May 25, 2024

ONCE WE HAD a home in Debkow – now, the Binga reservoir itself, the exact location of which was:
IF YOU STAND looking Northwest, in the direction of Today’s Guisset, Tinongdan, Itogon [or is it: Guisset, Ambuklao, Bokod? “Yet unresolved”, says a boundary-dispute Panel member.. we take note],
THE LOCATION WOULD be the Left-half of the then Agno River, since this (river) divided the Debkow valley into two – the other half or Right-half was the great Debkow Dongbaan (Ibaloi Horseracing Ground) itself.
THE REMAINING PORTIONS’ legally tells in-part, the Past of Physical Debkow:
THE TWO ISLANDS you and I see in the middle of the man-made lake are the ‘remaining portions’ of old Debkow Dongbaan
THE TWO INTAKES – the ‘Old’, as well as the ‘New’ – and the ‘Kiangan Village’ – just below the road Hilltop Crossing, are the ‘remaining portions’ of our used-to-be home in Debkow.
OUR HOME PLACE was referred to as: ‘Kawayan Binga’, or ‘Lebcow-Kawayan’, or simply: Shacshac – by the folks at Debkow Dongbaan or by those at Baloy, Tinongdan. (Ask Informants Molderick Bias and Mino Hilario – they know these place-names to be so).
THERE WERE ABOUT four or five Original Main households in Debkow Dongbaan; in Shacshac, there were only two; then years after WWII, three households.
BUT INSPITE OF the fact of our valley-locations, even if the footrails and the pathways were high up (even, ‘on top’) of the mountains, we had had visitors: relatives, fellow indigene Ibalois and Ifengets, even strangers. And
WE RECEIVED THEM warmly – as that has always been in the Ways and Custom taught us by the forebears.
INTERESTINGLY SO IN those days, when a ‘visitor’ arrives – or comes by a household, he can be recognized either as: a complete stranger, a visiting relative from afar (Buguias, Kabayan, Tinek, etc.), or simply a ‘newcomer’, pinsaktan panpasiyal, in Debkow. “H.o.w?”, you may ask. The answer: just look at him/her instantly, and you can guess quite right:
IF THERE WERE pollets (plant/grass needles) on his garments, he must have used the Dongbaan coming to your house. The Dongbaan or wide racing ground, was full of or ‘flourishing’, magebba gebbay, with those needles or pollets. That was: when only the lower garments (pants long, pants short, skirt, dress, etc.,) were stuck with Pollets. But
IF EVEN THE upper part (above the waist) of said garments was with Pollets, the visitor was: a complete stranger, sa-bo; or not really, but has ‘forgotten’ in time the old pathways; or: simply someone who was ‘not bothered at all by the pollets!
NOT BOTHERED AT all, he didn’t care going or passing through the pollets (Apologies, I don’t know the scientific name? Our foresters and rangers please help: Walter Pedz, Florencio Pacio, Alvin Bachs, or Apo Leon Apse? Pollets, anyone?). He just went, walked through them silent pollet needles. This unminding action is captured by the Nabaloi -en verb: Sabahshoken = to walk through, regardless or unminding of the seemingly harming obstacles, like the threatening, obstructing pollets!
GREETING THE VISITOR, the household owner says: Ara, sinabahshok mo di era’y pollet! (Lit. “EXPR, unmindingly passed you through those plant pollet needles!”). Note:
THAT WAY OF greeting encompasses, more or less, these statements, if said in English:
1)WELCOME, 2)THANK YOU, 3) YOU’VE RISKED BEING SCRATCHED (or PUNCTURED) BY THOSE POLLETS, 4) YOU WERE REALLY DETERMINED, 5) TO VISIT ME/US THIS-A-WAY! N.o.t.e
THE GREETING SUPRA by the Use of Sinabahshok, renders need-less asking the Visitor, ‘difficult’ questions like: 1)”are you new around here?” or, 2)”by those pollets, you didn’t stop by any other dwelling; instead, you came directly here? 3)”you bring an important message.. from.. whom? 4)and so forth?
IN FACT, IN the ensuing Discourse, it is the visitor who’ll be specifying all the answers to these questions which , in turn, are semantic or implicative of the Greeting, by Virtue of the Use of the multi-meaning-endowed term: Sinabahshok.
THE MOMENT HOWEVER that this Sinabahshok (past tense) or its [pr]esent tense, Sabahshoken, is used as a Noun – general or agentive; or, in other contexts, the strong, positive, and favourable tenets are lessened. Witness as examples the following:
AS A NOUN (general apps): 1)Sabahshok e kowan sha ni hamman (Transl. “Sabahshok is what they call that act/deed.” Note: there is no implicative which is derived to touch the Discourse domains of Sabahshok in the context as either praiseworthy (or very~); or, not).
AS A NOUN (agentive): 2)Sabahshok si Ogirdor! (Transl. “Mr. Ogirdor is unmindful, headlong (action-) man!”). note: rather than positive in-implication, it is tending to be, or almost, ‘negative’.. the agent, Ogirdor is.
POST-SCRIPTUM: As yet a child in the Grades, my late mom (GRHS, God rest her soul) in one or two stories about the Pollets of old Debkow, explained in-part, the following:
“The polite and humble visiting one removes the pollets stuck on his garment infront of the household members after resting briefly in his given seat; others start removing the Pollets a few yards before being seated. In both cases, they’re saying to the host, like: “The pathways to this dwelling of yours are full of Pollets, but I’ve come (-without bother) just the same!”