Monday, August 4, 2008

Tuguegarao City, the Premier Ibanag City

In the search for an identity, the city stakeholders agreed after much discussion to be known as the "The Premier Ibanag City, the Center of Excellence in Education, Commerce and Culture in Northeast Philippines" - a livable, bankable, competitive city and with good governance.

The Asian Institute of Management recently awarded Tuguegarao as one of the Most Competitive Small Sized Cities of the Philippines.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

What can be done to preserve the Ibanag culture?

What can be done?

The Tuguegarao City Government met with several Ibanag scholars and researchers. They brainstormed and met several times. They listed many things to be done.

So far, the efforts are the Pav-vurulun Festival to celebrate the city's Patronal Fiesta on August 16-17 and the Ibanag Festival to celebrate the city's Charter Day on December 18. Ibanag songs and dances are performed. That's about it.

The only permanent effort to preserve the Ibanag Cultural Heritage is by the Catholic Church Sunday Masses in Ibanag. The Mass Presiders and Lectors prepare well for the readings, the Eucharistic celebration and especially the Homily. My favorite homilist in Ibanag is Reverend Father Ranhilio Callangan Aquino, the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Cagayan State University, the Dean of College of Law of San Beda University, columnist of the Philippine Star and the Musical Director of the Coro de San Jacinto. Excellence, grace and humor are his hallmarks.

The Archdiocese of Tuguegarao worked and published a Missal in Ibanag, the one lasting heritage of Msgr. Juan Quinto to us Ibanags. Mr. Humberto Guzman Bauza worked on a dictionary in Ibanag as his Masteral Thesis at the Ateneo de Manila University. An Ibanag-Spanish Dictionary was given by Reverend Father Clement Daelman, CICM as a gift to Hon. Randolph S. Ting when he was recognized as Outstanding City Mayor of the Philippines. Today, these are the only Ibanag treasures. The city needs to build a Museum as a bridge to the past to help the young generations understand who is the Ibanag.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Gentle Ibanag

The Ibanag is most often perceived as lazy. Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Kapampangans, Bicolanos, Cebuanos, even the Chinoys say tamad ang Ibanag.

The Ibanag is not harried, not choleric, generally laid back. There is no urgency in speech and manner. Generally, the Ibanag is calm. Very gentle, as gentle as his/her valley home.

The big Cagayan Valley is protected on the east by the mighty Sierra Madre mountains, on the west by the ponderous Cordilleras and on the south by the Caraballo mountains. It is one, huge sheltered home, with the Gran Rio de Cagayan meandering and nourishing all the fields and settlements from its head waters in Nueva Vizcaya all the way down to the South China Sea in Aparri, Cagayan. The towering mountains shield the valley from typhoons that kill and destroy and trap precipitation, keeping the valley humid. Conversely, in summer the mountains keep the heat trapped with only the northern opening allowing the release of the hot air to the South China Sea. This explains the hottest temperature that Tuguegarao City registers. It also explains the coldest mornings and evenings next to Baguio City. The valley's soil is fertile, so fertile that the vegetable washing that you splash in the backyard will reward you with vegetable seedlings that sprout overnight unaided. In a few weeks, you have tomatoes, okra, squash, string beans, bell pepper, and whatever seed you happen to include. There is enough forage for fowl and animals. Thus, the Ibanag knows that nature is kind, that God provides and protects. There is no need to rush and grab.

In contrast, the Ilocos is a strip that is hemmed in by the Cordilleras on the east and by the sea on the west. The Ilocanos then need to use every tiny piece of land to plant kamote, malunggay and bananas. They have to wake up before the sun rises to work in the fields as the unforgiving sea makes it too hot and glaring to work in midday.

Like the lilies in the field dressed and cared for by the Father, the gentle Ibanag flourishes in the Cagayan Valley.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ibanags of today

Why is Ibanag City written in English? The truth? Well, Ibanags of today in Tuguegarao City do not speak Ibanag. It is fading, perhaps even gone. English and Tagalog are the languages mostly used in the city. You hear more Ilocanos speak their native tongue. Why? For the simple reason that Ibanag is a difficult language. Difficult to speak, much more difficult to read and write.

If this generation (the babyboomers) die, the Ibanag language goes with them. Hopefully with this blog, it stays afloat.

Dios ta umma nikamu ngamin. (Good morning to you all.)
Dios ta fugag nikamu ngamin. (Good afternoon to you all.)
Dios ta gabi nikamu ngamin. (Good evening to you all.)
Dios y mabbalo nikamu. (Thank you.) (Direct translation - God will repay you.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Home of the Southern Ibanags

Verdant plains and distant blue mountains. Clear rushing river emptying into the slow Gran Rio de Cagayan. Laid back barrios with a central business district marked with straight east-west, north-south roads as narrow as those of Vigan and with the alacrity of Metro Manila. This is the home of the Southern Ibanags - Tuguegarao City.

A Nutrition Honor Awardee, Sentrong Sigla Awardee, MDG Resource City, Dream City, CDS City, the Most Child-Friendly Component City (Hall of Fame) Awardee and Gawad Galing Pook Awardee, Tuguegarao relentlessly improves. As more young families come to settle, the city improves its shopping arcades, public markets and subdivisions. As universities, schools and colleges upgrade their facilities and competencies, more children come in search of globally competitive education. The work never ends. Criticism still strikes. But of course, it is easy to destroy but very difficult to build and to restore. The choice is ours - build or destroy?