The indigenous Ibaloi, Kalanguya and Kankanaey tribes in Kabayan believed that there is a Super Being or Creator who developed and owned the universe. The Creator has angels called fairies that take care of various resources in this universe. The Creator is unseen but they encountered His presence and provisions. Thus, in all activities, they have to inform, ask and perform rituals for the Creator for any favor they want and give thanksgiving for any blessings they received or obtained.
A. Land Use and Management System
A.1 Present Land Use Management
As squatters in own ancestral lands, the Ibaloi, Kalanguya and Kankanaey people of Kabayan joined hands in appealing to the national government the return of their ancestral domain for proper use and management.
The local government of Kabayan through the Sangguniang Bayan has passed Resolution No. 172 revoking Proclamations Numbers 268 and 75, and respectfully requesting for the recognition of Kabayan as the Ancestral Domain of the Ibaloi, Kalanguya and Kankanaey Tribes.
In another SB Resolution No. 34-06, it requested the President, Her Excellency Gloria M. Arroyo, to recognize and return the management of Mt. Pulag National Park to the Municipal Government of Kabayan and its people. In this ADSDPP report, the Management of Natural Resources Program is highlighted that includes conservation, rehabilitation, protection and utilization.
To address national government’s thrust on countryside development and its mandates to respect the right of indigenous people, the following activities must be undertaken:
1. Identification, delineation, and recognition of ancestral domain claim
2. Consultation and Implementation of Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan
3. Consultation and Implementation of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan
The land use patterns as well as the plan and management systems are presented in Table 114. These include the built-up areas, pastureland, agricultural, forestland, tourism, and quarrying areas that totaled to 27,227 hectares. All these areas have specific management programs.
A.2 Indigenous Land Use Management Practices
Before opening an area or new uma, an animal was butchered to feed the tinmungaw or unseen spirits and request them to move somewhere else.
Before building a new house in a specific lot, about five to 10 pieces of milled rice grain or corn kernels were left on the ground for a day and night. When these remained in number, building the house may continue and become lucky. When there were missing grains or kernels, it means it is not appropriate and bad unluck.
In leveling an area for rice production (called duyap), never roll down a stone or soil without informing the unseen spirits to move away.
Source: CENRO Baguio. 2002; Planimetric estimates.
B. Land Ownership Systems
1. Type of Ownerships
The culture of the Kabayan community that is mainly Ibaloi in composition, is like that of the other indigenous peoples whose lives and traditions are rooted in wet paddy rice culture, supplemented with root crops production, hunting, and forest food gathering - in other words, a land-based culture.
Among the indigenous cultural communities (ICC), better known as Indigenous People (IPs), it was a common practice and a tradition to recognize and respect the ownership of certain lands/territory by individuals, clan or communities. This tradition has been maintained continuously by the indigenous peoples, including those in the Kabayan Municipality and elsewhere in the Cordillera Regions, despite the almost four centuries of foreign domination over the country and about fifty years of Philippine political independence.
Under customary laws, all land holding inhabitants are rightful owners of the land they cultivate and occupy by virtue of these being their ancestral lands.
The basis to claim ownership and rights were the following:
a) Establishment of irrigation systems or kolokol
b) Presence of rice fields or payew
c) Presence of old fruit trees and other trees
d) Swidden farm or um-ma
e) Presence of fences or alad
f) Utilization of the land as pasture land
g) Presence of stonewalls or Kabiti
h) Presence of old residential house
Boundaries were established by means of natural objects such as creeks or pahdok, trees, mountain ridges or stones, or man-made reference points such as fences, tree poles, etc. These practices were neither encouraged nor recognized by the government. Instead, laws and government policies have worked against it.
The new type of land ownership through the Regalian Doctrine is through Tax Declarations called “kinaba”, land tenurial holdings (Table 60, page 105), Certificates of Ancestral Land Claims (Table 61, page 106), Certificates of Land Ownership Award (Table 62, 63, 64; page 107 and 108), Certificates of Ancestral Land Claims (Table 65, page 109), and through lot improvements.
The proclaimed watersheds and national forest parks are actually the communal forest areas of the Indigenous people of Kabayan. For decades, the forests, rivers, lakes, and endemic species have been protected by the ancestors and the succeeding settlers and were free to gather what they can use for their households.
These communal forests were, however, destroyed by large concessionaires who logged all the large trees through the permission of the national government.
