Thursday, October 26, 2017



"in line with the upcoming observance of the All Saints and Soul's day, I visited these unique tombs in the upland Barangays of the Municipality of Santol"

-my pagnapagna-
(October 25, 2017 a Wednesday)

From the Santol Municipal Hall, "Jhaymer" (the Guide in a motorbike) and I (back ride) went  cruising along the road leading to the upland barangay of Puquil.
The road was generally steep with lots of snaking turns, so sitting at the back of the motorbike was quite a challenge specially when there were lots of sudden changes in gears.
After some few minutes, we were now at our destination. He parked the motorbike at the roadside and there it was the "Gongo". Not one but two of them that can be easily seen by the roadside at the front yard of a residential house.
Since it was a tomb, I did not yet took photograph of it until we talked to the tomb's caretakers or relative of the diseased as a respect.
"Jhaymer" went looking for the residents of the house that was just beside the "Gongo". We found "manong" the resident of the house at the back who was taking a bath. We waited for him to finish.
He greeted us with a smile while "Jhaymer" told our purpose in visiting their place which was all about the "Gongo".
We found out from "manong" that those "gongo" were of his parents and that the large one was of their father's while the smaller one was of their mother's (I hope I got that right). 
I asked about why were they shaped and constructed like it was but I got vague answers. It must be that the remain of their diseased relative was in a seated position but "manong" told us that it was in a fetal position but laid down lying.

The gongo at roadside Puguil

Made generally of piled rocks and recently with use of cement as binders. It is a "tomb" for their diseased ancestors wherein it is generally shaped like a truncated cone with a flat circular base. "Gongo" is a term used by the Bago tribe (upland tribe of Santol) to denote a tomb.

One of the "gongo" was just recently made in the 1980's.
We learned from "manong" that there was another "gongo" nearby and it was of their relative.
We went to see the other "gongo" which was just some 10 minutes walk from the roadside "gongo".

another gongo

After seeing a total of three "gongo's" we thanked them and went to barangay Tubaday for another "gongo".
At Tubaday, after a short walk from their Health Center, we reached a graveyard of probably 4 graves and among them was two "gongo's". The other one had crumbled and it seemed to be not bounded with cement (or it must be just a pile of rocks for the construction of gongo) while the other stood rigidly. 

The gongo at barangay Tubaday 

After a while, we went back to the Health Center and had a snack.

There was another "gongo" in sitio Deccan but we aborted visiting it for they told me that the road leading to the place was an earth, rough-road that was hard to navigate.

Well, that's a total of four (4) "gongo's" we have seen:
Puguil (roadside) - 2
Puguil (interior) - 1
Tubaday - 1

We went back to the mountain road and cruised going down to downtown Santol and there, we parted ways.

It was great seeing those great resting places of our upland brothers. Theirs was quite unique and not the usual modern day tombs, but we have one thing in common, we do greatly care and greatly give due respect to our departed love ones.

As I write this blog, the All Saints Day and All Soul's Day was just some 5 days away. We cherish those days we had with our loved ones and remember them again traditionally these coming days.
Some of us will be going back to the provinces to pay a visit and say "I'm here ma" "I'm here pa" "Musta na brother/sister" and even "How are you bes" even thou we would be just saying it in their graves.... We all go back to Home Sweet Home. Cheers!

-end of pagnapagna-

For my travel to Magew Burial Cave: CLICK HERE


Subject: The GONGO
Barangay Puguil/Tubaday
Municipality of Santol
Province of La Union
How to get there:
From Manila, ride a bus bound for any of these North western Luzon places: Laoag City-Ilocos Norte, Vigan City- Ilocos Sur, Candon City-Ilocos Sur and Bangued-Abra but you have to get down at the town of  Balaoan (two more towns after San Fernando City) in the province of La Union.
At Balaoan, take a tricycle ride going to Santol. Their parking area is located somewhere in-between the Church and the Public Market.
At Santol town proper, look for their Tourism officer at their Municipal Hall or Santol Tourism & Investment Promotion Center, 2nd floor STIPC Building (near the Public Market) and ask for assistance (Hotline: 072-6030154).


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  1. Informative blog, btw the upland baranggay you visited is named Puguil not Puquil.
    I hope you enjoyed you're visit.
    Santol has a lot to offer, I wish you also visited most of those like the falls, rice terraces and agri-tourism tramline.

    1. Thanks ma'am Ligaoen for the correction. I'll edit it. Yes, I really enjoyed the place. I visited some.... the tramline maybe sometime. Nature nature, the culture, life in the upland is something... great people. I'll definitely be going back again.