Saturday, August 31, 2013

Isinays in Hong Kong (Part 2)

IN A PREVIOUS post, I wrote about the formation of a group of Isinays in Hong Kong that call themselves ISINAY TRIBE - HONGKONG.

Last July 28, the prevalently ladies group celebrated its First Anniversary. Its President, Rose Sierra, asked me to write a message for the occasion, and I came out with the following note that I sent via Facebook:

CONGRATULATIONS IRA^YU LOM-AN AN ISINAY SINA HONG KONG, IIVA! 
SAYANG, MU SIRIYE LAN 1986-87, 1991-93, ON 1997-98 OTYA, YA MARAWUM DOMO^ TAY UMALIN MI-UHLUNG, MI-AN, MI-INUM, MITAHTAHE, MIKANTA, MISING-AW, ON MITATAWA IRA^YU. 
O A TOY SI DARAREN TAW-ON YA OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKER PISYA TIYE UWA YUWAR... OT DOTDOT AN MANSERU WA^ SINA HONGKONG. 
AMPAYLAMU ATDI... ON AMPAYLAMU MARI TAU TAY NAN-IILA ON NAN-AABRASA SI PERSONAL, PANGGI^NAAR YA AMUNGLAN DAMDAMA MOT AN MAN-AAMIGOS TAU. 
MAMPAGAYHAYA AMPAY AN DIYOY SI ATTUN ORGANISASION YUN ISINAY.
 SEGUN SI PANRIS-RESEARCH UWAR, YOUR ORGANIZATION IS A HISTORY-MAKING EVENT AS THIS IS THE FIRST TIME EVER THAT THERE IS A FORMALLY ORGANIZED GROUP OF ISINAYS -- NOT ONLY OUTSIDE ARITAO, BAMBANG, AND DUPAX, BUT ALSO OUTSIDE THE PHILIPPINES -- THAT IS PROCLAIMING TO THE WORLD THAT THERE ARE BEAUTIFUL AND GOOD-MANNERED PEOPLE CALLED ISINAYS AND WHO SPEAK A LANGUAGE CALLED ISINAY! 
MAVILAY AYU LOM-AN!!!
In-ator daratyen miembros si Isinay Tribe - HK ri mamisar an pantumimi^ da siren Hulio 28 an panselebrar dat Maun-unan Aniversaryo ra an uhlung si Isinay siri Hong Kong. Areeyan an miembros ya I-Bambang on Irupaj.
Pushed by the smooth flow of words above, I fired this follow-up note:
Eh, iiva an maseserot on guapo an dioy sina Hongkong, iganap yu man tay daratye: 
1) I HAVE HIGH HOPES AND CONTINUE TO LOOK UP TO THE ISINAY TRIBE OF HONGKONG AS MODEL ORGANIZATION FOR OTHER ISINAYS IN OTHER LANDS (SUCH AS SINGAPORE, EUROPE, MIDDLE-EAST, NORTH AMERICA) FAR FROM ISINAY COUNTRY. 
2) PASOREYON, PASNEYON, PAATUNGON, ON PAABBIRANGON YU TAY OTYA RI PAN-ARU, PANGISA^SAIT, ON PAN-INDARA^DA YUWAR SI OSAT-OSA SINA HONGKONG... TAMON YU MOT DI UGALE YAR AN MASE^SELAT TOY SANAT MAMERDIT BONA^ TAUWAR AN ISINAY. 
3) OSA LOHOM RI ORAWO AR IRA^YU, IIVA: MU UMULI AYU MOT SI BEVEYOY TAUWAR ARITAO-BAMBANG-DUPAJ, IVIYANG ON PAREEYON YU OTYA RI INADAL YUWAR SINA OVERSEAS AN MAVVES AN SKILLS/EXPERIENCES/VALUES/KNOWLEDGE -- TA WEYMU UMASENSO ON SUMEROT TAY RI VILAY TAUWAR SIRI BEVEYOY TAUWAR AN ISINAY!
In turn, Rose (who also founded the Isinay Global Association group in Facebook) in turn posted this message in her FB page:
Pinavle an iiva, misalamataj si innuyuar an nansakripisyo si saten ugmu^ tau... Simple get-together beyaw ot mangi-ator si gayjaya si pusu tauar...  Ditau Uweri! Neyapuan tau ot isompal tau payla! Apu tauar Diyos si manuvvet ira^yu!!! Mavilay taun Bona si Isinay situ Hongkong!!!!
According to Rose, the gathering to mark their anniversary was held at Causeway Bay. The guest speaker was Madam Josie Pingkihan, the president of the Cordillera Alliance.
For the latter, I sent one last note to Rose:
ADING ROSE, IT MAY BE OF INTEREST TO YOUR SPEAKER FROM THE CENTRAL CORDILLERA, THAT THE ISINAY LANGUAGE (OF THE SOUTHEASTERN CORDILLERA) HAS A LOT OF SIMILARITIES TO THE KANKANAEY, IBALOY, BONTOK, AND IFUGAO LANGUAGES. 
I DISCOVERED THIS THROUGH MY READING THEIR DICTIONARIES (AND BY LISTENING TO MY WIFE TALK WITH HER EASTERN BONTOC RELATIVES, AND ONE OF MY BAYAWS TALK IN MAYOYAO IFUGAO). 
IT IS ONLY SAD THAT WHILE THESE CENTRAL CORDILLERA LANGUAGES ARE VERY SAFE BECAUSE THE POPULATIONS OF THEIR SPEAKERS ARE STILL IN THE 50,000 TO 100,000 RANGE, THE ISINAY LANGUAGE TODAY IS IN DANGER OF GOING EXTINCT -- UNLESS BOLD MEASURES TO SAVE IT IS DONE NOW! -- AS IT IS SPOKEN BY ONLY AROUND 5,000 PEOPLE (MANY OF THEM IN THEIR SENIOR YEARS IN SOUTHERN NUEVA VIZCAYA). 
IT IS GREAT THAT ISINAYS LIKE YOU WHO ARE FAR FROM HOME ARE DOING THEIR BEST TO KEEP OUR NATIVE TONGUE AND CULTURE ALIVE AND FIGHTING! CONGRATULATIONS FOR STARING THE BALL ROLLING, ADING!
Rose Sierra's reply:
Salamat Uwa Charles si darasen information an inviyang Mu.. boon lojom an para bisitas miyar beyaw ot lalo mot la ira^mi ...makunkuna nga isinay ...salamat podda!
 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 1 Hailstorm in Isinay Country

