June 24, 2024

I AM INDEBTED to the Kabayan people for some of my hardcore researches – especially on the Ibaloi; so, let me write today of my many unforgettable times spent in Kabayan – or Kebajan, as well as with the Ikebajans.
I WAS 31 – or thereabouts, I can still remember: when Ama Guansi Killop of Pacso asked my age. He was a kind and learned man of the Ibaloi ways and traditions – and truly with sparkles of humour too
AFTER MY ANSWER about my age that time, he also introduced himself and said he was ’66 years old’. When I went back there in 1995, he also said he was that same age – to my fellow candidates. He gave his reasons for his age and chuckled some.
[SINCE I FIND it alt-modische or old fashioned (and difficult too!) to proceed with the events step-by-step, allow me to render with fervor, my narrations in ‘timeless’ fashion or chronology – some call it Flash-hack method?]. To continue:
OH HOW WE loved Ama Guansi whenever he was re-telling the feats and adventures of the ancestors. Yes, my guides and I always enjoyed that part of his narrations. My guides – they were mostly, or all, from Kabayan. Saluti! I salute you all. As we didn’t go to Apo Guansi’s home place only once.
ONE DAY, HE introduced his older brother – a Prayerman or Mambunong. Smiling, he said: ‘Oras Disok, 104 years old’. Ahh, we were all ??? His younger brother 66 years old and he – 104?
THERE APO GUANSI was quick to explain: his older brother was from their father’s first marriage. And my guides and I went: ah! a-ah! (EXPR for “oh, that’s why!”). Another day, much much later
WE CLIMBED MT. EDEREG – to see and adivai (talk with, narrate with, hear from, etc.) with the lone or main settler: Dasolas (it’s a pity I forgot this time his other name) – another Mambunong or Prayerman.
AHA! WE WERE mostly wet with perspiration going up the mountains to his dwelling, but when he started talking and narrating, we all forgot to dry sana our t-shirts under the hot sun! It seemed none of us wanted to miss any of the outpouring details of Apo Dasolas!
WE STAYED THERE the whole day – enjoying extremest his uninterrupted, consistent, and flowing over, bulo-bulos, accounts, stories, and narrations.
WHEN WE REALIZED it was getting dark, we were sort of looking at each other – my guides and myself – but, Dasolas was again that quick to speak, before anyone of us did. He said:
‘WHY DON’T YOU stay for the night, my wife and I shall be honoured to have more time of Adivay with you?”
AND SLEPT THERE we did. It was nigh 1 a.m. when we suggested we can retire? And he and his young wife agreed. We left Edereg – full of information from that ‘powerhouse’ man, 9.a.m. or so, after he and his wife treated us to breakfast on-style: Benguet Coffee, cum Dokto or sweet potatoes, with Kintoman red rice, and Kinnodai, dried wild boar meat! Ayuh!
THESE ARE BUT ‘scratches to the surface’ of my Kabayan experiences. There are much, much more to relate and re-tell, but alas! Our spaces this time fully filled/covered again, we can do the other narrations, in succeeding issues. Meanwhile
IT ALSO ACKNOWLEDGED that one of my greatest asset and advantage that time researching in Kabayan was my lineage and ancestry. Some of this info I learned from the Informants thereat themselves:
MY FATHER’S GENEALOGICAL matrikin ancestors were from Imbossi – now partly Pasco. My late father (GRhs, God Rests his soul) descends from Agsawal – one of Apo Amkidit and Chamdya’s children.
MY LATE MOTHER too (GRhs). She descends from Bajes Obanan of Batan, Kabayan. The Agsawal and the Bajes Obanan clans had had Reunions in pre-pandemic times. We seldom missed attending. Aloha!