Monday, March 18, 2013

MAYOYAO, Ifugao (Majawjaw)

"One of the few stories behind the name of Mayoyao is that it came from the combination of the two names of the earliest settlers namely Mayaw and Jawjaw thus the name MAJAWJAW"
-Leandro Elahe
-my pagnapagna-

       From Baguio City, we decided to take Ohayami Bus bound for Banaue and get down at Solano, Nueva Vizcaya with 280 pesos fare not knowing that it will go down to Marcos Highway and go all the way to Rosales, Pangasinan.
         9:00 pm (March 14, 2013) Departs from Baguio City
         3:00 am (March 15, 2013) Arrives at Solano, Nueva Vizcaya
       Arrived at Solano, very early in the morning, we went to eat at a 24 hour popular Fast Food Chain and after which we went to sleep just to pass time at the concrete waiting bench of a gas station where a lone mini-bus bound for Mayoyao was parked. We waited there until the mini-bus was ready to depart.
         8:36 am (March 15, 2013) Departs from Solano, Nueva, Vizcaya
       10:10 am Arrives at Lagawe, Ifugao
       11:37 am Departs from Lagawe, Ifugao
       12:33 pm Arrives at Banaue, Ifugao town proper
       12:52 pm Departs from Banaue, Ifugao
         1:39 pm Passes by Batad Junction (road leading to Saddle point)
         2:30 pm Stop over for Snacks at Talboc, Mayoyao, Ifugao
         2:44 pm Departs at Talboc, Mayoyao, Ifugao
         3:39 pm Arrives at Mayoyao, Ifugao Town proper

       We went down from the mini bus and looked for a place to stay. We finally found one. We stayed at an A-type, 4-bedroom Residential house, with a television set at the living room and a balcony at the second floor overlooking some parts of the Rice Terraces. There were no tourists that day so we had the whole house to ourselves (250 pesos per head, per day).

       Leandro Elahe, or “Lo’pfot” as called by his town mates, can be seen most of the time holding a plastic bag of “moma” (a set of betel nut chewed and spitted out- which may contain in the set a nga-nga leaves, apog or ash from a shell of a mollusk and the betel nut which stains the mouth and lips red). He manages together with his wife a Tourism Shop selling some souvenir items from T-shirts to key chains. He is also the care-taker of the house where we checked in.

"Leandro" our guide

March 16, 2013
From the Tourist shop, with “Lo’pfot” as our guide we walked along the road and passed by a top of a hill where it was used as American Garrison now called “Bato” coined from English word “Plateau”.  Then we went off-road to the terraces.

Walking along the terraces
One of the characteristics of Mayoyao Cluster of terraces is that its traditional huts are scattered. They were constructed at a distance from the other huts. Farmers place their houses (traditional huts) near their workplace which is the terraces.
Stone walled, sometimes using big boulders and rocks, these terraces are filled with water all year round to avoid the hardening of the soil and cracking of the stone walls. At the same time these water filled terraces are also used for growing fish such as “tilapia”. Come harvest time they will be getting rice as well as fish.
Protruding stone are placed as ladders to clean the walls or steps to go up and down from layers of layers of rice terraces.

The Rice Terraces

One of the striking features of these huts is its pronounced pyramidal shape roofing with no windows just an opening acting as a door where a retractable ladder is placed. Roofing materials were previously made up of cogon grass but now made up of galvanized iron corrugated sheets, though some few thatched roof remains. Why the change in roofing material? It is because these cogon grasses are now expensive, they have to get it from far municipalities and usually does not last long compared to that of corrugated g.i. sheets.
These are classified as a prefab house, generally built before without using nails. It is pure fittings using interlocking connections and rattan as ropes. As time passes and modernization sets in, some of the features and plan of these huts are evolving.
The huts parts are divided into three layers:
1st layer is a space below the hut itself where the main four post stands (the posts are usually made up of stronger wood such as molave). In here other chores are done such as washing clothes etc. These areas are usually stone tiled flooring and usually elevated slightly from the surrounding stone tiled yard. These stone tilings also helps in the drying of rice harvest when dried under the sun.
2nd layer is the main area for general living; at times it is here where the cooking area is placed at a corner. The wing parts (the one cantilevered from the four posts) were made into sleeping areas.
3rd layer is the uppermost area usually for storage such as rice.

the roofing material used to be of cogon grass but now corr. g.i. sheets are widely used
        At times a smaller hut is made for the final resting place of exhumed bones of a family member. Some of the noticeable feature are a closed door and with no ladder.

a "Burial Hut"

       A burial tomb made primarily of stones just like an igloo with a lone small opening just right for a deceased to pass through. It also has a ledge at the front side near the opening.
       Our guide said it is about 200 years old and only 7 of these are existing in Mayoyao.
      The one we saw was almost hidden with overgrowth of some bushes and grass. It is kept that way because of the belief that if it were cleaned it is encouraging/waiting for another burial.
      These burial tombs were said to be afforded by only the people with vast land for farming or the rich people and also those with lots of pigs.
       One story says that one of the burial tombs was made for an unmarried rich old woman who was challenged for people told her that “when you die, you will be just eaten by dogs as you don’t have sons and daughters”.

plants have grown hiding the "Apfo'or"
These were viewpoints placed strategically overlooking the terraces. It is here where sitting blocks made of rocks were placed.

