Prints and Traces

The Balitaw as a Narrative of Contradictions

Aug. 10, 2017

The literary virtue of the balitaw in ancient times manifests mostly in the arena of courtship wherein the boy and the girl engage in verbal joust rendered in song. The boy, of course shows his skill in versified lines of the song his romantic intentions to which the girl answers with matching skill her inquests into the real intentions of the suitor. And a musical debate ensues. If the boy is able to subdue the defenses of the girl by his superior arguments in verse narrative, then he wins the heart of the girl.

The following balitaw however, albeit involving a verbal tussle between a man and a woman, is a political literature. Here, the emergent contradiction between prominent social forces in current Philippine society is rendered in a creative fashion as a literary genre.

BALITAW SA PANAHON

MATSO:​​ Ikaw ba si Rosas Pangdan sa kabukiran
​​​Nga dugay nang gihandom niining dughan?
​​​Balitaw man kahay imong puhunan
​​​Nga gipasigarbo sa imong ginikanan..?
​​​Aber, ipasunding imong putling kiay-kiay,
​​​Basin kining mga kahidlaw ko mahupay!
​​​
WALING-WALING:​ Excuse me Sir, dili tawon kosi Rosas Pangdan;
​​​Waling-Waling ako sa lasangnong kabulakan
​​​​​Bitbit ko ang damgo sa Lumadnong katawhan
​​​Nga karon gihasol sa daghang kakulian.

​​​Nabati mo tingali ang saloma sa kaliwat
​​​Balitaw nga giawit kanunay sa mga Lumad
​​​Gisaysay sa awit ilang mga pangindahay
​​​Nagdasig kanila sa takna sa kalaay. . .

MATSO:​​ Unsa man nang giingon mong damgong Lumadnon
​​​Nga karon gihasol sa kakuliang katilingbanon?
​​​Nasayod ka bang akoy gamhanang gitugyanan
​​​Sa milyun-milyong molupyo sa kalungsoran..?

​​​Pwede kong magpasutoy sa damgo ni bisan kinsa,
​​​Pwede pud nakong gubaon ang ihalas nga gugma.
Sultihi lang ko sa tinuod ninyong problema
Waling-Waling, huwag na tayong magbolahan pa.

WALING WALING: Sir, sayran ko ikaw sa lunsayng kamatuoran:
Ang kabataan sa mga Lumad sa kabukiran
​​​Hubo sa tanang kaalam ug kinaadman
Nga sandigan sa among tingusbawan.

Sa among kaugalingong mga paningkamot
Mga kalamboan sa isipan among gikab-ot.
Ang nakaparat dunay daghang mga salot
Among mga binhi way-kaluoyng gipanglarot,

MATSO:​​ May nagsumbong nako nga ang mga binhi
​​​Nga inyong gitisok sa kasingkasing sa mga putli
​​​Mamunga daw og makahilo nga mgapagbati,
Modagsang morag libgos dala sa ulan ugliti.

​​​Dugang pa niana, wala daw kamoy pananghid
​​​Sa mga agta nga akong gisugo pagpanuhid.
​​​Busa dili na ko magdaghan pag tsetse buretse—
​​​Paulanan kog nagbagang mga bato inyong balwarte.
(Isulti)​Putong-inanag sinugbang uling piniritong peste. . !

WALING-WALING (Aside): Ay. mga diwata sa lasang ug mga ada sa sapa!
​​Aniay pinakamatsong unggoy naglakat sa yuta!

MATSO (Nasuko): Unsa! Unsay gipamarayeg nimo samga demonyo..?
​​​Ayaw ko Inday hadlok-halokag sungayang espirito!
​​​Mokilaw kog atay sa panulay, isawsaw sa iyang apdo!
​​​Mokibkib kog mga anito, mousap og tsitsarong multo!
​​(Isulti) Huwag na tayong magbolahan, binibining Balyan!

