Ben Solang’s many river crossings

Ben Solang

Tribute to a comrade and friend

Good afternoon, comrades, friends, and the many relatives gathered here today. I am Jun Verzola, a peripheral and sometimes-prodigal son of the Cordillera region. I have known Ben Solang for more than 30 years, and closely worked with him for about half that time. My wife Mel, who worked more closely with Ben during her stint with RDC-Kaduami, also asked that I speak for the both of us. Continue reading “Ben Solang’s many river crossings”

Nimble memories of Padi Solang

Describing Padi Solang could sound somewhat like the song that describes Maria von Trapp in the famous 1960s musical hit, The Sound of Music: “a flibbertigibbet, a will o’the wisp, a clown… how do you catch a cloud and pin it down?”

There are a few other parallels between Padi and Maria: their religious background, and their love of the hills “alive with the sound of music,” for example. But these points are mostly superficial.  In more substantial matters, Padi Solang is sui generis and sans rival, full of elan and eclat and panache and all other superlative Latin and French terms I could think of.

Padi Solang
Rev. Eduardo Solang, Cordillera elder and fighter for indigenous peoples rights. Photo courtesy of Cordillera Peoples Alliance

Continue reading “Nimble memories of Padi Solang”

Indigenous spirits revisited

Consider the choice: either spend a weekend in glitzy Las Vegas, or a full week in an Indian village in upstate New York with only minimal amenities. Which one to choose?

A typical Native American sweat lodge. Photo courtesy of Abram’s Creek Lodge (

If you choose Las Vegas, here’s ten bucks, good luck with the slot machines. If you choose upstate New York, this column is for you.

I was with the Cordillera People’s Alliance when we were invited by American indigenous activists to attend the Land Is Life founding conference. It was decided that I go to represent the CPA . The conference, to be attended by IP representatives and rights advocates from the various continents, was to be held in Fonda in upstate New York. Continue reading “Indigenous spirits revisited”