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- A Study in Tinguian Folk-Lore - 5/14 -

wife would be allowed to share in her deceased husband's property. [60]

It appears that only one real [61] wife is recognized as legitimate, but that from "the first times" to the present a man might have as many concubines as he could secure.

So far as mythology and present day conditions can inform us the bride has always gone to the home of her husband and, for a time at least, has been subject to the dictations of her mother-in-law, although the couple are generally soon established in a home of their own, in the town of the groom. There is nothing in Tinguian life or tradition to indicate that they have ever had a clan system or a matriarchal form of government.

The few references to the procedure immediately after a death indicate that, in part, the people of to-day follow the old custom; but here again an important departure occurs. We are thrice told that the corpse was placed on a little raft called tabalang and set adrift on the river; and in one case the afterbirth was treated in the same manner. Nothing of the sort is done to-day, nor does it seem at all likely that such has been the case in recent generations. The body is now buried beneath the house, and certain set rules govern the movements of all persons related to the deceased, as well as the disposal of the corpse. This procedure is so complex and so uniform throughout the whole Tinguian belt that it seems improbable that it has grown up, except through a long period of time. At this point it is interesting to note that at many ceremonies it is necessary to construct a small raft called tal-talababong, or talabong, to place offerings in it, and set it adrift on the stream, in order that any spirits who have been prevented from attending the ceremony may still secure their share. [62]

The festivals, the dances, the observances of the proprieties required by good breeding or custom of to-day, follow closely those given in the tales. The greatest divergence is in the offering of betel-nuts and the telling of names, which occupies such an important place in the narratives. The use of betel-nut for chewing is less common among the Tinguian people than with most other Philippine tribes, a fact which may be accounted for by their constant use of tobacco. However, betel-nuts still occupy a most important place in the various ceremonies, and many offerings intended for the spirits must be accompanied with the prepared nut. In nearly every instance when invitations were sent out, for a ceremony, the people of the tales intrusted an oiled betel-nut covered with gold with this duty. This has its counterpart to-day in the small gifts of gold which are often carried to some friend, in another town, whose presence is particularly desired. It seems not improbable that the golden colored husks of the ripe betel-nuts may have suggested the substitution.

Magic was practiced extensively in "the first time," but it is by no means unknown to the people of the present day. They cannot now bring a dead person to life, or create human beings out of bits of betel-nut; but they can and do cause sickness and death to their foes by performing certain rites or directing actions against garments or other objects recently in their possession. Even the name of an enemy can be applied to an animal or inanimate object and action against it be transferred to the owner.

Like the Tinguian, the people of Kadalayapan and Kaodanan are warned or encouraged by omens received through the medium of birds, thunder, lightning, or the condition of the gall and liver of a slaughtered pig; [63] and like them they suffer for failure to heed these warnings, or for the infraction of a taboo.

The myths of the first division make it plain that, to the people of those times, the sun, moon, and stars were animate--either spirits or human beings. In some cases a similar conception was held for thunder and lightning, while in others they appear as animals. It will appear that such ideas are not foreign to the second division of the tales, which represent present day beliefs. Thus, in the mountain village of Baay the sky is considered as a male spirit--the husband of the earth, and father of sun and moon. Again, in Lagangilang and Abang, the thunderbolt is identified as Kadaklan--the most powerful of all spirits--who "often eats the ground and releases his wife Agemem."

This brings us to a most interesting question, namely: Are the chief actors in our tales to be considered as celestial beings and spirits, or as human heroes? We have already made note of the fact that in the first tale Aponitolau is identified with Ini-init whom, we are told, was "the sun," "the man who makes the sun," "a round stone which rolls." In this tale he marries Aponibolinayen, a maiden whose name may possibly be construed to mean "the woman in the moon." [64] However, we find Aponitolau abandoning his place in the sky and going to reside in Kadalayapan. This tale comes from the town of Langangilang where, as we have already seen, the celestial beings are regarded as spirits. Tale fifteen, coming from the same town, shows us this same Aponitolau going up to the sky, where he marries the spirit Kabkabaga-an, but as before he returns to his home below. A further indication of his celestial character is perhaps afforded us in tale fourteen, which was recorded in Patok, a valley town in which the sun, moon, and stars are now regarded as "lights" belonging to the spirit Kadaklan. Here we find that Aponitolau marries the star maid Gaygayóma, who is the daughter of the big star Bagbagak, and Sinag--the moon. In this same tale Aponibolinayen appears as the first wife of Aponitolau, and it is clear that in the mind of the story teller she is not identified with Sinag. Aponitolau appears in the other tales without any hint of celestial qualities. Aside from her name and the fact that she is once pictured as visiting the sky, there is nothing to indicate that his wife Aponibolinayen is to be considered as the moon. A careful study of the other characters who reside in Kadalayapan and Kaodanan fails to yield any evidence that they are considered as celestial beings.