WALINGWALING: Talinis pas baraw dilang nagpasagad og yawit!
​​​Napagngan sa kalinaw, sa mga busaw gidagit!
​​Unsa pay kapuslanan makighinabi ning matsoha?
​​​Nahunlak tanang paglaom nga unta nanahana.
​​​​​​​
O, Mandalangan! Bathala sa mga pakigsangka!
​​​Ikaw nay bahala makig-atubang ningmatsoha!
​​​Kay ikaw lang ang gisaligan sa mgakalumaran;
​​​Ikaw ray makapasutoy sa ilang kaluwasan. . .

MATSO: ​​Kaniadto maayo kaayo ko ninyo mga Tribu!
​​​Andaman og mabulokong pagbati matag Pasko!
​​​Apan natagamtam ninyo mga pulong madaiton
​​​Gidalit sa mga sugo ni Mandalangang masuklanon.

WALAING-WALING: Ang mga sugo ni Mandalangan nga halangdon
​​​Nagtamod man sa imong maayong kabubut-on.
​​​Naunsang kabutanga nga gitugkan mag tunok
​​​Imong dila ug imong piskay nga hunahuna?

​​​Sukad ka nakigdulog sa mga dagkong Sawa
​​​Nga binuhi sa mga langyawng tigtumod og gera!
​​​Gisalikway mo ang among mga pangaliya nga
​​​Palayason sa among yuta mga halas ug tanga!

​​​Dili ka na maminaw sa among mga tiyabaw
​​​Gipalabi mong kaamandag sa ilang hagawhaw— ​​​​​Sa tulo ka dagkong Sawa nga imong giluon.
​​​Nabihag ka na, nalumay sa ilang sugilanon.?

MATSO:​ ​Kon makapanudya ka, morag wala moy sala!
​​​Di ba inyong gitusod akong mga halas ug tanga?

WALING-WALING: Kataw-anan man tawon ka, Sir Talahuron!
​​​Ang mga halas ug tangang imong giamoma
Nagsigeg panglarot sa mga binhing inosente!
Alangag di mi manalipod batok sa mga peste?

MATSO: ​​Basta, kutob karon dili na ko ninyo makighinabi!
​​​Kon dili undangon pagpanusod akong mga binuhi!
Tinud-on ko pagpaulan og nagbagang mga bato
​​​Aron dugmokon ang mga gipangbinhi ninyo!

WALING-WALING: Bato-bato sa langit, ang tamaan tiyak magagalit!
​​​Mosumbong sa mga sugo ni Mandalangan! Mosiyagit!
​​​Pakusgan ang pag-ugmad aron buhion ang mga binhi. .!
​​​Pakatayon sa tanang ngilit ug hilit sakinabuhi. . .!

​​​Salamat Sir, pagpadayag sa imong tinuod kinaiya!
​​​Kon ang imong dila may kalayong nagsiga,
​​Ang mga sugo dunay panghaplas nga lana
​​​Padayon sa imoha, padayon sab mi saamoa. . .!
​​​
KORO: Lalalalala Lalalalala . . .(5 x) . . . FADE OUT

​English transcreation

BALITAW OF THE TIMES

MATSO: ​​​Are you Rosas Pangdan of the mountains
​​​​Whom my heart has long desired?
​​​​Isn’t the balitaw your alluring gem
​​​​Vaunted by your proud forebears?

​​​​Well, show me the sway of your hips,
​​​​Might they quench the thirst of my soul!

WALINGWALING: Excuse me Sir, I’m not really Rosas Pangdan,
​​​​I am Waling-Waling of the wildwood,
Dream-bearer of the Lumad peoples
Now beset by a mountainful of adversities.

Perchance you’ve heard the hymn of the race
The balitaw constantly sung by the Lumad?
It versifies in song their age-old aspirations,
Perks up their soul when they are down.

MATSO: ​​​Tell me what you say is their dream Lumadnon
​​​​That now are troubled by social adversities?
​​​​Don’t you know that I am with power given
​​​​By millions of the people of these islands?

