04 October 2010
The last of the bobolians-tingolig (village protection)
I wouldn't have met her if it wasn't for my colleague who needed somebody to translate for him. He's researching something on the Dusun communities and has been dying to ask further questions on some hypotheses he's been playing with. So I went with him to meet this ancient lady of wisdom and I'm glad I did.
She is 97 years old and bedridden. And yet her memory is still as sharp as I imagine it must have been when she was a practising bobolian (healer, protecter, spiritual messenger, for lost of exact translation). My friend wanted to know about tingolig (protection of the village and of the household) so he asked me to ask her who she invoked when she was performing the ritual...and what she asked for.
So she told me all about tingolig and more...She said she would invoke Kinorohingan (the Creator), to ask him to give some 'power' to the stick, stone and water that she brought, so that they would serve as the protection for the village. I asked her "where is Kinorohingan?", to which she answered, high above. To go there, she said, she had to follow a kondiu (an eagle). She stressed that she wouldn't physically transcend, but rather her words would until she reached him. She would then asked him to empower the stick, the stone and the water, and went back to the earth. She would then bury those three items at the edge of the village, slaughtered 7 chickens as a symbol of gratefulness. Three years later, a goat will be slaughtered at the same spot to renew the protection, and a year after, the same ritual would be repeated. This year she said, she didn't have the physical strength to perform the ritualfor her village, so she requested her komburongoh (the thing in the pic), a sacred object that every bobolian has to have to do the job, sent the komburongoh through somebody to complete the ritual.
She lamented about the forgotten tradition, about the days when the ways of the bobolians were still practised. She had tears in her eyes when she reminisced about the good old days...and I felt a great guilt for reasons I couldn't understand...maybe for being a pseudo-dusun when it comes to traditional beliefs.