It's been three weeks since I've been back from the Philippines - the Motherland, but the experience of the trip still percolates in many ways.
Last September, I had a dream that woke me from my sleep. In my dream, my aunt (Tita Dodie) died. Tita Dodie had been battling cancer all last year even travelling to China for treatment based on a raw food diet. So, I knew that my mother was travelling to the Philippines in January and I let her know that I wanted to join her. Little did I know that my dream was prescient because Tita Dodie passed away in November.
I had not been to the Philippines in almost 10 years when my cousin Clar got married, so I was due for a trip to be in the presence of my elders. My mothers siblings, Tita Mely (84), Tita Laly (70+), Tita Nina (70+), and Tito Teddy (70+), were still alive and kicking, so it was pleasant to share meals with them and be honored with a going-away dinner with over 20 relatives some of whom I had not seen since I left when I was 8 years old.
The above picture comes from Batad, a rice terrace nestled in a valley in Banaue, a mountain region about 9 hours drive north of Manila. The picture does not do it justice as the rice terraces were about 180 degrees of viewing. These terraces are over 1,000 years old and were developed by an indegeous tribe called the Ifugao.