June 24, 2024

ORAL HISTORIANS WHERE I come from narrate the earliest journeys, impan bunal, of the Iowaks, from North to South. ‘North’ where?
THEY’RE POINTING AT a used-to-be settlement-original, Binaljan/Binalyan, somewhere near, or at the foot of, today’s Mt. Pulag. But
THAT WAS GENERATIONS ago, sampulon apo ehmo (Lit. “Maybe 10 ancestors-in-succession ago”), those narrators say.
TO THE EASTERN ridge they passed by: Palanza, Naswak, Cabanglasan – all parts of Bokod; then Kayapa (Nueva Vizcaya), and [at this point, you may interrupt to ask: ‘aren’t the Narrators confusing the Early Iowaks with Kalanguyas’ My answer: “Yes, we’ll deal with the later, please”; so to continue:] and further South, finally settling in the Mountains of Caranglaan, (Nueva Ecija).
THE QUESTION AT-HAND now is: did those Early Iowaks just ‘passed by’ those present-day settlements of Palanza, et alii; or, did some families settle thereabouts? It appears,
IN THE NEARER East flanks, some did, and wherefrom rose forth the ‘originally-Iowak’ (note: many modern ‘versions’ of Today deny this) settlements of: Karao (partly, latest obtained data c. 1997, “10 big families responding to Iowak ancestry” in Karao); Central Bokod itself, Ambayek; Bolo, and finally: Beneng (now part of Brgy Bobok-Bisal). And then
THERE WAS A third(?) group – which dared move Middle West – and finally settled in Tacdian/Tomay, La Trinidad (now)
AFTER SOMETIME – TIRED of being ‘strange-greeted and treated’, Demdomkha, by some Ibenget (Benguet/La Trinidad), they decided to ‘move out’ – anywhere, under their powerful leader, Matuday or Matulay. They passed through the middle of Kafagway (now, Baguio City); then Tusshing. Matuday’s dream was to later join their ‘co-exodus’ Iowaks who journeyed by the Eastern-most flank and the ones near the Eastern-middle – via Ambayek and Bolo.
THEY – MATUDAY AND his group, were kept at-bay in Upper Liang (today, the Area close to the former Antamok Mines). The narrators say:
‘THERE WERE TWO footrails Eastward: the upper trail and the lower one. People weren’t using anymore the upper trail – which could be more convenient due to its wider walk-way. Meanwhile,
MATUBAY STOPPING BY the diverging point, bihsahan, of the two trails, and reasoned:
‘IF WE TAKE the Lower Trail, none of us will die; but we’ll have to go up later – to the mountains on top where this trail continues;
‘IF WE TAKE the Upper trail, maybe some of us – or all of us will die.. but maybe none of us too may die! He thought by himself, nan nemnemnent; then, he started walking – slowly, towards the Upper trail!
TWO OR THREE times, he looked back at the line of his following folks; then, he continued walking – now, at a faster pace. Soon, they were before the cave where the ‘fire-spitting snake’ lives – and they were spotted.
THE FEARFUL SOUNDS of the fire-spitting snake (n.b. in these times, we wonder: was it rather a dragon?) filled their hearts with great fear. But Matuday instead stepped nearer and spoke [in a ‘quite different’ language] – deduced, meant, or [now] translated:
‘MIGHTY SNAKE OF the caves, I’m also a son of your ancestors. My name is Matuday. Kindly allow us to pass; we’re journeying towards the trails our earlier folks took, mighty snake of the caves!’ And the snake kept still, silent. Matuday too – he just stood there looking at the snake while his folks were walk-proceeding, amangkanaksil.
WHEN THE LAST man passed by between Matuday and the snake, Matuday raised his hand in a gesture of ‘Farewell’(?) and said: “We continue now our journey, we salute you and fellows of the caves!” And proceeded, they did:
AFTER LOAKAN, CAMESONG, Apalan, Debkow, then: Binga (‘explored’ but not yet settled that time. They crossed the great Agno river – and climbed up to mountains – always their preference as stopover places, with the same biting cold weather – as used to they were. Ayuhh Kha nete!