‘Ed Dumang’ (Kankanaey of ‘down below’)
Trekking down a kilometer or two away from the main village and the main road, while having to pass through a dense forest; that’s how I remember the travel to this little house “ed dumang”. Here lived my grandparents who passed away twenty years or so ago.
My fondest childhood memory of this house would be the summer holidays I got to spend with Lolo Isabelo and Lola Martina. They were and may have been the simplest couple I have ever known, but undoubtedly, the most-loving, humblest and the kindest.
They were the very first ones to regal me with stories of the second world war. Their experiences opened my eyes to the harsh reality of nations being at war where even the most far-flung, undeveloped areas such as this place they called home, were not exempted from its devastating effects.
The structure in the photograph had its heydays and that is as it is today. Weather-beaten and old.
Beyond that though, was an abode where a family of eleven children was lovingly raised and nurtured. Some have died, including my mother but others are now grandparents themselves.
Every time I go back to Balakbak, Kapangan, Benguet, I never miss visiting this house. It is a reminder of my humble beginnings. It is that which makes me appreciate my blessings today even more.
It had lacked the lustre of expensive modernities and material possessions, but surely, it was a home fraught with love and respect.
This building will disintegrate with time. I hope the memories will not.