"pon-amangan" or viewing point
These plants has a reddish leaves and resembles a San Francisco plant, can be seen planted at the sides of the terraces in singles. When the elders or Mumbakis chant at rituals, these were the leaves they use.

a plant called "chongla"

Located along a creek at barangays Balangbang and Buninan, this big rock balances itself and leans on a smaller rock atop of island bedrock. Enchanting, it is said that as long as it stands at present position Mayoyao will live in peace and harmony.

"lumogig" rock

After visiting the lumogig rock we headed back to the road and rode a tricycle back to town proper and to our quarters to eat Tinolang manok we ordered earlier that morning from the guide. It was around 1pm when we arrived at our quarters. 

In the afternoon at 2:30 was our second part of the tour: 

- going to the other side at the War Memorial on top Mount Negchojon. A tiring hike uphill is worth the hike when you reach the viewing shed at the top as you can see the whole downtown Mayoyao, its terraces and its watershed forest on a high mountains (one of the main/biggest watershed for Magat Dam).  

The Battle of Mayoyao War memorial Marker

The War Memorial Marker states: 

(Filipino translated to English)
The Battle of Mayoyao
It is here where the Battle between the Japanese forces and the combined forces of USAFIP-NL which includes the 1st Battallion 14 Infantry; 3rd Battallion and some elements of the 11th infantry, 25 July 1945 until 7 August 1945, when Mayoyao was recovered from the hands of its conqueror. The battle ended, 9 August 1945. This is the last battle before the surrender of General Tomoyuki Yamashita in Kiangan, Ifugao, 2 September, 1945.
a hut at the War Memorial Park

       Early morning around some few minutes after six, we woke up and went outside at their plaza area to have a coffee (from a vending machine which I don’t like the taste as it is too sweet), drunk some water and got back to prepare our things to leave. At around 8 o’clock our meal was served which we ordered the night before, fried eggs and some hotdogs.
       Everything’s double checked, keys, belongings not left behind. We locked the door and went to settle our account at the Tourism Shop where “Lop'fot” and his family were staying. After settling our account “Lop’fot” together with the son of a councilor which we had some couple of beers last night, accompanied us while waiting for the mini bus to arrive.
         9:18 am (March 17, 2013) Departs from Mayoyao, Ifugao
       10:13 am Stop over at Talite, Aguinaldo, Ifugao
       10:24 am Departs from Talite, Aguinaldo, Ifugao
       11:46 am Passes at Alfonso Lista (Potia), Ifugao
       12:35 pm Passes at Oscariz, Ramon, Isabela
       12:40 pm Arrives at Santiago City, Isabela (Centralized Bus Terminal)
       From the Santiago City Centralized Bus Terminal (along 4 lanes road), we decided to get the Bus bound for Dagupan city and get down at Villasis, Pangasinan (200 pesos fare) to get on to another bus  going to La Union.
       1:03 pm Departs from Santiago City, Isabela
       2:52 pm Passes by Solano, Nueva Vizcaya
       3:29 pm Passes by Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya
       4:07 pm Stop over at Mother Loly’s Fastfood and Restaurant at Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya
       4:21 pm Departs from Mother Loly’s Fastfood and Restaurant at Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya
       6:16 pm Passes by San Jose City, Nueva Ecija
       7:05 pm Passes by Umingan, Pangasinan
       7:34 pm Passes by Balungao, Pangasinan
       7:50 pm Passes by Carmen, Rosales, Pangasinan
       8:02 pm Got down at Villasis, Pangasinan
After another 3 hours ride on an air-conditioned bus, we finally arrived in my Hometown La Union and eventually at Home Sweet Home.

-end of pagnapagana-

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Location :  Municipality of Mayoyao
                 Province of Ifugao

How to get there:
A)-From Manila, Take a bus going to Santiago City, Nueva Vizcaya. In Santiago City Centralized Bus Terminal at 4 lanes, take a mini bus ride going to Mayoyao via Aguinaldo, Ifugao. Bus Schedule are around 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 3:00 pm (Schedule also depends upon the availability of Passengers. Usually they don't travel when there is only few passengers, so the next travel time is scheduled).
B)- From Manila, Take a bus going to Solano, Nueva Vizcaya. Stop at Petron Gas Station near ChowKing located at J.P. Rizal avenue corner Luna street. A Lone mini bus bound for Mayoyao via Banaue, Ifugao is parked here and departs at around 8:30 am (Depends upon the availability of passengers).
C)- From Baguio City, take KMS or Ohayami Bus Lines going to Banaue. You may directly go to Banaue and wait for the coming of the mini bus bound for Mayoyao (but chances are it maybe full of passengers) or stop at Solano, Nueva Vizcaya and take the lone 8:30 am mini bus (which is the same one you will wait and passes at Banaue at around1pm).

Going back to Santiago City from Mayoyao:
Mini Bus Schedule: (Schedules may vary from time to time depending upon availability of passengers)
Weekdays (Mondays to saturdays)
Sundays or Weekends
-8:30 am

Note : these were as of year 2013

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