Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Memories of Old TImes in my Home Town

The chaotic world of the computer age made me thought a lot about the old folks in my hometown whom I had learned all the lessons of simple living. It would have been a lot worth living life if time hasn’t changed this fast and the world is still so peaceful and calm.

Looking back, I could still picture my grandparents and all the other old men and women sitting in a place they called “palasa”, which came from the English word “plaza”. This is a meeting place for the old folks if they wanted to have bonding or they wanted to talk about an important matter. They were simple folks who talked about things that were very important to the town.

If there were problems, they were easily solved by the old men without the help of the community officials. They were the voice of the people and what they said was considered law. The traditional life in my hometown was very simple.  The old men could decide matters and people listened to them.  The words of the old men were considered law in the olden times.  They were referred to as the "wise men" in my hometown.

It is sad to think that almost all the old men I adored have gone and what hurts me more is that I haven't even talked to them about the real stories of long time ago.  They are gone and what stories they might have stored in their minds to hand down to the new generation is also gone.

I was greatly saddened during my last visit in my hometown because I missed the “palasa “where I often saw the old men having a meeting. Today, what stood in place was a Barangay Building where the office of the Barangay Captain and other officials is located. Barangay is a village headed by a Barangay Captain.  The word barangay came from the word "Balangay", the boat used by the Malays when they came to the Philippines..

How I wish it was the same old community where I used to live, with all the “binangi”- the traditional home and the “palasa”. But then, time is ever changing and things also change in this world and the traditional things and culture are being modernized too. It is sad but people aren’t preserving the traditional ways and things and time will come when nothing will be left of the culture of the Igorots, save for the memories of old times.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Traditional Igorot Way of Curing

Each race has their own practices, traditions and beliefs.  My home town is still rich with old traditions; from the way a family should build a home, the best day to celebrate a wedding to the traditional way of curing.

 The old men and women of Tadian, Mt. Province have their own way of curing the sick.  With rituals and other practices, the Igorot men and women could cure just like the certified doctors.  The last time we had our family reunion, my brother was having an uncontrollable itchiness around his eyes.  He kept scratching and the hard part is he could not apply ointment because he feared hurting his eyes.  After a few hours, it was all over his face.

Our elder brother told him to try consulting one of the old women who knows something about removing unseen organisms that is causing itchiness in any part of the body.  I guess her eyes are like the microscope because she could see things that an ordinary person could not see. 
I was amazed when she took some rice straw and started picking slowly on my brother’s face.  She said she could see a lot of the organisms crawling around my brother’s face.  Every time she finished picking, she crushed the straw with her nails to kill the tiny organisms.  It was unbelievable but my sister and I watched it and we nodded our heads.
My brother said he felt so relieved after that.   The old woman does not accept payment for her services.  The old men and women in my home town do not accept payment for their services rendered.  They just love helping and serving other people without the thought of the money they could earn.  So, if you want to give money or anything, just give it as some sort of gift when you visit them next time. 

It is amazing how the old men and women do things in my home town. Would you believe, the old woman said she could see winged organisms that have already aged when she did the picking too in my nephew's foot?  My sister has been having problems with her younger son's foot that didn't heal for a long time even while giving him different types of medicine prescribed by doctors.  When the old woman picked on his feet with the rice straw, it healed after a few days. The old woman said it is the organisms that are causing the skin to itch and become raw.  Once the organisms are gotten rid, the skin disease will heal.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Men Who Worked Without Pay

These men had done a lot for the community of Tadian in the olden days. As a practice in Tadian in those olden days, men worked for the community free of charge, this is called "GALATIS" which means free of charge, from the English word "gratis". The men were a bunch of strong and hard-working people who were always willing to work without pay. I really couldn’t forget our old folks before who thought of nothing but the good of the community. They worked hard but they didn’t expect any compensation.

 Until the late seventies, there used to be community work done by men and women without pay. Today though is different. Jobs especially manual labor are given to contractors who do the job with pay of course.

How time has changed; but it cannot be avoided.  Life is becoming harsh and people need money for their needs.  I would have preferred the life before in my home town than life today.