THE SALAD BOWL OF THE PHILIPPINES
In the organization of Benguet in 1846 as a Commandancia Politico-Militar, Takdian constituted a separate rancheria from that of La Trinidad up to about 1891. It was composed of the present barrios of Bahong, Shilan, Tawang, Alno, and some parts of Alapang in La Trinidad and Acop in Tublay.
Takdian got its name because of the abundance of the plant called “takdian” in the Ibaloi dialect which was found in the grasslands all over the area. The seeds of the plant were stringed together and fashioned into bead necklaces and bracelets by young maidens. The plant was of two varieties distinguishable by the color of its seeds which are milky white and ash grey. The scientific name of the plant is “Coiz Lachryna Gobi Linn”
Takdian is located northeast of the La Trinidad valley proper. It is bounded on the north of Acop and on the northeast by Palew, both of Tublay. On the southwest, it is bounded by Alapang and Alno and on the west of Beckel.
The terrain in its central portion is level but slopes gently down following the banks of the river which flows into Naguilian and empties into the sea of Aringay. Towards the Northwest are steep mountains and on the northeast are rolling hills.
The People of Takdian are Ibaloi who speak the dialect in a straight unaccented tone as compared from the sing song intonation of the other Ibaloi from the Agno valley. It is in Tawang only where there are Kankana-ey settlements. They migrated into the area in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s from Loo, Buguias and Kibungan in search of a job in the capital town.
There were two waves of migration to the Takdian valley. The first were the “Iuwaks” who had a wet rice culture. They came in the late fourteenth century possibly through Aringay-Naguilian river route through Caliwaga then to Balluay and Pangablan or via Dalupirip following the river upstream to Ambuklao then to Balangabang. Their first settlement was at Divoong where they built rice terraces. In the center of their fields was the stone figure of the upper half of a horse. Trade with the lowlands was carried on by the people. In the late sixteenth century an Ilocano trader by the name of Carbonel intermarried into a family in the settlements.
Between the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, the thriving Iuwak settlement was abandoned and reduced to a handful if inhabitants. It was this time that there occurred an earthquake o such intensity which threw huge boulders sixty feet above the ground and opened up a great rush of water underground flooding and sweeping away whole villages. Rolling hills in what is now the valley proper was flattened and in its stead a lake was formed. For some time after this calamity the absence of Igorots was felt in the lowland trade posts in Naguilian.
The second wave of migration occurred in the early 1700’s. Following tracks of the fleet footed deer, hunters sighted the once lush rice lands of the Iuwaks with the few remaining survivors. These hunters were from the nearby settlements in Datacan, Pasdong and Palew who traced their migration origins from Ahin, Tinek and Kabayan. They had been constantly on the move in search of food living ad they did by hunting and on wild and short term root crops like camote and gabi. Later their wanderings was in search of sites and terrains suitable for rice cultivation as those they once worked on in Naguey and Abiang, both in Atok.
Takdian in the late 1700’s, was once again the site of a thriving community as the surviving Iuwaks and the second wave of several migration set up permanent settlements. From the intermarriage of the first wave of Iuwak migration, the second wave of migration from the north, which is the Cordillera area and the lowland traders was born the Takdian Ibaloi.
SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND CULTURAL LIFE
The social, political and cultural life of the pre-Spanish Ibalois of Takdian was ruled by unwritten mores, customs and traditions which more often than not have legendary origins. One such custom is the practice of old men and women called “dujeng” as was done in death ceremonies of families in the area. Four to seven pairs of old men and women sit on a swing during the wake and intone alternately whatnots ether sensical or non-sensical in a singsong rhythmical manner. It is said that this practice started when a man coming from a cañao was so dead drunk that he lost his way and slept in the woods. A group of monkeys chanced upon him and believing him dead carried him to their abode and had him sit on a chair. They placed a gold necklace upon his neck and arranged a swing nearby where seven pairs of monkeys sat and intoned in a singsong manner through the night. For fear the man pretended that he was indeed dead and as soon as the monkeys were all tired and slept, he ran all the way home and related his harrowing experience. A sequel was added to this story when a young man envious of the gold necklace thought that he could also easily outsmart the monkeys. The monkeys, however, knew better this time and killed the young man.
The center of all social, political and cultural activities in the settlements revolved around three social institutions; the “mambunong”, the cañao and the council of elders. The mambunong is equivalent to the Christian in function and role. The mambunong is said to be anointed by the gods and spirits of the dead ancestors. Their being a “mambunong” is no accident, neither is it by design rather through the mysterious intervention of the supernatural. Old man samped of the Poskey family, a mambunong as was his great grandfather Talnag, related how the spirits of his ancestors and other unknown beings appeared to him for days and weeks on end commanding him to be a mambunong. He felt out of touch with his earthy surroundings and suffered to the point of death all kinds of aches and pains till he consented to be one. Then he was taught the appropriate rites, prayers and rituals by the same spirits appearing in dreams and even in the waking daylight hours.
Unusual incidents, misfortune, sickness or mishap is believed to have been caused by the gods or ancestor’s spirits in displeasure or as a sign of a forthcoming good fortune. Such an unusual incident happened to the spouses of Kalavet who lived temporarily on a makeshift hut amidst their clearings. The rats that came to eat their camote peelings which fell between the floor slats were observed to be milking their young right underneath their hut now and then. They consulted an old mambunong and were told to make their present clearing their permanent settlements as the milking rats’ augured good fortune for them. The spouses followed the mambunong’s counsel and indeed they became wealthy. The mambunong is considered the sole authority in interpreting and prescribing the necessary rites and rituals in such incidents and happenings. The mambunong is as much a part of the Takdian’s Ibaloi’s life. Throughout his life, the mambunong is always at his side; welcoming him into the world, invoking his health and good fortune, marrying him off, protecting him from sickness and the wrath of the gods and his ancestor’s spirits and finally insuring his last journey to “pulag” a happy reunion with his ancestors bearing offerings from mortals on earth.
