June 21, 2024

I HEARD ONE Candidate-for Barangay Councilman or Kagawad, say this is in his speech, d.u. (date unknown) the speech original was in Nabaloi; but let’s translate:
“MY ELDER BROTHER Norman(?) had been Barangay Captain for three terms.. and he’s now a Municipal Councilor. Our father was a Barangay Councilman.. [he paused]; then finished with a]:
“SO, WE’RE REALLY a family for Public Service! Vote for (he mentioned his name and:) for Kagawad” Then, taking over-the microphone, the pro bono, eager Toasmaster boomed:
‘AND THAT, LADIES and Gentlemen, is what is expressed in English as: it’s all in the genes!’ motioning the Audience and himself starting: to clap their hands. However, if you were in that gathering as I was, perchance you wouldn’t hesitate to wonder:
“BUT IS THAT so..? That conclusive? His elder brother and their father.. what about his other siblings.. or his antepasadosos or ancestors? Were they elected (or else appointed) Public Servants too?”


THIS NEXT ACCOUNT is no public speech, but it runs into same lane plain:
A YOUNG RESEARCHER – Fabian C. by name, came once into the office seeking my ‘honest opinion’ about his group mates’ conclusion: that the CORDI SAF (Special Action Force) men who fought in Mindanao have re-lived again the gallantry of their fathers who fought the Japanese during the Second World War – most, if not all, of them are descended from veterans of said War. I promptly said:
“YOU’RE IMPLYING THAT there’s some way a genetic facteur or connexion..” (he spoke almost with vibrant spontáneity, cutting half my would-be question):
“YES, SIR, IF we could cite as one conclusion the saying: it’s all in the genes, sir?” [I obliged, but slowly]:
“NOT JUST YET.. stay calm, hijo. You see, you have to add on a lot of proofs and evidences when connecting genes or genetics with character or behaviour – even with bare actions themselves.. otherwise, if you do it in-haste, it may cast an unbalanced spell.. keep on proving your data and findings yet.. and maybe you shall arrive at a less complicating summary of sort?”


DISTANCING A BIT from Fabian C. and group mates’ case and research, and assigning them rather now as our part-audience, let me cite my personal case of general geno- and pheno- type ‘traits’ – with historical reflections of my maiores (forefathers and kin parents) and see what we can deduce or spot as: perhaps ‘from the genes’.
MY GRANDMA-PAULA Congay they say (she went ahead five years before I was born) – was Kinship-based, or Maseshak/Matonton in all her dealings with neighbours, friends, relatives; even with strangers – who come by chance to their house – for shelter or for food, Shaka Sodsora – they say:
ONCE, FOR INSTANCE, two strangers arrived by their house. It was only near 4pm but it was beginning to drizzle outside. The strangers were asking permission if they be given shelter for the night; they said they were from the North (North river-wards actually, Paseddong) and were looking for Panad (ricefield making jobs).
GRANDMA THOUGHT FOR a while and then declared: “My great grandfather Ngimol they say was from the North; even my husband is a descendant of the great hunter-Baglao.. from your area. I’ll convince him you may stay for tonight – as you are kin of either my ancestors or his.. or both!”
WHEN HER HUSBAND came home minutes later, she told him the news. After listening, husband Aliw-iw just asked two or three questions – in the Northern tongue, and satisfied he said:
“MY WIFE TELLS you the Truth: you are indeed kin of ours. Yes, you may stay here for the night. Don’t be in-a-hurry to leave in the morning – we’ll have our biggest male duck for viande, masid-an.” He looked at his wife and she was nodding. Our next example is
MY FMF (FATHER’S mother’s father) – or was he in fact my FMMF (Father’s mother’s father’s father)? – my great-grandpaw, or my great-great-grandpa? The stories are ‘mixed’; but one thing univocal: his name. He is referred to in local genealogies as: either Ogaoan or Ogaoa or Agtawa or Agutawa?
SOME OF MY CLOSE kin’s official documents record him as Agtawa, or even the Ibaloi version of Agsawal. My late father’s middle initial was an O. Anyway,
GREAT-GRANPA (OR great-great grandpa?) Ogaoa or (Ogaoan) was reputed to have been a known, respected far-and-wide steelsmith/feraro(?), or Ib. Maselbit. They say he was one of the few who knew the cast-and-cooling process, tenneb, of the Ibaloi sword or Sholos. And now,
BASED ON THE foregoing personal data, do we perceive validating ‘evidences’ – to link my present ‘traits’ with ancestral prototypes or originals. Initially,
YES! BEING WITH kith and kin always gives me that good feelin’; and ‘utmost’ or best – when after being duly introduced, I am indeed ‘acknowledged’.
FROM MY MOTHER’S mother’s line (cf. grandma Paula, Supra), I’m an avid listener of a Kinship-tracker or Matonton, I’m fond of attending ‘Reunions’, and I’m always excited when informed I’ll be introduced to a ‘newfound’ relative. Although
IN THE SECOND case-example of ‘ggrandpaw’ Ogaoa or Ogaoan, I do not fare well as a genotype heir of his great artisan skills! But then
ALMOST ALL OF my closest kin are! They make knives and bolos; they drive and repair cars, et cetera. My own late father: he was a policeman; then, a carpenter; and then, a farmer!