By RESTITUTO R. PITOGO
(Note: This is the last part of a series of 5, of a paper by the authour presented during a lecture seies on Mangyan script and poetry at the University of the Philippines Baguio on January 26, 2011.)
But in the Mangyan ambahan, self-consciousness life does not end in death: Dapat bay una kunman! (Despite this, still…). In the face of frailty (lut-an) and death ( nirway), there is faith in the capacity of this life to overcome frailty. A child may be born lifeless and lonely in his grave, but he still has the living memory of the beloved when he was still in his mother’s womb. A friend may be far away, but his presence is felt and the bond remains ever fresh. The sick could recover. And if he dies, his soul will live, experiencing the opposite of pain, loneliness and destrcution of the body. His journey will continue. He will meet his forefathers, He will live with the souls of the departed.
In the house, a husband and wife may recover from sungnan (anger, disharmony). Like the wooden kalutang, each pole could be reshaped to calibrate tonal quality to bring greater harmony. When the knots were broken, one can get another vine to tie two things again. And the Mangyan can strengthen the house. He could re-culrivate his farm and plant better seeds. Tomorrow urog, huyong and linong will come. The fallen banana tree will rise again. The ayad reborn. A shoot will sprout because of its life-giving roots. When birds and animals eat the palay, there sille bethings left for the family. Nature has a way to protect the weak and the frail. Hrvest will be bountiful of palay, eating, songs and stories.
Even death cannot take away the bond of the living and the departed. One’s soul has a destiny beyond the grave. The soul will soon travel; take a bath and refreshed; journey through the rivers, valleys and mounts. The soul (karadwa) wil go to the place beyond—a place filled with urog and ayad. It is a linong place beyond the moon, the stars and the sky. It is a place better than this life where frailty is experienced. The souls will dwell in that spiritual home and will relentlessly share stories of their lives with spiritual betel nuts. It is coming (aban) to the time that they will untie together as a family. Tiem will stop and everlasting now! Ayad and urog will never end.
As a we look into the ambahan as a chanted piece of literary art, we discover a unique legacy of indigenous ingenuity and eco-philosophical thematization. The ambahanpoetry is a unique treasure that has sustained the culture, belief and inner faith of the Mangyans as an indigenous people. We do not only have here a pre-hispanic, genuinely Filipino art, but we have a literary evidence of Filipino eco-spiritual symbolic view of the universe.
In the ambahan, we see an integrated eco-centric life, where the people is part of the whole ecosystem. The symbols of the ambahans reveal that life is sufficient and sustainable, despite vulnerability and scarcity. Food is shared and not taken to enrich oneself at the expense of others. Work is also shared and not with fruits of helping one another (kabanan). In sickness, the Mangyan is not alone. The good spirit of nature guides, protects and overcomes the power of evil in frailty. In travel, it better to walk together, like the father leading his son to his farmland.
As such, the ambahan reveals what should be valued in life, what constitutes wellbeing in the community, what maintains faith in their eco-spiritual horizon, and what can be hoped for in the midst of frialty. The fundamental themes and polarities built on the universal metaphors of Ayad and Daot, are accepted and sustained as a balance. Life is not a rejection of the Daot, bu an integration of those polarities, where Daot has a particular purpose. Development proceeds from these polarities which will eventually lead to the fullness of Ayad (Kaayadan) expressed in the heavenly home:
Kanmi bay paglabagab (Our house, so sweet gentle home)
Kawo no ud katim-an (More than you have ever known)
Padi nga sitay adngan ( Not here, where ayes have then shown)
Luwas way lugayawan (Beyond heaven’s horizon)
May takip waya amyan (Further than the wind has blown)
Alintapukan uran (Away from whistling storm)
Today, in our modern living, we need a home, a home that is not built on the principle of acquisition, self-enrichment and preservation. Human vulnerablity and frailty in all its facets and embodiments are not evil, but a fact of life that is portrayed as a jouney from our earthly, unstable home to the heavenly, stable home. In that home, we can talk endlessly and share happinness of being together—forever. # nordis.net