Balangao or Bust: a Story of Coming Home

Whenever I tell people that I come from a tribe in the Northern Mountains of the Philippines, they’d look at me and laugh like I just told them the biggest joke of the day.

It never bothered me because I know I can easily have them beheaded by one of my headhunter uncles. Haha. You know I’m joking. Or am I? One reason why you should always be kind to me 😛

Balangao rice terraces

I have a little secret (only a few people know), I have an American brother – twin brothers to be exact.

Kuya Jordan and Kuya Benjie grew up with us in the jungles of Balangao. I do not have vivid memories of them, but I remember the loud laughter of them playing and the glare of blonde heads running around me.Balangao or Bust

Here’s an excerpt of Kuya Jordan’s story…

“Balangao is the remote village in the mountains of the Philippines where I grew up as a missionary kid.  Nearly all of my earliest memories are from the jungle up until I was age 11 and we returned to the US.  I have been in North America for the last 24 years.  Day by day, hour by hour, I cannot help but to see how Balangao has shaped my view on the world.

Balangao or Bust became my own personal mantra after one of my oldest friends from that village invited us for a return trip.  It’s long overdue.  If there is just one thing on my bucket list, it would be to return.

To me, Balangao is more than a place and a people.  To me, Balangao represents the immutable possibility of a very different world.

I carry within me the deeply ingrained memories of another world, far from the city, deep in the mountains.

Far from the proposed standards of wealth by material gain, I saw people that you might say, didn’t have much.  And yet I think in many ways they were very wealthy because they had some of the immortal truths in much closer reach than many of us in the city.   There I enjoyed a deeper sense of community and sharing laughter was a craft.  I breathed the clean mountain air and had nature’s wonders at my doorstep…”

Welcome to an exciting adventure. Be part of a heartwarming story about a third culture kid’s quest to find his tribes.


To be continued…


4 thoughts on “Balangao or Bust: a Story of Coming Home

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