I'waks Coping in a Changing World, Part 1: Dr. Del Rosario et al


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Dr. Del Rosario of St. Mary's University, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines, discusses how the project documented the ethno-ecological adaptation of the I’waks and see how these adaptive strategies have changed or been sustained over time.

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I'waks Coping in a Changing World, Part 1: Dr. Del Rosario et al

  1. 1. The I’waks: C oping in a C hanging World  Fe Yolanda Gatan Del Rosario, Ph. D. Darwin Don M. Dacles, Ph. D. Mr. Leonard Clemens L. Cadoy, MPA Saint Mary’s University, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya Website: smu.edu.gov.ph
  2. 2. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE Generally, the aim of the study is to document the ethno-ecological adaptation of the I’waks and see how these adaptive strategieshave changed or been sustained overtime. Specifically, the study soughtto shed light on the following:1.Describe the I’waks of Nueva Vizcaya;2.Locate the I’waks in their culture centers;3.Describe the I’waks’ immediate environment in relation to theiradaptive strategies;4.Document the practices/steps involved in the I’waks’ system ofcultivation;5.Note the underlying changes that have taken place in the practiceacross time and;6.Explain the importance of such a technology in their over-all survival as
  3. 3. Methodology and Sources of Data In documenting the I’wak practice of shifting cultivation, theresearch team followed a multidisciplinary approach namely:1.The tools of historical and anthropological research – Thesetwo methods were extensively used. The historical method whichentails the systematic collection and evaluation of data to describe,explain, and understand events in the I’wak’s past while theanthropological approach necessitated a study of their localknowledge of shifting cultivation since part of the people’s responseto certain needs was an appreciation of their economic activities andorganization.
  4. 4. In the course of tracing the necessary background informationabout the subject of the study, the team discovered at least threemajor works:(1)A study which traced the I’waks past was written by Jesus Peralta(1982);(2) An unpublished thesis written by Rayda Joy Castillo-Calanse (1999)about some ethnographic information and life cycle of the I’waks and;(3)A study done by Ramos, Bonifacio V. (2003) on “The Abong: AWitness to the I’waks simplicity, Tranquility, and Accord with Nature”.All of which are considered to be primary sources, inasmuch as theinformation were obtained first hand from key informants. Tracing reliable secondary sources however, was moretedious since this entailed pouring over documents written by Spanishchroniclers and friars. Fortunately there were entries in Blair andRobertson’s The Philippine Islands, William Scott’s translation of thework of Fr. Francisco Antolin, Notices of the Pagan Igorots in theInterior of the Island of Manila, and Felix Keesing’s, The Ethnohistory ofNorthern Luzon, but these were far and between.
  5. 5. 2. Oral History - The team also used the methods of oral historyparticularly to validate information taken from secondary sources.This was necessary particularly since there are several versions to theorigins of the I’waks as a people. Oral history also providedinformation heretofore unknown. Central to this was using accountsfrom practitioners, or those who are directly involved in the economicactivities.3. Informal retrospective interview - Cultural bearers especiallythe elders were crucial in resurfacing knowledge about practices in thepast so that their continuities and discontinuities in their strategiesmay be determined. Informal interviews were thus done not only withcultural bearers and gardeners but everyone who showed interest inthe unveiling of their culture.
  6. 6. In the choice of people to interview, primaryconsideration was given to the elders for their knowledgegoes far back to when they were adolescents up to the time oftheir rootedness in their culture centers. Their willingness tobe interviewed was important since they were made tounderstand that they were co-researchers and their informedprior consent had to be sought. FGD in Buyasyas4. Focus group discussions - FGD’s helped gather datamore systematically. This allowed the team to clarifyconfusing information derived from written sources or tocounter check ambiguous ideas from individual interviews.These were then audio-taped, transcribed, and laterinterpreted. FGD in Tuyungan FGD in Li’bawanFGD in Alang Salacsac FGD in Amelong-Labeng
  7. 7. 5. Photo-Video Documentation - Since a mere description of the indigenousknowledge and systems of the I’wak will not suffice, the team also used photo-videodocumentation throughout which required a certain degree of participantobservation. Following a three-day ocular inspection that took place in December,immersion into the community took place sporadically in January and February, andintensively in March.6. Data Transcription & Inductive Reasoning – The information taken fromvarious sources was transcribed. After the transcription, the researchers reliedheavily on inductive reasoning and creative interpretation to reconstruct and arriveat objective conclusions.7. Authentication & Revalidation - The team then returned to the various culturecenters to present the output to the people for comments and revalidation. Whilethe paper reflected the values and interests of the clients, the results and processeswere highly qualitative.
