One question remains, will I revive this blog?
(The Taloctoc Experience)
In the province of Kalinga one of the provinces in the Cordillera Autonomous Region of Northern Luzon, Philippines, the tribes are bound or beholden to each other by a system called the “bodong” (peace pact).
The bodong is similar to the international treaties, in that it has provisions, constitutions,and by-laws, that includes, territory, people and government which are covered by the terms and conditions of the “bodong”.
The provisions also include the following : care, assistance, protection, as well as imposing penalty on cases of violation of these provisions. The “bodong” protects people and visitors from both tribes, especially in emergencies .
The system has an oral constitution and by laws which is called “pagta” (oral statement of the terms and conditions, manner , limitations, ways and means in business, in emergencies in the relationship of all persons within the territories of both agreeing tribes). The penal code is orally given for specific violations. When a problem arises, the leaders of both tribes would convene and would recall the “pagta’s” oral provisions relative to the case at bar; and then and there, solve the existing problem.
The bodong is usually established when an individual member of a tribe or barrio has a business relationship with another person from the other tribe. This is a specific example: Mr. Suma-il of Barrio Taloctoc, Tanudan living on the eastern slope of Mt Patokan bought a carabao from Mr. Dumawig of Tanglag, Lubuagan. Dumawig then will barter goods also – a coconut for a cup of beans, etc. – this is called “abbuyog’ (sharing) .
From there the relationship intensifies; Suma-il now sends a a spear or javelin to Dumawig. Dumawig in turn sends a bolo (big knife) . This is called “allasio” (the beginning of the peace pact). The People involved may or may not retain the original partners but in most cases, the people retains the original partners out of respect.
During the celebration of the “allasio”, the parties may discuss the arrangement for the “inum” the preliminary celebration of the bodong.
When the “inum” is celebrated the discussion on the permanent pact holders may be brought out for deliberation. This maybe the original people involved or their nearest next of kin.
The final selection will be based on the required qualifications of the peace pact holder.
1. He/she must belong to a big clan, having many relatives, many brothers, sisters, cousins
2. He must be intelligent, a good leader , of good financial standing and must have the respect of the community.
The reason why the size of the clan is important is that violators of any provision will fear vengeance or punishment inflicted by the clan in retaliation for an injury or offense as orally embodied in the “pagta”.
Wealth is likewise important because visitors from the other tribe usually stays at the peace pact holder’s house whenever they travel and would be expecting the generous hospitality of the peace pact holder.
One special feature of the “bodong” is that in order for the holder to be able to protect the members of the other tribe, the holder must be informed whenever one or two people enter the other one’s territory. If the peace pact holder is not informed, any assistance to the visitor may be denied and he will have problems leaving the barrio.
Whether the visitor stays at the peace pact holder’s house or not, the holder must still be informed as a form of courtesy. It is considered a major offense not to.
Today, “bodongs” have written constitutions and by – laws suited to the present needs, likes and dislikes of the people involved in it.
Present day “bodongs” do not have the so called “top-al”, where in very valuable things costing 5-10 carabaos are given as a symbol of agreement. Any visitor committing an offense would pay the same designated value.
The “bodong” in the past were binding in spite of the fact that the constitution and by-laws were done orally.
There was a time in the past when the two barrios of Tinglayan were engaged in a tribal war. The Philippine government sent a battalion of soldiers to stop the fighting but nothing came out of it; the tribal war raged on. It was only after the late Congressman Antonio Ganoa of Lubuagan (being a well, respected native himself) intervened between the warring tribes. that the killing stopped.
The fighting stopped when the congressman stepped in because of the “pagta” which stipulated that both tribes should maintain cordial relationships to enhance prosperity, peace and order between them.
There was a time that politicians tried to abolish the practice and this has resulted to the rise in crimes in the province.
For the “bodong” to be successful, the “bodong” holders and the members of both tribes must cooperate to uphold the ideals that it has -for many years- stood for.
By: Manolo Ballug
The betrothal practice in Kalinga, specifically Taloctoc, was done by having a “contract” between parents for the marriage of their children. The practice was binding among the natives.
It starts of when a family decides to have its son or daughter be betrothed to another by sending an emissary who is a respected and influential member of the community. This emissary must at least know how to sing the “ullalim” as it is through this that he would make the initial proposal. In most cases, the proposal is accepted by the other family.
When the proposal is accepted, the emissary would go back to the proposing family and everyone would be informed about the acceptance. An announcer from each family would go around and inform all of their relatives and the community and everyone would be invited to the celebration. They would then agree on the date of the celebration, this is to officially inform everyone in the community about the contract.
