February 9, 2023

I TEXTED ONE cousin in Kabayan, 20th day of May, this year:
“COUSIN, HOW IS it over there? Here, the rain is continuous; really non-stop.” And she replied:
‘SAME HERE, INSAN. Mangipaspe neten! (Transl: “xxx cousin. Really CONC makes people/us homesick!”). And I quickly answered:
“TRULY MANGIPASPE E ORAN.. (Transl: “Truly makes us homesick IMPL is the rain..”). For us here – near the riverbanks: it’s time to use the Balshew, ain’t that right?”
‘AH, YES THE Balshew – the cotton string-weaved manual net used during these times along the creeks and this great Agno River!’ came her reply. Further, said I:
“THE AAMMOD (LIT: “Fathers and beyond”) used to balshew (vf of Balshew) those original varieties of fish here, like: the Bonog, the Bitenga, and the Daring or Wadingan – all really native in our waters here. I can’t find their English equivalents or near-equivalents.
‘THIS TIME HOWEVER these are outnumbered in the Balshew/net as you lift it up to view them, by – guess what? Bayyek! Aiu y Bayyek, chake-chakel!’ (Transl: “Tadpoles). EXPR Tadpoles, so many of them!). L-a-u-g-h-s
[NOTE: ORDINARILY, BY Ikulos ‘culture’, you’re not a real ‘fisher’ or Manickai, if you bring home many of those Bayyeks – instead of the aforestated Agno River native varieties – the Bitenga, the Wadingan, the Bonog, or Bottle and why not, also the ‘native’: Eels or Kiwet, the crabs or Kahdang, and the thin-bodied frog variety, the Tikshew.
[WHEN IN COLLEGE days, I asked my elders why the Kiwet, the Kahdang, and the Tikshew were not just like their counterpart market varieties, they pointed out:
‘OUR KIWET IS usually smaller and with darker spray shades of the skin, while the usual market Kiwet is bigger – almost twice in-size and coloured like plain/dirty white.
THE KAHDANG IS smaller – almost five times in reduced size than the market crab, and finally
THE TIKSHEW IS very thin but really aman sep-it, or ‘tasty’ when cooked, either by boiling, roasting on-fire, or by frying – as compared to the rather robust, bigger and ‘mascular’ form of the market frog – which the Ikulos also have and which they call Tingey.
N.B., TICKLINGLY ‘CULTURAL’ is that when one brings home the net-caught, abalshew, aqua varieties, no one knows – nor can tell, whose tadpoles are those: the ‘mascular’ Tingey? Or, the thin-special Tikshew? That’s how those laughs (or smiles) ensue. And now, you wonder no more?]. the Insan from Kabayan broke back my thoughts in-memories when she asked:
‘HOW ABOUT YOU there in downriver Itogon Kulos, you still have these varieties caught in your Balshew nets?’ And I texted back:
“YES, INSAN, BUT less of the Bayyeks mostly. You didn’t mention the sharp-billed, thin-bodied, atop-water Baroys though. These are what abound here.
“INDEED, THESE RAINS.. how they really bring back – former ‘fruits’, dames, ni shanom! (“of the river/water)”. Ayo! Ayo! Ino!