2. Modes of Acquisition and Transfer
Sometime in the 13th to 18th Century, Kabayan ancestors obtained the ancestral domain landholdings through scouting of better landscapes considering the presence of water and forests, wild animals for hunting, slightly sloping for rice paddies, root crop production (uma), pasture land, and distance from the area with epidemic diseases. One family can occupy one whole mountain as long as he can properly manage. The activities started with building house, establishment of uma, rice paddies, fruit land, pasturelands, fences, kolokol or irrigation canal, stonewalls, and other improvements.
As related by elders, the separation of families in Baloy were due to diseases. They then came to Embosi following the upstream of the Agno River. After years of settlement in Embosi, it was not spared from disease outbreak. For survival, some family members went farther in another area and started new settlement and livelihood.
Ecological balance was practiced by improving only flat areas for rice production and pasture land, the sloping for root crops and fruit trees, and maintaining the forest for wild animal multiplication and water sources.
Hunting of wild animals was also seen as reason of migration. Tracing the ancestors revealed that the ancestors were hunters from Ahin, Tinoc. These pursuing hunters met those people in the villages, got married, and settled in that area. The settlement in various places resulted then to the creation of the barangays.
These ancestral domain landholdings and establishments were the ones that were inherited by the present indigenous people. Inherited landholdings were not recommended for sale but in time of immediate need, it was allowed but near relatives were the priorities. In case the near relatives cannot purchase, it was dealt to other interested people.
It is noted that the inherited or purchased land/s was not limited to the cultivated land that was dealt with but also become co-owner of the water source such as the creeks, springs, watershed, and forest.
This provision in the customary law was the basic reason why forest and watershed protection are integral part to the indigenous culture. Destruction then of the forests or watersheds (i.e. forest fire), whether accidental by careless kaingin or intentional, were heavily sanctioned.
This recognition of ownership has been and still practiced without complying with the procedures or ceremonies prescribed by Philippine national laws and policies.
On the other hand, the Philippine National Governments perpetuated, from the rule of the King of Spain, through the American Colonial regime, to the present National government based in “imperial” Manila, the so-called “Regalian Doctrine” which holds that land and all the natural resources belong to the King, and now the “State”.
This doctrine on ownership over natural resources has spawned conflicts and wars (in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras) over land and of the indigenous People or ICCS to their ancestral lands and domain.
In 1986, the members of the Philippines Constitutional Convention recognized this inequity and injustice against the indigenous Peoples and in consonance with world covenants covering IP’s or ICCs, these enlightened framers of the Constitution included as part of the Constitution that they crafted “the protection of the rights of the indigenous cultural communities to their ancestral lands and domain.”
Despite these Constitutional provisions, the Ibaloi, Kalanguya and Kankana-ey tribes of Kabayan, Benguet Province still are victims of the negative effect of the application of this Regalian doctrine, through National land use laws, policies and proclamations that still have to be amended.
While it is true that the Philippine Government is mandated by the Constitution to conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation, it is equally true that it is equally mandated to protect the rights of its indigenous cultural communities.
In practice however, the National government that is dominated by vested interest groups carry out these mandates using the Regalian Doctrine, administrators who exercise the sole power to grant titles over land, grant concessions to loggers and mining companies, and franchises to build and operate hydroelectric power plants.
In the particular case of Kabayan Municipal community, the exercise of these powers based on the Regalian Doctrine, saw the entire Municipality Community covered by overlapping Proclamations i.e., Forest reserves, Water sheds, and National Parks that were issued by the National Government as if there were no people or communities living in the area.
3. Land Distribution/ Land Sharing
Land distribution was the discretion of the family head through consultation of its children. Generally, landholdings were equally divided to the children, leaving a portion for the living parents. This portion will go to the child who will take care of them until their death. The water sources, however, became communal property.
Distributed landholdings may compose each of rice paddies, upland root crop area, fruit land, and forest. For equal shares and to prevent jealousy among the children, the area was valued as to crops grown, yield and improvements. For the educated child, his expenses in school were counted.
For mortgaged area, the children were requested to contribute, pay back, and form part of the area for distribution.
For illegitimate children, it depends on the status of the father or mother. His share was smaller than the legitimate children. In some cases, it also depends on the kindness of the children if they consider the illegitimate child as their real brother or sister.