During the Sayang ceremony held in San Juan, a certain man and woman, who are then called Iwaginán and Gimbagon, [65] represent the good spirits and are defended by the people when evil spirits try to dispossess them of their property. This is the only instance I have observed in which the names of any of these characters of the tales appear in the ceremonies, while a list of more than one hundred and fifty spirits known to the Tinguian fails to reveal more.

While in the practice of magic, and in their communication with nature, celestial bodies, and spirits, these "people of the first times" far excelled the present Tinguian, they had a material culture and ceremonial life much like that still found in Abra.

It seems then that these people, about whom the stories cluster, are not to be identified as celestial beings or spirits. [66] They appear rather as generalized heroes whose life and deeds represent that of an earlier period, magnified and extolled by succeeding generations.


The second division of the tales now assumes a position of importance to us, for in it we find present day ideas and beliefs of the people strongly brought out, and are thus in a position to contrast them with the tenets of the people in "the first times."

The influence of custom is exceedingly strong among the Tinguian of to-day. The fact that the ancestors did so and so is sufficient justification for performing any act for which they have no definite explanation. Nowhere is this influence greater than in the ceremonies. These, which accompany all the important happenings in their daily life, are conducted by mediums who are fitted for office by long training, and each one of whom is a check on the others if they wilfully or through carelessness deviate from the old forms. The ritual of these ceremonies is very complex and the reason for doing many acts now seems to be entirely lost, yet the one explanation "kadaúyan"--custom--is sufficient to satisfy any Tinguian. Other acts, as well as the possession of certain things, are explained by myths, such as we are considering. It seems certain that we are here dealing not with present day beliefs alone, but with at least relatively old customs and tales, which while enabling us to understand present day conceptions also give us a glimpse into the past.

The myths 32-40, which are known to the people as diams, are now inseparable parts of the various ceremonies. Thus, when a pig is to be offered in the Sayang ceremony, the medium sits down beside it and strokes it with oiled fingers while she "talks to the spirits." The translation of her "talk" shows that this is in no sense a prayer but is rather an account of how the greatest of the spirits taught the Tinguian people to perform this ceremony correctly. Likewise, when she offers food in the Dawak [67] ceremony, she relates how the spirit Kaboniyan taught the Tinguian to do this in the same manner that he performs it. In the Pala-an [68] diam she relates, in story form, the cause of the sickness, but in this case ends with a direct invocation to the spirits in Dadáya to "make them well again if you please." The balance of the diams, 35-40, are in story form, and seem intended more as an explanation to the people as to the causes of their troubles than to be directed toward the spirits. However, the medium seldom has an audience, and rarely ever a single listener, as she recites the diams she has learned verbatim from her instructors when preparing for the duties of her office.

Myths 41-54 are of quite a different type. They are generally told by the mediums or wise old people, during the ceremonies, but always to a crowd of eager listeners. They are not learned word for word, as are the diams, but their content is constant and they are thoroughly believed.

That they exert a great influence on the beliefs and conduct of both old and young is undoubted. The evil which befalls a person who molests the guardian stones is thus made known even to the children who generally keep at a distance from the grove in which they stand. Again, these tales give sharp warning as to what befalls a person who even ignorantly breaks the taboos following a death; but at the same time advance means of thwarting the wrath of the enraged or evil spirits.

Myths 55 to 62 at first glance to not appear to be explanatory at all, but seem rather to be a series of stories dealing with the relations between certain persons and the natural spirits or those of the dead. However, it is the intent and use rather than the form of these stories which has caused them to be included in this division, for they give the people authority for certain beliefs and conceptions which they hold. Tale 56 gives us a glimpse of the prevalent idea of the abode of the dead, where the spirits lead much the same sort of life as they did while alive, but we secure quite a different picture of this realm from the Baluga [69] tale, in which the home of the deceased is said to be in the ground while the "life" of the dead woman is kept in a bamboo cup. This last account was heard in Manabo, a town near to the Igorot settlements of the Upit river, and may be influenced by the beliefs held in that section. [70]

Certain individuals appear to have intimate dealings with the natural spirits, in some instances even being joined to them in marriage. The afterbirth child, Sayen, is believed to have lived "not very long ago;" yet we find his life and actions quite similar to those of the heroes in "the first times," while his foster mother--the alan [71]--takes the same part as did the alan of old.

A Study in Tinguian Folk-Lore - 5/14

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