September 26, 2023

MOST OF TODAY’S Cordis are schooled, ‘Mainstream’-inspired, and ‘Contemporary-attuned’. So,
IF YOU ARE an ‘outsider’ and you go (or you are invited) to their homes, and then later (or subsequently) talk.. speak with them, you will most probably ‘generalise’ (or ‘conclude-in-mind’):
“AH, THEY’RE JUST like me.. like other Filipinos.. just like everybody else, etc., in their ways of Thinking’ (WOTs); in their beliefs – old and new; in their Manners of Dressing (MODs), and so forth. I now keep wondering:
“WHERE’S THAT DIFFERENT, ‘native’ language – I read or hear that historians and linguists ‘claim’ for them? [Further, you say by yourself:]
“WE’VE BEEN SPEAKING same languages: Tagalog, Iluko, English, all along.. if only I can get some answers to my question which is:
‘WHAT OTHER – EVIDENCES’ can I derive from them, to prove those ‘claims’ that they are indeed: original Filipinos, authentic in their own ways of interrelationships, modes of dressing practices.. and languages?” Our immediate reply:
‘INSIDERS’ WE ARE, we can give you these answers (counterclockwise to your order of questions):
YES, THEY HAVE languages – akin only.. ‘some bits’, to Pilipino or Tagalog and Iluko. In fact, they even have their own ‘accents’ – per village, or ‘culture-area’ (not really per political boundary).
THEY HAVE VARIED styles of dressing – ‘attires’ we call them; or, ‘ceremonial dresses’; or garments, some writers term those.
THEY HAVE THEIR own ways of judging themselves, and regarding others – their own ‘School of Thought’ for Gawis and Ngawi (you may connect these with the Western ‘Right-and-wrong), and
EN GÉNERAL, THEIR ‘Customs and Traditions’, left by their predecessors or forbears. All or
MOST OF THESE, thy practice in the rurals. When they come to the city, or other areas – whether ‘Urban’ or ‘Semi-Urban’, they usually ‘adjust to’ the Mainstream ways.. [So, now you may say]:
“NO WONDER I don’t see nor observe those things so easily – in some Cordi homes or areas I’ve been to.. usually only glimpses; on TV, in pictures, or in Social media!”
YES, THAT’S WHY. But any (which) way, since the Christmas season is on, let’s give you a brief discussion, in line with our Intro previous, and this is: How ‘gift-giving’ is expressed (again, not practiced) among the Ifengets and related Cordi tribes.
[LET US USE Time-Elements: Before, i.e. ‘of remote times, or recent’; and Now i.e. ‘for this time’].
BEFORE, WHEN IT was the ‘month’ (or ‘moon of’) si ani (literally, ‘harvest-palay time’ and note: it corresponds to our Contemporary Western month of December), a relative in-joy (Masihmet) goes to visit ‘a kin’, enclosed under the general kinship terms of: Khait (relative) or Agui (sibling, cousin, relative co-lateral, or lineal, etcetera).
THE TO-BE-VISITED ONE or Mehbisitta or Medihngay, may be of different social prestige, i.e. higher, lower, equal; but there is no customary hindrance or ‘impropriety’ for the Masihmet to go visit him, his family, and/or villagemates.
THE CHOICEST GIFT of the Masihmet to the Mehbisitta in early times, or in the recent Past, was: the Khinoddai (smoked meat beside-the-coal) – either of the wild deer, ulsa, or the wild pig, animolok.
NO, NOT THE dried-meat, from the tame or domesticated animal. The underlying ‘logic’, banagto, if the Masihmet did that was: as if he was visiting someone who ‘seldom tasted’ a Khinoddai.. of whichever kind. Ergo, the ‘giving’ may be interpreted as funny; even, insulting.
ERGO, IF NO Khinoddai from the ulsa or animolok was available, the Masihmet brought with him instead a Sinofang (smoked fish – the pike or the minnow); if not, two or three bundles of Pako (freshwater-ferns); if not, two or three bunches of bananas – especially of the native-kind Sahba, or the copper-coloured Khambang.
[DURING THE SECOND World War, my Informats narrate of the Kowem – the carefully-sliced-then-dried tuber, nl. taro or gabi; kamoteng kahoy; or sweet potato, Ipomoea Batatas, as the best or primest gift of the Masihmet].
NOW, OR ‘IN these Times’, the usual ‘gifts the Mehbisitta can expect are: coffee in bottles/packs with sugar; (or) imported or special brand wines; even chocolates.
AMONG TRADITIONAL FAMILY Lines, the Sinofang is still one of the ‘Tops’ given to the Special visited one. Our local enthusiasts may try exploring to propagate the freshwater Minnow, especially the Phoxinus phoxinus the smaller-kind, and we shall have that unique kind of ‘gift’ – the Tagalogs generally call: pang pasalubong; and which we can also call here as: the special Cordi Sinofang, or Phoxinus Sinofang! Yes! why not po?