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Monday, February 27, 2012

CALL FOR ENTRIES 2 d 3rd CORDILLERA CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP


Here is a chance for budding creative writers, especially Cordillerans, to hone their craft!  For those not from Baguio City who will qualify for the writeshop, your travel expenses will be reimbursed.





CALL FOR ENTRIES


 to the 


3rd CORDILLERA 


CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP 



The University of the Philippines Baguio and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts will hold the Third Cordillera Creative Writing Workshop on May 22 to 26, 2012. The Workshop is open to all, 16 years old and above.





Original and unpublished works written in any of the Northern Philippine Languages (and their dialects): Ibaloy, Kankanaey, Ifugao, Kalinga, Bontoc, Kalanguya, Karao, Isnag, Tinguian, Pangasinan, Ilokano, etc. 





Submit any of the following: 





Three (3) poems 


One (1) short story 


One (1) creative nonfiction/essay 





Entries must be accompanied with translation in Filipino or English, together with a brief curriculum vitae of the author, submitted as word document attachment via email to cordilleracww@yahoo.com and anaraar_arasaas@yahoo.com





Deadline of submission of entries is April 15, 2012. Notice of acceptance to the workshop will be released on April 20, 2012. Meals and lodging for al participants during the Workshop will be hosted.  For inquiries, contact the UP Baguio College of Arts and Communication telefax (074) 444 8393, or through email at cordilleracww@yahoo.com or anaraar_arasaas@yahoo.com.





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Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Ullalim Festival and Ethnic Identity Construction (with notes)

A Kalinga performer displays his peacock feathers during the 2010 Kalinga Day celebration held at Easter School, Baguio City. smsaboy photo




[For lack of space, citations and notes to my article in the maiden issue of Culture Matters magazine were not included -- something which will surely be frowned upon by my colleagues in the academe :) .  So I am posting the essay with notes.  I welcome corrections should our kakailian find factual or other errors in the article.]

THE ULLALIM FESTIVAL AND ETHNIC IDENTITY CONSTRUCTION [1]
The Kalinga Igorots’ orature includes three ethnoepics – Gassumbi/Gosumbi, Dangdang-ay, and   Ullalim.[2] Among the three, the latter is arguably the best known representation of Kalinga's collective literary and artistic treasures. Although the Gasumbi has been the subject of a few scholarly studies, [3] it has not generated as much academic interest  as the Ullalim has in Philippine Literature.  Meanwhile, the Dangdang-ay seems to have gone unnoticed by researchers. 
This epic was officially brought to the attention of the academic world with the publication more than three decades ago of two landmark ethnolinguistic studies of Fathers Francisco Billiet and Francis Lambrecht (CICM) [4] in which they critically examined the poetics and language ecology of six versions of the epic.  To date, theirs are still the most exhaustive works on the Ullalim. The first book provides profuse details on the musico-literary features of the different versions of the Ullalim (genre, themes, prosody, musical characteristics), its language ecology (e.g.  Kalinga cosmology, social institutions, rituals), and its antiquity based on external and internal evidences. It also supplies the reader the texts of four epic versions -- two from Madukayong, one from Tanglag, and another from Taloktok. The second book supplements the first with another set of annotated bilingual texts of one long Ullalim from Taloktok and a short piece from Lubo. Coben published an updated comparative analysis of the Gassumbi and the Ullalim, building on earlier studies.[5]
Kalinga educators also recently bared their plan to integrate Ullalim Banna into the elementary and secondary school curriculums.  Proponents of the project explained that the mainstreaming of the epic into the regular school system will reveal “the soul of the Kalingas to the world” since literture reveals something about the people who produced it,” adding that there is a “need [for the Kalingas] to open up to the world and be understood as a people to be appreciated.” [6]
Finally, Kalinga affirmed the primacy of the Ullalim in their cultural repertoire with its institutionalization of the “Ullalim Festival," which is now among the more than 600 festivals held all over the country each year.[7] It is a three to five-day agro-industrial fair and cultural gathering in the capital town of Kalinga that celebrates the founding anniversary of the province. It boasts of a wide array of agricultural produce and handicraft, technical competitions, indigenous games, ecotourism activities, and artistic performances. Trumpeted by its promoters as a “Festival of Festivals,” it brings together all the municipal fiestas of the province, namely: Manchatchatong (Balbalan),  Lumin-awa (Lubuagan), Salip (Pasil), Pasingan (Pinukpuk), Matagoan (Tabuk),  Podon (Tanudan), Unoy (Tinglayan), and Pinikpikan (Rizal).[8] The trade fair has shown a steady increase in revenues as reflected in the sales from 2008 to 2011 -- PhP 1.385M, 1.65M, 2.19M, 2.280M. [9]
The brainchild of NCIP-Kalinga Director Natividad Sugguiyao, it was launched in June 1995 and eventually grew into a huge local tourist attraction with increasingly varied programs and activities that display Kalinga's "rich cultural heritage and bountiful resources in pursuit [of] peace and development." [10]
The festival's twin goals  of "peace and development" betray a long-standing concern about the image of the Kalinga historically encapsulated in different forms -- the general branding of the Igorots as los salvajes by the Spaniards,  and Lieutenant Governor Walter "Sapao" Hale's portrayal as one who was "just as much of a wild man as any Kalinga." [11]  This picture of the savage (i.e., morally deficient and economically backward) Kalinga persisted even after the American occupation, slowly becoming less pervasive and pronounced recently. 
The current provincial governor of Kalinga Jocel Baac himself underscored this continuing  stereotype in his interfacing with local media during the 2011 Ullalim Festival. One news item on the interview reports: [12]
Baac, during the Ullalim festival, said he wants to scrap the image of the province as a land of tribal wars as it scares away tourists and investors.

