August 27, 2011

Memories Evoked By This Coming Baguio Day

by Benny Balweg

WHEN I was just a kid in St. Joseph School taking up elementary geography, two names of places outside Abra were a sound of magic to me: Manila and Baguio.

Manila, because it was the direction of the big buses seen in Bangued, the capital town of Abra. The city must be a big place, with many people speaking a language, 'more esteemed' than our own dialect, wearing dresses socially 'more acceptable' in looks than our own, eating foods 'more presentable' in gatherings than our local menus. That was our kiddie valuation of things brought about strongly by the education we were receiving where planting rice was 'never fun' and camote was a symbol of idiocy.

In dancing and singing, however, we stood our ground. We would cuff our palms to blind our eyes upon seeing young men touching young ladies. Unlike in our tadek dance, where partners kept themselves apart holding the allap mantles and not human bodies. The salidummay/dangdang-ay tunes that were second nature to us in the footpaths and the river banks could not be supplanted by foreign tunes though we also hummed these partly to show that we went to school and elevated ourselves socially. But why we could not sing our salidummay in church did not yet..continue reading

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