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The ‘little’ Paradaans you and I can save
by Morr Pungayan

Foreground

If we define Paradaan – which is pan-Cordi i.e. Ifugao, Kalinga, Ibaloi, Kankana-ey, Kalanguya, Ifontok, and even ‘Baguio Ilokano’, as: “a place where ‘province-’or rural-bound vehicles – Pus, or private ones, start for their respective areas of Destination”, we can cite several examples of these, both at Present and in the Past, but maybe we cannot foretell their ‘Future’ – or, how long they shall stay.

The term ‘little’ just happens to be our present Discussion’s choice, instead of possible contextual alternatives like: ‘far-flung bound’, ‘remotest’, ‘minority areas’, and so on.

Forerunners of Baguio’s ‘little’ Paradaans

If the Paradaan is ‘a place where ~ ‘and takes place’(!) other things other than plain ‘board on’ and ‘get off’ from a vehicle bound from and bound for, then – that’s why it is called a ‘Station’ as in: Dangwa ‘Station’, Norton ‘Station’, others. In short, it could be – the Paradaan referred to is: a ‘waiting’ station, a fetching area, a pre-appointment meeting place – indeed, a ‘Station’.

Such were the likes of: [old] Pantranco Stations at Upper Magsaysay and Leonard Wood Road; but even the giant steps at the Baguio old Market as well as Lapu-Lapu Street itself: they used to be described as ‘meeting areas’, ‘stations’, or their localized terms of: estacionan ti kakadwa (Baguio Iluko); estambayan din babalo (Kankana-ey); kasinofi ni yankee (Ifaloi); kapan ayami idan kokoboi (Tinoc Kalanguya), etcetera.

These descriptions.. Baguio folks used to hear; but now no longer. Still, they ‘deserve’ mention – as they preceded and contributed to shaping-form of Today’s contemporary ‘little’ Paradaans in Baguio.

 [For ‘convenience Info’ of those truly ‘new’ in Baguio – as well as for the Benefit of our young readers of this Discussion, the ‘used-to-be’, afore-described giant-steps ‘Station’ at the Public Market and [former] Lapu-Lapu Street pan-abatan ‘Station’ are now parts of: Maharlika Building and Centermall, respectively]. And so, having thus provided you pre-views vital, we may now proceed to discussing some of the Present-day ‘little’–known Paradaans or ‘Stations’ in Baguio, for which further: we strongly believe should be saved or spared, from Erasure.

Importantly for this Purpose, we present to you just three (3) ‘Models’ or ‘illustrative Examples’, to wit: the Baguio-Binga via Boboc and Baloy ‘little’ Paradaan, the Baguio-Karao bound Jeepney, and old Dangwa ‘Station’ itself.

The ‘little’ Paradaans Now

(Three illustrative models)

The Baguio-Binga and vice-versa. Its complete signboard reads: [SAME] via Bobok and Baloy.

The roads which the ‘Line’ traverses is: first, the Sangilo Road; then, turns left to tread on the Dalupirip National Road; then, Right to the Bobok-Baloy ‘Diversion’ Road; then finally, to the Binga Road.

The ‘little’ Paradaan from which it starts in Baguio is at Rajah Matanda St; and it is there where the three ‘trips’ i.e. first, second, and third – arrive, with their passengers respective, when coming from Binga. So, Rajah Matanda St. is where the three jeepneys “stay” or “wait”, or “park”, or “parada”..from Arrival Time of 8:40 a.m. or so, up to Departure Time of 3:00 p.m. (i.e.’last trip’). The ‘first trip’ usually leaves Baguio 12:30 p.m. and the ‘2nd trip’, 1:30 p.m. From 8:40 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. gives a total of seven (7) hours, m.o.l, for people who have transactions – family, business, personal, etc., to do their purposes in that ‘little’ Paradaan, while the three jeepneys wait-in-line for their trips. So, one may wonder what important things usually happen or ensue during those seven hours Duration of Paradaan ‘Time’?

