Open grasslands as pastures, tropical rainforests, pine forests, rice terraces and rice – producing flatlands, an hour drive from Tuguegarao Airport to Tabuk City was more than enough to sooth a traveler’s senses.
With the hustle and bustle of Cagayan City behind, Kalinga welcomed us with its isolated flatlands that gave way to rolling foothills then up the rugged and sloping mountain roads we go, only to be greeted by an extensive view of golden rice fields down below. Farm tractors idly parked along the road, farmers with their carabaos either plowing or resting underneath a tree while some are well into harvesting, this indeed, is Cordillera’s Rice Bowl. These images flashed before our eyes while the car was filled with soothing Ilocano worship tunes that lulled us to sleep.
On the last weekend of May, CBN Asia journeyed up north to Cordillera Administrative Region to minister to the ministers of Probinsya ti Kalinga. Seven municipalities and a city, the province that’s made up of one hundred fifty two barangays played host to the CBN Asia team.
Pastors and their better halves gathered at the Golden Berries Hotel and Convention Center and hummed their hearts out in their mother tongue. That worship experience gave us, somehow a glimpse of what’s to come, that day when every tongue and tribe would stand before the Lamb in worship. We know now how the Kalingas would render theirs!
And because we’re ministering to ministers, brand new study Bibles were given away. Pastor Gene de Leon took it to task and called up on stage qualified individuals.
We wished Pastor Levie and Pastor JR. blessed birthdays. We cheered Pastor Jun Bulanao as he and his wife, who’s abroad, celebrate their wedding anniversary. We also got to meet Pastor Wilson of All Tribes Ministries. Meanwhile, only two qualified for the Leviticus test, Pastor Rolando from Rizal who’s ministering to the Igorots of Mountain Province and Bro. Jun. Last to be acknowledged were pastor’s kid and pastor’s grandkid; Pastor Melvin has been pastoring a congregation in Pinukpok for the past 9 years while Pastor Daniel has been in the ministry for 20 years and has been married for 22 years already.
What do we remembered most of this particular M2M?
The Kalingas are proud of their heritage. Their faith intricately weaved into their culture. This we’ve heard in their choice of music, on our drive from the airport, to the counseling training till the M2M event itself. This we’ve seen posted on trees along the road, Bible verses, salawikain (proverbs) to guide everyday living, and poems that advocate care for nature. The ride alone to the central market’s enough for one to memorize Joyce Kilmer’s Trees. This we’ve tasted on Kalinga products we’ve feasted on (Binungor and Buco Roll) and brought home (Kalinga coffee, honey, tablea). It’s uniquely Kalinga.
Kalingas are honest bunch too. This trait made M2M enlightening more than ever, the discussions vivacious. They say what they mean and they mean what they say. Even the M2M resident host, Pastor Gene had to admit that this batch caught him off guard, a couple of times. Needless to say, these ministers speak their minds and hearts out, thus saying “I love you” to their better halves is but second nature to them.
In Essentials for Keeping Your Marriage Ablaze, our spirit’s design to need love was underlined. Women loved to be pursued and men are to be respected. When these are meet, the marriage is secure, able to grow and thrive. Kalingas knew this by heart. The M2M experience only made it profound.