Issue of June 2, 2019
     
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Benguet
Kalinga
Mt. Province
 
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‘White carabao’ returns home
by Jesse Maguiya

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – After six years of missing the “carabao” that had served as landmark of this rice-producing city, it was finally given back prominence at the intersection near St. Williams Academy, standing tall as a reminder of Tabuk and Kalinga’s rich farming industry.

“The statues are very delicate and the transfer needed utmost care,” said Engr. Jude Dakiwag of the Provincial Engineering Office, who was assigned to oversee the transfer of the statues, which for over five decades served as a reminder for travelers that they have reached Tabuk.

In 1958, the statue was erected in the middle of the intersection that leads to Barangay Dagupan in Tabuk City, Tuguegarao in Cagayan, and to the other towns in the province.

In 2013 however, the Department of Public Works and Highways transferred the statues to the side of the police station in Bulanao because they supposedly posed danger to motorists.

The statues’ removal six years ago led to a court case and in a decision rendered this year, the court ruled against the move of the DPWH.

The tedious process of moving the carabao statue and the “farmer” that stands beside it started past 7 p.m. on May 22 until dawn the next day. A crane was used to carry the statues one after the other to avoid breakage.

The statues were erected using funds raised during the Miss Kalinga popularity pageant in 1958. The carabao and the farmer statues were chosen as a representation of Kalinga’s farming glory that still holds true until now.

“When you say white carabao, everybody knows where it is. As there was no cellphone before, people would meet up at the white carabao to avoid getting lost and be able to meet each other,” said a resident.

Kalinga is identified as Cordillera’s rice granary. On three occasions, Kalinga was awarded the Gawad Saka for its rice production performance.


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