Social life in the settlements centered in a series of cañaos. Essentially a religious rite, it may be of festivity, solemn offering to one’s ancestors, thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, blessings of the fields and abode, curing of the sick, betrothal and marriage. All these rites inevitably bring the people together as they join in the prayers and rituals and partake of the baskets of food bringing home a sizable chunk of the animals butchered for each member of the family household. It is acknowledged that the meat distributed to each member of the household called “sakey” is an indisputable evidence that such a ceremony as marriage indeed took place and impose an obligation on the receiver to return the same should he be in a similar position or circumstance.
In Ibaloi Takdian society, there are three predominating social classes; the “backnang”, the “ibeteng” and the “baga-an”. Backnang as conceived is one who has herds and herds of animals and a long line of granaries of rice. It is said that the ground literally shakes as herds and herds of cattle come thundering in response to the call of the carabao horn at Bahong, Tomay, Bujajeng by Safang, Pittaran and Baniwas. Such were the number of the herds of the backnang. Here a distinction is made between a backnang considered as such only in his house and a backnang acknowledged and respected as such throughout the settlements. The former does not share his good fortune with his neighbors but keeps it all to himself while the latter invites and calls the people in the settlements to partake of his abundance in a cañao called “peshit”. The backnang more often than not are the original settlers of the place. The “ibeteng” are generally the new comers considered “sabo”—not of the place who worked in the fields of the backnang upon arrival and have to contend with far less choice lands in the settlements. They have just a small piece of land holding and no considerable animals to speak of. The “baga-an” are the slaves of the backnang who were exchanged for material considerations and are part of his earthly possessions to do with as he pleases.
THE ORIGIN OF RICE AS SUBMITTED BY FELICIANO GAROY (MAMBUNONG)
OF TAKDIAN, LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET
Bunong ni Sedpang
Si’kam Bugan dja dinmespag nen Bangan, si’kara nen Kabigat, inkuwan mo nen Bangan ay masidakjat si Kabigat shi naykayang tep eyey e e-awat ko son se’kato. Jet kwan nen Bangan ey ngaranto et- e-awat mo son si’kato?
Kuwan nen Kabunian ay evetkag mo at elli pelit dja mesedakjat alli ta e e-awat kon shuwa dja kalasi dja kabunahan djo shita kalotaan dja kabunahan djo.
Etaha gayan alli djet niman pamespes ka niya pagey dja ensepak dja shuwen kalasi. Say kwan nen Kabigat sadja embalenga dja pagey e peyan ko no sadja emputi eshan mo ngo dja ditufan djet si’katoy bunahen ni nayaskang shi baybay. Kuwan kono nen Kabigat: “Sadja endak dja pagey dja embalenga tuway ibunobunan ko so?”
Sungbat nen Kabunian: “Say ibubobunan mo shi panejosi ni tebteb.” Kuwan kono nen Kabigat: “Tuway pessing ko nen ibunobon ko?” Kuwan konon Kabunian:”Daga ka ni sing pidawan dja no quebuyen djo e bunumbon si’kato e etuneran mo so? “
Edi entuned sha eta pagey, kebanbantayan nen Bugan nen kabigat nunta tuha pandukon. Enon-an sha eta entoned shay pagey siniba ni otot. Enkuwan nen Kabigat so nen Bangan e “si’kam ngo e masedakjat shi naykayan mo evag-ey si Bugan. Mo ekuwan djey empasing nya enaytuned dja pagey siniba ni otot?”
Ensaludson nen Bagan son Kabunian. Say kuwan nen Kabunian: “Ti, kalespag ka ta mandepagak ni pusadja manbantay nita pagey djon pangkena ni otot. Ngem sata panbantay djon pusa adjowan niyo say way manbantay ni pagey djo. Sata pagey ya intoned djo denkayo djen singa pidawan dja entuneran djo so nita pagey bundak djo. Satan e epu-jong son sikayo dja etakshol djo shi bu-bo (pig) dja epeltek djo eyey mowan e savot dja pemeltekan djo mowan shi shulnuran. Hatan e eman ngo ni shilos djo nem man-nguso kayo.”
“Eya mowan e tud-an ko dja sahey dja mangajo-an son sikayo.” Kuwan nen Bangan. “Sifay tudan mo? Wara ngo sahey dja manbunong. Sifay tud-an mo? Si’kam e shesshengelen ni maysa’nad son si’kam. Eso nga si’kam e mangetedastas ni anak mo no sikara ngola’y to-o. Sadjay pengesngegkan mo ni olay. Sadja enshel ko ni pelmero son si’katon san asegwa.”
Kabigat – Adam
Bangan – Eve
Kabunian – God
Related by: MR. FELICIANO GAROY
LEGENDS AND MYTHS
It is described as a flat snake with a flat head. It has the ability to change itself into a horse, carabao, rig, or any other animal at any instant. It is said that where it appears and passes a landslide occurs as its body knives through the mountain side marking the line and extent of the landslide. Mr. Francisco Bugtong, a former barrio captain of Alapang, narrated to the informant that he once saw a” sahuko” during the Japanese Occupation at the place where slides frequently occur at the mountain adjacent to the Dangwa Poultry Farm. During the last typhoon, half of the mountain slipped down. Before his astonished eyes, the flat snake changed into a very thin pig. He was about to shoot the apparition with his brand new Japanese rifle that he found when the pig suddenly vanished into thin air.
To ward off the “sahuko” and strong typhoons the people in those early times burned the horns of the carabaos.