Land is Sacred, Land is Life
I spent my chldhood in the mountains of Benguet, Philippines where the Ibaloi's and Kankaney's live. My father was one of the engineers in the Binga - Ambuklao electric power grid. I was born a techno kid but the experience in Benguet with its lush mountains, raging rivers and peaceful community of indigenous peoples made me feel closely the presence of the sacred. I learned that land was sacred at a very early age. I always walked around the village with my girl friends who are lowland and Ibaloi Filipinos. My Ibaloi friends taught me that there are spirits living in the land so when we do walk into an area that is wild and untrodden or uninhabited, we stop to ask permission to the land spirits. We ask them to protect us and keep us from harm.
When I had the experience working with the Agtas of Quezon Province, they taught me the same thing. I have always believed in the Sacred living in land, I relate it with Gaia- Earth Mother. The Diwata (Spirit Goddess in Filipino) inhabits and blesses the earth and she has many names- Pacha Mama, Mariang Makiling, Gaia. Land is Sacred for it is where we get our life. Land, earth is connected with women and women's bodies. It is important that we recognize the land in its sacredness. The destruction and rape of the land I saw in the Philippines is the same as the disrespect and rape of industry and technology to women and indigenous tribes. I believe that this happens because we have lost the knowing of the Land as Sacred, Land is Life.