INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S WATCH
Cordillera’s Woman Peace
Nanang (mother) Irene
Baawa, 64, not only makes a mean native coffee but also serves as the de
facto peace pact holder of an Abra tribe.
Arthur L. Allad-iw
Posted by Bulatlat
Abra -- Nanang
(mother) Irene Baawa, 64, wakes up early in the morning. She boils native
coffee in their dalikan (native stove). The aroma of the coffee
fills the air, helping set one’s mood for the day.
The native coffee in
the upland Bangilo district of this town is among its notable products.
Doing away with sugar and coffee creamer would make one appreciate its
native taste. For some, it is almost addictive.
Buanao is one of the
three villages of Bangilo. It has at least 70 households with a population
of no less than 300 persons. It can be reached through a six-hour jeepney
ride along rugged mountain roads. Indigenous socio-political systems are
well and alive in Buanao. Among its existing systems is the bodong
or peace pact.
“We have in fact at
least 27 bodong by Buanao with nearby tribes,” claims Nanang Irene.
Woman peace pact
husband is Lakay (elder) Emeterio Baawa, 73. Husband and wife have
four children – three boys and a girl – who are all married now, including
the daughter who is married to a foreigner in the Middle East.
Lakay Baawa’s hearing
is impaired, explained Nanang Irene. This makes the husband shy in joining
discussions with their visitors like the reporters that the community
hosted during the Cordillera Day celebration last April.
Because of Lakay
Baawa’s limitations, his role as a peace pact holder is sometimes carried
out by Nanang Irene. She says the peace pact is not only focused on men,
who traditionally serve as peace pact holders, but to the entire family,
especially the spouses. Thus, she said, women need to take on such bigger
roles to maintain and strengthen their bodong.
Bodong with a
Nanang Irene said
that the Buanaos’ peace pact with the Butbut tribe of Kalinga started
sometime after World War II. It was, however, in 1957 that Lakay Baawa’s
father performed the galigad, a process of transferring the bodong
to Lakay Baawa. Galigad is traditionally performed when the peace
pact holder dies or is unable to perform his functions as such.
Since the 1957
galigad, the Butbut-Buanao bodong has never been severed. To
strengthen and keep it active, Buanao villagers celebrated a dolnat
(literally to warm up) to renew their bodong, said Nanang Irene.
She remembers that in
February 1998, another galigad took place, this time in the Butbut
Malindo Daligdig, the
counterpart of Lakay Baawa from the Butbut tribe, transferred the peace
pact to a family member. The event happened in Anonang, Tabuk, Kalinga
where some of the Butbut tribe members have settled.
“It shows that the
bodong covers every member of the tribe, from those in their ancestral
homeland to those outside, wherever they are,” said Nanang Irene.
journalists’ second night at Nanang Irene’s home, they witnessed how
strong the bodong was with the Butbut tribe. Delegates from the
Butbut tribe came to her house, after she invited them and offered the
comforts of her house.
Once your kabodong
is in your territory, Nanang Irene said, they are accorded protection. If
anything happens to them, it is the responsibility of the host community.
Before departing from
the area, Lakay Banag Sinumlag of the Butbut tribe based in Tabuk bade
Nanang Irene goodbye as their kabodong.
The entire incident
illustrated the dynamics of the bodong system, proving that
it is a practice that endures, more effective and dominant than the local
It was also
instructive with regards the role of women in this system, especially the
wife of a peace pact holder who acts as the de facto peace pact holder.
Nanang Irene would always be remembered, both for her native coffee and
role as a peace pact holder. Nordis / Posted by Bulatlat
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