Tagibi or adopted child has also smaller share. If the parents have no children, he or she may inherit all. However, the nephews and nieces close to the family also have the right to claim.
C. Forest and Watershed Management and Protection
1. Indigenous Management and Protection Systems and Impact to IPs/ICCS
The Ibalois, Kalanguyas, and Kankanaeys who inhabited Kabayan, long before the Spaniards, Americans, and Japanese came unto the Philippine shores, have lived their own way of life, observed a set of laws which are unwritten, practiced their own customs and traditions which is now characterized as indigenous, maintained a system of government, and established relations with their neighboring communities in an ordered manner that preserved their existence to these modern times. In fact, the Kabayan mummies which parallel those of ancient Egypt are the only known mummies after those in Egypt of the Middle East (ADMP, 1999).
The entry of the foreign colonialists came with it the introduction of many things alien. While the inhabitants did not welcome whatever was new and foreign, the colonialists systematically conquered the natives sometimes through the destruction of their indigenous culture. This has disturbed life in this indigenous cultural community of Kabayan.
The indigenous people of Kabayan run their own village government headed by a village leader and manage their own resources. They built rice fields along the creeks and rivers where the area of which corresponds to what the creek or river may supply with water during the driest period of the year. A rice field owner was considered part owner of the watershed and has all the right and responsibility to protect the watershed. Wood for firewood and building construction were only be taken from an identified village forest which was communally owned. Land for grazing of animals may either be private or communal. Dry land was cultivated and planted to sweet potato, commonly known as camote. The cultivation of this camote land passed on from one person to another, however, the claim of ownership thereof by a certain person was recognized and was never disputed by whoever was allowed to cultivate the said piece of land.
Ownership of a piece of land was not based on paper title but on the recognition and respect by the community of one's claim of ownership. As mentioned earlier, boundaries were indicated by means of natural objects such as creeks or mountain ridges. These practices were not recognized by the government and worked against it.
The introduction of Spanish titles, Royal grants, the Torrens System, Tax Declarations, Water Rights, Mining claims, concessions over forest products, and various policies of the government on land occupation, has caused the harmonious life of the indigenous people of Kabayan and disturbed to a great extent. They discovered that their ancestral domain became government reservation, the trees were for the concessionaires to harvest, their gold was for mining claimants to mine, and the water from their rivers and creeks was primarily for the generation of power for the Hydroelectric power plants of the National Power Corporation. Then Mt. Pulag which was considered the after-world habitat of the "dead" and “gods” by the indigenous people of Kabayan was made a national park reservation and are continuously desecrated by tourists up to the present. To everyone in the community, this was unjust. While the protection and conservation of resources has always been the responsibility of the community, they never benefit from it.
A review of issuances from the Executive Department of the national government revealed then that the whole area of the Municipality was either a forest reserve, watershed for the National Power Corporation, or a national park reservation. Executive Order 573 places the whole town of Kabayan as part of the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve. Later, with the construction of Binga and Ambuklao Hydroelectric Power Plants, most part of the municipality was made the watershed for both dams and what has remained on the east was covered by another executive issuance making it a watershed for Magat Hydroelectric power plant. On top of all these proclamations, we also have the Mt. Data National Park Reservation on the West and the Mt. Pulag National Park Reservation on the East. All these issuances whose area coverage were overlapping clearly showed that not even a square centimeter of the whole town is owned by the residents who belong to the Ibaloi, Kalanguya and Kankanaey tribes. Yet, the Municipality of Kabayan was recognized as the seat of the Ibaloi culture.
When the inhabitant try to use some of the resources, the full force of the law was applied to them.
These situations were enough causes for many of the people to rebel against the government. Some took up arms and fled to the mountains, others went on to destroy their environment in defiance of government laws and regulations, while the rest still hope for the recognition by the government of their ancestral domain claims and the enactment of pertinent laws. This problem, however, should not be allowed to explode.
In an attempt to resolve the problems on land tenure and land issues affecting the Municipality of Kabayan, projects and programs have been mapped out and proposed.
2. Forest Flora and Fauna Management and Protection Practices
The indigenous people of Kabayan are aware of the diverse flora and fauna found in the forests, waters and lakes. They learned to associate their lives and knew their limits with their environment, thus were able to manage, protect and use whatever was around them.
2.1 Sacred Forests and Forest Crops
Areas in the forests were known to be sacred, as revealed by indigenous elder people in Tawangan and Lusod, There was a need to talk to the unseen gods. Sickness occurs when getting of plant without ritual was not done. When someone felt nervous, he/she was advised not to get.