IN THE EVENING of June 2, I received a text message from Dupax that went this way:  

"Kmsta nan uran si cristal ohavan ya ajon an lahay itong ya nan DEYYU means crystal". (How are you it rained crystals yesterday and old man Itong said DEYYU means crystal).

The text came from Boni Calacala, my Isinay-word-hunting buddy in Dupax who often accompanies me in my day-long excursions in my farm in Sinagat and other still sparsely populated upstream parts of town.

I had an inkling that the Itong that Boni mentioned was Uwa Itong Campo. Now in his seventies, the guy once served a prison term in his twenties (perhaps the first Isinay to be in Muntinlupa) allegedly for shooting a hunting companion whom he mistook for a laman (deer).

Just to make sure, I texted Boni back with this: "Siran diyen itong? Salamat. Besan u lohom dingnge nen NANDEYU. Situ ya nandiyumarim lohom." (Who is that Itong? Thanks. It's only now that I hear such NANDEYU. Up here we had showers only.)

Indeed, it was my first time to hear that deyyu is the Isinay term for the ice crystals that fall once in a blue moon especially when it hadn't rained for a long time.

I have to check again next time I go to Dupax. But all along I thought the Isinay for hail was uraru, a word that my pure-Ilocano mother (who learned Isinay by osmosis) would utter each time our sim  (galvanized-iron) roof would go "takatak-takitik" with the distinct sound of solid particles falling.

When I mentioned the hailstorm news to my daughter Leia, she said that her cousin Ayla did indeed post a photo of hail in Facebook.

The way the crystals looked in the photo, they were bigger than the ones that I used to see as a kid. Back then, households had no refrigerators yet as there was yet no electricity in Dupax. Thus, the occurrence of hailstorms was big news as the ice bits they brought were the only cold things we Isinay kids got to touch outside the shaved ice of the halo-halo during fiestas or the "scramble" of Ama Kusep Dumaing.

Back then also, there was a belief among both Isinay and Ilocano folks in my town that the ice crystals turned into arrabas (worms that devoured farm crops, particularly riceplants and leafy vegetables). It was a belief that probably originated from the observation that such pest worms came out after a hailstorm.

Well, I can't help but laugh at that bit of folkloric almanac now. But it was indeed a belief that prevailed alongside another funny item that I also used to hear when I was little: adult tilapias turned into rats!

Dupax Isinay Words Associated with Baby Care



FUNNY HOW I am able to resurface Isinay words and remember certain customs even if I’m far from Isinay land and even if what I’m doing is not exactly word hunting. 

