Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Simple Life that i-Kalingas Live during Christmas and all Year Through

I speak from my childhood experience way back during the olden days in Taloctoc, Tanudan. Hence, some of you may no longer be practicing these simple ways. Nevertheless, I’m compelled to write these customs and way of living, so you can go back to them every now and then. They’re worth emulating.

1. Christmas was usually celebrated by a simple program presented by the elementary students of our small village. This program was organized by the only female and the only non-i-Taloctoc teacher. A mass was celebrated by a visiting priest, if there was one. If none, then the program was enough. Some families cooked special dishes and some did not.

During night time, the kids went caroling. Some girls and boys lighted up bonfires and sang the salidummay. Christmas was not a major holiday back then. I went caroling with some kids and there were old people who didn’t want to be bothered from their sleep: “Umma ko-on yo? Laydon yo danum?” (What are you doing? Do you want water?) They would shout as they proceeded to get a pail of cold water to douse us with.

So, we ran out of reach, while shouting, “You’re stingy!”

I guess times have changed now. I would like to read your comments about the updates that are happening now. You can leave them in the comment section below.

Taloctoc Elementary School; Courtesy of Virgo Evergreen
2. With regards to daily meals, freshly picked fish was cooked by simmering it in water only, with a few cloves of garlic or a piece of ginger. We sometimes washed the fish, wrapped them in banana leaves and placed them inside bamboo poles, cut into foot-long pieces. Then we cooked the fish over low fire.

You wouldn’t believe how delicious this fish dish is. The natural flavor of the fish is mixed with the aroma of fresh banana leaves. 3. Freshly butchered pig meat, yes, everything was fresh. We didn’t have refrigerators, so we plucked the veggies, and butchered the animal right before we had cooked them.

All we needed was water to cook the meat. Of course, we have cut them into cubes first before boiling with water. NO CONDIMENTS. I would never forget its delectable taste.

However, we had ground red pepper with rock salt in a saucer, where we would dip the meat before eating it. Yes, we didn’t mix the condiments with the meat when cooking, because it masked the natural and fresh flavor of the meat.

4. Likewise with veggies and other dishes; we simply boil them with water. Try it sometime, when you’re sure that your vegetables are fresh from the garden. I promise you, you would be able to taste the real flavor of the food.

5. As for clothing, we were not very particular. As long as the clothes are clean, and our private parts are covered, we wear them. So, we often saw people with holes or tears on their clothes. But mind you, don’t judge by appearances because that old woman with tattered clothes may be the wealthiest person in their village.

They could actually be owners of gold pieces (yes, genuine gold) and layers of rice paddies.

 6. Every person lived simply and there were no places for complexity – even during Christmas time.

This Christmas, I wish all the i-Kalingas, all tribes in the mountains, and all people around the world a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May you fulfill all your dreams in this lifetime and be a blessing to others.

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