Basically, these are the things one can get or ‘benefit’ when in that Paradaan, whether as a passenger or otherwise: 1) ‘fresh’ news from home, 2) the ‘developments’ regarding an old or ‘burning’ Issue back home, 3) meeting new friends, acquaintances, and relatives (!) – ‘near’ and ‘far’, et alii. In technical generalizations, a Paradaan serves as a ‘non-formal Centre’ for: newscast, information, and cultural Exchanges.

The Baguio-Karao via Bokod and vice-versa. This Jeepney ‘Line’ first takes the Baguio-Nueva Vizcaya National Road, via Ambuklao; then, parts at Gurel Junction to take the Baguio-Kabayan Road; then, finally takes the Karao Road through a right swing-off from Bokod Poblacion.

The ‘little’ Paradaan in Baguio where said ‘Line’ ‘delivers’ or await passengers, is in the same place as where the Baguio-Binga does: at Rajah Matanda St. – a few meters away. Further, the Line has ‘trips’, briefly summarized as follows: only one jeep; starts from Karao early :00 am; arrives in Baguio about 9 am; parts up to about past 1:00 am or so, when it starts back to Karao.

At this Juncture, one may ask: “being two ‘little’ Paradaans at the ‘same’ street or block, do they therefore serve ‘the same’ purposes more or less (m.o.l)?” Basically, yes (!) is the answer.

But from a ‘specific’ Point-of-view, the two are not: ‘one-and-the-same’. Note well, or you see: 1) the Binga-bound passengers do not go wait, or stay, etc. there and 2) “hey! I can hear (or ‘observe’) a different language or ‘dialect’ spoken there (!)” – [you may exclaim if you yourself go there at will].

That would be Karao – one of the eight (8) languages [not ‘dialects’ as some others name such – since none of them is a ‘daughter-language’ of any; or, not one is a ‘derivative’ of the other].

To make our Point clear about this specific feature, we adhere in belief that: aside from Barangays Ekip and Karao in Bokod, Benguet, where the Karao language (or Igwaan) is spoken, it is in that ‘little’ Paradaan – of the Baguio-Karao ‘Line’, at Rajah Matanda St., where Iguaan is likewise used ‘natively and for regular purposes of a language e.g. for easy communication, for business or ordinary transactions, for other detailed ‘everyday’ functions [..even for nobler aspirations as: for Solidarity?].

The Dangwa ‘Station’. The ‘oldest’ – or at least, ‘one of the oldest’ little Paradaans in the City, it has literally stood the Test of Time since you and I knew of it..from the time of its founding, by one of the Cordis’ great men – Apo Bado Dang-wa.

The Dangwa ‘Station’ area is located East of Rajah Matanda St. and is enclosed with CHB walls. Physically, there have been some changes here and there – but within the confines of those walls; so it was that ‘little’ (or small) Paradaan you and I knew; and it is still up to this time. One ‘noticeable’ change though: it used to be referred to as ‘Dangwa Tranco Station’; now, it is called just plain ‘Dangwa Station’; so, we wonder.

But the events that happened – or took place in there: so many, or innumerable to recount – even ‘legendary’. Two examples.

There was a girl..from Benguet (they say). She was ‘arranged’ – parent-wise, to be married to a man she never met. Was she the first ‘cultural rebel’ in these parts?

Telling no one, she boarded a Dangwa Tranco bus bound for Manila; sans money, sans plans, or anything; except what she had on her body or by herself.

When the bus conductor asked for her fare, at the Manila Dangwa station, she begged instead to be given audience by “the owner himself..or the [next-in-line] boss”. Her request was granted.

Instead of berating her for her quaint audacity, “the boss” [or the owner himself.. the accounts don’t specify], told her to forget about her fare, and instead gave her ‘a little pocket money’ – plus a well-wish of “Goodluck!” expressed: “mai, singpetmo ah?” Why? What did she say, what did she do?

The accounts say: she just told ‘the truth (!)..and nothing more’.. That the folks at home shall marry her to a man not of her choice or sight.. That also, she wanted to get away from it all..ad demonstrandum

Her ‘legendary’ story was verified by Makniba members who went to grace the 5thAdivai of the Ibalois in Kidapawan City, circa June 2006.

