100-word Stories / June 2015 (Issue 28)


text and photography by Patricia Lim

"Nowadays, the kids aren't allowed to have piercings," she murmurs.

Dinoy is the guardian of the T'boli museum. She sits by the window of the tiny nipa hut, strumming the strings of a tribal instrument called the hegelung, a wall of faded photographs as her backdrop. I remark upon her earrings—at the brass piercings (Kawat, she says) and the dangling strands of links and beads (Nomong). It is an old cultural practice; she's had them ever since she was a baby.

I ask why the young ones don't wear them anymore. She says simply: "It is forbidden in school."
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