June 7, 2023

ATIYO, MANANGSHYANG! INVITES used-to-be my peer (younger) Solomon F. when we were yet young boys in Sitio Riverside, Tinongshan, Itogon.
[WE BOYS FROM different Sitios used to gather around, have conversations and when trapped unawares of the darkening Dusk, we would party-dine, then sleep in that yet-unfurnished concrete house of theirs. Regularly, we were three in-company: Solomon F., Santiago Luckyes (whom we used to tease as “Spanish-American in name xxx”), and myself.
OUR PEERHOOD, PANBARKADA, swelled often in number: five.. 10, or more – when holidays like these viz. Christmas, New Year, ‘Vacations’, etc., were in-Season. Or, if there were some ritual Feasts, Cañaos, continual – in the Sitios. And, after the Night’s rest, that was the usual Topic, Greeting, or Invitation: the Shyang-shyang.. tshp (tan eshom pay =int “and related things more”).
‘SPANISH-AM’ SANTIAGO – or else, myself would reply – or join in the call and say:
OWEN, ETIYO MANANGSHYANG! (Engl transl: “Yes, let’s go have fire-warmth!”). Then, out we would go.. following the lead (usually Solomon F.; maybe another.. or a cousin – from the same Sitio Riverside [I was from nearby Sitio Jahpa – in between Sitios Pahdok and Padino]).
WE SELDOM ASKED.. in whose house shall we have Shyang-shyang.. Yesterday night, that was already arranged by Solomon F.; or else, the house-owner ‘host’ told him prior.
IF THERE WAS not this, Solomon F. and his family were ever happy to offer us the morning Shyang-shyang. This was made obvious – before dawn breaks, you can already sense the busy hands in the other house-structures; also, the crackle of burning firewood, the human low-tone voices, the welcome smell of the Benguet Coffee, tinapong, what have you. Seeing the first, (or second) of us come out of the front door, they’ll say [the father, or the mother, or all of them by the fireside]:
“KALAJO, MANANGSHYANG! TEG-IN..” (Transl: “Come, let’s have fire-warmth! It’s cold..”). The best reply you can give was: s.m.i.l.e; then, take your seat. [Saying an additional ‘thank you’ – or an a-ah, wen ah! (“EXPR, Yes indeed!”) shall excite them to amazement (or amusement!). The verbals are best said after the Shyang-shyang time.. always remind yourself].

THE BASIC REASON for this is: you and your peer(s) might not be the only ‘guests’; there are others – from other Sitios; or else, relatives. If they’re not these, they are neighbours actually, from the same Sitio; and they’re there for the morning.
TABCAL =INT “GOING to a neighbour’s house for an important, serious, [or even a] light topic-conversation.. at the same time, savouring the taste of coffee – plus the matching taro or gabi; or, the camoteng kahoy; or, the impregnable Ipoemea batatas; ‘sweet potatoes’ (“-ever sought, ever-missed – ehma pinge pingete’, as the Ikulos Ibalois are wont to say).
IN THE TABCAL, the conversants talk about so many interesting topics ‘of the day’, and ‘of the times’, e.g. relatives; special events ‘news’ – like ‘nearing-schedule Feasts, Weddings, etc.; sometimes, even Politics and [hush your noise:] who last won in the small-town Lottery; or whose child: recently graduated, got promoted, is engaged, akolisan, and so forth.
[I LITTLE KNEW of the Tabcal as an ‘institution’, until I was able to verify with two tun-od aguis – Mr Kenny Maso of Batan Matil-o, Kabayan; and Ms. Arsenia S. Sinas of Shademeg, Shekdan, Bokod; circa 2008 or 2009. Note: tun-od agui is the Kamankihang term for “cousin-relative”]. And then, the
TABTAVAL (SOMETIMES RENDERED Tabtavtaval) =int the ‘Conversation proper’ – sometimes spiced with annecdotes but going serious and factual. This usually starts during the middle (or past-middle) point of the Tabcal; and, if not yet consummated, it is continued at a nearby (Sari-Sari) store – cum matching jar or bottle of wine (or liqueur), local or ‘imported’. They ‘discuss’ – shaka diskutila, the serious and actual issues and ‘policies’ of government and officials, the ‘needs’ immediate of the community, like water, food, cooperation, and what else; they do (often, you bet!) touch on the ‘observations’ – both ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ – on Today’s youth.. or ‘younger Generation’, hajai era to-o ni Sinja (they refer to them).
IF THE TABTAVTAVAL is consisted of a ‘wider’ Audience, viz. there are: the Speaker(s) main; the ‘silent listener(s); and some D-Advocates, other Ibalois call it a Tabtaval-kimbal =int “a Conversation formal, with Rhythm (drum)”.. implying solidly that there are ideas efforted, nai ka-chom, in the “Interchange(s).. some agreeing, some dissenting, some, neither
IF – IN A given Shyang-shyang scene, the participants and/or Audience are neighbours, they may opt to talk about other Forms of Conversation (Tabtaval), e.g. Isistodja (Narrations) about people, place, names, etc; Uma-umat (Ancestor-stories).. their exploits, adventures, ways of life, etc.; Tonton (Kinship-tracking).. to the present generations and families, et cetera. So,
WHEW! WILL YOU be able to get (some of) Today’s generation to the Shyang-shyang? Maybe.. gladly maybe. And
THE TABCAL, ETC.? Still maybe.. but not this time. Everybody is careful and there are the protocols. Let’s wait.. have some brief Shyang-shyang meantime, from time to time.. until the virus simmers down.. and shall have gone.. wenn Gott will. Then, the Shyang-shyang shall flourish in the locals again! Shalom!