Blessed to enter Arunachal Pradesh
Last November 2017, I have been given the chance to visit an unknown and protected place named Arunachal Pradesh. This place is located in the Northeast part of India near the Himalayan Mountains and the only way to reach is by land or train.
Arunachal Pradesh as I said earlier is a protected area. You will be needing permits in order to enter it if you’re not a tribal Northeast Indian local. In order to get one, you will have to visit another place in the Northeast which is Assam. There you would be needing to show your e-visa, your passport and an invitation from a tribal Northeast Indian local.
I must say that I was very lucky to be granted access to enter Arunachal Pradesh. If not because of a Filipino designer friend of mine, Joseph Aloysius Montelibano, I wouldn’t be able to enter. (Sending my gratitude! It’s always an honor for me to be able to be part of your team) My friend, Joseph, was invited to showcase his designs in a Northeast Indian Fashion week headed by Yana Ngoba Chakpu, a tribal Northeast Indian designer who’s going around the world promoting indigenous Indian fabrics.
(Note: I will be blogging about the fashion week in another post. This is just a brief overview of the Northeast Indian Fashionweek)
Let me just say that the tedious process of going inside Arunachal Pradesh was made easier with the help of Yana Ngoba Chakpu and her team. Without them the whole experience of visiting and showcasing in Northeast India would never be the same.
Arunachal Pradesh is my second home
It was a huge shock for me when I finally entered Arunachal Pradesh. The people residing it looked very familiar. Their physical features resembles any Asian nationality that you can name specially mine, (PROUD PINOY!) In addition, the Arunachalis (How they call their tribal people) were very hospitable. It reminded me particularly on how Filipinos welcome guests.
As I ventured more and engaged more with their people, It made me realize more how Arunachal Pradesh reminds me of the Philippines. The clothes they wear were similar to Muslim communities in the Philippines. Their designs and color choices for their tribal fabrics were also similar to ours. Dialects of some tribes resounded a bit like that of the Ilonggos and food were served with rice (Which enabled me to still enjoy meals like the Philippines)
Arunachal Pradesh is a living history
You could definitely feel the tribal ambiance in the place because of how they continue to practice each and every tradition they have. (Might be thousands or even millions due to their numerous tribes)
It fascinates me how they were able to empower their culture knowing that our world is at a very fast phase. Even though Arunachal Pradesh has its fair share of digital elements, it never damaged how the people embrace culture and tradition.
Arunachal Pradesh cares
My experience with Arunachal Pradesh was made even better with the constant care and support I had with Yana Ngoba Chakpu and her team. They made me realize how important teamwork is and how important supporting one another in a community meant.
Not only that, the whole community of Arunachalis were very caring. As I was walking around randomly venturing their streets and seeking bits of every day life moments within it, I saw plenty of really heart whelming events like kids giving hugs to kids, kids being taught to not be rude to those who are in need, elders giving a hand to other people and more.
Another thing was when we had the chance to visit a foundation called Oju Welfare Association. My heart basically melted when I entered it. I saw how they were able to change the lives on numerous Indians from kids to elder women and those living with diseases that are not acceptable in the society. It struck me how they were able to support a huge community and continue to reach out to those in need.
Arunachal Pradesh made me wanna come back soon
I’ve found new friends in my visit to Arunachal Pradesh. This made it difficult for me to accept the fact that we have to go back again to the Philippines. Even though, I’m pretty happy and still in gratitude with the opportunity I’ve had. I’m pretty sure I’ll be going back.
(Note: I’ve also made a video on why I love the Northeast. Hope you check it out below.)