Saturday, September 12, 2009

Memories of December in Taloctoc

These are the "BER" months once again and Christmas is just two months away!

Celebrating Christmas in the village of Taloctoc had been a unique and wonderful experience.

I will always remember those cold mornings around the hearth, drinking a hot cup of coffee while the firewood crackled happily. Christmas mornings were always cold then. I was 10 years old then and life was going good for me.

After the morning ritual, I and my friends would run off to the woods and prepare our caroling ensembles. We would arm ourselves with bamboo flutes, a bamboo treble, and a drum made up of the carabao’s hide.

In the evenings, we would go from house to house singing our disjointed Christmas songs.”

Merry Christmas to you all.
Merry Christmas to you all.
Dong-dong ay si dong-ilay, Insinali –dumma-ay.

We went all night long doing the rounds of all the houses. There were, more or less, 300 households in that small village, and we visited them all!

The folks were very generous to us. We would go home with our arms full of fruits, candies, rice cakes, sugar cane, and yes, even coffee and mongo beans. It was very rare that a household would not give anything.

But there were funny instances when we sang a naughty lyric to those very few who were lazy to get up, and then we would run as fast as our small feet could carry us.

I still laugh when I remember a friend who got drenched by cold water because he poked a sleeping old man with a stick, in between the bamboo floor slits. Lol… I know now, it was not really funny, but at that time, the audacity of the youth in us, was given free reign.

Some folks became extra generous when they see me with the other kids “Sa anak mistala anna,” (She’s the teacher’s daughter.) My mother was the only female teacher in the nipa school and they respected her a lot.

There were adult choirs too who sang the English, Christmas songs beautifully molded into the native tongue, and their musical instruments were totally a blast. I have never heard since then, something even closely resembling them.

It was like music coming from the heavens.

Taddoks (Kalinga dance) are also conducted in the school's plaza where food, wine and celebrations went on until the wee hours of dawn in the blazing illumination of a bonfire.

From my Kalinga folks and me, I greet you, “Mambayo eh Krismas yo at de umali e December!” (May you have a merry Christmas this coming December )


madz said...

Maybe the reason why Philippines has the longest Christmas is, we started it one the month ends in 'BER' :)

Merry Christmas!

Anna Nida said...

Article on how they have celebrated christmas in thier taloctoc is interesting to read... I encourage this website..thanks

ajchtar said...

Christmas is a very long event here in the Philippines because generosity is a way of life here. :).