Ordinary Affairs of Ordinary Cordillerans/Lowlanders


Last Monday, Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) joined others in marking Earth Day 2019 by planting trees, as exemplified by its different precincts, like, say, Precinct Station 5, which planted trees at Wright Park, Baguio City.

Last week also was a rare and good chance having met P/Lt. Joel Binojlan, assigned at BCPO Precinct Station 2, attending to some homeless persons along the street near Dizon barangay.

During moments of talks, it was apparent P/Lt. Binojlan was acutely sensitive of the welfare of the homeless, as evidenced by his cultural upbringing and the soft way he deals with people. Binojlan reflects the BCPO’s dictum: “We Care!”

Somewhere near Bell Church, the Chinese Temple situated near Sanitary Camp barangay and close to La Trinidad and Baguio City boundary, afternoon of last Monday, a group of 14 men momentarily halted their conversation and watched a vehicle pass, a bullhorn mounted on it, shouting to all and sundry names of aspiring political kandidato.

It stopped along the road; those aboard it came out, made a beeline to the commercial establishments along the road, apparently to campaign, while the vehicle bullhorn still a-blaring music and yelling, “Kakabsat, saan yu kuma liplipatan nga ibotos ni gay-yem tayo nga____ (names of so and so) . . .”

Staring at the campaigning vehicle, the men resumed conversation, this time not on their previous topic when they were interrupted.

This time their talks turned to politics. One of the men, probably in his forties, wearing red shirt, cleared his throat and said, “Mayat siguro ti agbalin a politican. Sikat ti nagan mu; ad-adda nga sika pay ti pagtoonan ti pansin ngem ti ordinaryo nga tao.”

Another in the group, wearing white kamiseta, responded, “Wen, a, interviewen dika ti mannurat ti damag nu adda mayat nga inaramid mu para it kaaduwan nga tao. Wenno interviewen da sika nu adda misteryoso nga ar-aramidem.”

Then the white kamiseta-shirted man clapped his hand near the guy next to him and smilingly said, “Sika ngay, manong Dormi, baka kayat mo met ti ag-kandidato, uray kapitan idiay barangay yu? Malay mu, nu mangabak ka a kapitan, agdan tu didyay nga agnga-yangay ka a councilor. Saan kan tun nga ordinaryo nga gay-yem mi.”

Dormi smiled and answered, “Mayat a kuma, ngem uray anusak laengen a makunkuna nga ordinaryo nga i-pugaw, ordinaryo laeng ti biag na ken ordinaryo laeng ti kabaelan na nga aramiden.”

All in the group seemed contented and comfortable with Dormi’s remarks.

Highlanders in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and lowlanders in Region 1, they be young and old, learn, by common observation and experience that life doesn’t consist of occurrences of major or apparently important deeds or undertakings, but tasks generally of the most trifling and ordinary.

All mortals are ambitious. A fact.  Add that to the fact that many are also too haughtily proud.  Yet, in being ambitious, there are those who can truly accept the word, “ordinary” in the facet of their life – like that man, Dormi.

Dormi can be said one of the comparatively few whose fate leads them into enterprises of such a description that even when they have made great strides in life, they would rather be called, “ordinary person.”

By far, greater proportion of highland and lowland populations move in a sphere of life in which they are called on to perform. Life, for them, consists of minute trifling actions not even worthy of notice.

On such, evolves one of the great secrets of human success. Extraordinary acts of life are interwoven through mere ordinary pocket-sized affairs of life of hard work – and not a flash of genius.

If any among you there can’t believe that, well, remember the words of the famous scientist, Albert Einstein, who long ago, said, “genius is 1 per cent talent and 99 per cent hard work.”

You know that Einstein is known for his Theory of Relativity and responsible for opening the doors wide for others to develop the atomic bomb.

Rephrasing Dormi’s word, indeed, one doesn’t need to be called upon to distinguish himself/herself by some glorious deed, or to gain celebrity by a series of great action to gain recognition or approbation of their fellows.