During the day of the celebration,the emissary from the girl’s family would go to the house of the boy as early as 6 AM to officially announce the celebration. All the relatives of the boy should be there to receive the emissary. As soon as the emissary arrives, the father of the boy would instruct any of his relatives to slaughter a pig in order to entertain the emissary with “ullalim” until such time that the breakfast is ready. After breakfast, all the male relatives of the boy would line up and one of them would carry the head of the butchered pig. This is called the “lungos” which is taken then to the house of the girl to signify the start of the celebration and to manifest acceptance of the proposed marriage.
The emissary would then lead the march followed by the boy, who must carry a bundle of firewood. All of the male relatives would also carry bundles of wood or one of the 6 musical instrument called ” patonggok“. This 6 musical instrument would produce rhythmic sounds. The “patonggok” is made from bamboo and are whittled to regularly, decreasing sizes, from 1 & 1/2 foot to 6 inches in length. The alternate beating of the “patonggok” would produce a melodious sound that would accompany the group to the girl’s house. The sounds is loud enough for the whole village to hear and thereby are prompted to go to the celebration.
All the relatives of the girl will gather at the girl’s house and wait for the marching men. As soon as the marching group arrives at the girl’s house, an important, influential and respected “ullalim” singer would announce by singing, the official presentation of the boy for marriage.
A man from the girl’s family who should also be a good “ullalim” singer, would sing the acceptance of the boy’s family. This will signal the start of the celebrations. A program would follow with “ullalims”, “salidsids” ( courtship dance), “salip” (wedding dance) and the “tadok” (dance for all).
Other activities may be initiated like games for children and adults while “basi” (native wine from sugar cane) is available for the men, and cakes for the women. More pigs, cows or carabaos are slaughtered and everyone in the village would be invited to take part in the festivities. The meat is boiled in one big cauldron without any salt or condiment and that is it. The feast usually lasts a whole day and is considered a holiday in the village, that means everyone is expected to be there. It is considered improper and impolite to be away working on such an occasion. The old folk from both parties would be discussing the future security of their betrothed children.
During the enforcement of the contract, the betrothed children must not pronounce or state the names of the other’s close relatives (father, mother, siblings and first cousins) as it is believed that this would cause the persons to get ill with boils.
This practice is called “paniyao“. The parents are expected to share with each other whatever things they have like vegetables, sugar, clothes, salt, bread , etc.
When the betrothed children become grown-ups, they are expected to help their respective father and mother-in-law in any way they could. The boy would gather firewood, fish and fetch water for the girl, while the girl is also expected to cook, wash and clean the house. In some instances when the father-in-law is too old to work, the boy is required to live with him to help out with work . The parent’s boy, on the other hand are expected to take care of the girl as their own, through financial assistance and the like.
In rare cases where the “contract” is broken, especially on the part of the boy, he would be required to replace or pay the animal which have been slaughtered during the celebration. This is a unique contract in which the whole village is a witness.
In those days, tribes were not in good terms with each other. Tribal wars were common.
There was a man in Tinglayan called Banna , who had extraordinary bravery and strength. He had an unusual charm so people look up to him for leadership. He was also a very good “ullalim” singer.
One day Banna realized that he needed a life time partner , someone to share his life with, so he went in search for a wife. Since there were no eligible women in his barrio he decided to ascend Mount Patukan, a mountain east of Tinglayan and go to the sitio of Dacalan, Tanudan.
While it was still daylight, he stopped and rested under a big tree at a distance away from the sitio so that no one could see him. This is because he might provoke trouble by his presence.
When night came, Banna slowly went down nearer to the village and searched for a place to observe. After some time, he heard a soft, melodious female voice singing the ullalim. He was drawn to the voice and moved closer to the hut. Peeping, he saw the most beautiful woman he had ever set eyes on. Long, wavy hair, dark, fringed eyes, and a voice that grew sweeter and sweeter as he listened. For him, the voice was like that of an angel- titillating, like a zephyr wind being able to move the coconut leaves around him. He could not contain himself, so he softly knocked at the door. The family refused to open the door for him as they saw, they did not know him. He was a stranger and it would cause trouble to let him in. …(to be continued)
“I have a deep love and respect for children and I cannot imagine photographic life without them playing a major part. I hope that through my work as a photographer, I have been able to pass on my appreciation of their beauty and charm.”
By: Anne Geddes Quotes – Women – Photographers