Myth & Reality by Margie Lumawan   I was talking to an older person one time trying to gain information that would shed light to the Canao practice of my people. Canao embodies the set of Igorot traditional practices of butchering animals (usually pigs) for an array of purposes such us thanksgiving celebration, healing of the sick, foretelling, etc.

All culture

that is unexposed to scientific information creates its own reality to explain the world, life, death and his very existence. Kalanguya is one of the cultures that created its own reality by way of animism. Animists believe that everything has a spirit. Here are few of the myths that the animistic Kalanguya regarded as truth.

Kalanguya believes that the ‘vast blueness’ is a ‘someone’ rather than a ‘something.’ The traditional priest addresses it during their rituals. They do not distinguished between the material components that make up the heavens and the ‘someone’ that inhabits it. People are not clear weather the ‘god’ inhabits the heavens or the heaven is god itself, but to most, the heaven is god itself as evidence by the chant “Ho-dong ka lin Kabonyan…” (Look down oh Heavens…) . This phrase usually starts a lament for which the Kalanguya people sings/chants during a lost (death, lost of honor, injustice, etc.)

The SUN is also regarded as a god in its own right apart from HEAVEN. Petitions are addressed to it. It can also be called to witness a vow or and is often mentioned to swear upon such as in the phrase “Amta od ni kapan-eggewi ay andi nak kaameamegan lawe.” (It’s ok because the sun [lit. that which makes day] knows that I am not doing anything wrong.) In this particular example, the sun is claimed to have knowledge of whatever is going on in the life of a particular person.
It is interesting to note that although Kalanguyas regard the sun as a god to appease, they do not consider it as a good god. When a person’s house is burned, they do a ceremony called apah (lit. to bring down) to call back the spirits of the people who live in the house that was burnt. It is believed that when a person suffered intense fear his spirit goes to the sun and so the priest will have to call it back or else the person who got scared will soon die. In a chant that the priest utters, he would say something like:

Kahalahalapong kayo li
Come, all of you
Igya ngod yay bebley
We have a house here
Ni nadihidihan
A nice, polished house
Lawed tan
It is bad there
Abong ni ngangngang itan
That is the house of evil
Kita kamalngihi.
People become thin (there).

AMKIDOL (thunder) is another god. It is believed to have a big tooth like the sharp end of an axe and when it gets angry it bits the ground or the trees. There was a legend that a Kalanguya has found the tooth of Amkidol and the tooth apparently gave him considerable supernatural powers.

Kalanguya people thought that the land/earth has posts and that there are many separate ‘earths’ that moves in an unsynchronized manner. So much so that when you get to the edge of the earth and want to go to another, you have to ride a horse so that it can jump to another earth. These many earth ‘islands’ were thought to be moving against each other and so people should be careful not to get to the edges of these earths or else they would fall down the abyss which is in between these earths. The earth is usually referred to as INA DEGA (mother earth).

AMYEGYEG (yegyeg is the Kalanguya word for earthquake) is the god that holds the posts of the earths. It is believed that Amyegyeg causes earthquake when it is hungry, angry, or just plain playful.

The Kalanguya people do not have a story about where life comes from although they have what I would call a ‘reverse evolution’ theory. They believe that the monkeys used to be human beings. The story goes that there was a little boy who has a sugarcane stick. He went to his mother to have the sugarcane peeled so that he could eat it but his mom said, “Go to your father.” The boy went to his dad but his father told him to go to his sister, and then the sister told him to go to their mom. Since no one would bother to peel the sugar cane for him, he cried and cried and imapa so he just stuck the sugar cane into his anus then he turned into a monkey, with the sugarcane becoming his tail.

DEATH to the Kalanguya is a big event, with rituals to be properly done or else something bad will happen to the living. The rituals are focused on the idea of giving the spirit of the dead person everything he needs in the after life. It is believed that there is a place called dongay where the spirits of the departed go. Kalanguyas categorized death as good death and bad death. To die by old age or sickness is a good death. Any other cause of death (e.g. bitten by snaked, murdered, any accidental death) is considered a bad death. It is believed that only the linnawa of those who died a good death go directly to dongay after the appropriate rituals are performed for them. Those who die a bad death stay on and roam around, become ghost and bother people. Example: The spirits of those who were drowned stays in the bodies of water/river. It is therefore believed that when a person, especially drunken man drowns in a river, the spirits there called nalonakan had caused the drowning. In forested mountains, people see a form of light that seems to be a chain. It would start with one spark and then spread out in a straight line. These are believed to be spirits of babies that are stillborn or miscarried. These spirits are believed to stay here on earth and they are called bambanileg.

Nobody really knows where Dongay is located. It could be deduce though that they believe it to be at the end of the rivers. People believe that the soul follows the river on their way to dongay that is why the elders advice the people never to go fishing or even cross a river when someone is dead because the soul/spirit of the dead person will take the spirit of the living with them/him to accompany him/them. If this happens, the person whose spirits accompanied the spirits of the dead person will soon die.

During a funeral wake, people who help bring in the firewoods, or animals to be butchered should work by twos or threes, but never alone because it is believed that the spirits of these people who help in the funeral ceremony accompany the soul of the dead person to dongay but that the souls of the dead let these spirits return to their bodies. Now, whatever a living person is doing during a funeral wake is believed that his spirit is also doing it for the spirit of the dead person. If for example a person carries firewood or bring in a pig from somewhere, it is believed that his spirit is doing the same thing to the spirit of the dead person. He is therefore advice not to rest carrying out this task until he reaches the place where the funeral ceremony is being performed, or else his spirit will get lost or worst the spirits in dongay (if his spirit accompanies the spirit of the dead to dongay) will not return and so he will soon die.

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