Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Footprints of Kabunian Embeded on a Rock in Tadian, Mt. Province

by: Felisa Daskeo

Tadian, Mt. Province is one of the very quiet towns in the northern part of the Philippines, this is the place where Kabunian- the Igorot God was believed to have stepped down because he left footprints on a big rock.  Just like the many other towns in the Philippines, Tadian has also its share of folktales, beliefs, and practices.  Because the olden times were primitive times, people didn’t write stories.  They were merely related from mouth to mouth.  Most of the stories were told by the old men and women and nobody dared to write them and made books about them.

Look closely at the center part and you can see the pair of footprints.  The left footprints have holes on the toe part.
The Footprints of Kabunian (The Igorot God), have been told and retold several times by the old folks of Tadian Mt., Province.  

The story goes that, in the very olden days some old men who were gathered in a place called Bimmukod witnessed a very strange sight.  The old men gathering in a certain place is a normal situation in Tadian as the old men often gathered together in a certain place in order to settle disputes or talk about some very important matters because in those olden times, the old men were the law and they were the wise men who talked about problems in the community and offered a solution or else settled them.
If you look closely, the footprints are there but they are obscured by the dirt.

It was told that suddenly, the men were disturbed by the sudden appearance of a man from out of the blue.  He was a very strange man; described by the old men as foreign-looking, tall, huge with a very fair complexion.  The man just came out from a place they called “Liang”.  Liang means a very shallow cave.  There is a big rock here and below it is a very shallow cave. 
Look at the little holes.  Those are the toes.

No one saw where the stranger came from, but they spotted him first in Liang.  The men merely watched in awe and shock as they were blinded by the glittering hair of the man and his shining clothes.  With a walking cane and a dog, the men recognized him as Kabunian.  The stranger walked to the rice paddies with fast strides, then disappeared in the woods and was never seen again.

Shocked but still conscious, the men went to see the big rock where the man was first spotted, and to their amazement; they saw fresh footprints embedded on the rock.  The man left footprints on the hard rock, which was impossible for an ordinary man to do.  This time the men have proven that the man was no ordinary man and that he was Kabunian because what normal man could leave footprints on a rock?  Only Kabunian, their God, is capable of leaving an indelible sign.  There were big footprints embedded on the rock with the traces of the dog's footprints too and the cane being stuck on the rock.  All these were tangible signs of Kabunian's visit to the place.

And so the story of the old men who witnessed the passing of Kabunian and his dog in Tadian was handed down from generation to generation until I heard it and I thought it was worth writing for the people to learn that there are some events that are like fairy tales but there is proof that the story of the strange man has really happened a long time ago.

The footprints on the rock are still there,; embedded and had stood the harsh times but marred by the passing of time.  When we were small kids, we always went to play on the big rock and I can still remember clearly that the footprints then were still clearly embedded on the rock.  The last time I visited the place in May 2012, the footprints were not any more prominent.  They were obscured by accumulated dirt and weathering, but the big footprints are still there and you can notice them when you look closely.  The sizes of the footprints are too big for a normal Igorot man.  The footprints are too large.

Kabunian who was believed to have stepped down in Tadian, Mt. Province may have been watching the place for a long time until he finally left the place for good.  Where?- nobody knows but the people believe that Tadian, Mt. Province is a blessed place visited by Kabunian.  

The strange man was never spotted again and the people concluded that it was really Kabunian who passed by the place.

Based on the many stories that circulated for perhaps hundreds and hundreds of years, Kabunian always held a cane and was always accompanied by his dog.  

Copyright 2012 Felisa Daskeo

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