February 9, 2023

IN EARLIER TIMES – circa almost the End of Spanish rule and the Beginning of the American regime, the Ikulos Ibalois (whence descend now roughly the populations of Kabayan, Bokod, and Itogon municipalitites) were living under the ‘care-of’ rules and precepts of their own respective Baknangs or kinglets.
SOME OR MOST of these local or ‘native’ leaders inherited their powers or distinctions – Pansaad ono Pangitongaw from their forbears who were longtime and/or lifetime(!) leaders in previous generations.
MANY OF THEM were from the Karangjan (Nobility) class, and rose to rank, after proving themselves worthy, ombaal.
VERY FEW CAME from the ‘Freeman’ class; noteworthy to mention is that: they gained the respect of the traditional class of men/people because either of: superior strength, agility or speed in movement, or supra-power displays.. expressed in their own terminologies: Kedsang, Bosikdat or Setik/Seltik, or Bahsos, respectively.
THE VILLAGEMEN AND women, the children, the old and unable folks – silbaro(?) – all of them, looked at those traits, qualities, and stances with extreme respect, awe, and due accord.
LOCAL, ORAL HISTORY versions are replete with evidences to prove that every village those times has had a culture-hero, some indelible-to-memory icons, and {even} an ‘at-present’ descendant who could stand for them, defend them, and protect them, from harm and danger; and Ergo: all they have to do – as before, is: to live and fight ‘alongside’ their hero or leader with obstinate dedication and obedience. So,
WAS THE HERO or leader they call the Impanama (Lit. “father has-become”) wielding absolute commands or decisions in the village?
IT APPEARS – BY narrations and politico-analyses of later observers and writers. This is why he is described by outside-inspired historians as ‘little king’ or kinglet.
BUT IF WE venture closely (– of course, vicariously too) at the village structure he was in, or he had his heart and mind surviving well and contented – pessed tan sinmiged, we can immediately realize – and recognize(!): he was impregnably surrounded by strong, enduring, and no-nonsense ‘pillars and fortifications’ – tutukod era tan shekdig – for so long observed, ‘simplified’, and assigned by some as: ‘villagers’ – or village folks; but peer again near-closest, and lo! behold them, with distinction; witness and regard them with appertaining credits and attributes:
THE DALAKAIS (Lit. “The old or aged men”). Grown up and ‘native’ to the area, tradition, and ways of the village. Some or most of them would constitute the Tongtong (n.b. some use “Council of Elders”) whenever the Impanama desired that they convene – to solve a problem, a new case, or an old dispute. The only one reason a Dakai (sing. form of Dalakai) may decline the Impanama’s word is when he is directly related to any of the confronting or mansasango. Next,
THE TOTO-O (or ‘Vilage people’) who – as a whole, are asked by both the Tongtong and the Impanama to pass the ‘final judgement’ on a decided wrongdoer be he or she – an insider or otherwise. A thief, a taker of life, an infedility delicto, name it. And third of the Impanama’s ‘pillars’ and shekdigs:
THE MAKSIL AND the Daleki (Lit. “the warriors and the men”), who naturally respond to calamities, troubles, force majeures, et cetera!
ALTHOUGH THEY CAN go directly to where there’s e.g. a fire, a commotion, or what, they still seek the blessing, word, or advice – pre- or post- event, of the Impanama.
INDEED, LUCKY TRULY were the Ikulos in those times! Ayo, Ayo, Ino!