Before gathering herbs in the forests, they butcher chicken and observe the position of the bile. Then the bile is partly hidden, the herbs are poison and the unknown spirit owner does like not someone to get. When bile is located outward, it is safe and is free to get.
When someone is there in the forest and wanted to urinate or move bowel for comfort, you have to talk to the unseen spirits to move out. Not doing this resulted to confusion of finding his/her way back or lost called nay-aw-awan in Ibaloi. Thus, can not go home and just go round and round the area termed as emandikaliked. For lost people, need to call an indigenous priest or emenih-bok to talk to the spirits.
The areas that looks cleaned, has good tree growth with beautiful flowers were known to be fairy land. The eroded soil where a smelly plant called bangaw and onions grow were called plant of the unsaved souls (egnay salakan) called bibiyew (Mr. Joseph Molitas, personal interview).
2.2 Utilization of Trees
Trees intended for cutting must be observed. It must have good green leaves, not folded, and robust. Unusual looks such as crippled and or discolored leaves, leaves inwardly intact, crooked branches, etc. indicated that under those trees are unseen spirits that lived in there.
Before cutting, there was a need to ask permission from the unseen spirits to allow cutting and get away from the area.
For building constructions, trees were obtained from large and matured ones for longer use. This was shown by the number and closeness of brown rings when cut. Immature ones have wider ring distance that easily shrink and decay.
Newly logged lumber were air-dried well to remove moisture, prevent decay and fungi attack. These were piled inclined for further drying. Well-dried lumber were durable and free from shrinkage. These were then stored inside the house or immediately used.
For firewood use, only the lower branches of the trees were taken. These were cleaned to remove barks and dried.
2.3 Land Preparation, Planting, Harvesting, Hunting and Gathering of Forest Products
Planting, harvesting and gathering of forest products are associated with the presence of the moon for more production, quality, avoidance of pest incidence, or deterioration.
Others have to observe taboos while preparing for the planned activity. Any signs such dropping of glass for drinking, crossing ones path by a bird, snake or black cat means bad luck. Without any signs means you can proceed to the forest. Bad omen or unusual observations then indicate that people have to delay the planned activity.
In hunting, before was anytime but now it is allowed in June to December. Other months were prohibited for the reason that animals may be pregnant or lactating during these periods.
Hunting needs permission from the gods residing and protecting the forest and water resources. Failure to do so would result to unusual sickness.
It was a belief that no one is allowed to throw far any stone, set fire, or cut trees in the sacred forest, ravine or somewhere for there might be spirits staying there. Once you hit, burn or injure them, you will suffer sickness. To cure this sickness, you have to pay them back by offering animal or property worth the damage.
The observations on enchanted trees, creeks, or river banks, on the other hand, had help in the conservation of resources.
Before, policies were instilled based on agreements among the community people. At present, there are now ordinances with penalties.
2.4 Age-old Protection Management Plan
Forest and watersheds are vital support systems of the environment, the agricultural systems, and other livelihood activities. In 1900s and beyond, Kabayan used to be thickly forested and protected areas. However, as years passed, it was opened for logging concessions.
As noted in the ADMP report (1999), “the hundred generations of the Indigenous People of Kabayan have been protecting the forest and watershed for centuries as part of their land based culture”.
Painstakingly, they were denied of the use of the pine forests by law while the large logging concessions, licensed by the National Government, cut with impunity the century old trees.
Furthermore, the lands of these cultural communities have been declared as watersheds in order to maintain the water flowing from the creeks and rivers that generate hydroelectric power for greater manila and the urban centers.
In addition to the above, electricity came late in the homes of the Kabayan, Bokod, and Itogon communities whose lands were declared inalienable watersheds, for the past more than forty years.
Though the Kabayan Ibaloi, Kalanguya and Kankanaey received unequal treatment, they have certain forest management practices, policies, and control systems. Among these were:
In private forest, a person cannot just cut trees without permission from the owner.
In communal forest, it is allowed to residents only for construction of residential house, and not for sale. However, with the difficult times at present, residents are forced to sell for cash to be used for basic needs.
Burning the forest is not allowed, prohibited, and penalized by replanting new trees. Thus in the uma or swidden farm, farmers see to it that only the area for planting is burned.
