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Remembering a friend gone too soon. Someone from the lowlands, who made our mountains his home, and embraced the Igorot culture until the end.

We were privileged to have shared our 'growing up years' with an exceptional person. Someone whose instinct was to do good to his fellowmen. I recall, Darwin Minimo was always there to be the voice of conscience. The one who would always say "inayan" when our youthful adventurism might be driving us to do stunts that might harm others.

Most of all, Darwin, through his life, however short-lived, has shown us the paradigm that one doesn't need to be born Igorot to be an Igorot. For he was born in the lowlands.


In the late 80s, when he was about to turn 8, after the loss of their father, Darwin's mother, Gloria, decided it best to pack their bags and leave their home in Pangasinan. Still laden with sorrow, they found a welcoming home in the mountain town of Besao.

Being immersed to the Igorot culture at an early age, Darwin, always considered himself as an Igorot, ever grateful to the highland hospitality that met him along the way. He also kept to heart the ethnic dances we learned when we were children. Our folk songs, how to play the gong, that distinct accent he acquired from Barangay Payeo, and all the traits that could define a good Igorot, all remained inside of him... until his untimely demise one gloomy September day in 2018.

It was only last year, during the Covid downtime, that we eventually found the time to come up with this tribute song to honor the memory of a great person we consider as our brother, and that of his loved ones lost that fateful day.


Song title: " IN A BETTER PLACE" ---with original music, arranged & performed by Radge Eming, Dale Yongaan; Lyrics written by Bag-iw


While typhoon Ompong was raging on, a portion of the mountain adjacent to their home collapsed, taking Darwin, together with his wife Lanibeth, their two children, Kirtzen and Clyde, and the children's grandparents, Nena and Lando Baggay.

Two of his children, Glyndalyn and Daren survived the tragedy.

Since Darwin and his wife were school teachers, their passing also left countless students in mourning, left to wonder why teacher Darwin and teacher Lani would never be seen again inside the classroom.

Still a tragedy too heartbreaking to recall, even to this day, but we look back not to revisit the horror of the event, but to remember the memories of the good people that once walked this earth among us.

Mountain dweller, etag eater, and I love my dog the way a white man loves his turkey on his thanksgiving day.

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