Issue of March 29, 2020
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Vicky Tumbaga : Tracing time
Nonette Bennett
Vicky Tumbaga’s name is popular among the Ibaloy families in Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet because she has been tracing family genealogies since the 1980s. With still many stories and family lineages missing, she has traced time beyond the printed words of Dean C. Worcester and Otto Scheerer for the Ibaloy families, perhaps, into some 25 generations.

According to her, Avucay was the farthest generation reckoned by her informants. Avucay was described to have been the woman who owned a gold mine and who married three times. With her first husband Sula, she had three children – Carame/ Ramon Bato who married three times; Amey married to Palso; and Oria who married Adjafeow of Balatoc, Itogon, Benguet. In her marriage to Tubjas of La Trinidad, her only daughter Angin married Lubos of La Trinidad. In her marriage to Bali’tan of La Trinidad, her son Arciso was married to Savel/Misja.

Shepday chart.

Carame’s first wife Madaing was from Baguio. Bayosa Cariño was the child of Apulog with his first wife Pecnay. Yet, history reckons Mateo Cariño as the hero of Baguio as written by Worcester and Scheerer in their observations in the early years of Baguio as a chartered city.

What’s most interesting as Tumbaga traces the past land ownerships and uses, she is able to understand how the lands of La Trinidad and Baguio were slowly apportioned. She claims that the migration and marriage patterns among the Ibaloys cover the western and southern parts of Benguet and portions of the north. This she says is the ancestral domain of the Ibaloys according to the stories of her informants.

A canao at “Panikputan” or Leonila Hill held by the clan of Shepday in the early 1900s.

Tumbaga’s interest in genealogy started when she traced her father’s family roots in the 1980s. She started with one family tree and ended up tracing more than 15 family trees of the original families of La Trinidad and Baguio.

Vicky and Eden Ang in one of the lighter moments of her illustration regarding the Benguet municipalities included in the ancestral domain of the Ibaloys.

In 2008, Eden Ang, then a barangay secretary wrote the history of Leonila Hill barangay and stumbled across the original land owner, Shepday. She wrote, “Shepday is the grand old man of Panikputan, as Leonila Hill was referred to as an early settlement. Akin, one of his granddaughters, who is the only child of his son Pi-il, brought the vast tracts of land she inherited from her family into her marriage with Dempayos. This fortune was said to have declined due to the dictates of her Ibaloy tradition and the events of her time.”

Tracing land ownerships through the generations.

Tumbaga said that the inheritance covered the residential area owned by Shepday. Shepday had a garden or farmland in the area of Old Lucban and a mine in Itogon as his properties. These varied land uses changed over time as land titles and the sale of lands was the practice. Tumbaga has traced 20 generations of the clan of Shepday in her family genealogies. Ang said in 2017 that, “Anna Eladio-Villaruz and Leticia Eladio-Villaruz, the immediate granddaughters of Akin, also traced their ancestry. The sisters are the only descendants who continue to reside in Panikputan.”

Vicky Tumbaga shows the genealogy tree of one of the pioneer families of La Trinidad, Benguet that she has written in a book.

Tumbaga, a retired teacher of the Benguet State University, is the only survivor of the cultural trend that was aflame in the 1980s. The trend brought about the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and the Certificate of Ancestral Land Title and the Certificate of Ancestral Doman Title. She continues to pursue the CADT for the Ibaloys in recognition of the rich history that many families share in the development of the land and its resources from time immemorial.

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