D. Water Resources Management and Protection
It was a tradition that the creeks (pah-dok) or rivers belongs to everybody even if it is within the individual’s area. For potable water, it is considered clean as long as it came from the forests.
As mentioned earlier, the agricultural land that was inherited or purchased was not limited to the cultivated area but also included the rights to the water source. A person who owns a “payew” or rice land was also part owner of the water source, both the creek and forest or watershed (ADMP, 1999).
This was the basic reason why the protection of the forests and watersheds became integral part to the culture of the Ibaloi, Kalanguya and Kankanaey. The destruction of these e.g. by forest fire set accidentally by a careless “kaingin” or swidden farmer was heavily sanctioned.
In constructing the “payew” (or rice paddy), only the area that could be irrigated by the water from the creek of river were turned into rice paddies. Additional rice fields were built on condition that these were planted to rice only once a year, i.e. during the rainy season when water was plenty.
The “kolokol” or traditional gravity irrigation system was communally owned by all the owners of the “payew” (rice fields) supplied by the system and every one of the co-owners shared in its maintenance. The watersheds were likewise communally owned and the co-owners were equally responsible for their watershed protection.
Whenever, ownership of a rice field changes, which was usually through “tawid” (or inheritance) system, the new owner acquired all the rights, privileges and responsibilities the former owner had.
This practice was common mainly among the Ibaloi speaking peoples, the tribe who are known to have had a long tradition of wet paddy rice cultivation.
The Kalanguya speaking inhabitants, who are mainly the hunters, and Benguet kankana-ey speaking natives, who are mainly the miners, adopted the same practices when they learned to build their own “payew” (or rice fields).
Fishing practices were usually done during summertime when the rivers were safe. They make use of pointed and curved wire baits, fish nets, bamboo-weaved fish catcher especially for mudfish, or by re-routing the flow of water.
Recently in 2002, aquaculture was launched in the municipality and young eels were released in the rivers. Tilapia production was also introduced.
The ADMP report (1999) identified water resource management plan as priority program, and is again reiterated in this ADSDPP report. These plans included the following:
1) Water/lakes/rivers embankment
2) Fishing policies
3) Nature use policy
4) Soil erosion control
5) Reforestation of denuded forests
6) Nursery establishments
7) Protection Policies
E. Mineral Resource Management and Protection
Mineral protection is also an integral part of Ibaloi and Kalanguya culture. Like the forest, mineral resources have been loyally protected for centuries. No such mining activities being done in Kabayan.
The proposed activities for mineral resource management are as follows:
1. Identification of activities allowed in mineral extraction
3. Sharing system
4. Location and management
5. Potential mining area
F. Marine Resource Management and Protection
Unlike the areas nearby the sea, the marine resources of the Ibalois are the resources found along the Agno River. These are rich in indigenous species of fishes, crabs, and other edible species. Indigenous People do fishing occasionally by manual using hand-made fish nets and baits but never use electric and dynamite that would kill all the species including young fishes. With the introduction of eels and tilapia, river fishing of indigenous fishes is rarely done.
The proposed management programs for marine resources include the following:
1. Aquaculture Enhancement – fingerlings production for tilapia, eels, carps, indigenous fish, yoyo/jojo, edible snails such as noso (pointed black snails), and binga snail; edible ricefield bactel
2. Enhancement of fish culture for tourism fishing activities and recreation - embankments for indigenous and cultured fishes
3. Establishment of Exotic Foods Haus for indigenous fishes, snails and other water products
4. Management of water resources/policies/prohibitions
G. Natural Health Practices
G.1 Forest crops, herbal plants and uses
Several indigenous herbs have been gathered in the forests and used as natural health protection and prevention. These indigenous herbs or plants well known by old generations but there was less research on this to determine their properties.
Among these herb plants are used for skin lesions, snake bites, insect bites, stomach aches, headaches, constipation, loose bowel movement, fever, cough, and many other physical disorders. Others are used to drive evil spirits, worn or pinned for good luck, served or offered for more blessings.
Agricultural crops that are known to relate to long life is eating vegetables, root crops, fruits, fish, and meat. Vegetables such as gabi and camote were known to have been the survival food of many people and claimed to contribute to resistance to diseases and hard work.
G.2 Health Remedies to disorders
For goiter disorder, tadpoles and snails from the rivers, creeks and rice fields are good food because of the iodine-rich content. It is advised to eat whole parts and drink the soup.