A case in point are the following words many of which you no longer hear spoken in the increasingly Tagalized homes in Dupax del Sur, and which came to mind while I was dancing and humming with my grandchild Amihan in my arms one morning:
  • Mangahayamagaw-awir in Ilokano, baby sit in English. 
  • Mangabanagubba in Ilokano, kargahin o kalungin in Tagalog, carry in one’s arms in English. 
  • Manlallayagdayyeng in Ilokano, hum in English. 
  • Baliwawayduayya in Ilokano, uyayi in Tagalog, lullaby in English. 
  • Man-alinsaruagsaiddek in Ilokano, sinisinok in Tagalog, having hiccoughs in English. 
  • Pasusuwonpasusuen in Ilokano, magpadede in Tagalog, breastfeed in English. 
  • Beberonbote in Ilokano, tsupon in Tagalog, feeding bottle in English. 
  • Mamador – mamador­ in Ilokano and Tagalog, pacifier in English. 
  • Gamitlampin in Ilokano and Tagalog, baby blanket in English. 
  • Bonetebuniti in Ilokano, bonete in Tagalog, bonnet in English. in Ilokano, in Tagalog, in English.
  • Ipasoy-ang ipainit in Ilokano, paarawan in Tagalog, sun in English. 
  • I-ayuriyindayon in Ilokano, iduyan in Tagalog, swing in a hammock in English.
  • Teyorsegget in Ilokano, am in Tagalog, boiled-rice soup in English. 
I also remembered paraphernalia used for infants in Dupax, some of which I may have used myself: 
  1. Ayur – indayon or dagidagi in Ilokano, duyan in Tagalog, craddle in English. This came in three forms – boat-shaped (basically an elongated basket commonly woven out of split bamboo), blanket (tied on both ends, hung between two posts or such strong support, and equipped with a two-feet-long bamboo stick placed on the middle of the blanket to widen the space of the baby and prevent him/her from suffocating), and the open hammock (commonly made of rattan and sturdy enough to be used by the mother with the baby in her arms).
  2. Laawegalunggalong in Ilokano. No English nor Tagalog equivalent. This is basically a kiddie chair that allows the infant to be propped with a pillow on his back and his legs dangling while he is able to watch his mother or baby sitter and in turn and be watched by the latter while she is doing the laundry or other household chores. The chair is fastened to a long rattan leader the other end of which has a hook to enable the whole thing to be hang on a tree branch when used outdoors.
  3. Andador andador in Ilokano and Tagalog, baby-walker in English. My baby sisters and other kids in Dupax used to have a conical shaped thing made of rattan poles where the kid learning to walk is placed then summoned by the mother with outstretched arms to come near. In my case, I remember my grandfather made me a bamboo contraption complete with wheels that I pushed and pushed in the bare yards of my grandparents' house in I-iyo (now Palabotan) when I was little.
Related to this,  the following are some customs observed not only by Isinays but also Ilocanos, Tagalogs and Igorots as regards attending to infants:
  1. putting a tiny bit of cloth or paper on the forehead of the baby to stop his/her hiccup (alinsaru in Isinay, saiddek in Ilocano, sinok in Tagalog)
  2. chewing solid food and putting it on the mouth of the infant; the process is called igeheyan in Isinay ingalngalan in Ilokano, inguyaan in Tagalog. The practice is reminiscent of how birds feed worm or grasshoppers to their young ones –called mangirolot in Isinay (agiduol in Ilocano, mouth-to-mouth or rather beak-to-beak feading in English). Hindsight makes me suspect that this yukky practice of adults feeding babies and kids with pre-chewed food must have caused many an infant to inherit TB and other such ailments then.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What We Isinays Did With Election Flyers and Posters

We made kites, boats and airplanes out of candidates' flyers...
panties and carabao-saddles out of "vote for" banners

THE MID-TERM ELECTIONS we just had in the Philippines brought back memories of that time not so long ago when candidates did not yet rely too much on TV advertisements, the endorsement of celebrities, and, yes, vote-buying to win the posts they were aspiring for.

Back then, we the sovereign people of Dupax (and I guess even those in Aritao and Bambang and the rest of Nueva Vizcaya) welcomed election season (pambovotos in Isinay, panagbobotos in Ilocano) for reasons beyond their providing entertaining speeches and easy-to-sing campaign jingles, and a chance for eligible voters to vent their frustration and to get even with over-promising incumbent officials who failed to walk the talk they made in previous elections of giving additional school buildings and better roads and bridges.

I'm only realizing it now but, indeed, when I was young, one extra-curricular reason that made us kids of Aritao, Bambang, and Dupax happy each time elections come was the bonanza of paper and other such campaign materials that the candidates brought to our then somewhat paper-scarce localities.

To illustrate how we valued such items so much, I remember that a small eroplano hovered over our part of Dupax one afternoon and rained hundreds of leaflets that soon sent us mesmerized kids running after them and catching them even before they fell on the ground. I recall our neighbor Nana Ebeng stopped raking fallen starapple leaves and tried to collect the confetti with her rake. I think I also joined other kids to go as far as Pitang just to pick up those that dropped as far as where the Dupax National High School is now.

Yes, unlike today when many towns and cities consider as a big post-election problem the removal and disposal of the campaign karatulas (posters) and polyetos (leaflets) scattered any which way by the kandidatos, back then such campaign materials easily found multiple-uses even before the elections were over.

I'm not sure if Isinay kids today still know how to do them, but the following are just examples of  what we did with the flyers, leaflets, pamphlets, and sample ballots that we were able to grab each time a jeep with a blaring sound system goes around town and its occupants throw them pieces of paper the way we throw corn or rice to feed our chickens:

Apart from the easy-to-make paper cap that can be converted into cup, we rolled or folded some of our collections into cone-like containers that we call balisongsong in Isinay. Both these containers came in handy when we queued in school for our share of "Powdered Milk Donated by the People of the United States of America." They were useful, too, for peanut vendors during miting de avance in the plaza in Dupaj or in the public market in Domang.

The extra supply of paper allowed us to try our hands at doing origami, the Japanese art of folding paper into toys or decorative pieces. My personal favorites along this line were paper airplanes, paper boats, and the flapping bird (see photo below). My father was an expert in making the paper bird, but I recall it was from my mother where I learned to make one.

For the airplanes, we would experiment on making certain folds on their wings to stabilize their flight or to make them stay on the air longer. Additionally, we would tear tiny bits of paper, put them on the fold of the plane, then launch the loaded plane into the air to simulate the real airplane that dropped the flyers.

