Sunday, December 25, 2011

Aetan Lit

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Literary Arts

Aeta literary arts include riddles, folk narratives, legends, and myths

preserved through

oral tradition.

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Riddles recorded among the Aeta of northern Cagayan province usually come in two

lines with assonantal rhyme (Whittle and Lusted 170)


A ningngijjitam. (Pinnia)

It wears a crown but isn’t a queen

It has scales but isn’t a fish. (Pineapple)

Assini nga pinasco ni Apu

Nga magismagel yu ulu na? (Simu)

There is a cave with a bolo in it

Full of bones it isn’t a grave. (Mouth)

Ajjar tangapakking nga niuk

Awayya ipagalliuk. (Danum)

When you cut it

It is mended without a scar. (Water)

There is an Aeta creation legend which is also known to the Mangyan In the


there was no earth, only a vast ocean. A winged king named Manaul escaped from

captivity under his bitter enemy Tubluck Lawi. After the daring escape, he

needed a

place to rest. Tired of flying continuously, King Manaul became angry against

the sky

and the ocean, who in turn retaliated with gigantic waves and ferocious winds.

But the

sky and ocean failed to punish Manaul because he was very light and agile. The

fighting raged on for years until all parties grew weary and gave in. King

Manaul then

asked for light, which was granted in the form of thousands of fireflies. He

asked for

counselors and was given all types of birds. Because of his hunger, Manaul ate


chicks, then the small birds. The remaining large birds, in turn, ate all the


Manaul felt insulted by the actions of his large birds and gave vent to his fury


the owls. He replaced their eyes with huge ones and obliged them to stay awake


night as punishment. Meanwhile, the king of the air�angered by Manaul’s


in eating his counselors�released his wrath by stamping his feet and vomiting

lightning, thunderbolts, and winds. King Captan of the Higuecinas, the genius


the people of the sea, threw from the sky huge rocks and stones to crush Manaul,


missed. Thus land was formed (Eugenio 188-).

There are myths about the moon and the sun among several Aeta groups. The Aeta


Aparri, Cagayan look upon the moon as a deity and the companion of the star.


Mamanua also consider the moon sacred, and reduce bright fires while the moon is

rising. They make a lot of noise in order to frighten the serpent which is

believed to

have swallowed the moon or the sun during an eclipse. To recover the moon

during an

eclipse, the Aeta of Zambales also make a lot of noise.

According to the Mamanua, there was only one kind of people in the beginning.


lightning struck the earth and set it on fire. Those who were singed black

became the

Mamanua. The Aeta of Capiz, Panay believe that their ancestor was the eldest of

three sons who was cursed because he laughed at his sleeping father. The sun’s


turned his skin black and his hair kinky. The Aeta of Bulacan tell the story of

a large

ape who stole fire from the supreme being named Kadai and set the world on fire.

The people who fled downstream became the Malays and those who were singed

became the Negrito (Maceda 164114, 11-10).

Performing Arts

Some of the musical instruments found (Kroeber 11) among the Aeta are the


the jew’s harp made of a sliver of slit bamboo, a traded bronze gong, and the



Instruments were documented in 11 by Norberto Romualdez (17) among the Aeta

groups. The kullibaw of the Aeta is a jews harp made of bamboo. The bansik

of the

Aeta of Zambales is a four-hole flute made of mountain cane. The kabungbung of


Aeta of Bataan is a guitar made of one closed node of bamboo, from which two


are slit loose from the outer skin of the bamboo and given tension by brides. A

hole is

cut into the bamboo under the two cords for resonance. The gurimbaw of the Aeta


Tayabas has a bow called busog, a bamboo joint called bias, a string called gaka


from fibers of the lukmong vine, and a coconut resonator called kuhitan. The


of the Mamanua is a long guitar with several strings, similar to the kudyapi of


Mindanao groups.

Garvan (16414) found flutes, the bamboo guitar, and jew’s harp in


Zambales; the long bamboo drums in western Pampanga; the nose flute in Tayabas,

Camarines, and Bataan; a bow-shaped instrument in northern Camarines; and a


lute in midwestern Camarines.

The Agta of Peñablanca, Cagayan Valley in northeastern Luzon play several

instruments during weddings and festivities. The gassa are flat bronze gongs


may be replaced by metal plates or basins. These are struck by the hand and


accompanied by bamboo instruments like the patagong, a quill-shaped bamboo tube

with a length of 4.5 centimeters and a diameter of 5 to 7.5 centimeters at the

node. At

the center of the bamboo tube, more than half of the bamboo is sliced away


to the vertical grain. The remaining section gradually narrows at the tip,

forming a

quill shape. The tapered tip shaped like a tongue is struck against two

patagong held

by the same player. It has a hole in its handle where the finger is placed to


pitch and timbre. The patagong is played along with the tongtong, a long and


stamping tube, measuring 7.5 to 50 centimeters long and 5 to 7.5 centimeters in

diameter. Its bottom is closed by a node and the top is left open. It is

played by

striking the base on a hard surface (wood, stone, or cement flooring) to produce


hollow sound (Musical Instruments 1864-11).

To express sadness or lessen it , the Peñablanca Agta play the timawa, a 4.5-

centimeter-long musical bow made of a mature reed known as bikal. Its two


come from a vine they call lanut. One end of the bow is placed in the player’s


while he/she continuously strums the strings. The mouth serves as a resonator

for the

instrument. The player may also produce different pitches by changing the shape


the mouth or by blowing through the timawa.

In Palanan, Isabela, near Peñablanca, the Agta or Dumagat have a huge hunting


called the busog which also functions as a musical instrument. Its body is 1.5


long, made of a palm tree trunk called sakon, while the string is from a vine


dappig. To play the busog, one end of the instrument is attached to a winnower


upside down on the ground serving as resonator. A tin or porcelain plate is


between the string and the bow at the end, which is attached to the winnower.


player holds the bow 15 centimeters from the anchored end, while the thumb of


other hand strums the string rapidly.

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