  8. 8. Implementation   The research team first solicited the approval of the LocalGovernment Unit of Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya and the peopleconcerned (I’wak elders) in the proposal to conduct a qualitative-descriptive research regarding the I’waks’ adaptive strategies.Taking this as a jump-off point, the research team conducted thefollowing activities:1.Identification and processing of possible sources of informationabout the I’waks through the local NCIP;2.Ocular inspections of I’wak culture centers and photo-videodocumentation for geographic profiling and initial consultation withcultural bearers and masters in the culture centers for the peoples’informed consent and participation according to IPRA law;
  9. 9. Buyasyas ocular inspection by the researchers: Via Calitlitan from the South
  10. 10. 3. Collating, cataloguing and transcribing of existing data about the I’wak people;4. Participation in the first I’wak congress on February 25 – 26, 2011. This activity paved way for the research information dissemination at large of the aims of the research;5. Adaptive strategies documentation was conducted. As early as December, 2010, the data gathering instrument was already crafted by the research team, underwent validation from the University Research Center, revised cognizant with several suggestions of the examining panel and again edited to include other items as seen relevant by the cultural masters & bearers.6. Consolidation of initial data and writings by the group was done.7. The third immersion activity - on March 22 – April 2, 2011 (living with the people to document their day to day activities in order to draw out with them the necessary data for the research was done.8. Fourth Immersion activity happened on April 25-26, 20119. Consolidation of all data and writing stages happened in April
  11. 11. Participation in the First I’wak Congress (February 25-26, 2011)
  12. 12. Immersion Activities (Living withthe I’waks in the various culturecenters) During the night, the I’wak elders of Buyasyas shared their history (oral), indigenous knowledge, systems and practices to the researchers during the focus group discussion
  13. 13. The I’waks: C oping in achanging world Dr. Yolanda Fe Gatan – Del Rosario Dr. Darwin Don Mallo Dacles Mr. Leonard Clemens Lamsis Cadoy
  14. 14. Kayapa: Home-bastion of the I’wak People Today’s generation of the I’wak peoplewould find themselves at large living in theupland political territories of the Municipalityof Kayapa. Kayapa, the home-bastion of theI’wak people is a 3rd class municipality,situated in the western portion of the LoneDistrict of Nueva Vizcaya, found in Region II,Northern Luzon, Philippines.
  15. 15. Nueva Vizcaya Map relative to its location in Northern Luzon & Kayapa Boundaries
  16. 16. Kayapa relative to its distance from the provincial capital and the country’s capital 326.99 kms. away from Manila and 66 kms. away from the provincial capital
  17. 17. Kayapa has an approximate area of about 78,459.69 hectares, which isbasically agricultural. It has an altitude of 4,300 feet above sea level and 9,630 feetabove sea level on top of Mount Ugo and Mount Pulag, the highest mountain peakin Northern Luzon that touches Kayapa.
  18. 18. Boundaries of Kayapa North - Province of Ifugao West - Province of Benguet connected via theKayapa Ambuklao Road South - Municipality of Sta Fe Southeast - Municipality of Aritao East - Municipality of Bambang Northeast - Municipality of Ambaguio
  19. 19. The Municipality ispolitically subdivided into30 Barangays; As a touristdestination, Kayapa is oneof the summer capitals ofthe Province of NuevaVizcaya due to its Baguio-like cool breeze,panoramic view, climateand “flower gardens”. It is also one of thevegetable bowls of theprovince.
  20. 20. I’wak Culture Centers Peralta (1982) describes, “the I’waks are extensivelydispersed in the general distribution of more than 2000 pluswithin the area of the Agno river to the west; highway 3 to theeast, approximately 5 kilometers into northeastern Pangasinan;and the mountain trail from Aritao to Baguio in the northernperimeter. The area includes southern Nueva Vizcaya, northern NuevaEcija in Lising & Capintalan, and northeastern Pangasinan in StaMaria”. Most Iwaks then crowded the southern area of NuevaVizcaya. Today’s concentration of the Iwaks is found in severalsitios of Barangays Besong, Alang-Salacsac (Bileg, Lower &Upper Bolo, Landing & Alang) Kayapa Proper West (Tuyungan &Li’bawan), Amilong-Labeng (Poblacion, Cawayan, Sayuding,Saguipat), Ansipsip (Dumolpos), Buyasyas, Kayapa (Talnag,Mataba, Parago) and Buyasyas, Sta Fe (Kapangan, Bocaog).
  21. 21. I’wak Culture Center Dumolpos Besong Ansipsip Pob. Cawayan Tuyungan Sayuding Kayapa Proper West Amilong-Labeng Li’bawan Saguipat Alang Lower Bolo Upper Bolo Bileg Talnag Landing Mataba Parago Buyasyas, Kayapa Bocaog Brgy. Alang-Salacsac Buyasyas, Sta Fe Kapangan- Sitiosa - Barangays - Researchers’
  22. 22. Alang-Salacsac Sitio Li’bawan Buyasyas, Kayapa Kayapa Proper West IWAK HISTORY AND ORIGIN For many centuries, scholars and writers were baffled by storiessurrounding the presence of a unique moorland ethnic group livingdeep in the Cordillera and Caraballo Mountain Ranges of NorthernLuzon, in the Philippine Archipelago. Sitio Tuyungan, Amelong-Labeng Buyasyas, Sta FeKayapa Proper West
  23. 23. The trail-quest for this identityriddle started from obscure Spanishdocuments which were very few,fragmentary, and to the extremestlevel, none at all.