When the paper material is tough enough, some flyers would be made into stand-alone kites like the one below. We just attach a thread onto it, making sure that the Y-shaped format of the lead string is balanced or its forks are equidistant, and presto, we have a toy that would not hurt our feelings so much in case it gets tangled (misaot in Isinay, maisalat in  Ilocano) among the starapple and kapok trees that used to abound on our side of Dupax.
Since the flyers and pamphlets that used to be disseminated in Dupax were too small for the real kites, the ones that look like sting-ray (and using carefully polished -- inawwasan in Isinay, kinayasan in Ilocano -- bamboo sticks), the more kite-savvy among us kids would cut the flyers/pamphlets into appropriately narrow strips and paste them end-to-end to use as tail (iput in Isinay, ipus in Ilocano) of our kites. And, as in the stand-alone kite above, we would not get too angry in case such kite tails would be caught by smaller kids or chewed by excited dogs as it would be easy to make a replacement.

And what did we do with the extra materials, or when we got tired of playing with our planes, boats, birds, and kites?

We could always use them as kindling material (panungutung in Isinay, pagaron in Ilocano, pandingas in Tagalog) when it is time to light the earthen stove (dali-an in Isinay, dalikan in Ilocano), or when we need to burn the starapple leaves that our mother or sisters raked into a pile.

If not, they would come in handy as toilet paper (pan-ilu in Isinay, pagilo in Ilocano, pang-iwang in Tagalog) -- with the faces of the candidates still smiling on your behind!

OH YES, AS for the banners and posters, they were coveted campaign materials when I was little. In fact, regardless of the political party of the candidates they were calling attention to, we took pride having them nailed on the then still wooden front wall of our house in Domang.

They use nonbiodegradable tarpaulin nowadays for political posters; time was when the material was cotton cloth which could be recycled into a lot of uses, including carabao-saddle, dog/cat bedding, and kiddie panties.

They use tarpaulin nowadays for banners and posters. But back then it was white cotton cloth that after the election fever has died down became handy as doormats, cat or dog blankets, carabao saddles, and (you can ask my sisters about this) underwear for kids with, for instance, their "Vote Marcos / Lopez" red and blue markings still on them!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Beating the Heat in an Isinay River

THE SUMMER season this year would probably go on record as one of the hottest (if not the hottest) that the Philippines has ever experienced.

In Dupax alone, the atung (heat) was such that immes-es podda danumar wangwang (the water in the river greatly receded), exposing the algae-covered stones and the pink golden-snail eggs clinging to them to the searing sun. Yes, it was like low tide. In this hundreds-of-kilometers-away-from-the-sea river, however, you get the feeling that a sigante (giant) who lived upstream drank all the water for himself.

While the temperature might have paled in comparison with the 37 degrees Celsius reported in Tuguegarao and Subic yesterday, it was nevertheless suicidal for people like me who have alta presyon (high blood pressure) to go outdoors during the hours between namalintur (high noon) and late mauhav (afternoon).

But, ah, there was one day last April when I was in Dupax that I dared to invite heat stroke.

Yes, I went outdoors. Yes, it was when the sun was directly overhead. And yes, I didn't even have a balanggut (wide-brimmed hat) to protect me.

Not only that. My exposure to solar radiation, as it were, took not merely minutes but a full hour or so.

Of course, of course, that's only a small part of the story.

What really happened -- and which would have probably earned me a grade of 99% were I still in Grade 3 and the maestra asked us pupils to write a composition on the theme "What I Did During Vacation" -- was this:

The outdoors I went to was a river and what I did was to soak myself in its clear, cool, and so refreshing water -- such that, you got it, even if the sun shot its rays full force and caused the temperature to rise up to near boiling point, I had no need for sombrero at all and was thousand kilometers away from heat stroke.

I would have put a final period on that kilometric-sentence paragraph.

However, I have many more things to tell.

For instance, the river that helped me beat the summer heat was one that, curiously, might be called many names -- all of them Isinay -- depending on which of the places it is associated to you would prefer. These are Carolotan, Meyumnin, and Sinagat.

Worth telling, too, for the sake of my grandchild Amihan and, I hope, for the many more that would come now that she has opened heaven's gate for us her long-expecting-for-grandchildren grandparents, are the things that I did while in the river.






Thursday, May 9, 2013

Isinay Folk Beliefs Related to Babies

WHILE LETTING the baby in the house have her early morning sunshine at our veranda the other day, dozens of images, sounds, and scents of long ago -- mostly folk beliefs in Isinay country related to newly born members of the human race -- danced in my mind.

Cowlicks
Foremost of those beliefs (which in fact made me inspect the head of the infant in my arms) was this matter of the cowlick (e^eyang in Isinay, alipuspos in Ilocano, puyo in Tagalog).

Babies with two or double e^eyang are believed to become either or both of the following characters when they mature: first, masulit iyunar (hardheaded) or timbo^ (don't listen to advice of elders), and second, duwa asawanar (have two husbands/wives).
 
Babies with an extra cowlick on the forehead are believed to become good in school as they are brainy or intelligent persons.

Babies whose single cowlicks are right at the tu^tu^ (center of the top of their heads) are said to become well-behaved people when they grow up. If a boy, the infant may someday mampari (become a priest).

And babies whose cowlick is positioned towards the side of the head are said to become either good or bad persons. If on the right, he will be man-angem podda (very good-mannered); if on the left, he will give his parents headache as he will be torpe (ill-mannered).

Birthmarks
The presence of birthmark, particularly mole (unaw in Isinay, siding in Ilocano, nunal in Tagalog), on a baby's face is believed to be either positive or negative depending on the location of such marks.

If located on the lips, the baby with such mole would become matalavet (articulate, good talker, talkative, tsismosa) when he/she grows up.

