[Post by Leonard Forsman, Suquamish, WA]
On January 22, we left on a van ride from Puerto Princesa to Sibaltan. The first stop was at the town of TayTay, home to a great restaurant and a 17th century Spanish Fort St. Isabel. The fort is run by a graduate of Palawan State University who is working to expand a small museum in the scenic fort. After leaving TayTay, we stopped briefly in El Nido before heading over the mountain to Sibaltan, our home for three days. After a total of 8 hours on some pretty rough road, we arrived to a traditional welcome dance and meal presented by the townspeople and their beautiful young people. Coconut juice and fried bananas were just a few of the treats.
On this first day, I could see that the people of Sibaltan prize their young people and their extended families. Spanish cultural influences are subtly noticeable, but a strong connection to their Cuyonon ancestors is evident. It was refreshing to see a community so unified and relatively isolated from intense forces of acculturation faced by many aboriginal cultures, including my own people, the Suquamish Tribe.