  24. 24. This ethnographicinquiry had eluded thebest investigators ofthose times, not untildedicated researchersmade extensive andsystematic effort tounveil the mystery whichultimately opened otheranthropologicalopportunities for and onbehalf of this tribe.
  25. 25. Peralta (1982) posited that one of the reasons whyearlier investigations failed to unravel the identity of thispeople was “ because of the wide array of names thatwere being tagged to these old mountain folks”.
  26. 26. Generations of Spanish historical recorderswould discuss a wide variety of tribes like theYguats, Dumanggi, Alegueses, Alagueses,Gumangi, Jumangi, Jumanguis, Aua, Awa, Oak,Alagot, Yumanggi and Dangatan – when, inreality, all of these appelations are actuallyapplicable to but one generic tribal namecalled I’wak.”
  27. 27. The I’waks of old Ituy The I’wak existence wasfirst revealed in an oldSpanish document inNovember of 1591, takenfrom the expeditionaryreport of Pedro de Sid to thetown of “Tuy” or “Ituy” anold Spanish administrativeunit (today’s SouthernNueva Vizcaya) The territory of Ituyconsisted of what we knowtoday as the municipalterritories of Sta Fe, Kayapa,Aritao, Dupax Del Norte,Dupax Del Sur andBambang.
  28. 28. As in other chronicles, the Spanish were takenaback by the richness of the people who adornedtheir bodies with gold as part of an elaborate bodilyornamentation, which when the former asked wherethe source of gold came from, some tribesmenresponded, “Yguat, Panuypuy and Bila villages livingbehind the mountain range.” The inhabitants of those villages showed thevillage of Bayaban near Y’guat, close to the Igoloteswhere the goldmines were located.
  29. 29. In 1594, a brief description was made onthe valley of Dumanggui (another I’wak name)describing a settlement in that place. In 1635, a Spanish Friar Tomas also mademention of the Alegueses (another I’wakname) living along the ridges in the vicinity oflower Kayapa valley (pampang). In 1637, another report was made of thesame nature.
  30. 30. In 1739, a Dominican priest recorded thatin the summits and ridges overlooking Ituy,the Dumangguis were living in some 30villages. Those of the Awa also numbered about 20villages. Antolin (1970) enunciates that at the time,the most common term for these inhabitantswas the Owa or Oak.
  31. 31. Antolin also mademention of a Father Herrera in1755, who, on his way toAritao, Nueva Vizcaya from theProvince of Pangasinan passedthrough the mountain rangesnear the Igorots of Awa, usingwhat is still known today asVillaverde trail. Father Cristobal Rodriguezof Dupax strengthened theclaim of the Iwak presence inAwa/Aua when he took theopposite direction in going toPangasinan via the Awa river.
  32. 32. In the same year, another account from aDominican priest, Lobato narrated that in orderto reach the town of Aritao from Pangasinan,they had to cut across mountain ranges occupiedby fierce Igorotes at Awa (formerly Awa river,now Sta Cruz river). They arrived at sitio Burubur when suddenlythe Awa (I’waks) appeared and a fierce battlewas fought. After the battle, the chronicler mentioned thatthey had counted 48 Awa villages (dwellings) inrugged crags with hardly any place to grazecattle or flat grounds suitable for farming.
  33. 33. The old Spanish - trailmentioned in many Spanishchronicles that connected theold administrative region of Ituywith Pangasinan is still visiblefrom Mt Cabo. From this vantage point,the researchers had to stopbefore making a final push intothe old I’wak settlements ofAmaya-an, Busnog & Old Spanish trailCagumbawan to the southwestand retrace one’s footstepsagain into Mt Cabo and thentravel northeast again into Mt.Tugew... Mt. Cabo: The Trail going northeast to Mt. Tugew Mt. Cabo: The Trail going southwest into the old I’wak sites of amay’yaan, Cagumbawan & Busnog Spanish Trail
  34. 34. The Spanish logbookshowed interesting entriesabout the tribe’s frugal andsimple ways. Chroniclersobserved that the I’waks weretaro roots (gabi tubers)cultivators/eaters, which theyplanted on the slopes of themountains, that suggest a slashand burn type of agriculture orshifting cultivation. Taro is stillcultivated today in the I’wakculture centers and forms partof the peoples’ diet. It is plantedin “bineng” (swampy areas) orwhere there is abundant supply
  35. 35. Malumbres, writing early in the 20th century says that the“Igorotes of Kayapa were diligent workers growing taro,sweet potato, beans and cabbages upon the slopes. Some ofthem were also dedicated to the extraction of gold from theAmbayabang river. Their main commerce was with othertowns of Nueva Vizcaya and with Pangasinan.A mission center was estalished in 1894 (Mission deSantacruz) at Pingkian then later in 1898 at Bisong. (Keesing,1962). To date, these two places still exist.