Chapter 3

The Common Origin of Bashiic Cultures

Jar Burials

Glass Beads
Bashiic Linguistic Affinities
Intercomprehension
Wind Names in Irala and Itbayat
Belief Systems
Magic
Taboo
Diviners
The Belief Systems of the Batanes Cultures
Magic, Ritual, Taboo, and Myth
 
 
 

 
This study's approach to a comparative analysis of Bashiic narratives is based on the hypothesis that the Bashiic cultures formerly belonged to one and the same culture unit. Because this hypothesis will serve as the basis for the comparative literary analysis of the texts, it is necessary to include some interdisciplinary data that will support it. In this chapter I shall discuss archaeological aspects of the Bashiic cultures, linguistic affinities, and finally, belief systems
 
 
Jar Burials
 
The most characteristic archaeological finds; in the Bashiic cultures are the jar burials.
 
On Irala, in 1935, a Japanese researcher, Tadao Kano, uncovered a large (60 cm high by 60 cm wide) round-bottomed earthenware vessel.
 
After careful examination, it was proven to be a burial-jar, especially as it contained fragments of bone. According to the old Yami legend, internment in pottery was the general practice in that village, but, owing to the difficulty of making such ware and transporting such a heavy burden to a cemetery, the custom was abandoned 16 generations ago. The Ivalino villagers on the northeastern coast have a similar legend, the burial-pot being called paraparai, and said to have not been in use for the last 11 generations. In the Iratay village a somewhat different legend remains, namely, that in olden times, 33 generations ago, the dead were buried in a vanga or boiling-pot. Since the mouth of such a pot is too narrow to admit the corpse, it is evident that it was used for holding the bones only. It may be said that the two methods of jar-burial were in practice among the Yami tribe in ancient times [. . .]
 
The jar-burying custom, in the widest sense of the term, seems to be fairly well distributed in Indonesia. It may be classified into the following three types:
 
I. That of placing the dead body in the jar. This type requires a jar of large size, which is generally buried under the ground.
 
II. That of placing the bones only in the vessel after the flesh has either been removed or allowed to decay. A pot of medium size is generally used, and buried under the ground, or deposited in a cave or under the root of a tree.
 
III. That of gathering the remains of bones and ashes after cremation. A pot of small-size is used except in a special case as in the example of the Tran-Ninh, in French Indo-china. (Kano, 1930, 133)
 
In 1969, when a high school was being built in Yayo village on Irala, a few funeral jars were uncovered by construction workers. Among other objects, the jars contained a few blue and orange colored glass beads.
 
In 1977, at the Lobosbosan site on Irala, Stamps unearthed several funeral jars, some with bone fragments. One of these jars was covered with a smaller jar which was turned upside down and fit over the opening of the lower jar. The most reliable radio carbon dating measure of Stamps' outcrops were 1170+145 years B.P. or A.D. 780 (1980, 183).
 
On the islands of the Babuyan and the Batan Archipelago there were several similar finds. On Daulpiri and Fuga islands of the Babuyanes, Bartlett uncovered double funeral jars, similar to the ones revealed at the Lobosbosan site.
 
Furthermore, in a cave on the northern part of the steep rocky shore of Itbayat, local people who used to climb up into a cave to set traps for tatos, coconut-crabs, had for centuries walked around an ancient big reddish vanga. This jar, of apparently ancient origin, contained a skeleton. In 1984, when an Itbayat friend and I climbed the wall up to the cave, the jar was found crushed, and, except for a few shards, it had been pushed out from the cave into the wild surf of the current some 120 meters below.
 
During the construction of the Ivatan airport at Basco, Batanes, in 1978, two funeral jars; were unearthed and taken to a Manila museum. In Ivatan, such funeral jars are known as padapaday.
 
