March 28, 2023

“WHAT COULD BE the correct applications of the terms – Nabaloi, Ibaloi, Inibaloi, etc., if we may ask, Sir Morr?” “When referring to the people, which term is appropriate – and/or ‘accurate’? And the language used or spoken by them?”
“IS IBALOI OR Nabaloi – a language, or a dialect? Does it have ‘accents’ – or ‘sub-versions’; or, other varieties?”
THESE, AND RELATED ones are the types of questions that flood me every time readers, friends true (or not-so), colleagues, etc., find opportunity to engage me in a ‘technical’ conversation or discussion. Now, the answers:
INITIALLY, THE TERM Nabaloi is for the language, and Ibaloi for the people. Many writers and ethno-historical figures – even before me, have been trying to fortify this stance.. but
NOT ALL SUBSCRIBE to this. Others – including Contemporary documentors – use either term for language, and/or for people. Thus you may hear – or read, at times: “the Ibalois of Sablan speak a somewhat different Ibaloi compared to what is spoken in Kabayan”; or, “The Nabaloi speakers of present-day Baguio could be left ‘puzzled’ if ‘deeper’ vocabularies are employed by other fast-speaking Nabalois”; et cetera. Nganto kari da inkowan mo? (Transl: “what did you say again?”). But again.
[HAVEN’T YOU ALSO read phrases like: “the Nabaloi-speaking Ygollotes in the Baguio Gold-Mining areas..”; or, “the Ibaloi-Igorrotes in the stories about the Ilokano culture-hero Lam-ang..”; or “the man Nabedoi (i.e. speaking Ibaloi or Nabaloi) of Kapangan and surrounding areas..”, and so forth – written by earlier missionaries, Insular-government reporters and writer-Philippinists? The ‘interchangeability’ of the terms Nabaloi and/or Ibaloi seems to have notorious across the scores and decades. Meanwhile
WE CAN STAY – as we have done, with our earlier usage that Let: Nabaloi be for language and Ibaloi for people; that further: this be a proposition of usage Consistency, rather than a rule or arbitrary designation (Folks, let there be pax bona in the valley).
ANOTHER TERM RELATED – and often asked is Inibaloi. The insertion or addition of the Inlaut in- to Ibaloi carries the meanings: “by”, “through”, “in”.. so that; Inibaloi literally translates to: by/through/in, etc., the Ibaloi (way – of saying or speaking or expressing).
THE DOER OR ‘Agentive-case’ form of Inibaloi is man Ibaloi or Mangibaloi =int “he/she who speaks, expresses, etc., -the Ibaloi way.”
THERE ARE OTHER terms furthermore and in addition – that may add to the student or observer of Ibaloi/Nabaloi’s difficulty when learning or studying the language:
SOME FEW OF them are: Ivadoi, Igudut, Mangatibekbek, Ipaway, Ikulos, Ehnontog.
IVADOI =INT SAME word and meaning as Ibaloi. (The letter /v/ fluctuates with /b/. Note, for instance this case in the Ibalois’ “free variation” in one of their most popular term or word: Adivai written with a /v/ but spoken or orally rendered with a /b/ like: Adibai. Next term:
IGUDUT =INT “IGORROTE or Igorot, originally written in Spanish as Ygollote, to mean “from the gollotes, or mountain ranges/chains”.
BEFORE THE TERM Ibaloi or Nabaloi came into popular view, the earlier generations used to refer to themselves as Igorrote. When introducing themselves, they used to declare: Igudut ak! (Transl: “an Igorrote (or Igorot) I am!”).
THESE TIMES, THIS usage has been replaced by: Ivadoi ak! (Transl: “an Ibaloi I am!”); or the Anglicized: “I am an Ibaloi Igorot!”). Next:
MANGATI BEKBEK =INT “the furinusly-dancing ones”. A reference terminology applied to the Ibalois, especially in cultural description of the way they execute the ritual or ‘native-dances’.
THIS REFERENCE IS usually made or given by non-Ibalois.. and often seen or viewed by Ibalois ‘lampoonish’; though often unminded by others – considering that the dance music original of their gongs and drums have a faster beat or tempo, compared to those of other neighbor or related groups. Next:
IPAWAY =INT “DWELLER of the cleared or flatter lands” (as against the highly steep and mountainous dwellings of other related tribes or groups). Stories indicate or Shaka sodsora, ‘it is often said that’:
THE EARLY IBALOIS or Ipaways occupied the flatter or low-lying lands, cleared them of shrubs or trees for (swidden) farms; then, later converted some of these to ricelands. That further: some of the high mountain dweller themselves ‘came down’ to settle with them, and later became Ipaways. Next term:
IKULOS =INT “from the banks of the River (Agno)”; or meaning: Ibalois living along or near the great Agno River banks.
TODAY, THESE ARE the Ibaloi populations of the municipalities of: Bokod, Itogon, and Kabayan – as well as some of their neighbouring Sitios of other towns or provinces. Next
EHNONTOG =INT “from the Mountain Ibaloi settlements”; located and recognized Today as the populations of the municipalities of: Sablan, Tuba, La Trinidad, Tublay, Atok, and partly Kapangan.
THE EHNONTOGS AND the IKULOS are socio- and ethno-historically juxtaposed by Anthros and experts, as the two phatries whence from Modern Ibalois have originated. (to be continued)