Clouds breath heavy and thick in blue warm skies. The Sabong rainforest sprawls over gently sloping mountains and deep emerald lush valleys where channels of sweet cold ravine waters meet. Hours of hiking bring us to a small dilapidated nipa hut on top of a mountain. Coconut shells hang on the hut’s rafters, banging lightly against each other with the cool mountain breeze. The house is scrupulously clean though the ground is made of soil, kitchen cloaked with soot and smoke and beds but worn-out linens within colorful mosquito nets.
The Mother of the Mountain holds her three-year old child to her breast. The child suckles and gazes at me with wild curious eyes through sandy tousled locks. Her sister dances around the hut and stops to shyly smile at me. I give her my aqua-blue bracelet and she wears it.
This place is peaceful, like the old Filipino folk song that the mother hums to calm her children as we leave.