, na maingat niyang itinatabi para sa mga naghahakot ng basura.


Ngayon, ang mga nabigyan ng mga kariton ay tuwang-tuwa dahil hindi na sila nahihirapan tuwing sila ay maglibot upang mamumulot ng mga mapapakinabangan sa mga basurahan. May lagayan na rin sila ng mga bagong naipong gamit, na dala-dala nila saan man sila makarating, subalit tuwing Sabado o Linggo ay bumabalik sila malapit sa lugar kung saan sila hinakot ng mga Social Workers noong mga unang ni Duterte bilang presidente.