Archive for the ‘Handiong’ Category

Calle Natong: Naga City’s populist way of naming a street

August 27, 2008


In earlier days, ill-descript Bagumbayan Interior, in Naga City, Philippines could barely be regarded as a street. It was a short and dusty alley close to Ateneo de Naga University (AdenU) campus. The name gave a hint of a semi-wild location where planks of rickety wood served as elevated platforms—like toy bridges over muddy ditches behind the main road leading to Canaman, Bombon, Quipayo, Magarao, and Calabanga, not far from Universidad de Sta Isabel University (USI) and Camarines Sur National High (CSNHS.)

The unpaved alley’s name stuck for years. No one raised any objection or asked for a law or ordinance to change the village path’s name where zacate grass and snakeheads (talusog) in muddy pools grew wild. Maybe, it’s because Bagumbayan Interior is secluded. The alley with very confusing boundaries had a neutral reputation. There was no major historical meaning in the street unlike the old great Calle Via Gainza, named after Bishop Francisco Gainza, but later renamed as Penafrancia Avenue.

In the 1970’s, ordinary people started calling Bagumbayan Interior “Calle Natong,” a populist reference to the wild taro plants (dasheen bush) which grew aplenty in that marshy locale. We, the few low-brow barangay residents, didn’t object. Calle Natong was just the right name to keep us reminded of our favorite, Bicolano dish, the spicy ginota’an na natong (laing, sinilihan na katnga) when the proverbial green leaves of the dasheen bush got burning hot with bedeviled red peppers (lada,siling labuyo.)

The informal appellation took root and tricycle drivers who rode the peaceful place knew where Calle Natong was. The building of homes much later altered the course of the street and the landscape. It didn’t take long when more people settled in the place, Calle Natong gave way to a more urbane, but unfamiliar name: Seminary Road then later becoming the Mother Francisca Street, perhaps because a convent was there in the area.

These were confusing changes we didn’t understand. Natong which we held dear being our celebrated Bicol regional plant—the source of nourishment of Handiong‘s children, was waylaid on the side. After our street was renamed, Calle Natong, was never the same.=0=

The Stonehenge’s Secret Revealed, A Lost Amazon Tribe Discovered, & A Burial Urn Found To Bind The Ibalon Epic to Bicolanos

May 30, 2008


The Stonehenge’s secret was revealed, said the British archeologists who studied the prehistoric rock-edifice which baffled the world for centuries. Based on carbon dating of cremated human burial remains found in the site, the prehistoric relic served as cemetery 500 years before the rock monument was erected in 3000 B.C, about 300 years earlier than once thought. Yorkshire Post (05/30/08, Harvey J.)

The finding clarified some controversies surrounding the Stonehenge which carried myths including that one which told of the circularly arranged sarsen stone as a prehistoric outpost for extraterrestials in the British Isles.

Just as the Stonehenge’s report came out, in the forested border of Brazil and Peru where Amazon jungle’s vegetation grew sparse, was a sighting of scantily-clad primitive tribesmen believed to have no contact with civilization. According to Survival International, a London-based organization which defends rights of indigenous people worldwide, the discovery of the jungle-dwellers bolstered the need to protect the Amazon from the interferences of developers, loggers, and oil prospectors. Bloomberg.com (05/30/08. Brasiliero,A)

Such concern for human beings and history was shown in Naga City, Philippines as well. An ancient burial urn with a serrated border shed clues to the Ibalon epic, a mythical tale of Bicol’s past which the people hungered to know about. The 32 cm. rounded urn cover on which was carved a depiction of the Ibalon story (see top photo,) had been kept in the Museo Conciliar de Nueva Caceres, housed in the old Holy Rosary Minor Seminary building.

In the Ibalon epic, Handiong was the king of Libmanan who sent 1,000 warriors under the leadership of Bantong to kill half-man, half-beast giant monster Rabot. Bantong slew Rabot while asleep in a cave dwelling.

The epic narrates that Handiong and his warriors came to Ibalon (Spanish colonizers once called Bicol as Tierra de Ybalon) to “clear” the place and start planting but he was challenged by a serpent called Uryol who later became a close ally in building the civilization in the region.Bicol Mail (11/22/07, Escandor, J Jr.)

