Baguio’s BenCab museum


A few years ago I thought that I was done with the Philippines’ summer capital. I’ve visited it many times since childhood and although the cool weather was still a pull, Burnham Park, Session Road, Camp John Hay didn’t seem to have that spark for me anymore.  “Been there, done that,” I thought.

But what do you know, hubby and I recently went up there again and surprise surprise, we had a good time! In the middle of summer its temperature was 18C (64F),  (that’s 15C cooler than in Manila), discovered the pineapple-cinnamon bread of Swiss Baker, and visited National Artist Benedicto Cabrera’s museum.

The museum houses BenCab’s own works as well as those of other Filipino masters. It also showcases the Cordillera’s culture and tradition with its collection of granary gods, lime containers, domestic arts and crafts,  and of course, my favorite, weapons!


Long spears, a shield, and axes.

Bencab museum
Are you wondering what I’m sweetly saying to hubby?

I was explaining how to cut heads.

Yes, the Igorots, as the people of Cordillera are collectively known, were very skilled warriors and some were headhunters.

So friend, you say you’re good with weapons?

Imagine yourself living in the Cordilleras a long time ago: a tribe is warring with yours. You remember the instructions your trainer gave:

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Using your long spear, wound and pin down your opponent. Then with your shield’s curved bottom, pin down your struggling victim by the neck. Cut his head off with the flat blade of your double-sided ax then skin it using the opposing sharply curved blade.

And when you’re done, put the head in this warrior’s bag, bring it home, and display it like a trophy for all the people to see.


Gruesome, right? But awesome skills.

Well, can you imagine doing it? Can you  imagine throwing a spear with such precision that you can hit an enemy 30-feet away? Can you subdue and pin down a struggling enemy enough to cut its head off?


I can only begin to imagine the serious training it would take. Intense!

Well, anyway, I’m glad headhunting is a thing of the past. We do other things to kill enemies now…

Thank you for taking the time to read The Deadly Dance. Pugay!


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