Sunday, September 6, 2015

Eulogy for a True I-Taloctoc, Kalinga

I am an i-Kalinga. I pay homage to my ancestors by following the native customs of honesty, integrity, respect, bravery, industry, and love for family. I am proud of my heritage and ethnicity.

I am an i-Kalinga, whose ancestors have carved a name for themselves in the Land of the Brave. From the fascinating view of the world-famous “Sleeping Beauty”, to the swirling waves of the Chico River, and to the fertile flat lands of Tabuk, we, the i-Kalingas, lived with pride and dignity.

Our Kalinga history spans an incredibly rich culture of nobility and integrity. In the olden days, our brave tribes fought against the people who wanted to turn our precious ancestral lands into a hubbub of modern electricity, but our ancestors protected our lands with their sweat, blood and tears – with their lives; thus we are able to maintain our ancestral lands.

This is one Kalinga legacy that we’re proud of: the courage to stand up for our own convictions. When we know it’s the right thing to do, we don’t budge an inch to do what should be done, but when we’re wrong, we take the first step to admit our mistakes and correct our misdeeds.

Although, it’s an undeniable that we fought among ourselves to maintain what’s sacred and dear to us, in the end, we opted for peace among our tribes with our “bodongs.” Because that’s what our culture is all about; it’s about maintaining peace and unity as the Kalinga people.

We also welcome change that can promote prompt interactions with our neighboring villages. We have roads now, where there were trails before, and we have safe electricity now, where there were bamboo torches before.

We try to blend with the influx of modern technology without damaging our cultural roots. We value our ancestry and culture.

I wear my Kalinga badge wherever I go. I’m not ashamed to wear it like a priceless medal and certificate of my nobility. I wear it with a song in my heart and a lilt to my steps. I brandish it like an incisive weapon to sever my fears and inadequacies.

There are countless I-Kalingas deserving of praise, and one of them is this person I’m going to pay homage to. This i-Kalinga has served with dedication as a public servant for several years, and has an unquestionable integrity that no one can contest.

He was once a faculty member of the Taloctoc Elementary School, and was eventually promoted as its principal. He moved on to Pampanga and served as a principal there too, and as a teacher, he has been known to work late hours to ensure that all tasks were done properly.

He also taught in college at the Baguio Colleges Foundation for many years.

In all his years as a teacher and a professor, he never placed his self-interest first before his duty. There was once a time that he has severely punished his own daughter for a minor misdemeanor in school in front of all the other pupils to show that not even his children are above the school rules.

His integrity, dedication to work and honesty have proven that he is a true blooded i-Kalinga; in spite of his ¼ Ilocano ancestry.

The trait that I most admired in him is his pride in his being an i-Kalinga. Whenever he was asked about his ethnicity, he would proudly state that he is an I-Kalinga. Hence, I learned from him that being a cultural minority is not something to be ashamed of.

It’s a legacy that everyone must be proud of. He participated in many activities meant to promote the Kalinga culture, and has even wrote a book that would trace his Kalinga ancestry.

He always boasted about the songs, culture and legends of Kalinga to all interested visitors, regaling them with the Legend of the Sleeping Beauty  The Bodong, and other Taloctoc folklore.

Listen to the Ilocano version of the sleeping beauty, and an anecdote as told by the subject of this post: Sound videos are courtesy of Lydia and Tess.

Conversion with relatives:
The bayanihan spirit of the i-Kalinga is demonstrated by the way that fellow i-Kalingas come together as one to console the relatives of the dead.

I personally witnessed this during his wake and interment, where the I-Kalinga’s the i–Taloctocs, and of course, the relatives by affinity, showed their compassion and respect for their elders.

Kin from the far-flung places of Kalinga came to pay their last respects to him.

The first cousins and relatives from the father side, led by Manong Rodolfo and group, the first cousins and relatives from the mother side led by Auntie Edna and group, were there to condole and console.

Most special thanks to the host family; Rene and Gina and relatives and the people of Labayug for their prayers, sympathy and help.

Pictures of relatives:

There were various contributions such as, rice, pigs, carabao, and many items that the wake and funeral can make use of. These came not only from the i-Kalingas, but also from colleagues from various professions, our non-iKalinga friends and relatives, and all those who have joined us in our hour of grief.

This shower of respect and empathy has made us bear the loss less heavily.

Dakkol e pasalamat kanakayo losan.”

I salute this true i-Kalinga, this true i-Taloctoc, because he has not only shown how a loving parent should be but also because he has taught me how to be proud of my heritage as an i-Kalinga.

Bon voyage, Sir Manolo! Safe and happy journey to you!

I tip my hat to you, Papa! Till we meet again.

 N.B. If any of you have pictures related to this event, kindly share them with us through this Facebook account. Just click this link. Thanks.

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