Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Welcome to the Isinay World!

Mavves an ejaw [o mu lavi] ira^yu lom-an, pinavlen man-ange pusunar an iiva! (Good day [or night] to all of you, dear kind-hearted brothers and sisters!)

Manggayjaya on pirayawa^ podda toy ampayla mu man-oj lojom tiye suung di mundowar an panlilliro-an taun Isinay ya naka-ali ayuttu blogspot uwar. (I'm very happy and honored that even as this corner where we Isinays are revolving on is small you still bothered to visit my blog.)

Aboleyan tau mot mu dattut tun lugar si ittuan si osat-osa iritau besan. (Let's already ignore from which place each of us have come from.) Urian tau mot pisyan belengon mu Irupaj man o mu Ibambang o mu I-aritao ri aarua tau war an mambasa on manalinut tien website. (Similarly, let's no longer pay attention as to whether fellow readers and keepers of this website are from Dupax or Bambang or Aritao.)

Mavvesar beyaw appion tau ya mansindara^da tau ta wey mu satien maun-unam poran blogsite/website taun Isinay si satye suwerteyar anun taw-on an 2011 ya bimmutta. (It's better that we help one another so that this very first blogsite/website for us Isinay in this reportedly lucky year 2011 has come out.)

Nanung un ilapu an ipublish ri dee ya poran jayjaya^ an ibolejas si satien Isinay blogsite, iyam-amta^ man di satie iva yuar an Isinay blogger. (Before I start publishing the many things I want to reveal in this Isinay blogsite, allow me to introduce your brother Isinay blogger.) English tay ri gamiton tauwar toy wapay nin i-censor ditau ri mantonar si satien blogging facility mu uran dan tatmoon di pansusutsuran tauwar. (We will use English for the time being lest the owner of this blogging facility would censor us if they won't understand what we talking about.)

My name is Charles Pudiquet Castro. I am a nature-loving, admittedly quite introvert, sometimes seemingly reserved and harmless, university-educated citizen of the Philippines who speaks and writes "passable" Iluko, Isinay, Tagalog, and English, and knows a few words in Spanish, Cebuano, Bicol, and Bangla. I've been a resident of Baguio City since 1978 and have a spot near Kennon Road tthat houses my Igorota wife, my journalist daughter, a grade-school adopted daughter, a jungle of house plants, and a number of cats, dogs and chickens.

I’m a natural born Filipino with 50% Ilocano, 25% Isinay, and 25% Pangasinense in my blood. On my mother’s side, my Apong Lakay (grandfather) hiked for two weeks along with a group of farmers and a caravan of carabao-drawn carts to Nueva Vizcaya in the 1920s from Dingras, Ilocos Norte in search of land to till… and, while working as kaminero (road construction and maintenance laborer) in the Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya part of the Cagayan Valley Road, he met my Inang Baket (grandmother) who also migrated to Nueva Vizcaya along with other tobacco farmers from Tagudin, Ilocos Sur. They later settled in the formerly headhunting territory of the native forest-dwelling Ilongot/Bugkalot tribe in upstream Dupax, subsisted on bunog (goby), paltat (catfish), dalag (snakehead fish), igat (eel), agatol (freshwater crab), tukmen (river clam), agurung (lance-tip snail), bisukol (apple snail), pako (edible fern) and other river edibles; made kaingin (swidden farm) to plant biit (upland rice), diket (glutinous rice),  dippig (plantain), papaya, beans, and squash; and converted katanubongan (reedy river banks) into bangkag (rainfed farm) that they planted to tobacco, corn, sweet potato, cassava, peanuts, sugarcane, and the pinakbet vegetables (eggplant, tomato, bitter gourd, okra). It was my maternal grandparents that taught me love for life close to Mother Nature including tree-, bird-, insect-, vegetable- and fish-identification.

On my father side, I never saw my grandparents but I heard that my lolo was a migrant from Bimmaley, Pangasinan who must have traveled to Nueva Vizcaya as a salt and salted-fish trader, was attracted to the tales of tame usa (deer) and bavuy si eyas (wild pig) in the Dupax of the 1910-20s and, while working as an atsero (axe-using logger) who specialized, I guess, on felling and converting into square logs molave (Vitex parviflora) and narra (Pterocarpus indicus) trees, he met an Isinay maiden who happened to own a dozen or so nuwang (carabaos or water buffalo) and a few patches of payaw (ricefield) in the then sparsely populated Dupax. The result of their union included my father, the youngest of a brood of five, whose first assignment as a teacher was at the Palobotan Primary School in the upstream part of Dupax where he probably caught his first glimpse of an Ilocano farm maiden who would become my mother. They settled near the hills in the north-western part of town called Domang where they housed and schooled me and my seven sisters.

And so it came to pass that one of the offspring of the above confluences as well as the product of such places is your river-loving, tree-climbing, insect-eating, and formerly bird-hunting forester-writer-environmentalist who had this luck (nitivu^ in Isinay; naigasat in Iluko) to speak Isinay and Iluko and to live in two places as a boy — in my parents’ home in the Isinay part of the town and in my grandparents’ place in the Ilocano-dominated barrio east of central Dupax..

As it were, the wind beneath my wings for creating this site for Isinay speakers/advocates/friends/dreamers is the fact that the Isinay world, as well as the Isinay language and the Isinay culture itself, is now fast vanishing. 

I shall let you know more about this sad reality in future blogs but for now let me caution those who will visit this site that, indeed, some words that you will find in the future entries in this site would be Greek, alien or utterly gibberish to you. 

Rest assured, however, that there will also be a generous sprinkling of essays written in English (Filipino English, that is) to give non-Isinay speakers a closer look and/or a vicarious experience at how we Isinays breathe, drink, eat, walk, laugh, cry, make a living, make love, make war, et cetera.

Andiye itsoraar? (How do I look like?) Otoy ye, medyo mango^ngot toy pulimin talaga an Irupaj ri mambevoy si matungar an soy-ang! (Here, somewhat dark for it is in our blood as natives of Dupax to play under the sweltering heat of the sun!)

Charlz Castro with a pawikan (green sea turtle; Chelonix mydas) kept under a Tausug fisher's seaside house on Marungas Island, an hour's ride by pumpboat from Busbus, Jolo, Sulu. [Photo taken in 1983 by Abe Villasin]

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