Baac said even Kalinga students in Baguio have been reported to have a difficult time finding boarding homes because homeowners are frightened of the province's supposed notorious image....

"The province is perceived by outsiders as a dangerous place to travel and visit by personal impressions and by the media," he said.

The governor lamented news items often exaggerate tribal wars, adding there is no such happening going on today....

Baac, however, admitted before any change in image can take place, change should also start from the Kalingans. "We should talk about this among ourselves first."

This news excerpt reveals the internal and external forces that shape ethnic classification (characterization of a group imposed from the outside) and identification (the group's view of themselves). The natives' real and perceived (mis)conduct or peculiarity conspires, as it were, with media narrative and tourist gaze to create a reified ethnic identity.  Illustrative of this process of image construction is the following introductory narration to Lars Krutak's Philippine segment of his popular television documentary on Discovery Channel, "Tattoo Hunter":
The Kalingas live in the rugged Cordillera mountain. They are a fierce warrior tribe known for taking human heads. Kalinga means “outlaw” and for hundreds of years they were known to brutally slay their enemies. For every head taken a Kalinga warrior received a tattoo...

But today headhunting is a lot less common so the Kalinga tattoo tradition is in danger of going extinct… This is a great opportunity for a tattoo anthropologist like me but it’s also dangerous… A little bit nervous… here.  You’ll never know what can happen…

During 400 years of occupation in the Philippines first by Spain and then the United States, the Kalinga were one of the only tribes not to come under foreign rule. This was due to their fierce fighting skills and their contempt for strangers. Even today, they are wary of outsiders…[13]

The documentary's virtual portrayal of a Kalinga fraught with conflicts finds resonance with the perceptions of many non-Kalingas and among a few Kalingas themselves who tend to generalize isolated cases of personal vendetta and clan feud and to conflate the 32 [50 in another listing -- see "Brokering Peace Among Tribes: How HPI is Ending Hunger Tribal Wars in Kalinga"; the number is still to be finalized pending consultation with knowledgeable Kalinga elders] subtribes [of Kalinga into a homogeneous ethnic group.  What comes out of this production of meaning is a combination of the truth and the untruth, a common issue in  the representation of the ethnic.  As  Michael Ryan explains:

Ethnicity is also one of the languages with which we think about the  world. And like so much of the information that circulates in the media and in everyday discourse (rumor, gossip, small talk, etc.), ethnic information is a mix of truth and inaccurate or incomplete representation. Indeed, the danger culture poses for the issue of ethnicity is that cultural representations exist on a spectrum from the objective and factual on the one end to the fictive and conjectural on the other. With cultural representation, we make fictions, but we use the same tools to make truths about the world, and the two often blend and mix in ways that can be harmful. [14]
Incidentally, the reference to head-taking recalls the exploits of warriors in the Ullalim which, in turn, reveals a symbolic incongruity in the elevation of  an epic that glorifies the head-ax into an icon of peace, unity and progress. And it is in this confluence of a primitive past and a refined present where the festival finds its genius in its attempt at constructing the image of a  society struggling to cling on to its indigenous roots (made alive by native costumes and dances, or cultural artifacts and performances) while grasping the shoots of modernity (as shown by elaborately decorated floats and sophisticated-looking pageant beauties, or newly developed and homegrown food products and hybrid musical compositions).  In this sense, the Ullalim Festival pictures out James Cliffords' assertion in relation to indigenous peoples and festivals:

New dimensions of authenticity (cultural, personal, artistic) are making themselves felt, definitions no longer centered on a salvaged past. Rather, authenticity is reconceived as hybrid, creative activity in a local present-becoming-future. Non-western cultural and artistic works are implicated by an interconnected world cultural system without necessarily being swamped by it. Local structures produce histories rather than simply yielding to History. [15]
Kalinga’s grand gala serves as a site of events that feed the performative production of historical chapters in the proverbial book of the Kalinga.   The years will tell whether this will add colors to or cause the shedding of feathers for the “Peacocks of the North.”


[1] This essay is a preliminary discussion of the topic and is part of a larger work on the Ullalim, Festivals and Tourism.
[2] Francisco Billiet and Francis Lambrecht,  Studies on Kalinga Ullalim and Ifugaw   Orthography (Baguio City: The Catholic School Press, 1970), 48.
[3] See, for example, Felicidad Prudente, "The vocal tradition of the Buwaya Kalinggas: The unchanging musical process in a changing society," Philippine Humanities Review 1 (3&4): 150-59.
[4] Francisco Billiet and Francis Lambrecht,  Studies on Kalinga Ullalim and Ifugaw   Orthography (Baguio City: The Catholic School Press, 1970); Francisco Billiet and Francis Lambrecht, The Kalinga Ullalim II (Baguio City: Igorot Culture Research Studies, 1974).
[5] Herminia Coben, Verbal Arts in Philippine Indigenous Communities: Poetics, Society, and History (Quezon City: ADMU Press, 2009), 50-86.
[6] Geraldine Dumallig. "Kalinga epic seen to improve teaching methods in Tabuk." Baguio Midland Courier, 14 March 2010, http://www.baguiomidlandcourier.com.ph/kalinga.asp?mode=%20archives/2010/march/3-14-2010/kal1.txt (accessed 20 January 2012).
[7]I counted 622, with the highest numbers in February (60), March (81), May (60), December (76). See complete list and descriptions at  http://www.dotpcvc.gov.ph/VPY-calendar/vpy-janmarch.html, http://www.dotpcvc.gov.ph/VPY-calendar/vpy-apriljune.html, http://www.dotpcvc.gov.ph/VPY-calendar/vpy-julysept.html, http://www.dotpcvc.gov.ph/VPY-calendar/vpy-octdec.html (accessed January 30, 2012).
[8] A news report on this year's festival has "Among chi Vochong" as the name for Lubuagan's local fiesta. See Geraldine Dumallig. "Ullalim Fest takes center stage Feb.10-14." 03 February 2012, http://www.pia.gov.ph/news/index.php?article=191328239634 (accessed 20 January 2012)
[9] Data culled from reports of Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Kalinga in an email received from Peter Balocnit.
[10] Geraldine Dumallig. "Kalinga sets Ullalim fest from February 14 to 16." Baguio Midland Courier, 01 February 2009, http://www.baguiomidlandcourier.com.ph/articleview.asp?mode=archives/2009/february/2-1-2009/kal1.txt (accessed 20 January 2012).
[11] Cited in Gerard Finin, The Making of the Igorot: Contours of Cordillera Consciousness (Quezon City: ADMU Press,2005), 45.
[12] Catajan, Ma. Elena. 2011. "Kalinga sans war image pushed.” Sun.Star Baguio, http://www.sunstar.com.ph/baguio/local-news/kalinga-sans-war-image-pushed (accessed, 20 January 2012).
[13]  A detailed analysis of the narrative is intentionally left out here.  I first learned about the docu from Oxford scholar and UP Baguio professor Ikin Salvador-Amores who critiqued the film in relation to her work on the Kalinga tattoo.
[14] Michael Ryan, Cultural Studies:A Practical Introduction (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 83. 
[15] David Gus, The Festive State: Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism as Cultural Performance (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 4.


