I had always dreamed of building a farm in the mountains of Cordillera. Little did I know back then that I would be migrating to the States to make that dream come true. The reality though, is that I’d have that dream with my husband by my side.
When I dreamt of my farm back then, I envisioned my family and the whole Tanglag community to be right there with me. Community is such a huge part of my life and I knew I could never start that dream without them. In Tanglag, we had this traditional practice of Pangu – where the whole community comes together to help out one family, be it for planting, harvesting, building a new house, or establishing a farm. It is also called og-ugbo for the Benguet people, which is common during planting and harvesting.
When a family calls for a Pangu, theygo around the village,either early in the morning before everyone leaves to work in the fields or in the evenings when everyone is back in their homes. Theyask each family for help and confirm their availability on the tukun–the set date of the Pangu.
Familieswould then delegate a member, if not all of them can participate. They can go either as avujug or kaan. In avujug, the host family will in turn be called onfor Pangu. By giving back the favor, they are practicing kaan.
I remember those days when my mother and I called for Panguto finish building our house, we’d be busy the day before preparing the food for the avujugs and kaans. I’d be nervous the whole time thinking no one might arrive. The nerves were all for naught, of course, because relatives and friends arrived in droves. It became an excuse to get together and feast.
It was during those times that I felt blessed to be part of the Tanglag community. My widowed mother and I knew that despite the hardships we faced, the community would be there to support us.
Now that I’m in Maine, that support and bond remains strong. Last December, I called for Pangu from the Igorot Community,BIBAK (Baguio, Ifugao, Benguet, Apayao, Kalinga), a group organized to help each other start a new life, help them adjust to life in a foreign land.
We sent out the invites last March via the Internet to help my husband and I establish the East-West Farm on 24 April.I’m excited and looking forward to introduce this way of life to Eric and his family. They are now part of this tradition.
I’m in Maine embarking on a new adventure with my husband. Far away from home, it seemed a bit daunting but I am ready. I chose the man. I chose the life. I am ready.