If on the forehead, the baby will become an intellectual and will get high grades in school.

If found on that depression beside the nose and below the eye where it would be touched by tears, the baby will be prone to becoming mabeyu (widowed) when he/she gets married.

If on the earlobes, the baby will become a good listener.

If the mole is on the eye (eyelids, eyelash, etc.), the baby will be able to see banih (ghost) or other supernatural beings that other people normally don't see.

Cleft Lip
If a baby is born with cleft lip (cheiloschisis) or cleft palate (palatoschisis), it is believed that the mother met an accident or did something wrong when she was conceiving (mansisipe in Isinay, agnginaw in Ilocano, naglilihi in Tagalog).

It might have been that the mother stumbled (nirumo^ in Isinay, naitublak in Ilocano, nadapa in Tagalog), or she might have urinated in the dark outdoors without giving a warning (such as tabi-tabi in Isinay, bari-bari in Ilocano, tabi-tabi in Tagalog) or asking permission from the unseen spirits.

It is also believed that the mother might have taken pleasure at despising or mocking others (maal-ali in Isinay, nauyaw in Ilocano, mapanghamak in Tagalog) when she was conceiving. Which means that such cleft lip/palate (navungis in Isinay, bungis in Ilocano) or other physical deformities of the baby are indications of karma.

Line on the Forearms
Particularly in the case of baby girls, one who has a line on the inner forearm should be careful or her parents or guardians should watch out.

It is believed that when the baby girl grows, she would be prone to becoming an unwed mother (namesang in Isinay, naganak a balasang in Ilocano, nabuntis na di kasal in Tagalog).

Dirty Scalp
A few babies, particularly those delivered by normal birth, sometimes have these brown particles (kulapot in Ilocano) clinging to their hair or scalp. It's nothing serious as the flaky material will soon vanish once the baby is repeatedly bathed.

However, the parents of an infant who has this ugly looking dirt in his scalp should prepare themselves for some teasing by friends who are in the know. The belief is that the baby's scalp dirt is a tell-tale sign of what we call in Isinay in-eya tay de^dee nar (in Ilocano inyala pay dagiti nagannak na).

Which means the parents made love a day or even a few hours immediately before their baby came out! 



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dupax Customs of Delivering Babies

THANK AMIHAN, my first grandchild, for this piece. Long before she came -- oh well, like much-needed and long-awaited rain on a very hot summer day -- to reset, recharge, rearrange, rejuvenate, and revitalize our home, tribe and life I was already getting corny with this joke "Si Amihan nagdadala ng ulan."

Last night, when I heard the baby cry in the other room, many thoughts (other than what things to teach her when she could already talk, sing and walk) raced in my mind. One image stood out: Baby Amihan's great grandmother (my mother) and how it was when she gave birth to me.

Mrs. Magdalena Pudiquet Castro and Baby Amihan 
(April 27, 2013 photo by Charlz Castro)
I think I already wrote that I was born about a hundred meters behind the Municipal Hall of Dupax del Sur.

Yes, that's near the heart of Dupax Isinay land. That is, if we believe the sutsur about the town hall being the same site where the Spanish missionaries found Isinay hunters lying flat (due to feasting too much on deer meat), asked what the name of the place was, and the deer hunters (thinking the visitors wanted to know what they were doing) answered mandopdopah

I have not yet written, however, who helped my mother give birth that fateful night of August 9, 1951 (when she was still 18), and what the circumstances were then.

According to my mother (see photo of her craddling her apun si puwoh or great grandchild Amihan), the lady who delivered me was Dora^ Salgado, an Isinay married to a colored American surnamed Scott.

Apu Dora^ is long gone now but Mama says she is the daughter of another famous Isinay midwife -- Apu Carmen Salgado. She used to live behind the Iglesia ni Cristo church one block away from our house in Domang and I remember she was always the manguy-uy (local midwife) in our part of town, the way my own grandmother Feliza Lacandazo Pudiquet was the always-on-call partera or mangngilot in the Ilocano barrio of Palobotan upstream of town.

Inang (that was how I called my maternal grandmother) used to have a sepia photo of senior women, with gray-haired Apu Carmen Salgado in the middle and Inang and Apu Dora^ in the front row, along with aluminum boxes containing kidney-shaped pans and other paraphernalia for delivering babies. I guess it was taken when they had a government-sponsored training as para-midwives.

I asked Mama once how come it was Apu Dora^ and not Inang who delivered me. She said Inang was not yet well versed in delivering babies that time. In fact, she said, it was only when she was pregnant with Merlie (my third sister who passed away when she was in First Year at St. Mary's High School) that she started delivering babies.

There were no doctors in Dupax yet when I was born and even if there was already a hospital near St. Catherine's School in Bambang, it was not yet fashionable at the time -- plus there were no easily available jeepneys then -- to bring expectant mothers to the hospital. That was why I was born in my grandparents' former house in Dupaj (where there were Apu Carmen and Apu Dora^ nearby), not in my parents' house in Domang (where my mother was often home alone as my father was teaching then at St. Catherine's).

Last week, when Mama journeyed to Baguio (along with my sisters Arlyne and Abeth, and my nurse nephew Harold) to see and welcome Amihan to the family, we reviewed again how I was born. She said both Arlyne and I were delivered by Apu Dora^ while Merlie, Tessie, Judith, Baybee, Abeth, and Nenet were by or with the assistance of Inang.

