Drenched both in sweat and rain from our Nagacadan trek, we clambered up to our jeepney for the chance to topload one last time before our bus drives us back to the plains of Manila.
We went back to Kiangan Shrine for the day’s lunch and final words, but before that, we took the time to check out the park where the infamous Japanese General, Tomoyuki Yamashita, surrendered to the Philippine Forces and effectively ended the war in the country. You read that right; he’s the Yamashita of the Golden Buddha fame.
A shrine modeled after the indigenous Ifugao hut stands proud at one end of the complex. Built in 1974, it is dedicated to the historic event that led to the end of the Second World War in the Philippines. Past some steps and into the chamber of the giant concrete hut, a wooden sculpture depicting scenes from the war is plastered against the wall.
A quick walk at the back reveals an entrance to the shrines roof deck which gives an unimpeded panoramic view of the municipality of Kiangan. Rising verdant mountain on the right and the sprawl of the province on the left.
From here, one can see the covered grandstand before the green field, which I suppose is used for local performances, and the Kiangan Musuem at the far end. It’s just unfortunate that photography is not allowed inside; else I could have shown you around a bit.
At last it was time to eat. Spread on long tables were broad banana leaves littered with all sorts of foods; I didn’t know we’re gonna have a boodle fight!
I’ve always wanted to try this ever since seeing this setup on the telly some years back. We have grilled tilapia, pork liempo, red egg salad, steamed okra, lechon manok and Kiangan’s own version of Pinangat. Surrounding everything is the province’s mountain rice.
The day concluded with a dance presentation from the locals and brief words from the PHILTOA team, Mayor Joselito Guyguyon of Kiangan and Governer Eugene Balitang of Ifugao. I’m not one for speeches but I must say that the ones given that afternoon were really from the heart. The enthusiasm these people have to promote and protect the culture of their native land can really be gleaned from their talk.
PHOTO OF THE AUTHOR BY IVAN BRINAS CULTURA OF WWW.IVANLAKWATSERO.COM
And so our tour of Ifugao ended. Four clusters of the province’s Rice Terraces in four days. We went down in each one; we walked, we slipped, we tripped, we ached, we got wet, but most importantly, we were filled with wonder. We were immersed in Ifugao’s vibrant and sometimes mysterious culture. And I didn’t feel this the first time I went to Ifugao but I felt and know it now, Ifugao is one of the Philippines best destinations.
Kiangan War Memorial Shrine & Ifugao Museum
Address: Linda, Kiangan, Ifugao
GPS Coordinates: 16.779299,121.081443
Click to view location on Google Maps
THE IFUGAO HERITAGE WARRIOR CARAVAN RUN IS A FIVE-DAY FAMILIARIZATION TOUR OF THE IFUAGO ORGANIZED BY PHILTOA