For eyesore, early morning dewdrops from clean leaves are dropped to the affected eyes.
Skin lesions known to be caused by unseen spirits need to offer chicken or any animal that compensates to the cause.
For malaria, the rattan and bamboo young shoots were prepared, cooked, and served to the patient.
G.3 Birth Control
To control birth, indigenous people practice natural method. Another is by drinking tea from an indigenous plant called litilit. The tea is taken just after giving birth. When the couple wants to give birth again, the tea is again given. The litilit plant is also good for kidney infection (Hon. Joseph Molitas, personal interview).
G.4 Remedies to Difficult Child Delivery
When someone was nearly to give birth and has difficulty in delivering the baby, the immediate family member (preferably the husband or mother) gets two fresh rono plants called sapsap, make a knot each at the young leafy end portions called siglot, fix in the doorway in slant position where the knot meets, and pray that this knotted rono is a sign for protection and good delivery.
After three days, two live rono plants nearby the creek or taroy (bamboo flutes for irrigation where mothers bath and wash clothes) are again made into knots. The mother washes her face there called shah-dop. This is done to take care of the newly born baby.
When the mother enters the house after washing, the abuwang is performed. This is done by butchering a big hen and the mother together with the family eats together. This is done to return back the health of the mother.
Another practice when the child has difficulty in coming out, they perform the lindang to open up the uterus. They butcher a kaong (mother pig) and conduct the bunong or prayer.
At present, only prayers do.
G.5 Proposed programs and activities to protect resources
The proposed natural health protection system includes:
1. Documentation and publication of herbal plants and their uses
2. Nursery and mass production of herbal plants
3. Analysis of properties and product development of herbal plants
4. Market Promotion of indigenous herbal products and uses
5. Conservation campaign in the community
6. Protection of medicinal plants from bio-piracy and application for IPR
7. Commercialization of herbal products
H. Indigenous Protection Systems for Resources
H.1 Use of what is only needed
To protect the resources, the indigenous people harvested only what they needed or consumed. For instance, fruits in the forests are harvested based on what can be eaten or shared to family members. It was prohibited to cut the branches for the next fruiting. Over-matured fruits are left behind to disperse its seeds and grow into new plant.
Gathering firewood should only be the branches and not the whole plant to branch again. Herbal plants should only be branches or leaves and not to uproot the whole plant. If roots are included as herbal, leave some plants to multiply for the next.
Food products from the forest such as wild mushrooms are also protected by not cultivating or using it as pasture area.
H.2 Land reservation or savings for the Generation
Another indigenous saying relates that a wise and a respected man should not sell all his land but leave some for his children say waray pan coycoy coyan ni aanak (so that there is enough playground for the children to play) or waray panbedeyan ali ni aanak (for children to build their houses). He should not eat all his crops so that waray kenen ali ni aanak (so that there will be some food for the children). He should not spend all his earnings or money, say waray palata ja pan-iskueda ni aanak (so that there is silver coins for children’s education).
H.3 Education for Children
When education was first introduced and established in Kabayan, every family saw to it that at least one child per family or community was sent to school. Ancestors realized that it was not only the land and house that they could give to their children but also education. Education then became a sacrifice and an obligation for parents to send their children by all means. They never stopped teaching their children that education is the best inheritance that they could provide, that no one can snatch, can be carried everywhere empty-handed, and can be used or applied all the time, unlike the land and any material things. It was further stressed that education should be passed to the next generation, and if possible, see to it that the first child should be educated as model and help to the next younger brothers or sisters.
This saying connotes that indigenous Ibaloi people always foresee his future, his children, and grandchildren. He works hard to have something for the family.
H.4 Planting Diverse Crops and Harvesting
For crops, every household member, even at young age, was taught to plant, harvest and eat what he produced. Children usually were brought to the farm for hands-on training on crop production. It was often the mother that explains the 5 Ws (what to plant, how, why, where, and when). Seeds or vines from any crop were kept for planting.
For fruits and coffee, seeds were planted in the backyard or uma. There was a saying that you are given only once or twice but the next time, you have to plant also for you, your children and relatives. Thus, fruit trees and coffee were common in all household backyards. In fact, residential houses with several fruit trees have the impressions of being very industrious or eh-caget. The coffee was a popular daily beverage, especially for the old folks.