Anthropologist-professor Zeus Salazar of the University of the Philippines thought part of the Ibalon story was etched on the celebrated urn cover which was crafted somewhere in 5,000 BC to 10 AD. It placed the age of the urn to be two thousand years older than the Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

The one-of-a-kind pottery was part of the antique collection of Dr. Ermelo Almeda who went places to beef up his treasure-trove of Stone-age tools, historic artifacts, old ornaments, animal eggs, and earthen wares.

The urn’s authenticity was however doubted by Dr. Jesus Peralta, a retired archeologist of the National Museum for the “unscientific” way it was retrieved in Bigaho, Libmanan, Camarines Sur back in 1982. A minaret-like portion of the of the urn’s design, the lack of carbon-dating and documentation made him suspect the piece was bought from Mindanao.


But Dr. Salazar who traced the Ibalon epic from a fragmented five-part story published by Spanish Friar Jose Castano in the 1800s wove an interesting interpretation of the urn cover whose depiction of the Ibalon folklore might enrich the understanding of the myth which Bicolanos seek to know. The paucity of information about Ibalon made it all the more significant and intriguing.==0==

More of this burial urn in: http://www.bicolmail.com Vol. XXIV, 11/22/07.

Para makusog an fuerza ni Handiong, sa panga-nga-ipo, padagos an hingo’a!

March 8, 2008


Wowowie! Maogmang basahon na an dating Miss Guinobatan kan UP Ibalon iguang marhay na projecto. Bako lang si Vines agom na may ugos an pagka-moot. Bilang ina, lola, sagkod esposa ni Bob Reis, si Vines may pusong bulawan. Husto na sana an paguiromdoman niya sa mga taga Bikol. Lalo na, an mga biktima kan baha diyan sa Albay!

Aram ni Vines an remalaso sa rugaring kan Maogmang Lugar. Nagpuli siya kan sarong taon para mahiling an destrosong dara ni Reming. Mala ngani, si harong kan mga Nolasco, hinalon kan dakulang tubig na nag-agui. An tubig naka-gadan kan katabang ni Fems Espinas-Paladin, saro man na Ibalonian na nasa Geneva, Switzerland.

Ngonian naghi-hingno’a si Vines, para makatabang. Siguro sa consejo y ayuda nina Micky, Andy, Fatima, Ray, Ann, Bingbing, Analee, Eden, Arnel, Gods, Mac, Mighty, Pitoy atbp, baka man an mga Ibalon maging ma-triumpo sa planong ini ni Vines.

Kaya an mga miembros na dae pa igdi: su mga yaon sa balyong kalye na ina-apod kan UP Ibalon—hari na kamo tabi, magbale! Kaipuhan tang magka-sararo guiraray, para magkusog an fuerza kan mga aki ni Handiong laban ki Rabot.

Lingaw na kita kan estoryang Ibalon? Si Handiong inabot baga nin mga remalaso sa Ibalon. Bako lang kinalaban siya kan tawong-hayop na si Rabot, nag-agui siya nin pagtios—pati na an delubyo na naglantop sa kinaguilid-guilidan kan Bikolan!

Arog kita kan mga aki ni Handiong. An kusog ta hale sa paboritong “pansit bato,” ni Vines na haloy nang hagad ki May Velasco-Yorobe, an dentistang Ibalon na mabisita digdi samuya pagtapos kan tag-lipot sa America.

Si Vines an satuyang experto sa lason sagkod gayuma! Ehem! Ngonian na naman lang siya nawaras nin gayuma nin pagka-mo’ot para sa Bikol. Kaipuhan niya an tabang! Segun saiya, an pagka-mo’ot, “iyo an contra (anti-venino lagarto!) kan satong maribong na kinaban!”

An maw’ot ni Vines arog kan hilig niya sa pag-adal. Tinapos niya an saiyang MS, PhD habang siya abala ki Virgil sagkod MaiMai, duwa niyang aki. Ngonian, igua na siyang maku-apo, si Chamrin, na mestizang magayon! Bicolana sa Indiana!

Sayang! Mas magayon kuta si Chamrin kun bako lang bitis, dangan kuko an minana niya sa lola! Pero sa hiling ko, an maku-apo kan Ibalon, dae mahaloy, saro man na matinabangon, mabo’ot, lipotok an pagkamo’ot sa mga tawong mayong sukat sagkod nanga-nga-ipo!

TotieM