I had a busy December 2011. While others were snugged into the holiday continuum, I was swamped with attending events and travelling extensively in Pampanga, Rizal, Makati, and Cavite. Nevertheless, I had a great time.

One day, I and a friend went to UP Diliman simply to wander about and see how people spend their short-lived lives. It was also my way of calling forth the spirit of scholastic yearning, for I really miss studying at university.

Luckily I heard the Carillon pealed at the time we were there.

This haughty feline woke from a doze on the pavement outside Abelardo Hall. I loved its shade of pale orange.

Next is a picture of students rehearsing a routine.

Here is the verdant carpet of grass of the Sunken Garden, where people can frolic and create thier own amusements.

The Gonzales Hall sullenly overlooked on a cloudy afternoon.

I and a friend had a promenade at the grass-filled otherwise quaint walkway along Palma Hall.

This image would have been better at night, when the star nobly silhouetted the Oblation. But I only had to imagine that since I did not saunter long in UP Diliman to see the would-have-been night scene.

***

Walking along Katipunan Avenue, I passed by a mendicant (a term which I resentfully use here for it did not fit her). I promptly recognised the gong slung around her shoulder. I couldn’t help but ask, “Are you a Cordilleran?”

She proudly affirmed my assumption. She said she was from Sagada, Mountain Province. I’ve never been there; but her eyes told me that it was indeed a sublime piece of nature.

I cared to talk a little longer, saying I had been in Baguio for four years to study and that I recognised her instrument, which is called a gangsa. At that time of the year, some of them goes downhill to the metro, a 14-hour travel in total, to “earn” a little by capitalising on the festive holidays.

She was clad in a distinctive fashion that I associate with the modern Cordilleran–in a localized “cowboy” attire of maong and long-sleeved shirt.

I asked her to play her gangsa for me.

Although in an apparently mendicant guise, she exuded her proud heritage and culture from the Cordilleran highlands. I truly appreciated the music she shared. I hope others will see her not as a mere mendicant asking for monetary graces but a proud bearer of indigenous culture that we should be exhibiting with pride and respect.

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