June 9, 2023

SUPUN.. THAT’S THE term I first heard from older Kinsfolk in younger years. You see, we were neighbours then to (Northern) Kankana-ey – speaking folks, and each time there was a Wedding – of some relatives.. not only in ili/homeland Applai, but also in Malig (Cagayan), in Tabuk (Kalinga), or even in faraway Cainta(Rizal), they would touch on the Supun. What was this?
IT’S SOME KIND of ‘gift’, special to the newlyweds; of course to include in consideration their immediate parents and relatives.
PERSONALLY-BROUGHT TO the celebration venue or home, or entrusted to willing hand-carriers and Kindred, the Supun by Tradition was always received with great value and honour. So that
WHEN YOU LISTENED to their narratives of the wedding, aside from the presence of the sponsors, the descriptions physical of the ceremony itself, the speeches of the Elders, etcetera,
YOU WILL NOT miss the mention of so many Supun – adu-adu ay Supun. These Supun were in the forms of:
CAVANS OF RICE, drinks ‘hard’ and ‘soft’, money, other giftly things; but most noticeably: jars and jars of ricewine! Often then would we hear the narrators, or those who attended talk of:
ADDU-ADDUN IPOGAW YA; wada da pay taga Quirino, ya Mindoro iman ya. Dat adu-adun Supun, ya oopisyal ay inmali. Nalagsak, Nalagsak; nen gangangsa kami pay.xxx
(Engl. Transl. “ There were many people; there were some from Quirino (Iloco Sur), and Mindoro CONC. And there were a lot of Supuns and, many officials who came to attend. It was happy, very happy. We even played the gongs.xxx”).
THEN, IF THE Narrator notices one or so among the listeners who was not there, he/she would ask:
“WERE YOU THERE too, or..? Kateg ma id inilak ken sik-a..” (“Seems I didn’t notice you..”).
“I WAS THERE! ask your uncle Patricio; we were backstage xxx.” The asked one may answer. But if indeed he was not there, or did not attend, the reply in most likelihood, shall be something like:
“YOU’RE RIGHT I missed the great occasion; I was in Manila!” (or, “It was my Tengao [native holiday]; or, “I was sick”, etc..) but
“I HAD MY Supun hand-carried by Izikias. Did you know if.. two jars..”
‘YES, THEY MADE mention of all the names of those who gave Supun. We heard your name xxx’, says one in the audience. Then, ¬¬
SOMETIME IN 2004, while doing indigenous voluntary work with MAKNIBA founder Mauchi Sanggoi, I met a kind resource person – Ama Alipio T., who replied succintly to my open question for an assembled audience of mixed ages.
“ONE PRACTICE I admire of the Northern Kankana-eys is their Supun.. Then, I explained the why fors? And the whences? etc., finishing with a: do we have a practice like this? Or, have you heard of a term akin to this Supun?”
AMA ALIPIO T. (GRHS, God rests his soul) raised his hand and stood up saying: ‘Sulpon emmo e kowan mo, anak’ (“It is Sulpon perhaps that you’re saying, son”). And he explained the applications of the term in brief.. I thanked him afterwhich.. for all of us audience listening.
ONE DAY, I was lucky to meet him anew in another gathering.. was it in a barangay Fiesta of Poblacion, Itogon? My chance to further allow him to explain his Ibaloi Sulpon version.
HE GLADLY SMILED and told me more about the term, lamenting as though: that the practice is going good as gone, or else forgotten. Then
I ASKED HIM if he could give me one actual example, and he obliged recalling as follows:
“YES, MY OWN experience; it happened to me when I was younger.
“ONE MORNING, I came by the late Ama J.O. of Pitican, Tinongdan, sitting at the Waiting Shed at Twin River, you know Ama Jose O. of course, don’t you? [looking he was.. at me. I nodded, he continued]
“AFTER GREETING HIM, I sat down. We talked a little about some good things. And then unpremeditatedly, I asked him
NAKSHENG MAI BALEY mo, ama? (Transl. “Finished already is your house, father?”). And he replied:
AYSHI PAY, KULANG eh essim, Sulpon nim ak kari. (Translation: “Not yet, lacking are the G.I. sheets.”). When I heard the Sulpon which he said, I immediately replied: owen! (Yes!) ama! Very amused, I asked him in earnest:
“YOU DIDN’T EVEN talk how you’ll be repaid, or what..xxx?” And Ama Alipio T. replied:
“NO MORE. IN a Sulpon, once you said it, talk next when to give it; then, give it soon. You’ll not even mention repayment… because you know, in-mind, the Creator is watching your good deed!”