Culture Matters launched @ the Baguio Museum

Culture Matters, a magazine dedicated to Cordillera-related concerns, was launched today at the Baguio Museum.  Gracing the occasion were Councilor Elmer Datuin, chair for the Baguio City Council Committee on Tourism, and Narda Capuyan, a board member of the Baguio-Mt. Province Museum and the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation. 

Published by the Lin-awa Center for Culture and Arts, the publication seeks "to deepen a great cultural awareness of peoples and places in [the Cordillera]" and to "serve as a tool for cultural education and a platform for educators, students, culture  and arts enthusiasts and researchers to write about indigenous materials, publish ethnographic research and cultural documentations that will be used to inform, transform and nurture whatever remains of our cultural heritage."

The theme for this maiden issue is Festivals of the Cordillera.  Stella Maria L. de Guia in her editorial,  "Feasting on the Cordillera Festivals," underscored the social and economic values of the annual galas in the Cordillera as well as the challenges of maintaining and reinforcing the integrity of indigenous culture while surfing the waves of  globalization.

The contributors to this issue are Ike T. Picpican, Scott Magkachi Saboy, Glo R. Abaeo, Fr. Roland P. Buyagan, Remedios U. Andrada, Lars KjaerholmAnnielyn P. Pucking, and Lucia B. Ruiz.


For Cordillerans, festivals are milieus to review the past, so the road map of heritage conservation can be chartered for the future, lest tradition is completely forgotten as a result of globalization....
Though these festivals showcase the destination, care must be exercised by the host city, municipality or province to ensure that the carrying capacity is not exceeded; otherwise, problems related to the environment, water, peace and order will ensure.  Over-commercialization of the festival also reduces its cultural objective and heritage revival. (Stella Maria L. de Guia)



Friday, February 17, 2012

Free eBooks @ OBOOKO

This is one of the best sites to go for legal downloads of free eBooks. Registration is free! :) Click HERE.







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Thursday, February 9, 2012

"The Living Anitos": Refashioning Tradition, Performing Ethnicity


"The Living Anitos": 
Refashioning Kalinga Music,  
Performing Ethnicity

(Scott "Popoy" Magkachi Saboy)




 
"THE LIVING ANITOS" (L-R): Jerico Odiem, Marah Barameda, Rene Joy Saggot,
Kristel Panti, Maclain Ammogawen, Edison Balansi, Rene Manaltag (seated),
Edmalyn Catalig, Voltaire Lunes, Rogelio Paloma (photo courtesy of Native Works Music Kalinga)

Herminia Coben in her recent work, Verbal Arts in Philippine Indigenous Communities,* writes that the entry of Protestant Christianity into Ilongot culture meant the death of this indigenous group's oral tradition and cultural distinctiveness. In contrast, she added, Kalinga culture has remained vibrant despite foreign political and religious influences  partly due to the versatility of its bards: "Verbal artists throughout Kalinga history have maintained their vital role in society by creatively mobilizing tradition to bear upon contemporary issues." 

While Coben may have the older generation of singers in mind, her observation holds true to the emerging young verbal artists in Kalinga represented by "The Living Anitos" (TLA), a band led by its sole composer, Edison Balansi. 

