Studying in an arts school and exploring my track in the field made me embrace culture and its importance to the people. My first trip in Sagada was in first year college, for my ANTHROPY subject. The third night, we were asked to participate in a sacred ritual of the Cordillera. Pinikpikan is a battered chicken, literally.
It’s salty and smoky. As an animal lover (yes, I love all types though I’m still working it with rats), the way it was prepared was a challenge for me. To start off, a live chicken was beaten with a stick right infront of me, slowly under the wings. The sound of the stick on the chicken’s feather made me a bit sick. They do this to prevent the blood from spilling when it’s butchered. When it’s dead, the feathers will be removed and burned before they proceed to cooking.
I cannot tell you how it tastes like. I went to Sagada and didn’t try their famous, culture-filled cuisine. Okay, hate me now.
I walked out and cried. Oh yes, too much drama. My professor got really angry. She said I disrespected a culture and if I didn’t like it, I should’ve sat still without saying a word. But believe me when I say that I never meant to be offensive. I was young and I wasn’t thinking. With this experience, my mind opened a path to a new learning most specially highlighting respecting people’s culture, wherever you may be. In just a matter of minutes, I learned how to understand, accept and respect. That was really life changing for me.
Pinikpikan is also believed to determine the fate and the courses of action of the Cordillera tribes. I think my fate is to go back and enjoy the ritual. If you are looking for the best cultural experience, Pinikpikan in Sagada will be worth it.