February 1, 2023

(3rd of a Series)


[THE IOWAK SPEAKERS had known from their own elders that Otbong was a settlement SE of Shekdan – the starting point of Aliw-iw and (his) Buyot; and that, in fact, the old Pucay himself used to tell them: his own wife Dominja was a close kin of the I-Otbongs].
THEY DID JUST that: narrating, telling ancestor accounts, re-living the Past. When they felt more serious, they sang and recited =int “with brief narrations added” the Bahdiw Oral (and spontaneous_ Poetry.
WHEN DAWN CAME, Aliw-iw spoke: “how many hours more, pigan oras pay, daylight will come. My family and I wish to take a view, bisnaen mi ga, of the land (and its extents) of grandpa Pucay.. that my mother always told me about when I was yet a kid. You’re willing to show me, aren’t you? [Most of them nodded; some said]:
OWEN AGUI (“yes, kin”), “Owen eshan” (“Yes, assured”), etc.; then, some took short naps – but others went on with their Ba-diws; flanked and inspired by the Baloy women singing the Attob or “answer-songs”, cum Rhyme and Theme – in accord with lines of the Bahdiws sung. Soon, the Sun was peeping, the singing stopped and coffee – matched with: sweet potatoes, taro (gabi), and the ‘native’ tugi – brought in by early-arriving Baloy women, was served – or made available, to everyone. After coffee-time, the older men were slowly going out of the house. Aliw-iw followed suit. Then, they were talking.
FLOODING THE MOUNTAINS, hills, and semi-flat lands with his eyes, one volunteered: “this one where we stand now, and those ones.. as far as your eyes can see!”
‘THIS ONE THOUGH has been for animal pasture.. of course, a hunting wide ground – for wild pigs, deer, and wild chicken.. egwayan anufan ni animolok, ulsa, tan sabag’, joined another.
“AFTER YOUR GRANDMOTHER (– or Pucay’s wife) died, Afu Pucay had some of his cows caught and driven up to Shekdan – they say, for good.” said a third speaker.
‘FOLKS HERE SAY, after that time, they seldom saw him come this away – but his Pastols – mostly from here, often journeyed to Shekdan.. you perhaps had met them?’ said another. [Aliw-iw nodded]. Then, an older one among the group said:
‘NOW, WE MUST go back to our dwellings, we shall come again.. from time to time, agui. You’re our son, too!’
AFTER A DAY or two, Aliw-iw thought: he had to allow now two househelps to go back home to Shekdan. The I-Baloy elders provided them two guides – up to where the househelps were familiar – to further proceed on their own, engkhatud ma amtara ngo mala.
[THE NARRATIONS INDICATE: guides and househelps stopped a while and parted just after Banao, shima aadaw ni Banao – after a Banao elder pointed’ how to climb up to Innidian; and the househelps said from Inidian, they already know the pathways back to Shekdan].
WITH NO MORE househelps and I-Baloy (n.b. those from settlement Baloy) newfound kin or agui to help them, Aliw-iw, his wife Paula, and daughter Insib, were now alone – left alone to fend for themselves at the Danso – the old shack left by Aliw-iw’s grandpa Pucay, some years ago – though sometimes used or slept-in by his Pastols- or some tired, exhausted animal hunter, or Mangenop.
IN THE FOLLOWING days and weeks, Aliw-iw mostly went hunting – wild chicken and tilay; or fishing the native varieties of pike and minnow.. and the [exclusively] Bingaan bigger pike fish – the Bitenga; while
HIS WIFE, PAULA – with daughter Isnib tagging along, busied herself keeping clear the [now] Danso house and going further out sometimes to hunt for wild tubers, mushrooms and puffballs – tamojan tan bo-o, and the like.
AFTER NOT SO long a time, the family got used to the Danso’s environs and the many, ‘natural amenities openly available to them: potable water, wild games, berries, and tubers; fish varieties, edible ferns and, vegetables e.g. the paco and khadabong; the ‘native’ nozo shell, and yes: the most abundant Binga shells! So special to them because: there’s that place near – East of the Danso where once the cowhands of Pucay discovered said Binga shells.. and thenceforth referred to a Bingaanor literally: “where Binga shells could be had or found.” Also,
THEY WERE NOW fetching their drinking water at same place: Bingaan! [It was to be their Asolan =int drinking water source for a long time.. until: they got by bamboo pipe line – taruy ni kawayan, the Camodinga spring water, at a much-later time.