It is said, ShakaSodora, the Benguet girl rode a Cargo ship..and later settled with other Benguets in Kidapawan. Some of the informants were her immediate descendants. Now, the 2nd instance of a Dangwa ‘station legendary narration.

A man of 28 or so, a Senior Instructor at Saint Louis University went on Vacation to the Vizcayan Heights, to visit primarily his two close kin – his Father’s sister in Biruk, Dupax del Sur; and his own mother at Belance, Dupax del Norte.

Unfortunately for him, he got sick of Flu a week before his scheduled trip back to Baguio. Although up during the day of the trip itself, he was feeling some kind of weakness in his body. But he did not want to displease his kin by not accepting the ‘goodies’ – red rice, deer dried meat, some grapefruits – so, to the said trip he went, i.e. via the San Jose, N.E. highway, through Pangasinan and so forth.

At Carmen, Rosales, he had to get off to wait for Buses Baguio-bound. For almost an hour, he signalled for a “please stop” – but to no avail. He was already getting dizzy.

Then suddenly, he spotted a Dangwa bus, but it did not stop at once..since his signalling was late, but next thing.

He saw: the bus conductor was coming to meet them half-way [there was a ‘guardian’ (?) Samaritan who helped the man carry some of his loads to the waiting bus – a good hundred meters away].

Days later in Baguio, when fully recovered, the man went to the Dangwa ‘Station’ purposely: to thank the bus driver and conductor who picked him up during that trip from Vizcaya via Carmen. Unable ‘to find’ both or any of them, he went home sad.

After a month, the man was there again – at the Dangwa ‘station’..this time with his mother and his aunt.

Although he was frustrated again not to locate his ‘benefactors’, he was appeased because the ‘Station’ management received them well, talked with them; although later, but formally declared: “we talked with the driver and the conductor, and they told us to tell you not to worry about it.. said they were just doing their job!”

Concluding Remarks

The case of the Baguio-Binga Paradaan exemplifies what mostly happens daily in a ‘little’ Station e.g. greetings, conversations, ‘fresh’ news exchanges, etc., but also new acquaintances, renewal of ties – kinship or otherwise, and others which the Psychologists may term as Paradaan ‘blues’.. that which some feel after some minutes ‘visit’ to a Paradaan.

That of the Baguio-Karao focuses on the role of a seemingly ‘insignificant’ – population’s Paradaan in preserving, renewing, and keepingvibrant one culture and language threatened by the bearers of Modernization, Sophistication, and so on.

The Dangwa ‘Station’ accounts attempts to portray a macro-role played by small but ‘enduring’ Paradaans.

Waiting about those accounts – at least some of them, is our way of returning the many beyond-business ‘favours’ the Station’s people have showered upon its passengers, Kailianes and name it.

Its ‘Survival’ up to present time, affords us the opportunity to grandeur-plate its almost ‘changing’ appearance so that, even after the Passage of time, Posterity itself may have some fond Memories to cling to!

If we thus come face-to-face with the present State of the ‘little’ Paradaans, we see two impending scenarios: either we, the citizens ourselves, can rally for their maintenance and preservation; or, we let them be – to stay a Decade, a Score more; then, perhaps ‘give way’ to Pressures of ‘being abreast’.

But the handwriting on the wall is clear for everyone to see: ‘remove or deface those Paradaans and you deprive the present and future generations of the chances: to preserve their own languages; to have a daily ‘ready-touch’ with home, to enjoy the survival of their remote but resilient cultures! Ergo – let us save (!) those ‘little’ Paradaans we have left; save them from ‘eventual’ Erasure. We may as well commence doing so: as soon.

If you are a non-Public Official like most of us, you and I can begin by the very cognizance and belief of a Paradaan’s Worth  - be this ‘big’, not-so-big, or small. If you are an official of ours, on the other hand, you can do more; or: the same; can’t you? Only then can we say in Ensemblance: “Ships, ahoy! Hark ye, and behold!”

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