To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
“Auguries of Innocence” by William Blake
When the water of the rice terrace reflects the light of dawn along the slope of the mountain, chickens started to sing, and the smell of coffee filled with sugar comes from nowhere. In the pink haze, the outlines of the waking mountains begin to appear vaguely.
Balinciagao, a small village in the northern mountainous state of Kalinga, is the home of the Kalinga tribe, formerly known for their head-hunting ritual. Most tribal customs and rituals have long been lost, and few people carve tribal tattoos. Many of Balinciagao’s residents are elderly people, women and children, who live a traditional and quiet life. Many tribal youths leave the village to work in illegal gold mines in neighboring states. Illegal gold mining involves many dangers, including the use of open-pit mining, in which the face of the mountain is boldly scraped, and the use of dynamite by unlicensed workers. However, the tribal youths choose this hard work because they have no other better options.
Some young people in the village are engaged in agriculture, but even if the one who has a large rice terrace, it does not provide sufficient income to them. They can harvest enough rice for their families and have abundant forest resources, but there is also the influence of capitalism, even though it is hard to see, and young people leave the village for the higher cash incomes they need to buy cell phones and motorcycles.
The Balinciagao is a valuable model case in modern times in that it teaches us about the process of the loss of tribal identity and traditional culture and the problems that arise as a result.
So the question is, is gold really in the dark? We have much to learn from the present in this village.