13 August 2009
Once upon a time- Mogitatabang
I miss the good old days when 'mogitatabang' was still a strong tradition among the people. 'Mogitatabang' derives from the word 'tabang' that means 'to help one another'. It works this way- let's say next week I'm building a shack. I'll send words to my neighbours and they will come to help me on that day. Them helping me out will count as a 'debt' that I'll have to repay in the future.
The best thing about it is that whoever is available will come out to help. It is not so much because of the expectation of being helped in return, but more because of the understanding that 'my neighbour is in need of help, therefore it is my duty to help them'.
I supposed it worked all the time before because the people were all farmers. There was no such thing as clash of duty. As means of living become more varied, mogitatabang begins to lose its significance. New needs arise and various ways are created to cater to those needs.
But, oh, those beautiful days of mogitatabang. Any job, big or small was done together. I remember one of the best time was 'mangasok' (hill-rice sowing) during school holidays. If I wasn't one of those assigned the task of cooking for the workers, I got to participate in the 'mogitatabang' sometimes. Being among those cheerful people who sang, joked and laughed all through the task was something I have never forgotten. Not to mention all the eating and drinking after. It was a party. Now it is but a sweet memory...