Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Birth Home

Last night, I received a heartbreaking call from my "birth home" which catapulted me into panic, distress, and depression. I felt my world shattered - again. As far as I remember, my family is always dealing with one crisis from another, so whenever I hear the word "birth home" I am beginning to associate this word to crisis, dilemma and other words that also pertain to suffocation and drowning. (I think anyone who has dealt with familial greed and envy knows how it feels. I associate it to drowning because I have a cousin who, was so envious I could swim/float, tried to drown me.)

In this entry, I would like to make it clear that the place I am referring to is Kalinga, Philippines - my birthplace.  So if you'd ask me how I identify my tribal identity. I am Kalinga by birth and Igorot by blood.

I will always acknowledge the Philippines as my "birth home" and Hawaii "my home." I was 17 when I left the Philippines and much of my life now is here. Being of Filipino descent and of American citizenship has its ups and downs. I am sometimes labeled as too American by my Filipino family and too Filipino by my American family. I sometimes feel caught in-between.

These are photos I took the last time I visited "birth home."

This is Kayni's Tree. My grandpa planted this tree and it was toppled down by a typhoon. It amazes me that it's still alive and thriving to this day.  No matter how many people try to topple me down, I am still here - alive and thriving.
When you sit or lie down on Kayni's Tree, this is the view.
Green gold and sometimes worth dying or killing for.
The house I grew up is surrounded by rice fields.
Rice fields guarded by a lonely scarecrow. Sometimes, "birth home" brings back a lot of lonely memories.
BUT no matter how "birth home" left a bitter distaste in my mouth, it's still worth fighting for.


  1. I always am envious of those who live in a house surrounded by rice fields. I thought that was paradise.

  2. hi Kayni! my birth home too, somewhere in visayas, makes me think of greed, distress and depression. i thank my dad so much for registering me late at La Trinidad's regsitry office for easier processing of papers someday, he once told me.
    although the "b.h." thrived when i was born and little, a philippine president caused chaos and deaths to my family (apparently to own an island of copra na di pa daw tapos ang workers to harvest on the other end, the others can start harvesting again from the other end...)
    mom's family was never able to recover... although i enjoyed my 5 months stay there when i was in 3rd grade, finally settling or retiring there one day is definitely far from our plans..

  3. I hope you feel better by now Kayni...

    We went to Kalinga once. Our host family was one of the most hospitable people. I could remember that in a certain place there, nobody should be out by 5 pm, or else, hmmm... That was sometime nine years back, I wonder if it's still the same scenario?


  4. @ Photo Cache, It is charming to be surrounded by rice fields.

    @ Jehan, I'm afraid that we'll never recover with the current situation we're in.

    @ Gremliness, A lot of people there are very nice but there are several rotten ones. It's still the same - everything closes at 5 pm. According to my sister, it's worse these days.

  5. ang ganda ganda kayni! so green! i love it!

    i can't imagine having tension within the family (everyone in our family loves everybody). it must be soooo hard because in down times, family members are supposed to be there for each other. iba yung ang source ng stress ay kapamilya mismo.

    i hope things get better for you and your family kayni. :)

  6. @ kg, I envy families who are solid; mine isn't.

    @ Angeli, I went for a visit (one day) 5 years ago.

  7. I've been to Kalinga once, when a cousin got married in Tabuk. It was very hot, like the lowlands.

  8. I wish to visit your birth home and home someday.

    This is a very touching post. It is a wonderful thought (and fact) that a tree was named after you. You have a very beautiful birth home.

  9. nature is beautiful, ironically, people are not always as beautiful/kind...

    with those kind of scenes you'd like to live there and consider it paradise, but then, you may not always get along with the other inhabitants. dilemma..

  10. Take heart, Kayni. You're such a brave person, I believe. It's the threat that brings the family closer and stronger. God bless!

  11. what happened? i wonder if those rice fields still exist...

  12. beautiful place kayni indeed, i have only been to sagada, banaue and especially batad.. beautiful place indeed! long time ago..

    yup, i know what you mean by being too much of a foreigner with relatives but being too much of a filipino in your chosen home. i think that is what happens to us who live in a different culture -sort of in between - the price we have to pay

  13. nice pictures, sis; 'reminds me of home. praying that the Lord will bless your heart...

  14. hope you're feeling much better now kayni. hugs for you!

    i've never been to kalinga but i really want to go there and see the real beauty of that place. your pictures are so beautiful & so cool.

  15. reminds me of my hometown too..well kanyi..whatever that is.. you are in a better place now :P as the saying goes.. "the greatest form of revenge is success"