December 26, 2010 in Uncategorized
By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
“ From Aspulan was born Makniba, and now the onjon,” said Professor Morr Pungayan to the audience at the assembly of the Aspulan ne Ibadoy an aggrupation of Ibaloy descendants in the present general metro-Baguio area who believe the purposes of the organization remains to be more relevant today. So it was agreed to revive the organization according to its original objectives and more.
Professor Pungayan, in his inspirational speech gave a short history of the Aspulan Inc. and the influences in his history that strengthens his beliefs and commitment that the Ibaloys should show and work hard to be united as an ethnolinguistic group now more than ever or remain victims of a “genocide” as a people that was united in language, culture and traditions, and now disintegrating in this so-called “highly urbanized” town.
Aspulan, he said, started from a meeting of minds in a gathering years ago (1996) where he sat beside the late Geoffrey Carantes a teacher like him, a prolific artist and a strong believer in the Ibaloi; and to his great surprise discovered that he did not speak (fluent) Ibaloi. He asked why and the late Geoffrey, in short, said he had a father who insisted he speak English to his parents and in the house, otherwise he got scolded. It was along these lines, the loss or disintegration of traditional and common or community practices, that the group extended their meeting.
It was not just the issue of ancestral lands but things happening among the ka-kaet (among their people). This included close relatives not knowing each other and marrying each other, the disintegration of family or clan formations, the loss of language, the loss of respect for elders, the loss of their history as known by their kind, the loss of traditional livelihood, etc. It was here then that they resolved to put up a venue to organizationally meet on their issues and gather opinion or consensus, keep up with their community. So from the Ibaloi words panaaspulan (meeting place, common ground), panaaspul (to meet) came the name for Aspulan, Inc.
Tracing his roots to illustrate who the Ibalois in Baguio were and are now. He then expressed appreciation of the likes of Otto Scheerer, a German traveller, for recording the genealogy of the Ibalois who took him in. He (Scheerer) so then decided to settle here, recorded and documented the life of the indigenous peoples communities around Baguio, mainly. The professor said Scheerer’s documentation and writings helped us (Ibaloys) know who we are and where we are as a people.
Pungayan traced his roots to a sister of then Ibaloi chief baptized by some Spanish priest as Dangvis Ortega, father of Bayosa Ortega. He also enumerated the roots of some of the clans in Benguet and traced them all up the ladder to the ancestor Amkidit. And, “so we (Ibaloys) are one people.” Displaced from our home and identity.
He pointed out that his family was driven out of the Ambuklao dam area by the simple building of a mega dam because the national government did not think there were people who lived there in their farms and estancias for animals. Well his family did live there among and with their cousins, uncles, aunties, etc. As with the Ibalois of Baguio when government (the US colonial) decided to build a Summer capital for the Philippines.
The descendants of Amkidit were there in the setting up of the first Adivay, The Mateo Cariño Foundation, incorporated earlier, the ancestral land claimants in La Trinidad and Baguio and they were there when Aspulan was put together. Now, from the Aspulan has stemmed out more organizations with more focused interests like the Makniba with Roger Sinot, the Chiva of Loakan with Roselle Camte-Bahni, and then the onjon. These groups in their own way shall work more towards the unity of the Ibalois towards achieving their dreams and asserting their rights. Let us open our minds and speak for unity and peace, not for divisiveness.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!#