Origin of Band Name

The band name was actually coined in jest in the early '90s when Balansi and six other high schoolers were a fledgling group of aspiring musicians at the St. William's Academy (SWA) in Tabuk, Kalinga. They were then taking a breather after singing at a wake when their skinny and swarthy buddy named Warren Samoy sleepily sat on a chair, drawing his knees close to his chin. Amused by his resemblance to the usually dark, carved representation of ancestral spirits, the rest of the group started calling him "living anito." The sobriquet soon stuck and became their collective identification, later pluralized to refer not only to its original members but also to the new ones. Little did they realize that the expression would aptly symbolize the thematic and stylistic thrusts of their music. 

Their appropriation of the term, however, has been frowned upon by some critics, notably churchgoers who cringe at its allusion to "pagan" (and therefore, "evil") practices. Later, a few other Kalingas would also question their fusion of "synthesized" and "native" music to which Balansi would say, "Isunga inmodernize ko tapno maapreciate dagiti ubbing, maattract da iti background music."  So the band stood by their name and music, their work finally validated by the increasing recognition from their own kailian recently.

SWA CONCERT (28 December 2011) Vocalists (L-R):
Kristel Panti, Rene Joy Saggot, Jerico Odiem
TLA's hybridized music format is by no means the first among Igorots.  It is part of a growing, though disparate, trend among local performing groups to fuse indigenous tunes, musical instruments and dance with modern instrumentation. For instance, the Baguio-based Pe'tune headed by Bontoc-Kalinga native Christopher Donaal vocalize the highly popular Bontoc song Nan Layad Nen Sikhafan to the sound of gongs and the usual instruments typical of a rock band while line dancers foot it on the floor. 

From Obscurity to Recognition

But just like most bands in the country, TLA had to bear the frustrations of obscurity and rejection before earning local acclaim. Asked about their early performances in Tabuk, Balansi recalls: "Awan met mangpanpansin kadakami. Nu agperform kami ket awan met..." [No one was paying us any attention. Our performances were not well-attended.] In 1993 they tried their luck in the hot swirl of the so-called "Rock Era" of Baguio City but their voices were drowned out by the more sophisticated local rock outfits of the time. Balansi says of the dismissive regard concert organizers had of his band: "Haan kami nga maikikkan ti slot. Kanayon nga last." [We weren't given any slot. We were always the last priority.] Their first break came only in 1996 when City Rock FM invited them to give the opening performance in its inaugural program. Before they could gain a foothold in the city's soundscape, however, they disbanded when the original members took to their own careers.  They would regroup 10 years later with only Edison Balansi and Maclaine Ammogawen left of the original seven-member band.

Balansi returned to the Philippines in 2007 after working in Taiwan. He would have forgotten his music and gone for good to Canada where his siblings were had not Ammogawen convinced him during the SWA's alumni homecoming to perform once more.  And so, as Balansi puts it, "Nariing manen jay music." [The music was reawakened.]

From then on, the reconstituted band slowly gained popularity in their own hometown. In 2008 they were asked by the National Councilfor Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-Kalinga to open the "Save the Chico River" concert in which other Kalinga musical artists participated. 2009 saw  them featured in  Tabuk's 2nd Matagoan Festival with Gailyn Balbin of the LGU's "Gabi ng Parangal" committee giving them half of the time alotted for the program. Shortly after that, Balansi decided to reproduce 50 discs of their songs -- "Ay-ayam ko lang" [Just for kicks], quips Balansi who was still unsure of how his music would be received by a wider arc of Kalinga listeners. To his surprise, after his music was played on local radio he was flooded with orders for his CD. TLA music also penetrated the ears of the provincial government which finally asked the band to render a special performance on February 11, 2010 during the 15th Ullalim Festival held at the Tabuk Peoples Gym. This annual agro-industrial and cultural fair served as the venue for the launching of TLA's first album with "Kalinga Tale" as the carrier song.  Balbin noted that it was her first time to see Bulanao folks hiking back from Dagupan (six kilometers away) at witching hour after watching a concert.  Balansi attributes the success of the launching to Balbin's organizational skills, the endorsement of Baguio-based recording artist Arnel Banasan, and the sponsorship of his relatives and other groups including Davidson Hotel, Radyo ng Bayan, Radyo Natin FM, and Golden Press.  