One can find something truly important in an ordinary person. Know that most brilliance arises from ordinary people of ordinary life working under extraordinary circumstances and ways.  Just look around you. As dey say in ordinary carabao English, same ordinary peders flock togeder.”

Dormi is just like Montigo Sab-it, 63, from Benguet and presently able to send his children to college because of mere ordinary work in farming, consciously seeing to it his kids need are met.

However, last month he told Ah Kong, he realized one of daughters was fooling with her studies, kept texting Montigo for more money, “money, money, Papa,” professing she needed to buy “this, that, those and whatsammata.” Montigo tried ignoring his daughter’s whims.

So his daughter wrote, her letter read this way:

“Dear Papa, Nagsurat nak tatta LUNES, tapnu maibuson ko ti MARTES, maawat mo ti MIYERKOLES, mabasam nu HUWEBES, masungbatam ti BIYERNES, maibuson mo ti SABADO, tapno maawat ko didyay kwarta nu DOMINGO.”

Montigo, ordinary farmer that he is, merely answered in an ordinary way: “Dear anak, didyay surat mo idi LUNES, nga inbuson mo ti MARTES, ket naawat ko ti MIYERKULES, binasak ti HUWEBES, sinungbatak ti BIYERNES, inbuson ko ti SABADO, para maawat mo ti DOMINGO nga maamwam awan ti KWARTAK!”

See! Articulateness of the ordinary guy like Montigo can be as invaluable as gem.

In choice of any profession, or engaging in business whatsoever, trick of success lies in pursuing with such scrupulous attention to trifling or ordinary details, or being obliged to put extra-ordinary effort to that which they are ordinarily employed.

Attention to trifling or ordinary details happens to be true. Like what happens when spouses quarrel, demonstrated this way:

Juan: “Nag-apa kami ken baket idi rabii.  Nag-Historical isuna!”

Pedro: “Gay-yem, baka met ti kayat mo ibaga, Nag-Hysterical isuna.”

Juan: Saan, pards, HISTORICAL. Ngamin, inungkat-ungkat na amin uray dagidiay sangbassitan   ken ordinaryo nga nagbasulak.”

As to trifling or ordinary details, you might, in your life, heard or said this statement to someone, “Hoy, tarimnem bassit ti ar-aramidem, saan a sin-sinan nga aramid.”

Many may contest the propriety of paying attention to ordinary details in a given task; most also will differ as to the exact degree of attention given to paying attention to ordinary detail.

But for sure, no mortal squanders his/her spirit and energies in a nightly socializing and then can ordinarily say he/she can possibly re-address to the business next day with the same energy.

Lives of many who have distinguished themselves are bounded by their attention to ordinary details and observation of minor duties in profession.

No detail is too low for inspection; nothing too trifling to be unworthy of notice.

Try observing lawyers who have keen eye to ordinary details, unworthy of notice. Like these two lawyers in Baguio City, anyway:

Two lawyers went inside a restaurant at Session Road and ordered coffee. After which they took out sandwiches from their briefcases and began to eat.

A waitress came over to their table and said, “Sorry, sirs, ngem saan a mabalin a kanen yu dagiti PERSONAL a sandwiches yu ditoy. Maiparit, Unnserstang!”

The lawyers quietly looked at each other, EXCHANGED their PERSONAL sandwiches and continued to eat.

That, indeed, is keen attention to detail – not ordinarily overlooked.

Let you go to your barangay, feel that life is beautiful with ordinary things around: children romping around, laundry flapping with the wind, a Missus gossiping with another Missus, and people wandering aimlessly.

Ha! Let those who are looking for extraordinary people must know that all the extraordinariness is hidden in ordinary Cordillerans and lowlanders – even how they ordinarily humor themselves.

Like Orvid Galiswa, 56, an ordinary Cordilleran of ordinary smiles. One day, his neighbor came to him: “Diay kaaruba mi, binmolod ti plato. Idi isubli na, adda litson, flayd tsiken, pansit, barbecue, pork tsap. Ay, nu maminsan tu manen agbulod diyay kaarubak. Pabulodak isu ti Palangana.”

That, friends, is the ordinary humoring of ordinary folks to ordinary events in life.