Mama also mentioned something I heard when I was small but have already forgotten: As a newly born baby I was placed on top of a winnowing basket (called lihawu in Isinay, bigao in Ilocano, bilao in Tagalog, nigo in Bisaya) with Apong Pedro's shirt.

I don't know if it was Apu Dora^ or Inang  who initiated the event. I have yet to check out also if such practice is purely Isinay or purely Ilocano. But Mama says the placing of new-born infants on top of a lihawu was meant to make the child immune to shaking, jolts, and sudden surprises as a grown up.

How about Apong's sweat-flavored shirt? Mama said that it was the reason why I was always attached to my grandfather.

I forgot to check with my mother again who disposed off my placenta (kadkadua In Ilocano, bahay-bata in Tagalog) and where. I faintly recall though that she once said it was Apong Pedro who brought the bloody matter to the river. Which river, which part of the river, and what method of disposal were, however, facts  known only to my now long-gone grandfather.

Hindsight tells me now that my apong must have chosen the river for my kadkadua because he wanted me to share his love for the river.

I did not ask anymore what boiled water was used for my first bath. Was it danum an sinahov (water fetched) from Abannatan which, from my estimate now, was about two-hundred meters away from where I was born? Or was it water pumped out of the gripo (also called bomba, water pump) of the pump-equipped Salgado, Sagario, Guzman, Boada, or other Isinay houses nearby?

Since my mother was silent about my first bath, I presume it was not like the nagangeran iti saka ti ugsa (water used to boil deer legs) said to have been used on Simo Guillermo, whose polio-crippled uncle, Ama Ubing, was said to have also been one of my baby sitters when I was a toddler in Dupaj.

The parents of Simo were Ilocanos but I guess the use of deer-flavored water to bathe new-born babies might as well be an Isinay custom. The belief attendant to this was that the baby would become a good runner, just like flight-footed deer are often able to outrun hunting dogs pursuing them in the wilderness.

And how about the mothers who just gave birth (beyun nan-ana^ in Isinay)? How did they induce and/or increades the flow of milk from their breasts?

I recalled to Mama how she always had dinner of roasted chicken breast mixed with plenty of marunggay leaves after giving birth to my seven sisters. I also remembered how each time I had a new baby sister I would hike to Iiyo so I could join my grandmother in gathering lots of river clams (asisip in Isinay, tukmem or bennek in Ilocano, tulya in Tagalog) from the banawang (irrigation ditch) using karadikad (a loosely-woven winnow) especially used to filter out the finger-nail-sized clams from the river sand.

In Dupax, certain food were also off limits then to newly delivered mothers, be they Ilocano or Isinay. Gabi is one (particularly the quite itchy wild variety); another is inasin (bagoong alamang in Tagalog). Abstaining from such local delicacies was believed to prevent allergies on both the mother and her baby.

As for medication, I remember each time Inang has delivered a baby in I-iyo, among her services was to prepare a panig-an (concoction for recuperating mothers). It was said to speed up the recovery of the mother, so that she can help in her husband's farm work again. The medication is simply a bottle of Siok Tong (a Chinese brew that used to be a favorite among Ilocano as well as Isinay drunkards when I was little) mixed with chopped roots of a certain woody shrub that Inang and I went to dig out from the carabao-grazing hills above what is now Barangay Palobotan.

On top of all this, there was always the bottle of multi-purpose coconut oil (laro in Isinay, lana in Ilocano, langis-niyog in Tagalog) which I observed Inang to massage the tummy of an expectant mother as well as during her delivery and also during her days of recuperation.

THOSE WERE the days indeed when only the likes of unsung heroes Apu Dora^ and my Inang Feliza were there to run to when a woman gives birth.

Now, don't ask me how my granddaughter Amihan would have seen the light of day had she been conceived during my time and when such things as Caesarian operation were still unheard of in Dupax.

By the way, that line "si Amihan nagdadala ng ulan" came from the weather forecasts on TV. It somehow stuck on my coconut, beginning when my daughter Leia and my son-in-law Karl went to have a ultra-sound and were told that their first baby would be a girl.

I hasten to add that, earlier, when by curious coincidence it would rain each time Karl would come to Baguio, I would whisper to the lola-to-be the original joke: "Ang daddy ni Amihan nagdadala ng ulan." 

Now, I can't wait to see what other good things -- and sweet reminiscenses -- would Amihan bring.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Isinay Words for Baby and Grandchild



ONE OF MY daughters gave birth to a healthy baby girl last April 25. 

The 3-kg and 47-cm (at birth) baby is my first grandchild and so, to mark her coming to Planet Earth (as well as announce the good news to friends and faithful readers of Isinay Bird), the happy lolo in me thought of doing this celebratory piece on Isinay words pertaining to or associated with babies. 

Amihan Lesnai Castro Margate on April 30, 2013 (photo by Apu Charlz)
First off, the Isinay word for ‘baby’ is unga

Those of you who speak Isinay will of course know that unga is the same term used for ‘child’, and its plural form uunga also refers to both ‘babies’ and ‘children.’ (Incidentally, the Ibaloy for baby is a similar sounding nganga.)