In December of that same year, TLA held free concerts every Sunday afternoon at the SWA. Balbin opines that the site was well-chosen since  it was close to the White Carabao Monument where several shooting incidents occurred earlier.  These caused the locals to avoid going out at night, and the series of free concerts was meant to draw people out to the streets and celebrate the spirit of the Christmas season in peace. Despite the huge crowd turnout, the yuletide  shows were hounded by two major problems which almost broke up the band anew. Edison recalls: "Only three [out of 12] politician-sponsors] actually made [good] of their commitments... So the financial burden was again shouldered by Balansi's recording studio and TLA's umbrella organization, Native Works Music Kalinga (NWMK). Nagsacrifice kami na ituloy kahit we were running out of money; otherwise, masisira ang grupo at masisira kaming organizers. [We wanted to] continue entertaining the people of Kalinga. After the series of concerts, some of my members quit [the group] kasi akala nila I pocketed the money na ibinigay daw ng politicians which I never did in my life. But they came back after learning the truth."

On February 12, 2011 TLA launched their second album at the St. Louis College gymnasium with Bishop Prudencio Andaya, Jr. (Diocese of Tabuk) taking all financial and technical responsibilities. Andaya  was christened by locals as "Bishop of Peace" due to his active involvement in resolving community issues mainly through the Peacemakers Movement of Kalinga (PMK) which he founded in 2004. The second album dovetailed with the Bishop's advocacy.  The carrier piece, "Boses ti Ikalinga," voices out the collective plea of the young who envision a progressive Kalinga free from crime, injustice, and corruption. The show featured performers from the SWA-based School of Living Tradition. Three nights later, TLA performed 12 selections from their two albums at the freshly built Kalinga Astrodome in celebration of the 16th Ullalim Festival to the delight of old and young fans from various areas of Kalinga who filled up around 90% of the 10-15,000-seater stadium. Late last year, TLA entertained a motley group of followers at the SWA parking lot and at the Tabuk City Hall grounds on December 28 and 30, respectively. The shows were co-sponsored by Tabuk City Mayor Ferdinand Tubban and Congressman Manuel Agyao and jointly organized and produced by NWMK and the newly formed Tabuk City Arts and Cultural Society (TCACS). TCACS was founded by current Tabuk City Tourism Officer Arlene Odiem in partnership with Balansi and other arts enthusiasts from different schools in the province. Odiem serves both as TCACS chair and TLA band manager.

With its music now featured on YouTubeLivingAsia Channel and National Broadcasting Network (NBN), TLA continues to seek a wider audience reception. It has also began expanding its range of  community service by committing 5% of its CD sales to the Lin-awa Center PWD transient house in Tabuk.

So what do  we look forward to in the third album slated for release this year?  Balansi confesses that the  first album sought to release the pent up groans of the young who are caught in the middle of social turmoil, and that the second showed traces of this pain while struggling to look at the brighter side of things.  The third album, he promises, will portray a gentler face of Kalinga although it will still be laced with a limited social critique veiled in  a more "positive tone." It will also continue to mix both traditional music and modern instrumentation and feature youthful talents from the province.

A Peek into TLA Music

Their first two albums add up to 29 tracks 15 of which are in the local language and the rest in English or Filipino. Themes border on the political -- the bodong (Kalinga peace pact system) and crime resolution, local leadership and the people's demand for accountability;  ecological (human responsibility, environmental degradation, and nature's backlash); cultural (pride in ones indigenous roots, retelling of local lores, personal choice and filial/communal duty); religious (Divine Providence, moral sensitivity and community relations); and romantic (local marriage customs and conflicted lovers, youthful passion and unrequited love). 

A quick look at two pieces in their maiden album reveals a creative attempt  to recontextualize Kalinga "(oral) tradition to bear upon contemporary issues." "Kalinga Tale"  tells of a conflicted diasporic Filipino pouring out his homesickness, pining both for his hometown and his ladylove.  Following a familiar trope, the author has the persona working as an apple-picker in Californa who had to leave Kalinga because of its unresolved "tribal" conflicts.  While he deplores the sporadic violence in his ili (province/hometown) and even urges his lover to forsake Kalinga and live with him overseas, he also intimates that he sorely misses Kalinga and its tajok ya gansa (dances and gongs). He ends with a wish for a better Kalinga which, with its natural allure and cultural richness, he hopes will occupy a lead position in regional politics. "Kantan Ji Aanak" (Your Children's Song) addresses tribal leaders and elders who are called to task for perpetuating a culture of violence and misguiding the young with their repeated calls for revenge. It pleads  for mutual respect  and social harmony,  anchoring these on Christian principles.

