May 19, 2024

IN PREVIOUS ISSUES, we had presented to you some great, legendary, or well-remembered ancestors e.g. Sinizin of Bashoy-Bila, Aliw-iw the Asiwet, Maingpes of Itogon, etc., and recently – five issues back, we featured ancestor To-to – originally of the Ikulos belt of settlements of Benguet.
TODAY, LET’S LOOK into the saga/story of another celebrated ancestor who, according to narrations both from written and oral sources, was a ‘foreign’ warrior, half-Lowland, and who came later up to the Southern Cordi, thereat married, had four children, and now: hundreds of descendants of the 6th, 7th, and 8th generations.
APO SANGKOI – OTHERS pronounce his name as Sang-goi. In today’s generation and before, these two name-renditions have been both used/adopted by namesakers. I’ve tried to trace their relationships – and some of them are by-blood related; some of them say maybe not, ayshi emmo; some say maybe, but they don’t really know, wen emmo nem eg amta].
APO SANGKOI OR SANGGOI, it is said, Shaka sodsora, must have come to ‘these Heights’ or mountain rangers during – or towards the End of the Spanish Era – for the narrations of him indicate that he co-defended or fought against the busols or “enemies”. Were these busols rival tribesmen; or, were they the Spanish soldiers regular – and their conscripts, themselves?
[EARLIER AUTHORS – BOTH foreign and local, detail battles and skirmishes between these Spanish ‘forces’ versus those Ygollote ‘bands’ and warriors. Written for example are the Battles of: Apatut, Tonglo, and Lumtang (now Lamtang) circa: 1759 or thereabouts, and other smaller battles yet mentioned though undetailed by much-earlier writers and chroniclers. Try locating in the Archives an article entitled, ‘The Igorots 75 years ago’ by one of the war correspondents of the intrepid Col. Gillermo Galvey (Galbey?). Remember him?
[PLUS THE FACT that some ‘smaller encounters took place here and there between those ‘busols’ or enemies and the Igorots/Igorrotes so-called but these never got recorded; so they just stayed – for generations anyway, in the lips and songs or Bahdiws of village narrators and raconteurs. But back to Sanggoi or Sangkoi].
APO SANGKOI GAINED the respect and/or sympathy of the villagers by way of his daring and bravery against those ‘enemies’, especially, it is said, Shaka sodsora, he had a deep hatred for some of them he had fought against in the Lowlands, before he came up to ‘these Heights’.
IN NORMAL, PEACEFUL or ‘non-war’ times, Apo Sangkoi they say demonstrated his skills in basket-weaving, Pennekhap, using bamboo and rattan as main materials. They also say he taught some of his closest ‘villagemates’ sword or bolo fighting. Accounts indicate that the young men were especially fascinated! by the way ‘his Tegma (non-pointed) bolo circled about in his hands’, aman eyek e ettak tod takdai to.
BEFORE LONG, (YEARS?) ,he was asked – Kenshew sha, to marry one of the villages’ maiden: Saguinay.
SAGUINAY IS REFLECTED in some family trees as a sister of To-to (cf. Supra) and Baguinay, wife of Kirel Bangsalan.
SAGUINAY AND SANGKOI had four children: Afagshao or Matulay or Matuday; Socdet, Singkangan and Catorai. All of these four children had children and they multiplied exceedingly.
IN THEIR REUNION at Bua Pacalso Elementary, c. Feb. or May 22, 2018, I was there and I met the attending descendants – 6th, 7th, 8th generations of Apo Sangkoi and his wife Saguinay; plus the descendants too of To-to, Saguinay’s brother – some I had met before, but many truly for ‘the first time’, pinsak to pay laeng.
WE HAD PICTURE-TAKING after the pleasantries, program, and the meals. They came from all over: adjacent La Union and Pangasinan; from Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya – both highland and lowland; and of course, from Baguio-Benguet and the nearby provinces. How so unforgettable that day was – held in honour of Apo Sangkoi Dagdagod, another great ancestor of many! Ayuhh kha nete!