October 27, 2010 in people
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
KAYAN EAST, TADIAN, Mountain Province — It has been one year since an unfathomable disaster befell this small and quaint village. Eighteen houses, thiryfive villagers were buried and three left wounded as typhoon Pepeng (Parma) wrenched its wrath through northern Luzon carrying so much rainfall that has loosened the mountainsides in a massive mudflow down to bury this village in the middle of the night.
A year hence, on October 8-10, the Holy Rosary Catholic Mission Parish took the lead for a three-day activity to lift the grief and mourning of its congregation; hasten the healing of the community and draw from each the strength to continue rebuilding their lives.
On the theme; “Pammati, Layad ya Binnadang, say pumesakan ya sumikaan” (Faith, Love and a community helping each other, a way towards healing and strengthening), the people, their priests and their elders commemorated “the day of wrath”.
Opening with an ecumenical service officiated by the Catholic church, Anglican church and the elders was held at the landslide area. They remembered the dead, they thanked the Lord for their lives that despite the tragedy, the community is still there.
The following day, a recollection activity was led by the young people of the catholic church as a part of their follow-up debriefing especially for the children who were still disturbed. They recalled the unconditional flowing support from different groups within and outside the province. According to them, the unconditional support has gave them strenght and hope. The support prayers had inspired them and made it manageable for them to continue living.
Moreover, a cultural workshop was also held. In this particular activity, the facilitators discussed the role of Christian youth in an Indigenous Peoples (IP) community and how they will help in the healing and rebuilding of their community. They discussed how they are practicing Christian values specially on love God and love of neighbor in strenghtening their family and community life and how these Christian values will serve for the welfare of the community.
Also, a series of healing mass were held where in Father Andrew Claver, the officiating priest challenged the community to gather strength and together, they will rebuild Kayan East as good as before.
Traditional practices revived
Despite the painful disaster, this has strengthened their traditional concept of working together which is called the binnadang. According to Georgia Velasco, a resident of Kayan, during the retrieval operation, men, women,elders and the youth helped each other specially the bereaved families from the retrieval and even after the burial. Binnadang was strengthened not only here in Kayan but this was observed all through out the Cordillera region.
Daw-es, a traditional practice of cleansing specially during retrieval of bodies was held after the retrieval operation. According to Velasco, the ritual was held not only for the people in Kayan but also for the people who went here to help. She mentioned of the Serve the People (STP) Brigade who were selflessly helping them even after the disaster. She mentioned that the STP Brigade went to Kayan after knowing what happened.
They helped to retrieve the bodies and distributed relief goods which she said in that particular time was a big help to the community. Several months after the tragedy, the STP brigade together with the Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera (DKK) and and representatives of the University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) psychology department according to Velasco went back to Kayan to render services in debriefing exercises like the soil painting, acting workshop, indigenous instrument playing workshop and performances.
Velasco added that the activities really helped the community in coping with grief. She believes that art is an extension of human emotions.
A time to heal
Barangay Captain, Camilo Bragado of Kayan East came out of his house on October 10 this year for the first time after the tragedy. He had lost his family last year during the day of wrath. He said in his speech that as the father of the barangay, he has to be strong despite how painful it is.
He delivered his speech wearing a white barong tagalog as a sign that he is moving forward. “In-ababig ko iti makatawen ti pannakapukaw ti pamilyak ken dagiti kailyan tayo,” he said. He added that there will be no tears flowing because he had seen one reason to live and that is the younger generation.
Father Andrew Claver of the catholic church said it was very painful for him to see the people grieve. “During the wake, I cannot move out of the church. I mourned for all the bereaved families and for the loss of Kayan as a whole”. However, he said Kayan should really gather strength from each other in order to heal and rebuild.
Nieves Dacyon, the president of the Mountain Province State Polythecnic College (MPSPC) and a resident of Kayan East said in her speech that thier community had enough time for pain. “Now is time to close the reason of crying in order for us to heal and face tomorrow with strength so that if the disaster will happen again, we are ready for the consequences,” she continued.
Together with the teachers and students of MPSPC, Dacyon said they had came up with a musical album entitled, Songs for Mother Nature. She said all the compositions reminds them of the October 8 disaster and the same time, it advises the people on how to treat mother earth in order to mitigate the effects of natural disasters. This is also according to Dacyon their way of thanking all the people who had lend hands when they badly needed one.
In the community binnadang, Dacyon said this music album is the contribution of Tadian teachers and students. Several copies were given to the parish to be sold and the proceeds will be used for rebuilding and development of Kayan East.
The music album according to her is promoting binnadang as a true essence of a community life. She is hoping that an album will be produce every year as part of their fiesta thus, she is inviting all the composers and singers of Tadian to be part of the next album.
Elrlinda Trinidad who was maimed during the disaster participated in their October 10 activity despite the fact that she is in a wheelchair. She, together with the teachers of Kayan sang their song of gratitude to their kailyan and all other individuals and organizations who helped them. Teary eyed, she said”sala salamat kadakayo amin. Sapay koma ta itultuloy tako latta ay mantinnulong,” (my deepest gratitude to all of you. I hope we will continue to help each other).# nordis.net