This may be funny, but I guess unga is an onomatopoeia. Which means that my Isinay ancestors who first used the term might have been mesmerized by the first sound “ungaaa!” uttered by babies and so they stuck to it as name for their bundles of joy. Or they might have equated their infant’s cry with the “ooonga^” cry of the ubun (baby carabao) as well as its mother’s call when they don’t see each other.

Yes, the Isinay unga is not as exact as the English baby or infant, the Ilocano maladaga or tagibi, the Visayan masuso or puya, and the Tagalog sanggol. While the latter languages respectively use child, ubing, bata, and bata once the baby has started to talk or walk, Isinays still use unga for both infant and childhood life stages of a human being.

Thus, if you hear an Isinay say "Maves tiyen unga toy mansusu lan mansusu" (This kid is good because it always sucks milk), you're sure by context that the unga referred to is still a baby. But when you hear "Timbo^ tiyen unga toy amplamu olyawam ya marin umali" (This kid is hardheaded because even if you shout  at him, he doesn't come), you get the inference that the person referred to is no longer an infant.

I think this Isinay inexactitude of using unga for both a new-born baby and a not-yet-mature person has a positive implication: Isinay parents love their children so much that they would not want to call them other terms than unga until they have become old enough to be called mariit (if female) or beyuntahu (if male). Which means that they give their uunga all the care and freedom and time to grow until the said kids would no longer want to be treated as such.

And now, for our second word: grandchild. It is referred to as apú in Isinay.

Note the diacritical mark over the letter u. This is to warn readers of the proper pronunciation of the word – it rhymes with and is enunciated like “taboo.” 

Yes, if you pronounce apu as an unaccented word or what they call in Filipino balarila (grammar) as “malumanay” (smooth), it gets another meaning – this time it becomes “grandparent” or the gender-neutral apung in Ilocano and apohan in Visayan.  

Used in a sentence: Amihan di ngaron di apú ar, ot manggayhaya^ podda toy dioy mot si mangayah isaon si Apu Charles! (Amihan is the name of my grandchild, and I am very happy because there is now somebody to call me Grandfather Charles!)

Monday, April 29, 2013

An Isinay Word Hunter's Story (Conclusion)


Conclusion: Fun with Isinay Words
I STARTED WITH some exercises on Isinay words in Part 1. For the benefit of those who had little success so far with those aerobics, I might as well end this presentation by giving the answers.
In Isinay, the basic greetings “good morning,” “good afternoon,” and “good evening” are literally and respectively translated as mabves an bi^bihat, mabves an mauhav, and mabves an lavi. However, you commonly hear traditional Isinay speakers use si bi^bihat, si mauhav, and si lavi.
In Dupax Isinay, a single woman who got pregnant is called namesang. An adopted child is inamong. A bachelor or unmarried man is beyuntahu. Elderly people are collectively called darauway. A person with crab mentality or one who does not want others to progress is considered mase^se^lat.
The words idong and eteng are both terms of endearment used by one to call a much younger person; idong is masculine, eteng is feminine. Indong is loin-cloth or G-string and e-eng is shirt or blouse.
Innaru is the paddle-shaped utensil used to laddle out illutu (boiled rice) whereas seung is the spoon-like utensil used to scoop out viand from the pot. In Ilocano, both are called aklo; in Tagalog, also both are called sandok.
Mapayit is bitter (napait in Ilocano, mapait in Tagalog) while maesom is sour (naalsem in Ilocano, maasim in Tagalog, aslom in Binisaya). Mapayit is one of the most misused Isinay words in Dupax as many speakers use it to mean the taste of a green sompalo (tamarind); the correct word should be maesom.
Be careful when you use mandeya and mandereya in a sentence. Mandeya is to have menstruation while mandereya means to bleed. There is one more sound-alike word, mandineya. Like the other two, it also pertains to blood; this one, however, means to cook dineya (dinardaraan in Ilocano, dinuguan in Tagalog).
How about kumáw and kùmaw? The former refers to a bowl (malukong in Ilocano, mangkok in Tagalog) while the latter refers to the stranger said to kidnap hardheaded boys, put them in sacks, bring them to where a bridge is being built, and pour their blood on the bridge to make it able to withstand typhoons and floods. Used until now to scare rural kids not to stray too far from home during summer, this bugaboo is called sipay or manunupot in Tagalog.
As for ba^ba^ and ba^ba^ a, the shorter one is the Isinay both for language and word while the latter is a command for someone to shut up or keep quiet.
The Ilocano “Sangkabirokan, sangkaapuyan” is “Sin-anapan, sinsi^meyan” in Isinay Dupax-Aritao.
Balinom tuutu^… balinom tuutu^…  Andiye tiye?” is roughly translated into English as “If you invert it, you see a hole… if you invert it the other way, it’s still a hole… What is it?” The answer to this Isinay lojlojmo^ (riddle) is be-ang, a kitchen utensil usually made of split awwoy (rattan) or awwayan (bamboo) and woven in the form of a ring to stabilize banga (earthen pot) on flat surfaces or to make sajban  steady when carried on top of a woman’s head. (Sahban is called malabi in Ilocano and is a water container that looks like but is much larger than the banga).
By the way, I didn’t give the answers yet to the Nature-related items (that is, rainbow, … mountain, … forest, …baby butterfly). Honestly, I’m afraid my answers may differ from those among our participant teachers. The butterfly, for instance, may be kuyapyapon by those from Bambang, and kukkuyappon by those who are more at home with the Dupax-Aritao version of Isinay.
I have a proposition: why don’t we put this item on hold and use it as part of the “homework” for the participating teachers? I’m sure the outputs would be useful for those who handle Science and Math subjects. For example, when you describe to your pupils what insects are involved in pollination. Or when you teach Grade One kids how many or what animals crawl and which ones can fly.
If you so wish, we can also include naming the parts of an insect, parts of a plant, parts of the house, and parts of the human body – all in Isinay.
A bit more challenging, perhaps, is translating into Isinay Bambang or into Isinay Dupax-Aritao the poem All Things Bright and Beautiful (by Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander) or Trees (by Joyce Kilmer).
If you want more excitement, let’s try to play around with Bahay Kubo. Should there be no time to translate the whole song for now, then at least we can make do with listing the Isinay names of the vegetables plus the turnip, peanut, garlic, onion, sesame and other plants immortalized in this classic Tagalog song for children.
Finally, may I please remind you that our outputs must be submitted – “finished or not finished” – at the end of the class or before we sing or say “Goodbye, dear teachers, goodbye!”
-oOo-

