Dung-aw is largely an Ilocano term which means dirge. Among the Tingguians they have the Baya-o and the Sansanna-e. This is usually performed when somebody succumbed to nature’s last demand: submission of one’s life the Creator.
Baya-o as sung by Langbayan Tomas
Notated by Candido Wail
Baya-o si Pipito,
naay in ca nin poco
caycaynga nan anacmo,
Baya-o, O Pipito,
now you have folded your feet,
pity are your children,
nobody will earn for them.
Wake, like other tribes, is a Tingguian social gathering. People are informed or called upon to pay their last homage to the departed. Once an announcement has been made as to the cadaver’s interment, people especially those relatives and friends troop to the place, cancel earlier appointments and show sympathy to the bereaved family. For them, this is a greater social responsibility than something personal.
Normally, immediate members of the family start chanting some words about the dead’s great feat and big-heartedness after the body has been laid for public viewing. The length of the dung-aw depends on the person capability to express his sentiments and deep sorrows.
To those whom the dead person had helped before, if they could muster enough courage, they may do the same. They could sing their last respects; noting how generous and great the person is. If they believe that those wrongs committed by the dead when he was still alive are worth airing, they could do also. Forgiveness could be the main consideration here. However, his great deeds dominate the narration.
These expression of thanks, sympathy, sorrow, gratefulness among others are outlets to better understanding among the Tingguians. Doors of understanding are opened – the bereaved family as well as the community are now well-informed and beseeched that the dead left legacies that could not be erased in the human heart and memory.
The young and the old alike are educated and influenced that aligning oneself to righteousness is always preferred than doing wicked acts. Good deeds are always remembered and wicked acts are refuted and chastised.
Hence, dung-aw plays a vital role in bringing to the fore values that are very much cherished. It’s not just a declaration of sympathy but an excellent avenue to make people realize their Christian social responsibilities.
Based from the data gathered, analyzed and interpreted, the following major findings are hereby presented.
1. Varied Cordilleran songs reflect the activities, aspirations, sentiments and life of the people. They mirror their customs and traditions. In short, Tingguian culture is very rich.
2. Many of these songs have been collected and preserved but few are annotated.
3. During social gatherings, dances and native songs dot the Tingguian life. Uggayam is widely sung during weddings and other joyful festivities.
4. Widely believed origin of the Uggayam is from the Inlaud tribe. Other Cordilleran provinces have adapted it already as a way of their life.
5. Uggayam has a six-tone scale with key signature at G major. The key tone is on sol and it has an average range. Its melody flows in an alternating ascending-descending pattern.
6. Uggayam has a non-metric time signature (free rhythm) and its tempo is moderate. It is strophic, with irregular phrasing.
7. No musical accompaniment is needed in singing the Uggayam. It is largely a monophonic song. However, it is a combination of neumatic, melismatic and syllabic settings.
8. Uggayam is a legacy by itself; it serves as a point of identity and unity of the Tingguians. It embodies the customs and traditions of the people. It fosters better understanding among themselves.
9. Attendance during wake is a social obligation among the Tingguians. Here, they recite Dung-aw or the Baya-o and the Sansanna-e.
10. The great feats and magnanimity of the dead person are usually the theme of the dung-aw. However, this could be an excellent avenue also to show repentance and subsequent asking of forgiveness of any wrong committed by the dung-aw singer to the dead person.
11. Dung-aw is a vehicle towards better understanding because it creates avenues for education, advice, forgiveness and unity.
Indeed, the province of Abra is very rich in material and non-material culture that makes every Tingguian feel proud because this paints their real life as an ethnic group. The songs and dances reflect who they are; the institution of formal and informal gatherings brings them closer to each other. What is important is they could renew their relationships with vigor and fresh insight – the greater level of understanding that mortal beings are identified with.
Uggayam and Dung-aw (Baya-o and Sansanna-e) are excellent Cordilleran songs that fortify personal, intra and interpersonal relationships among the Tingguians. The educational and social implications of this would be even greater than what one thinks of when these melodies and recitals are properly recognized and preserved. This will spell out once and for all, that the Tingguians, as any other ethnic groups are gifted, capable of integrating their beautiful legacies to the mainstream society which sometimes insensitive to the Cordilleran yearnings.
In the light of the findings and conclusions made, the following recommendations are highly advanced:
1. Tingguian professionals should initiate a move as soon as possible to document Cordilleran legacies especially its songs.
2. There should be an institution of Tingguian festival in every municipality to help create awareness and love of Itneg culture. Contests on Uggayam recital should be one of its highlights.
3. The province of Abra should assist cultural workers in the collection, preservation and annotation efforts of the different songs by fielding highly knowledgeable consultants and Tingguian experts.
4. Every Tingguian especially the powers-that-be should bear in mind that songs, not violence and related networks are the best instruments of peace and understanding.
5. More researches along this field should be conducted with special consideration on its impact to non-Tingguians.*