Diaries from the Field: My brother’s wedding in Mayaoyao, Ifugao

By JUDE BAGGO
www.nordis.net

From half-half dance to overflowing bayah, the wedding of Reynald and Rizzelle Jane in Tulaed, Mayaoyao, Ifugao was a display of rich culture and fusion of modern world practices. For us coming from Hungduan, the wedding was an eye-opening experience and a deeper understanding of the Ayangan culture.

Going to Tulaed from Hungduan, one must traverse through the roads of Hungduan to Banaue then to Mayaoyao. Aside from the usual challenge of navigating the Banue road going to Mayaoyao thru mis-parked vehicles, the trip went smoothly. We passed the local and famous landmark, Bagang Bugan, a mountain ridge shaped like the neck of a woman (Bugan). Just below the road is the zigzagging river.

As we passed the Banaue road to Tulaed, one can observe the changing mountain terrain. Mountains are steeper. In other parts, reeds and few trees cover these steep mountains. The climate also changed as we went further the road. The wind is warmer than in Banaue, coconuts start to appear and tropical flowers reveal their beauty.

We reached Tulaed in the middle of a hot day. We were ushered to the program area. While resting and helping to decorate, pigs started to arrive and slowly transferred to the shaded program area.

The Ayangans of Mayaoyao love to display their culture. When all the eight (8) pigs were moved to the program area, the men start to butcher them. A makeshift chopping area was provided. During butchering, men use sharp knives to puncture the neck part of the pig then they catch the blood through a basin. After this step, a blow torch is brought in to be used to scald the hair off the pigs and remove the first layer of the pig skin. When this is done, the pigs are divided and cut into major pieces. Then the parts of the pig were brought to the kitchen to be chopped into smaller pieces.

In all these processes, the pigs were displayed at the program area where people can see and witness the butchering of the pigs.

The Ayangans also love to include carabao meat in their meals during weddings. To my surprise, an elder told me that the carabao to be butchered was captured in Nattom, an area where wild carabaos roam around in the municipality.

Food and meals are also prepared and served in a different way. During the arrival, when there were still few people, the food was served in the traditional buffet type. A large container (locally we call it basin) with rice and meat were placed at the center of the program area for us to get our lunch. During the day of the proper wedding, when people converged at the program area, the food is put in plastic bags and then distributed by servers to the people without having to form a line.

The local rice wine (bayah), was also overflowing. And why not, I saw that they used big drums (the blue drum of 200 liters capacity) to prepare the bayah. A container was placed near the table where they list requests and any form of help from the people to the newly weds. Anyone can just go and serve himself a bowl or cup of bayah. Astonishingly, despite the overflowing wine, I did not see a single person drunk and disturbing the program.

Another unique practice during the wedding was the half-half music. The combination is usually from the recorded native dance to any pop/novelty dance. At the middle of the native dance, the music operator will change the music. It is one of the most requested music combination. And people enjoy it.

Another surprising sight during the wedding was the active and cooperation of people of all ages – from young and old, men and women in dancing.

Hosting is also good. The master of ceremonies kept on recognizing and trying to make the visitors welcome and that the host was ready to serve their needs specially in terms of ensuring that all visitors have in full satisfaction eaten their meals.

There is no silence when you are with these people. Dead air is a sin.

But the most enjoyable part of the trip was with the happiest, naughtiest and loudest gang ever – sisters and the evil queen. At the start, the road trip was filled with laughter and stories. And as the gang increased in number, the result was also incredible. Practically, there were no moma palms and trees which did not hear the laughter of the group. The night’s program was also no match with the endless energy by the gang. Sleep is like a lost word for two nights.

A glimpse of Tulaed, Mayaoyao, Ifugao.

Tulaed, as a village is also home to beautiful members of the LGBT community. They made the program area a world class ballroom with their decorating prowess. I can only deduce from their active participation that their community is more tolerating and they respect members of the LGBT as displayed by their hospitality and attitude towards the members of the community.

At the end of the day, we wish you, Reynald and Rizzele Guimpatan, the best in your married life. Have the best and may you live happily forever. May your tribe increase. Haggiyoh. God bless.# nordis.net

Share

Leave a Reply