June 6, 2023

IT WAS SOMEWHERE – age 38 or 39, that I was visiting my late mother, GRhs (God Rests her soul), at Teggep, Belance, Dupax del Norte, Nueva Vizcaya.
IT WAS MY nth Visit (I can’t really exactly calculate). My heart-and-soul was always gratified; I enjoyed doing those sojourns each time I went that-a-way.
MY ROUTINE WAS: start by bus from Baguio City, about 7 am. Arriving at Belance by 4 pm. I mostly found my Uncle Esoy smiling, ready to accompany me home to Teggep.
[MUCH MUCH EARLIER, he and her wife Saminja, my mother’s sister, gifted her a part of their landholdings – some one hectare or so – with an old hut, and this was where my mother lived since the Binga Exodus or Engka boddak alid Binga.
ARRIVING AT TEGGEP that (nth) time, we found my mother roasting a native chicken – preparing it their original way of Pinikpikan. As usual, Uncle Esoy said after a while:
“OKAY, I’LL LEAVE the two of you here. I have to go see my cares, tarakens, before it gets dark!” My mother smiled, nodded, and said: wen, salamat (Yes, thank you).
[HIS TARAKENS BASICALLY included the Kabajo (service horse) and two Eshens (water buffaloes for the farm Plow and Harrow).
[UNLESS HIS WIFE was sick or very occupied, he didn’t have to worry about the other Tarakens: hogs, chicken, dogs, et cetera; the wife, or some kind relative, must have taken care of these prior to our arrival].
NEXT DAY, MY time or schedule to go to Biruk, Dupax del Sur, some seven hours by horseback. I was met by cousin Junior Olipe – hand on the ropes of his horse and saying:
“THIS IS MY Beshing horse. It’ll take you to Biruk, and back here next day.
“I KNOW YOU know a lot about Beshings; but it’s ok, it’ll obey you. Just hold on to the reins, in case. He’s only half – or a fourth of that breed.”
[SEEING UNCLE ESOY and the other folks there in-smiles and nodding], I accepted the reins and mounted: he-yahh!
[MY AUNT SAMINJA would follow later – she’ll come by-Foot].
AFTER HOURS OF riding, I came by a small but dangerous slide, a washout somewhat. I was going to dismount, and walk the horse through our path, but my Uncle Esoy’s words before resounded in my Consciousness:
“WHERE WE PERSONS can tread and tip-hop walk through, maha tikip, the Beshing can too! So,
ASTRIDE, ATOP MY horse, I breathed a Short Prayer and He-Yahh [but,] hoo-hoo2 (careful, slowly2]. And then, later.
PASBOL (FARM GATE) after Pasbols we passed by; until, I said to the horse: hooo! hooo! (Stop! Stop for a while). I spotted by yonder at early distance a mother and a child:
THE HORSE AND I atop, we approached slowly near the two. I spoke in Kankana-ey. I said I was a nephew of Sepia Pungayan Elmo and a cousin to her daughter Viola Elmo Binayan. I was going to visit them and could they perchance tell me if the place is now near?
THE WOMAN LOOKED at me for some seconds, got the hands of her child and said:
ENAYAN! AND THEY were gone – the mother ‘looking back’ three or four times, in our direction, but hurrying away.. away..
NEXT PASBOL AND habitation we passed by, they were eating.. the favourite tuber camote, with matching Benguet coffee. They asked me to partake, and dismount I did.
I TOLD THEM where I was going, my folks, etc., I spoke in Iluko.. and their eyes were glowing. One Elder asked: “you’re a relative of Sepia’s husband?” And shot another: “or of Sanoy – Viola’s husband?” I humbly answered:
‘NO, THE WOMEN, rather. Sepia is my father’s sibling and Viola, my cousin therefor’. They were smiling and saying: Ajjo! (oh so!); A-a, on, idman ida. (EXPR, yes they’re there); and then a woman said: Nayan, gayam oh?
THE FIRST SPEAKER was using Nabaloi and the second, Kalanguya; but the third? I pondered momentarily.. Is Nayan the short form of the Kankana-ey Enayan; or, its Nabaloi ‘equivalent’, in fact: What sayeth thou, please? Ayuhh!