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The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

"Whoosh" You Were in the Philippines

I'm studying abroad in Hong Kong, but took a few days over the weekend to visit the Philippines. I'd decided to visit the World Heritage sites up in Northern Luzon, which are basically massive terraces for rice farming (beautiful, and disappearing slowly from disrepair). After a six hour bus ride, a changeover on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, and another three hour bus ride to Banaue, I'd arrived at the near edge of the terraces. To get to this particular photo point, I rode on the back of a motorcycle for an hour, and then hiked three more over some steeply mountainous terrain (made worth it by the amazing vistas I passed) to the smaller barangay - village - of Batad.

I met some locals, as well as some Ifugao elders (not photographed, because they charged on a per-picture basis, and I didn't have any bills that were small enough), and somehow ended up with the opportunity to try on some of the traditional hunting gear stored in one of the Ifugao huts - bark armor, bark-based cloth, a six foot long spear, and a machete. I learned some basic tribal dance forms, and suddenly realized that I just had to give a Whoosh! for the folks back home - so after a little explanation to everyone there, I walked away with this photo!