The journey to the site of Dumalongdong 2011is a joint venture of Father Saturnino UriosUniversity and AUDRN-Miriam College. It aims todocument the event to get a glimpse of theHigaonon culture from the different Talugans ortribal settlements with reference to the differentmajor rivers found in the four provinces of Agusandel Norte, Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental andBukidnon through their dasang or chants.
Being new to the place and first-time participants of the festival, theresearch team asked the help of Ms.Ana Marie Lidanhug, a Higaononwhose lineage is from the ininay-inamay or the noble class of the tribe.She gave a short overview of theDumalongdong. She also shared to theteam that there are some activitieswhere taking pictures or videos is Ms. Ana Lidanhugprohibited.
They were also toldthat aside from thepersonal provisions theteam had to prepare,the tribe also requiredsome offerings for theacceptance andcleansing ritual. Theseincluded a pig, chickens,bottles of gin, candles,a piece of red cloth anda needle.
The team also familiarized themselves withthe different pieces of equipment to be usedfor documentation.
Everything was set. The research team was ready togo… The first trip was an hour-long bus ride to Bayugan City. Jojo Lidanhog, a Higaonon whose lineage isalso from the ininay-inamay, was tasked to bringthe team to Bunaguit, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.
The researchers tooka tricycle from BayuganRotonda to themunicipality of Esperanzawhere they travelled forabout thirty-five minutes.
The next trip wasa ten-minute pumpboat ride crossing theAgusan River toBarangay Hawilian. Some Higaononsfrom Brgy. Bunaguitaccompanied theteam in crossing theriver.
From Hawilian, theresearchers were offto Barangay Bunaguit.They were told tocover themselveswith improvised rainponchos. Their packswere also wrapped inlarge plastic bags.
Single motorcycles called Habal-habal tookthem to Barangay Bunaguit.
It was not easy getting there. There wereslippery paths where the motorcycles gotoutbalanced. The researchers fell and sustainedminor bruises and sprains…
…but they were determined to get to theirdestination. They got back up and went on withthe journey.
They walked wherethe Habal-habal couldno longer carry thembecause of the steeproad. They ran and stumbled but these did notstop them from moving on.
It was 6:30 in the evening when the team arrivedat Purok 5, Brgy. Bunaguit. They were offered to restin the house of one of the datus to regain strengthbefore going to Purok 3, the site of theDumalongdong. The next step was more challenging and exciting- crossing the river amidst strong currents. They hadno idea where their steps led them. They entrustedtheir safety to the Higaonons who guided them in thedark.
After more than an hour, the team arrived atthe site. It was almost 8:00 o’clock in the evening. The barangay captain and the datu of thetribe welcomed them and led them to the Tulugan,the tribal house where most of the activities of theDumalongdong were held. Then, they were led to the house where theystayed for the duration of the festival.
Hospitality wasvery evident. Thewomen were busypreparing food.They served theirguests with sardinesand native rice withtaste and aromabeyond comparefrom the commercialrice in the city.
After dinner, they were led to their room to rest.
Taking a bath was different from the usualroutine. It became more exciting because they hadto do it in the river.
On November 26, 2011, the participants fromthe various tribes of the Talugans started arriving.Chants for permission and acceptance were performedby the Datus and Babaedans or tribal leaders.
The next days were spent for rituals anddiscussions on tribal issues and concerns. Theresearchers were prohibited from taking picturesand videos on the major parts of the celebration.
The series of events showed a communitywhere sharing, respect for elders and definedgender roles were evident .
The Dumalongdong depicted a well-organizeddivision of labor among the youth, women, youngadults and elders as well as their roles during thecelebration .
Part of the celebration was the giving of tokensto the participating groups. The team prepared apiece of red cloth as token to the host of theDumalongdong. In return, a kaldero (cooking pot) was given to them as their sug-ot or share of the blessings and wealth of the tribe.
The tokens were offered in the Bangkaso oraltar during the rituals for the blessings ofMagbabaya (God). After the celebration, eachoffering was distributed to the guests as theirsug-ot and as a way to strengthen the bondsbetween the tribes in the four provinces. Thus,they could expect more blessings to offer andshare in the next Dumalongdong.
On November 29, the researchers packedtheir things and bade goodbye to the people inthe community. This time, they took a boat incrossing the river.
Then, they hiked a half-kilometer rough road toreach Purok 5.
They were no longer bothered by darkness andstrong water current but by their heavy bags.Fortunately, the Datu asked some of his youngmembers to help them.
They reached Purok 5 and were ready to takeanother motorcycle ride back to Hawilian. They didnot take the Habal-habal but the Skylab, amotorcycle with wooden wings to carry extra loads.
They rode the Skylab back to Bayugan Cityand took a long bus ride bound for Butuan Citybringing with them an experience worthremembering, worth repeating - a challengingtask in search of local knowledge.
Researchers Mary Joy O. Yamson, DPA Rex B. Makinano, MA SocioGiovanne Melvin R. Sanchez, MSIT (CAR) Robert Aplacador, MS EDMEV Editors Shirlene Medori T. Alegre Pearsyl T. Maclang
Special Thanks to the following: Most. Rev. Juan De Dios M. Pueblos Rev. Fr. Carlito L. Clase Rev. Fr. John Christian U. Young Rev. Fr. Randy Jasper C. Odchigue Dr. Maria Lourdes Q. Baybay Dr. Gaudencio C. Petalcorin, Jr. Ms. Ann A. Lidanhug Mr. Jonjie Asis Mr. Jojo G. Lidanhog Ms. Inday Lidanhog Mr. Junjun Dumaguing Pinili, Lambungan Youth AUDRN- Miriam College Father Saturnino Urios University