April 18, 2024

IT IS NOW known (or ‘called’) Binga – a quiet, simple Sitio of Barangay Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet. But before WWII and shortly, Binga alternated in-reference to an older name, which was Bingaan.

HISTORICAL ETYMOLOGY. Among the Benguets and related ‘tribes’, the suffix –an is a locative indicator of a place-name where an action, deed, event, etc., (once) happened; or, where one can find something or someone; or, where these or those abound.

SAID SUFFIX –AN could be attached: to a verb e.g. Nen Abatan, “(the place) where we, they, etc., met”; or to some nouns e.g. Kejewan (Keyew, “trees, firewood, etc.”) =int, a place or location where trees are drawn – for firewood, lumber use; and so forth; or to other things and nouns – even people that abound or where are found in such locations. Thus you have terms like: kabalitokan, “where there’s gold”, kamangmanggaan, “where mangoes abound”, and finally: Kailukuan and Kaigorotan, i.e. where Ilukos/Ilocanos and Igorots are found.

BINGA IS A Noun-term, referring to a kind of fresh water shell – small, slippery, and delicious – in any kind of cooking. It is usually found abundant in fields, rivers, creeks, and in natural springs, the Ibalois call Tebteb – whether these be springs from the ground, or riverbeds, or cliffs direct. So where they abound,
people will be referring to that place as Kabingabingaan; i.e. where people often get them for food; or, they’ll call it Bingaan, “where people (or anyone) can get Binga shells for food”.

A BIT NORTHEAST of Binga Proper – now known as ‘Sitio Marian’, was a riverbank spring, a drinking-water drawing area, Assolan, where those Binga shells abounded and where the village folks, young and/or old, can just pick-up those shells to the quantity of their heart’s content – for the next meal; even for the next-next.

BECAUSE PEOPLE COME and go to the area for purposes of drawing water or the shells; or plain viewing of the ‘Binga shells in the place, when they’re asked about their whereabouts ‘a while ago’, they just reply: shi Bingaan (Literally, “there/that place where people get the Binga; or where abound those such shells’). Narrations indicate, the place and the shells – in what is now Binga, were first discovered by the cow or cattle hands of Pucay, the Iandimay, who once were drunk, eboteng era, because they overate of the Binga shells they cooked there at Bingaan.

FOR GENERATIONS, THE village folks thereat enjoyed – and were very astute that they were from a place called Bingaan. Then in the 1930’s, some of them got interested to have their lands titled, and the addresses of their lands titled indicated: Binga, Lucbuban, Itogon; or Lebcow, Binga, Lucbuban, Itogon; etc., which suggest that Binga was then a Sitio of Lucbuban – presently a Sitio of Poblacion, Itogon. Then WWII came – four years, you know the rest; and then Independence in 1946.

TWO OR THREE years later, a school was built at Bingaan (or then was beginning to be referred to as Binga) and was called Baloy Primary School. Note: it was not called Binga (or Bingaan) Primary School.

I ENTERED SAID primary school in 1956 – at age 7, as a Grade I pupil. (We didn’t have Kindergartens nor Day Cares those days). And at Grade II or III, I was hearing the title: teniente del barrio or “barrio lieutenant/s”; so, that time: Binga (or Bingaan) was already a ‘barrio’, not just a “Sitio”.

AS THERE WAS no Grade IV at the Baloy Primary School in Bingaan that time, I went to Tinongdan for that. When I returned, there was already the Binga Elementary School. Then much later I remember: people were voting for Barangay Captains – no longer barrio lieutenants. And importantly, I later realized: Binga or Bingaan was already a Sitio of Tinongdan! And you know the rest.

WHO WERE (OR was) behind the ‘reduction’ ‘(again!), it only seems: “nobody knows”. [Come on! I’ve been trying to find out for years who were behind those ‘Reductions’ – changes: from ‘Sitio’ to ‘Barrio’; to ‘Sitio’, and back to a Sitio – of another Barrio?

AH. BINGAAN HOW full of puzzles you are! ‘Reduced’ you truly are now; but who knows? One day, you will reverberate again – into a Barangay, barrio, or a ‘native, traditional’ village! Ayuuh!