April 17, 2024

■  Text & photos: Ofelia C. Empian

An age-old ritual called dawit was performed before the start of a reunion on Feb. 22 of the Pablo Mawmaw Cariño – Kalmin Chihadi clan, one of the recognized Ibaloy clans in Baguio City whose ancestors were among the original settlers of Kafagway (old name of Baguio).

Vicky Macay, one of the Ibaloy community’s recognized mambunong, led the ritual along with the clan members’ mambunong and elders.

Macay is not of the Mawmaw-Chihadi Cariño clan but belongs to the Kivas-Comiw clan.

“They have entrusted the ritual to me so I gladly conduct it for them,” Macay said.

The dawit must be done with sincerity, thus a mambunong is called to perform the task.

During the ritual, Macay prayed, summoning the spirits of the ancestors of the clan, starting with their root, Pablo “Mawmaw” Cariño and Kalmin Chahadi.

Macay then proceeded to call on their eight children and their spouses: Juan “Oraa” and Dosalja, Mateo and Bayosa, Espiritu and Terona, Payat and Moran, Talin and Palaez, Channal and Diaz, Savay and Buanci, and Sison and Catalina.

The prayer invoked the presence of the ancestors, guiding them to the reunion, through the smoke represented by the candles and cigar (rolled tobacco and pedped leaf) being lit.

The clan members from Tublay, Benguet arriving later after the conduct of the ritual, brought a bamboo with its end charred by fire. They also conducted the dawit, making sure the end of the bamboo was lit from Tublay on their way to the clan reunion venue at the Ibaloy Heritage Park in Baguio City.

They believed that the smoke guided the spirits of their ancestors from Tublay to the reunion venue. After summoning the ancestors, Macay then prayed to the Almighty for his continuing guidance to the Cariño clan and its descendants.     

Joining the ritual as part of the clan were Baguio Midland Courier Publisher Gloria Antoinette Hamada, Judith Pavia, former Benguet Vice Gov. Crescencio Pacalso, and Baguio City Councilor Isabelo Cosalan, Jr.

The Cariño clan traces its Ibaloy roots to as far back as the 13th century.