Diverse crop production was long time knowledge of indigenous Ibaloi people in Kabayan. Root crops were important as snack foods. This was shown by serving camote (sweet potato), aba (gabi), and sangday (cassava) during kikan (any feast celebration) while waiting for the main food or pangan. Root crops were also cooked as snacks or para pintang ni agsapa and usually served with coffee. It was also for backpacked food in the farm or balon shi uma. Some cooked ones were left as hang-around foods for the children to eat while parents were in their uma or payew (or farm).
Not to miss was rice production. Even the ebiteg (poor) has at least one to two paddies of rice to till. Due to the difficulty of growing rice, every household member was taught to value every grain of rice. During meals, no one was allowed to leave a grain of rice in his/her plate. In case of unavoidable spillage, one has to pick up that fallen rice and feed to pet animals. Spoiled cooked rice was feed to pigs or dogs. Children were taught that throwing away rice was the same thing as throwing blessings. This way, children have realized that rice production is difficult.
Planting crops were done in fertile soils, good drainage, and time of planting. For poor soils, organic matter was applied. The best time of planting was done before the onset of the rainy season. For dryer months planting, weeds were covered on the base of the plants to conserve moisture. During rainy seasons, dried weeds are preferred to prevent re-growth. As they further decay, they eventually become organic fertilizers. It was a knowledge among the people that organic matter improves soil properties, increase microorganism activities, and result to good yields.
Planting trees and shrubs were also important as hedges and soil erosion prevention. These could be bamboo, fruit trees, sunflower, rono, and others. Legumes such as cardis/kelshis or chick peas are alternative source of young legume pods. Sunflowers were important as organic source of nitrogen in the rice fields.
Thanksgiving was part of the indigenous Ibaloi, Kalanguya and Kankanaey cultures. For every good harvest, the IP people gave thanks to Kabunian for more blessings, more protection, long life and better health.
To celebrate thanksgiving, animals were butchered and observed the bile. When it is large and not hidden, it is good luck, magebay (robust) or magesat (fruitful). When bile is hidden, it is bad luck and thus has to get another animal.
H.5 Honesty, Openness and Sharing System
Stealing of one’s crop or produce was prohibited. In case of absence of the owner, a relative was allowed to enter and eat if hungry, utilize or take what was needed but has to be returned, changed and reported to the owner later.
Ibalois strongly believed that what you plant or do will be what you will harvest or receive. Thus, in early times, helping each other was common. Sharing what you have was a tribute appreciated by Kabunian. They observed that sharing and openness was the reason why they have excellent good crop yields described in Ibaloi as malujok ja pagey, malemes ja mula, mabudong ja nateng, and so on.
H.6 Practice of Sangbo
Sangbo is a term for celebrating any unusual event or observation that a family or his member experience.
For instance, when a bird (tamed-like or ayop) comes into your house, the family butcher a chicken. The bile is inspected and when it is good, the sangbo is performed.
When the same bird comes back, it is a sign of good luck so another sangbo is done. Some of the feathers are trimmed and the bird is released.
When it comes back for the third time and shows its trimmed feathers, it means you are very lucky. Again, sangbo is performed by butchering a pig or whatever animal is available.
Visiting snakes are also observed. When a snake enters the house, it is offered rice wine or tapey. Generally, the snake tastes it and leaves. When it leaves upward, it means long richness. If it moves downward, it means short richness. In both cases, the family performs the sangbo.
There were instances when big snakes visit houses. When it stands up in your budayan (or playground within residential house) close to your cogon ceiling, it needs sangbo for good luck. However, if it is far, it means it is just passing by.
Honey bee colony/ies that also build home within your residential house were also given sangbo. This is done by butchering chicken or pig.
Eggs laid by chicken or bird inside the house, especially if unnoticed, do not escape from celebrating the sangbo. Any egg or round objects mean unending luck.
For every blessing, one must share to relatives and or neighbors and should not be selfish so that the blessings will not get away.
To some, dreams are also given attention. Dreams are relayed to the elders for interpretation. Depending on the advice of the elder, the person who dreamed perform what was told to him. Elders generally advise people that you must be careful in interpreting a dream, and must relate to the 5Ws – What, When, Where, Who, and How. For example, garden or green sceneries mean growth; monkeys are usually traitor; receiving round objects are unending luck; long objects are long life, and so on. Whatever the dreams are, people make a simple celebration.
Data Source - NCIP, Benguet