Thursday, December 31, 2009

"The Sudden Departure" Revisiting it through Mountaineering PART 1

Reminiscing from my past i came across an old magazine written by my mother during the summer institute of linguistics 1985. I know very well my story but the mountains i have been climbing from the past two years is the actual journey of my past life. I am 8 days old when they carried me in a sudden escape through the rugged mountains of Mt. Gimma, Mt. Kokok, Mt Alli, Mt. Tangob and Basecamp Mt. Patukan,I have some related articles entitled "FIVE BABY SUMMIT IN TRIBAL WAR TIMES".and, "A THREE DAY ESCAPE FROM DEATH" here is the original version of the story written in Lubo language with illustration and an english summary
.. Here is my mother account on my story.

The Sudden Departure
It was 8 in the morning on August 26,1982 at our house at Bulanao Tabuk Kalinga-Apayao when suddenly a group of young men from our tribe arrived while we are having our breakfast. They are in full battle gear informing us that they killed a certain man from ***** as revenged to our relatives who have been fatally wounded in Batong-buhay gold mines by a certain member of the ******* tribe.
During that morning we celebrated a Kalinga traditional ceremony called “Kontad” The Birth of the Child-
The birth of the child means the foundation of a real family life. It is the primary aspiration of Kalinga marriage and without it the marriage bond shall eventually undergo a very sad dissolution. As soon as the monthly flow of young married woman ceases, which means the beginning of conception, the house of the couple is closed to friends, relatives, and neighbors. The couple are forbidden to go to tabooed places such as marches, caves, known haunted forests, lagoons and springs believed to be the abodes of the "Paniyao" or evil spirits opposed to the birth of children. The diet of a pregnant woman is carefully prescribed. Morbid cravings are promptly attended to. Eating dark colored fruits which may cause unpleasant discoloration on the skin of the expected infant, must be avoided. All kinds of meats coming from animals butchered for funeral wakes are also tabooed for pregnant woman.
The birth of the child is announced with joyful ceremonies. Early in the next morning after the birth of the baby the grandfather or any elder in the clan goes to the main entrance of the village, any conspicous spot, shouting that the baby is born. The after birth is carefully collected, wraped in clean cloth and secretly buried. The younger mother goes to the spring early the next morning to clean herself. All along the way she scatters ashes to drive evil spirits who might smell her and lick her. On her way back home she does the same thing to repel these evil ones from following her home to do harm to her baby. Upon her return she is given soft rive and plenty of chicken broth to hasten her lactation. On the first or second day following the birth of an infant, the mandadawak is called upon to start the preliminary offerings to kabunyan and other lesser dieties overseeing the welfare and destiny of man. The kind and size of the animal offered is determined by the status of the deity concerned. The offering are repeated at intervals during the first six months. Ordinarily ten pigs and ten chickens of varying sizes are offered. The sacrificial animals are offered to appease the deities in order that they may protect the newborn child. During the entire period of sacrificial offerings called the "Kontad" or "Gabbok". When the time's finally decided to bring the baby to the river or nearby creek for the first time, A ceremony "Dupdupit" "Dupit" (means river bank) is performed.
The men who participated in the killing ate the food that we had butchered for the ceremony of the kontad which is not supposed to be because; it is a taboo among the Kalingas. After breakfast, my father heard some of the men saying "Moormot pay de utting nu te kinanni Kontad na ." “Your son in the future may lead some bloody headhunting expedition, because we ate his kontad.” Upon hearing these words, my father ordered us to pack all our belongings for evacuation to our native village in Lubo Tanudan Kalinga which is located approximately 28km from our house in Bulanao Tabuk Kalinga Philippines and it is only accessible 6km by jeep and a three day journey by foot in the rugged mountain of Tanudan Kalinga.
I have second thoughts of leaving the house because am too weak to walk, I just gave birth to our fourth child, our first born son. Despite all the pleadings I was forced to pack all our baggage because of fear that the other tribe will kill us.Due to the fact that during that time, the traditional rule applies “An eye for an Eye, A tooth for a Tooth.”
Suddenly the rented jeep arrived from Dagupan Kalinga to fetch us. I am trembling with fear because I heard some men saying that we should be vigilant and alert because we are imminent for any ambush on our way. Am too confused and exhausted thinking of my whole family and my newly born son. My husband too, fears the threat and he suggested to our companions to get some military escort from the barracks. The Constabulary commander then gave us two military escorts.
After about 10min from our journey the jeep broke down due to heavy mud caused by the constant rain. We are forced to abandon the jeep on the road. I don’t know what to do, we have a lot of baggage and no one would carry them. My brother in law and my husband’s cousin have to improvise ways to carry some if not all of our belongings. They cut some bamboos and tie our baggages on both ends. My husband too have a lot of baggage to carry. My 5 year old eldest daughter Gladys and 4 year old Heidi have to walk on their own. My 1 year old daughter is carried by my cousin “Illin”. With the muddy and rugged terrain, my in laws have to carry my daughters until the terrain becomes accessible for a child at their age. My son keeps on crying all the way, thanks for my relative Susan who carries him because I am too weak to walk.
On flat terrains my daughters always ask their uncles if we are already near the village, they always answer “Behind those mountains, we are near” but in reality it takes a three day journey by foot. “Amod pagay angiknaanni te lubok” “We feel torn down because the terrain is too muddy to bear.”
