Saturday, July 29, 2006


Lakay Burik and his wife Leoncia Calapit (our great maternal grandmother) have 5 children: Jacinto, Petra, Andres, Jose, and Antero.

Jacinto the eldest will marry Marcelina Vidad and among his many gifts while courting her is a hatful of bisukol. Jacinto plays a bamboo flute and is always invited to perform in weddings and burials. But most of the time, he will play his haunting melodies near the spring by the creek. Jacinto will become a teacher, looking honorable in his Americana suit. He died in Ifugao.

Andres married Manuela Tomas, a relative and a descendant of Miguel Tomas. He became a gold miner in Baguio, a job that would give him the pasma. When the sick Andres was brought home to Almaguer from Baguio, his youngest brother Antero waited for him at the bridge of the bassit nga carayan. Antero carried his brother home where he died in his arms.

Jose married Emay and eventually moved to Tabuk, Kalinga Apayao. He remarried to a Kalinga woman when Emay died. Josue also died in Kalinga Apayao. His grandsons from his second wife would eventually come back to Almaguer.

Antero or Amang Lakay is our grandfather. In the 1920s, settlers from Solsona passed by Almaguer on their way to Isabela. Among them is the family of Jacinto and Virata Nicolas. Their daughter Paula (our Inang Baket) have these whose melancholic eyes that seems to cry forever and Amang Lakay fell for her. They got married and have 4 children: Rosita/Auntie Ibang the foster mother, our mother Eufrocina/Uppris the teacher, Rogelio/Uncle Dugal the water master, and Guillermo/Uncle Kidlat the soldier.

Lakay Burik’s only daughter is Petra, the second eldest child. Petra married Gaspar Amador from Ineangan and theirs has been a difficult love story. Lakay Burik asked them to settle in Almaguer but Gaspar declined. Petra decided to stay with Gaspar and in anger, Lakay Burik forfeited her only daughter’s inheritance.

Ineangan and Almaguer are along the boundaries of the towns of Dupax and Bambang, respectively. Barrio proper to barrio proper is some 4 kilometers away. We have relatives there but I did not have the chance of connecting with them until my mother’s death. As a young boy, we used to walk to Ineangan and back with my boyhood friend Junie --- a great grandson of Andres Lazaro --- to visit his Apong. As a teenager, I come to treat Ineangan as a rival especially in basketball leagues. This rivalry later evolved into open hostility and many times, we were chased away from Ineangan by stones. I later learned that this rivalry already existed during the youth of my uncles and aunts. Those fights are actually between cousins. Perhaps it was a curse from Petra, getting even with her siblings who stayed in Almaguer and her denial of an inheritance. Petra will be the most durable of Lakay Burik’s children dying, according to family accounts, at 120 years old in Ineangan. She outlived all her brothers.

A National Heritage: Murals in Stone

Some 15 minutes drive away from Ineangan is the old church of Dupax dedicated to San Vicente Ferrer. Dupax was established in 1602 by the Dominicans for their mission among the Isinays and Ilongots in an area called Ituy between what is now Bayombong and the foothills of the Caraballo mountain range. The Augustinians, who briefly took over the mission in 1717, built a fort in Dupax that might have also served as a church and as a base for their pacification and Christianization campaign. Dupax was again accepted as an ecclesiastical mission of the Dominicans when they came back in 1741. Fr. Manuel Corripio (OP) initiated constructing the present church in 1775. The masons and master carpenters who built it were from Tuguegarao and left an imprint of their church in the silhouette of the Dupax church’s fa├žade. The church features a baptistery and narthex pillars with finely carved stucco. Strong and beautiful, the church became the model for other churches built by the Spanish in Nueva Vizcaya, and in Carranglan and Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija. Slits in the outer walls of the church that were used in defending against constant attacks of the Ilongots are still visible today. It was declared as a national heritage by the National Commission on Culture and Arts. Dupax was later divided into 2 towns: Dupax del Sur and del Norte. The church stayed with the southern part.

My brother Sherwin/Eric will marry a local Dupax lass from Barangay Palabutan. My sister-in-law Juvie currently works in Hong Kong. They have two kids: Vince and Aya.

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