​​​​I can give due course to anybody’s dream,
​​​​I can also destroy one’s illegitimate desire.
​​​​Just tell me straight your real problem
​​​​Waling-Waling, let us not fool each other.

WALING-WALING: ​Sir, I will in all honesty tell you the truth:
​​​​The youth in the Lumad mountain areas
​​​​Are deprived of all knowledge and learnings
​​​​The necessary foundation for our development.

​​​​Through our own initiative and collective effort
​​​​Intellectual uplift we have provided our children.
​​​​The big problem is the onslaughts of pestilence:​​​​​​The seedlings we‘ve sown are cruelly uprooted.

MATSO:​​​ Some of my agents have disclosed the seeds
​​​​You have sown in the hearts of the innocents
​​​​Have borne fruits laden with poisonous feelings,
​​​​Spread like mushrooms brought by thunder and rain.

​​​​Moreover, they said you never asked permission
​​​​From the black ogres I have ordered to surveil.
​​​​And so, let’s do away with lots of idletalk—
​​​​I will rain down flaming stones on your bulwark.
(to be spoken) Putong inanag sinugbang uling piniritong peste. . !

WALING-WALING (Aside): Oh, forest gods and river fairies , , ,!
​​​​A macho monkey is treading on native ground!

MATSO (Upset): What!? You’re calling for help from the demon?
​​​​Don’t you, madam, scare me with horned ghosts!
​​​​I eat raw the devil’s liver, his gall my favorite sauce!
​​​​I munch with gusto anitos, chew fondly crunchy multo!
​(spoken):​Huwag na tayong magbolhan, binibining Balyan!​

WALING-WALING: Omg! Sharper than dagger his reckless tongue!
​​​He’s gone crazy, his sound mind by the busaw nabbed!
​​​​What’s the use talking to this deranged macho man?
​​​​All hopes are drowned which have begun to bloom.

​​​​O Mandalangan! God of war and battle skirmish!
​​​​You be the dispenser of what’s just for this macho man!
​​​​For only you can be relied upon by the Lumad people!
​​​​Only you can give due course to their liberation . . .!
​​​​
MATSO: ​​​In better times I was very good to you Tribal people!
​​​​Always forthright with well wishes at Christmas time !
​​​​But you have savored the equalitarian words served
​​​​By a host of knight errant of mighty Mandalangan…

WALING-WALING: ​The knight errants of the honorable Mandalangan​
​​​​Have always reciprocated properly your goodwill.
But what strange twist of fate, sharp thorns
Have grown on your tongue and sound mind?

Ever since Three Anacondas became your bedfellows
Nurtured fondly as pets by alien marchants of war !
You have squandered away our supplications that​
The snakes and scorpions​ be driven out from our lands!

You won’t anymore listen to our screaming voices.
You chose to cherish the venom of their whispers—
Those three Anacondas who are now your roommates.
You’ve been inveigled, drugged by their stlories. . ?

MATSO:​​​ The way you rebuke me, as if you have no fault!
​​​​Did not you crush to bits my pet snakes and scorpions?

WALING-WALING: ​How funny can you become, Honorable Sir !
​​​​The snakes and scorpions you have fondly cared for
​​​​Have been bestially uprooting our innocent seedlings!
​​Shouldn’t we justly defend them from those pests?

MATSO:​​​ I don’t care! From now on I won’t talk to you. . .!
​​​​Unless you stop cutting to pieces my favorite pets!
​​​​I promise I will rain down flaming stones and rocks
​​​​To crush to ashes what you have sown on your lands!

WALING-WALING: Stones from the sky, the injured will be truly enraged!
​​​​Retell all these to the knight errants of Mandalangan!
Grow with renewed vigor the seedlings of the race!
Let them spread on all reaches and edges of our lifeworld!

Thank you Sir, for showing your true character !
If your tongue manifests with flames of fire,
Mandalangan’s knights have their balsam oil.
Pursue your own will, we pursue our own will!

​​CHOIR: Lalalalala Lalalalala . . .(5x) . . .FADEOUT

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