At noon we arrive, at Cogawe Tabuk Kalinga. We stayed at our relatives from Lubuagan Kalinga name Damgay. She cooked for us because we forgot our pack lunch at Bulanao . When the food is ready “Isuni pagay da angtan kanda aran we mangan” we are like ghost or aliens who didn’t eat for a long time”.
I thought we will continue our journey after lunch, but due to heavy rains we are forced to stay in their house. In the evening, it’s been a sleepless night due to fear of being ambush. My in laws, my husband, my relatives and my tribes mate are always awake during the night, in order to ensure our safety. But me too trembles with fear when I saw their guns, I am afraid that accidents may occur.
During that night, I am praying to God all the time, my son is suffering from fever. I am thinking to go back to Bulanao in order for doctors to diagnose my son, while my relative Dammay is very busy doing the traditional method of healing “Bagasibas” .(Bagasibas is a traditional healing composed of indigenous herbal medicine with some orations.)
Early morning we ate our breakfast and started our trekking. I know god answers my prayer because Nathaniel my baby is alright. Each of us carries his /her own baggage while the men who are already overloaded carries their gun. I am always suffering from fear because I can see my daughters being carried by the men with their guns. I am always praying to god to protect them from accidents. We are like guerillas on the trail, when we see some people approaching us on our way, we have to hide in ravines thinking they were the enemies until proper identification or any signal for us to show up, because we are very afraid.
The only consolation for my daughters, Gladys, Heidi, and Genevieve are the guavas along the trail, it boost their moral to keep going. When we reached Barangay Se-et, Tanudan Kalinga. Gladys keeps on talking that she is very proud that she can walk as easy as that, not knowing that we are approaching the worst of all the terrains. My daughter keeps on saying “yeah I can walk even it’s too far”.I am happy to hear that from my daughter but my teary eye is always pouring because my daughters are innocent of the challenges that we will be approaching..
Along the way, we met some strangers who are very curious about us especially my newly born son, they don’t know that we are escaping from a tribal conflict. At around 6pm we finally reached Barangay Se-et in Tanudan and we have to spend the night at the house of one of our relatives “Wannag”. Then suddenly some people from our tribe arrive to escort us.
Early morning I have to be carried out with a blanket attached to each end of a bamboo pole because I am already too weak to walk, and the rain is pouring heavily. My husband cousin’s Susan, carried my son. We arrived at a river and I am very afraid because the water level is almost above the waistline and the current is too strong. I am very worried for the two men carrying me because I am afraid we will be wash away by the strong current. I am also thinking for my son and my daughters.It is only when I am being informed that all of us cross the river safely that I have to take a deep breath.
We continued our journey assaulting steep and rugged terrains with dozens of leeches along the way that sucks blood from us. Every minute I am always praying to god. I feel dizzy because the blanket attached to the bamboo kept on swinging. When we reach flat terrains, that’s the time I can feel better. The guys carrying me are running, they keep on insisting that we have to move fast to avoid the other river from raising. When we reached “Alli” (A certain place along the road above Tatakkan) as if that all odds are against us. A sudden rain occurred Just like a hurricane that poured so much volume of rain and the wind is so strong, it is very cold and I am suffering from hypothermia. I can’t do anything but to pray. We have umbrellas but they are ineffective being blown by the strong wind. My husband have to provide plastic bags for cover. I just can’t imagine the ordeals, my son and my daughters are experiencing.
When we arrived at the river, they brought me down from the “Bulig”(Blanket attached to a bamboo pole). I have to breastfeed my baby because he is crying all the time, and my three daughters are crying begging for food because they are all hungry. When I saw my son, he is turning pale; his skin is turning into white. I am confused of what is happening. I breastfed him while an old woman is chanting some traditional practices to drive bad spirits from the baby.Others are very busy crossing the river carrying our baggages.
I was shocked when I saw the river, it is very muddy and the current is very strong. I have already accepted defeat that this may already an end given by god.
Everyone refuses to carry my son to the other side of the river, they only carry my daughters. I heard them saying “Amod makalipsanan ta kappos” (It’s too much we are afraid we will both be wash away by the rapids carrying a baby.)..When I saw Gladys, heidi and Genevieve at the other side of the river, I am half happy still thinking of my son, my only son at that time.
Then suddenly as if God heard my prayers, some people from our tribe came to the rescue with a rope and an interior of a tire. They tied me first on the interior then tied a rope in both ends of the river they pulled me up. Everybody wants my husband to carry my son, but when I saw my husband he is trembling with fear..The only person left at the other side of the Tanudan river is my husband and my son.I just close my eyes when they begun to cross the river, the rapids are eating them, my son was covered with blanket. Suddenly I heard some cheers saying “Ingadan tako pagungupong te utting te dinormang na dinakor” ( We will call the child PAGUNGUPUNG because he was carried across big waves and rapids )When I took the baby out of his
blanket I discovered that he had been
Carried across the river with his feet
Higher that his head. The old women said
That the baby should be called 'Pagungupung'
Because he was carried across the river when
I it was very high. They were all very
Thankful to have arrived home safely.