Issue of January 8, 2017

66th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Southern Cordi ‘blues’

THE SOUTHERN CORDI I am, I’m again missing them as I sit and write down these discussions and reflections.

DECADES EARLIER, IT was easy to satiate those ‘little gaps’ of feeling; not only for me, but perchance even for many others of similar concerns.

IT USED TO be: whenever you felt those ‘gaps’, you just went to the vegetable market, and you meet them three main Southerns – the Ibalois, the Kankana-eys, the Kalanguyas; sometimes even luckier you get: you’ll hear them speak their ‘dialects’ or ‘accents’ [or the sub-groupings of these which linguists are still grappling to resolve] like: those speaking the Mandek-ey of Buguias; the Cataoan of Kapangan; the Iowak of Eastern Bokod and Itogon; the Bago variety of boundary Bakun, even the Bingaan of Northern Tinongdan.

IN LIKE MANNER, you’ll get the same ‘gap’ therapy if you went to Wright Park – rent ride a horse circling by Mines View Park; or going further Northwest to Lamut; then Beckel, Tiptop, and back to Pacdal.

IF YOU COULD’NT do the two aforesaid but you still needed the same satisfied feeling, you just went and rode those mini-buses with movable benches on the center, and was as if you were in the heart villages of the Southern Cordi themselves.. ah well, if you heard but one seemingly new-sounding language, that was surely: the Iluko; but not necessarily lowland variety since on records historical, this was first heard used in el pueblo de Tonglo in 1763, though pidgin-wise. Other than said Iluko variety, you heard those Southern tongues in their own original, ‘purest’ forms!

AND IF YOU were a keen tourist and you really wanted to hear Nabaloi – the native language of the Baguioites prior and after the Spanish and American coming, you just asked your guide to bring you to the vicinity of those flower shops – in that aisle stretch between Parungao Pharmacy and the old Dry Goods Section (now Maharlika); you just listened – or tape-recorded the stall owners and/or customers’ queues and conversations, and you vicariously sort of passed by the old villages of Baguio or Bagiw, those of: Pacshal, Tengshew (or Tonglo), Gusaran (now Kisad?), Tilei, and of course Duakaen (Loakan), others!

IF FURTHER, YOU wanted to see those Northeastern Cordi men and women in their colourful attire, move some more paces towards the West when you were in those flower shops and lo! or hark! You’ll discover them truly quaint and distinct in their own language and countenances!

BUT ALAS! THIS time or now, you won’t see them there, the stone market, the dry goods section, and those giant cement steps where they used to bask against the favouring morning sun have long been gone – it is now just the Maharlika Bldg. compound – though bounded still by Magsaysay Ave. on the front, and Zandueta Street on the West.

THE FLOWER SHOPS, the used-to-be corner for the oral or spoken form of Nabaloi..they’re still there, but if you listen to what speech or ‘dialect’ they use, wow! of whichever ethnic origin the first speaker is from, he or she will first use:.. that’s right: Pilipino! (or maybe we may even call it ‘Tagalog’ – for linguistic accuracy?). And back, to the used-to-be

MINI-BUSES FOR LA TRINIDAD, they’re gone! Now replaced by: you know – the jeepneys, both long and short; original or re-bodied, and so on. Also, if still

IN QUEST FOR your ‘gap’ therapy, if you re-visit the Horse riding/renting area at Mines View, you’ll still meet a good number of South Cordis, but how many of them will greet you (as before) in the Southern ‘dialects’?

A MIXED LOT now they are, you’ll expect them to first speak to you in Tagalog (..or English!); then, if you use Iluko as you respond; they’ll shift to that – sometimes or often: the ‘Cordi Iluko’, now so-called.

IN THE VEGE market, decrease in the Use of said ‘dialects’ is evident or marked; although there is an observed slight increase in the Use of Northern Kankana-ey. Which, surprisingly or not, alternates at times with Cordi Iluko as an emerging lingua franca of the aforestated Southerns. So

ALMOST ALL OF these into fading and sooner or later antiquated or gone, will it just be I – plus a few others, who shall keep missing them – and treasuring them, in memory of their once-upon-a-time greatnesses? A few more years, a few more decades(?) and all that shall be left will be their traces and the nostalgia these may bring. But if you and I recall

GREAT CIVILIZATIONS DO not forget to connect their Past with their Present. The accounts and histories of those ‘vestiges’ still abound and linger in the lips and memories of people or individuals who are living witnesses to those ‘landmarks’ we have today cited.

WE CAN DO something for the ‘gaps’ many of us feel. Let’s start with a ‘Link’, a truly unquestionable one: a mini-minute corner depicting the once stone-market which survived the War – with the back or side-ground giant steps and, featuring Cordi tribesmen chatting in their natural free ways – while some of them barter-trade with their wide-brimmed straw hat-wearing lowland counterparts! Ania makuna yo apo?

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