PUBLICATIONS CONSULTED
AHEARN, Laura M. 2012. Living Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology. West Sussex, UK: Wiiley-Blackwell.
CONSTANTINO, Ernesto. 1982. Isinay Texts and Translations. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa.
CRUZ, Celina Marie. 2010. The Revitalization Challenge for Small Languages: The Case for Isinai. Paper presented at the Linguistics Seminar. Cagayan de Oro City. Feb 2010.
HARRISON, K. David. 2007. When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World’s Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge. New York: Oxford University Press.
RYMER, Russ. 2012. Vanishing Voices. National Geographic. July 2012.

........
Appendix 1
ANSWERS TO "WHAT'S THE ISINAY FOR RAINBOW..."?

(NOTE: The Isinay equivalents used here are Dupax-Aritao Isinay. Bambang Isinay has lexically or phonetically different terms.)
Rainbow is tabungeyon or tavungeyon
Fullmoon is tallivong. Shower is diyumarim
Mountain is baiyur. Anthill is dalimahon or dalimojon
Forest is eyas (related terms: watershed is nappu; brushland is gitaw). River is wangwang (and creek/brook/stream is wayil). 
Waterfall is peyasapas.Vine is waah
Deer is usa or laman. Python is ine^eyaddang (snake is iraw). 
Goby is sappilan (and the bigger one is guggur). 
Tadpole is tohong (frog is tadah). 
Turtle is ba-uu
Cicada is duluriyaw
Preying mantis is paspasusu but is also sometimes called parparahol
Tailor ant is eha
Bumble bee is ababbayung
Honeybee is iyu-an
May beetle is e-ve
Rhinoceros beetle is dumoh
Dragonfly is atittino^
Firefly is i^irong
Baby butterfly (or the crawling and leaf-eating stage in the life-cycle of butterflies and moths) is bangbangawan.

.....
Appendix 2 
 ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL
 by
Cecil Frances Alexander 

ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL
ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL
ALL THINGS WISE AND WONDERFUL
THE LORD GOD MADE THEM ALL.

EACH LITTLE FLOWER THAT OPENS
EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS
HE MADE THEIR GLOWING COLORS
HE MADE THEIR TINY WINGS.

THE TALL TREES IN THE GREEN WOODS
THE MEADOWS WHERE WE PLAY 
THE RUSHES BY THE WATER
WE GATHER EVERY DAY.

THE PURPLE-HEADED MOUNTAIN
THE RIVER RUNNING BY
THE MORNING AND THE SUNSET
THAT LIGHTED UP THE SKY.
 
THE RIPE FRUITS IN THE GARDEN
 THE PLEASANT SUMMER SUN
THE VIOLETS BY THE ROADSIDE
HE MADE THEM EVERY ONE.

HE GAVE US EYES TO SEE THEM
AND LIPS THAT WE MIGHT TELL
HOW GREAT IS GOD OUR FATHER
WHO DOETH ALL THINGS WELL!


.....
Appendix 3
 TREES
by Joyce Kilmer 
I THINK THAT I SHALL NEVER SEE
A POEM LOVELY AS A TREE
A TREE WHOSE HUNGRY MOUTH IS PRESSED
AGAINST THE EARTH'S SWEET-FLOWING BREAST
A TREE THAT LOOKS AT GOD ALL DAY
AND LIFTS HER LEAFY ARMS TO PRAY
A TREE THAT MAY IN SUMMER WEAR
A NEST OF ROBINS IN HER HAIR
UPON WHOSE BOSSOM SNOW HAS LAIN
WHO INTIMATELY LIVES WITH RAIN
POEMS ARE MADE BY FOOLS LIKE ME
BUT ONLY GOD CAN MAKE A TREE.

.....
Appendix 4
BAHAY KUBO

BAHAY KUBO KAHIT MUNTI
ANG HALAMAN DOON AY SARI-SARI
SINGKAMAS AT TALONG
SIGARILYAS AT MANI
SITAW, BATAW, PATANI
KUNDOL, PATOLA
UPO AT KALABASA
AT SAKA MAYROON PANG
LABANOS, MUSTASA
SIBUYAS, KAMATIS
BAWANG AT LUYA
AT SA PALIGID AY PURO LINGNGA.