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Geneology Tale: Romeo and Juliet + The Crow

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The parents of my maternal grandmother were known as Kudat and Lingayo. Before my grandparents married, there was an altercation between Kudat and Pednga-en (my grandfather’s father). One morning, they met together at a particular place while going on their respective business. Later that same day, they again crossed each other’s paths at exactly the same place. Kudat who must have been a jolly fellow made a funny comment to Pednga-en about this meeting at the same place in one day. Pednga-en, who were amongst Sagada’s leaders didn’t find the same comment funny and proceeded to bring the matter to court against Kudat. (I’ve never met such a guy!) I don’t know what happened next, but because of this dispute, when their children eventually married each other, Kudat and Pednga-en had to perform a ritual that indicated there is no remaining ill will between the two despite a prior dispute.

Moral of the story? Don’t fight against anyone. Your child may end up marrying that person’s child.

The children of Kudat and Lingayo were Conyap Ag-a, Madungit Gayagay, Carmen Nadnaden (my grandmother), and Eduardo Toyoken who settled in Tabuk, Kalinga. There is an interesting story where one of their grandchildren, an orphaned boy, was about to be brought to a Sagada orphanage because of poverty. While the surviving parent was on the way to the orphanage with the little boy, a crow hovered continuosly on their path seemingly trying to prevent the boy from being brought to the orphanage. The parent took this as an omen, and decided to raise the little boy instead. The boy grew up and eventually taught at the Saint Mary’s School in Sagada. His son, my 2nd cousin, was a batchmate during my elementary years, and a ka-barkada during my college years.

Moral of the story? If you’re contemplating a major decision and a crow seemingly stops your decided course of action, listen to it.

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Geneology Tale: Multiple Families

Friday, June 20, 2008

Listening to my mother talk about my ancestry is like reading a book such as The Hundred Years of Solitude. I thought our family tree would be uncomplicated, but I now know it isn’t. Quite common is a male relative with multiple families. An uncle left Mindanao ahead and left a wife and 2 children. When he relocated, the wife and children did not follow immediately; so my uncle married another woman and had several children. (Now it wasn’t that simple but I cant talk about things I don’t know about.) I know all the children of the second family, but I never met any one from the first family. I reckon that they must be in their early forties by now. They’re the only 1st cousins from both mother and father’s side that I haven't met.

A brother of my maternal grandfather had at least 3 known wives. One of his children became a student of my mother when she was teaching at an elementary school in Lepanto, Benguet. She has apparently married an American and is now settled in the US. I googled her name and was surprised to find a high school class photo that included her. (See picture below) She would be my 2nd cousin. It would be nice to find her number one day and be able to call her. I imagine the conversation will start with – "Hi, you’ve never met me but we are cousins… "



The same brother had another son who in turn had 2 families. These two families retained 2 different family names – Pednga-en and Moting. My mother’s family used Nadnaden, and as is the practice in the Philippines, this also became my middle name.

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Tracing my Igorot Ancestry - Mother's Side

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Above: Grandma Rose and grandkids with Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyline in the background.
Below
: 3 generations of Sagada Igorots at the SkyDeck entrance, Sears Towers.

My mother came for a short 5-night, 4-day visit at our place here in the northern suburbs of Chicago. On her last evening before flying back to Maryland, I sat down with her to note some of our ancestors' names from her side. It's important to keep these things written. While there are some existing written Igorot genealogies, it is not common. It is up to individual families to document their family trees. I am doing this as my children, as young as they are, are very interested to learn about their family backgrounds.

I am a direct descendant of Pelayan Tarnate Nadnaden, the first mayor of Sagada. His son, Balay-owan, also served as a counselor of Sagada. During his term, Balay-owan, along with other Sagada counselors were invited to a meeting in the mountain of Canip-ao. The meeting turned out to be an ambush set-up by headhunters - the unsuspecting counselors ended up beheaded, no one escaped. Balay-owan's younger brother, Yam-es, identified his body on the basis of one unique feature - one of his foot thumbs overlapped a nearby toe.

Balay-owan had a son named Pednga-en who, like his father and grandfather, became one of Sagada's leaders. His son, Justo, was my maternal grandfather. I remember visiting my grandparents' place when we were young. Their house was in Bang-owaw in Demang, one of Sagada's 4 central barangays. He used to tell me stories during our visits - a particular story series I really liked was that of a mouse named Otot-otot.

My grandfather died when I was in college. My sisters and I came home on the day of his burial. A cousin drove us as his funeral procession was making its way to the church. My sisters and I were amongst those who carried his wooden coffin out of the church. There are no funeral cars in Sagada, so I with a group of male relatives carried his remains to the Sagada town cemetery where he was laid to rest alongside his wife, my grandmother. Her story would be another blog entry though.

We are very blessed to have my mom, a retired schoolteacher, visit her grandchildren here in the US. While my children never got to meet my maternal grandfather, they do know his stories. Like me, they too like the series on Otot-otot.