Both pieces appropriate real-life situations of injustice done in the name of tradition and of real people leaving Kalinga reeling from isolated but far-reaching clan conflicts and personal vendetta.  They also commonly allude to the Kalinga ethnoepic,  Ullalim. In the first song, the persona identifies himself as "Banna" -- the primary cultural hero in the epic, and his ladylove as "Lagunnawa" the object of the hero's love in the same epic. On the other hand,  the second opens with "Kanan kanu di ullalim eee" -- the familiar, stereotyped introductory line of the epic, and proceeds with   a salidummay melody. It pins two important elements of the epic at the core of the issue on local peace, the papangat (chiefs or elders) and the bodong.

(L-R): Marah Barameda, Edmalin Catalig, Rene Joy Saggot, Kristel Panti

Refashioning Tradition

While some may harp on the TLA's "bastardizing" of Kalinga traditional music,  it is evident that this youthful combo writes and narrates a continuing story of a people whose bravery and accomplishments have now taken a different form and level of manifestation in a world far more complex than that of the characters of the Ullรกlim where the depth and breadth of the earth, as well as the extent of journey by the iluta (people of the earth) -- are now far greater than the dola, ngato, lagud, and daya (underworld, heaven, theological south, and theological north) of the ancient Kalinga; where the spot of the mingol-pangat (warrior-chief) whose prowess and prestige are embodied in his kalasag, gaman, and palpaliwat (shield, head-ax, warriors boasting speech) is now taken over by the pulitiko whose power depends on money, guile and academic degree; where personal and  group disputes which used to be settled by mangdon si bodong (peace pact holder) are oftentimes now resolved in a regular court of law; and  where the betel nut no longer conjures up images  of  budding romance as it did in an older era.

TLA's music is a testament to the dynamism of culture and the vital role of music artists in enriching tradition while interfacing it with the lived experiences of indigenous communities. And here one finds an intriguing exercise of creativity and an act of refashioning. For among Kalinga and Bontoc communities, the anito has traditionally symbolized both the revered and feared in the unseen  world. But as is evident today the anito has come a long way from its sacred position in the highland uma (swidden farm), payaw/payew (rice field),  alang/allang (rice granary), and afong/voroy (house) to its amorphous, uncertain state as a curio or a commercial come-on in the man-made mountains and entrepreneural fields of the city, like malls, souvenir shops and museums. It continues to be carved,refashioned, framed, and relocated by the evolving hands and tools of the times, perhaps serving as a ubiquitous reminder of a past that people subconsciously want to remember and recover but consciously wish to forget and discard. In the case of the TLA, their band name has taken on a greater representation, from the individuals composing the group to  what their music seeks to do exorcising indigenous tradition of the ghosts of its past, making oral tradition alive and more relevant to today's generation, and harmonizing native and foreign musical forms while dealing with contemporary community issues that are rooted in the past. 
Standing L-R): Maclain Ammogawen, Edison Balansi,
Rogelio Paloma, Rene Manaltag
Seated (L-R): Rene Joy Saggot, Kristel Panti

oooooooOOOOOOOooooooo

*Herminia Coben, Verbal Arts in Philippine Indigenous Communities: Poetics, Society, and History ( Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2009), 84.



TLA on YOUTUBE:  

1

2 

3 

RELATED NEWS ARTICLE: 
 "Kalinga band highlights ethnicity in second album" by Gigi Dumallig @ Kalinga Touch.

Lecture on the "Evolution of Gay Lingo" @ UPB

Talastasan Lecture:

"My Life in Pink: 
An Account of the Evolution of Gay Lingo"

 RICARDO DALU
"inventor of Gayspeak"
 

Bulwagang Juan Luna
University of the Philippines Baguio
15 February 2012
9:30-11:30 AM