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.