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Apayao in Focus

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Photo Credit: Inquirer.net

Of the various Igorot ethnic groups, it is the Apayao that I have been least exposed to. I remember faces and friends from every other Igorot ethnic group, but not from the Apayao. That is strange for me, since I spent majority of my first 7 years in the small barangay of Gobgob, Tabuk, in what was then known as the province of Kalinga-Apayao. I was told that I did visit relatives in Apayao when I was 3/4 years old. The family of my first cousin lived there. But they were Sagada Igorots who based themselves there, they were not Apayaos. Of my nephew/nieces from my cousin who lived there, I don't remember any of them marrying an Apayao. In 1995, when I was already in college, Kalinga and Apayao became 2 different provinces. Tabuk remained as the capital of Kalinga, and Kabugao was designated as Apayao's capital.

It is great then, to read an article on Apayao from the Inquirer. (See Faces from a Festival) The festival described in the article was Panagwawagi, a celebration of brotherhood between Ilocano lowlanders and the Cordillera people. If we were to check a map, Apayao shares most of its western border with Ilocos Norte. But these provinces share different histories. Ilocos Norte was heavily colonized by the Spaniards for almost 400 years. The locals of Apayao, like other Igorots living in the Cordilleras, were successful in resisting Spanish colonization.

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Sagada Photographers in the News

Friday, June 6, 2008


Photo Credit: Inquirer.Net

Highlighted this week are a couple of separate news-worthy events having something in common - PHOTOGRAPHERS from Sagada.

1. Filipino photographs snap P1.9M at auction: The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that the "Passing of Light" by Emmanuel Santos, a Sagada-born photographer based in Melbourne, Australia, was sold for a staggering amount of US$44,000 (P1.9 million). As a matter of comparison, this amount is around the average household income / year for an American family of 4. The sale is reported to be the highest ever amount in the history of Philippine contemporary and Southeast Asian photography. The collection, which comprised of 38 black-and-white pictures measuring 26 x 26 inches, focused on angels common to the Torah, the Koran and the Bible.

2. Foto Baryo Exhibit features Sagada Project: Showing at the CCP from June 5 to July 6, 2008, at the 4th floor is a collection of student works by Sagada locals. The Tommy Hafalla-led project is a reflection of the students personal and collective thoughts on Sagada society. The students include Siegrid Bangyay (Dumay), Cheryl Agnapan (Tambay), Shawnee Anongos, Violeta Miranda, Vixienne Calulut (Banganay), Marlene Pascual, Brenda Fotchay, Cora Degay, Atty. Bob-bob Daoas, Michael Cadiogan (Pas-it), Ruel Bimuyag (Kabbigat), Arce (Gat-ay) Bosaing, Abegail (Log-ay) Batnag, Raquel Dulay, Nereen (Ingga) Bumatong, Imelda (Bat-ei) Badongen, Maureen (Ommay) Malabong, Jazybelle (Lamina) Pacyaya, and Deseret Daluyen.

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Sagada Igorot Online is now Live...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


The site, Sagada Igorot Online, is now running live. It took me several weeks to get this up and running - learning PHP, CSS, etc... but finally, I found a suitable format that I needed, and I made the site easily maintainable as well.

New Sections included:

- Visit the Philippines
- Online Store
- Pages that reflect the latest blogs and news articles

Future Updates coming:

- the IGOROT section
- More products at the online store

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My Vote for the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs

Tuesday, June 3, 2008




I regularly visit 10 or so blogs on SAGADA and the IGOROT people. Only 3 of these qualify for the requirements of the The Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008. Here they are:

1. VISIT SAGADA. You have to give it to this group of guys on how they've come up with a comprehensive guide on visiting my hometown of Sagada, Philippines. From travel information and answering visitors requests, to travel tips, hotel and restaurant reviews, to the best photo gallery on Sumaging Cave, this blog is a one-stop online resource on how-to's with regards to visiting Sagada.

2. CALL OF NATURE. …it’s not just another call from the lavatory. That's how Scott, the blog author chooses to headline his blog. And going through his posts, his outlook on multiple issues ranging from socio-political issues and Christianity, are exactly that - personal and unique and far from being typical. He's a prolific blogger too. His almost 200 posts since December is a huge blog chest worth digging into.

3. BLOG OF THE SAGADA IGOROT. Just because. Started early this year as a blog for the relaunch of the Sagada Igorot Online website, this blog is an insider's lens on SAGADA and the IGOROT people by a Sagada Igorot himself. A recent post regarding an Igorot Slur at a Filipina website brought to light how Filipinos still incorrectly view the "Igorots" as ignorant and misinformed.

Rounding up my top 10 blogs are:

4. http://sagadaphilippines.com/
5. http://delfindjmontano.blogspot.com/
6. http://www.filipinovoices.com/
7. http://www.yougottech.com/
8. http://missingcarlo.filblogs.com/
9. http://www.lakwatsero.com/
10. http://www.blogniinday.com/

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