In 1984, on Ivatan, at the foot of Mount Iraya, a towering volcano which is the highest mountain of the island, French volcanologist René Maury of the Université de Bretagne and I collected a large amount of shards that proved to be parts of crushed funeral jars. These shards came from under three separate ash layers that were each 15 to 30 cm thick. According to Dr. Maury, the last eruption of the volcano was a nueé ardente-type, similar to Mt. Pelée in Martinique, and must have covered at least the northern part of the island with ashes. The associated first ash layer was dated 1480+50 years B.P. The second ash layer was dated 1700+210 years B.P., with the third ash layer being considerably older. The 14C dating result was 2310 +80 B.P. The charred wood which was associated with the shards was also dated 2310+80 B.P. Thus it is safe to assume that the pottery was covered at the time of the first eruption, because the ash layers above remained undisturbed. Several large pieces from the brim of the opening indicate that they were about the same size as the jars excavated on Irala. These shards, as far as I know, are the oldest pottery ever found on the island of Ivatan. It is interesting to note that none of the eruptions of Iraya were retained in local folklore
 
Glass Beads
 
In addition to funeral jars, glass beads offer an important material-culture link between Irala and the rest of the Bashiic area. The glass beads; have been unearthed by archaeologists on these islands ever since excavations have been performed, but until recently were never accorded much importance. This neglect was mostly due to the view that if the beads were made of glass they could not be very old, or if they were very old, there was no way to date them accurately. Moreover, these particular beads had a wide circulation in their history, spreading to all corners of the world, and consequently were difficult to research. Recently, however, scholars have changed their attitude towards beads and have started focusing on them precisely because of their great variety and dispersal.
 
At the time of important events, such as boat launchings, new house inaugurations, or festivals connected to the seasonal functions of the farming or fishing economy, as determined by their own luni-solar calendar, the Yami adorn themselves with a large variety of jewelry, including beads. As ornaments, women wear the raka, a multiple-string agate bead necklace in long strands which reach down to the knee with some trapezoid plates of nautilus shell decorations. Women also have shorter necklaces of different beads, among which the best known and most appreciated are the ones named molag, small and reddish or orange in color. Many women wear a simple or multiple-strand bead ornament around their ankles. Very rarely, old women still wear their ancient shin-ornament called vagiat. Recently some wear only a simple 2 cm. wide black rubber band (usually made of an inner tire of a bicycle) and others wear around their ankles regular thin rubber bands. These are all imported from nearby Taiwan. In their ears, women wear small cocoon-shaped nautilus shell pendants which they refer to as oveovey. They also have very attractive head gear made of either wood or palm tree bark. These are usually inherited.
 
Some of the important ornaments possessed by men are the volangat, a silver helmet, considered and respected as an animated object; the raka, a crescent-shaped wooden board decorated with small brass strips, rarely silver, with pendants or boar tusks hanging from it; the ovey, a cocoon-shaped pendant made of brass and sometimes even of gold; and the pacinoken, a bracelet traditionally made of silver, although new ones are now made of tin. The men also wear beads, but apparently only two kinds. One is called sinangit, the other maraponay.
 
Sinangit is a cylindrical, sometimes barrel shaped, gilt glass bead. At first sight, most of these gilt beads appear to be similar. However, closer examination proves that, as far as their manufacturing is concerned, there were at least three different techniques involved, which eventually produced three different kinds of beads.
 
According to one technique, first a cylindrical bead was drawn and then the axis was treated with a white silvery material and finally finished with a thin glaze to protect the metal coating from friction resulting from stringing. Another way in which these beads were made involved a small cylindrical core that was metal-coated, and then a second glass layer was wound over the metal. The spiral lines produced by the winding process are clearly visible. To take advantage of the total surface of the gold-looking core, such beads were further modified from their donut-shape, which is typical for wound beads, usually to a barrel shape. The third kind of gilt bead within the same category had a cylindrical core with a metal coating on it, just as in the previous example. However, in this case the second glass layer was not wound onto the core.
 
When I discussed and examined such a bead with Dr. Robert Brill of the Corning Museum of Glass, he pointed out that the second layer could not have been produced with the same technique as the core without a partial tearing of the core's metal coating. Furthermore, the total lack of spiral lines or even slightly elongated air bubbles also indicates that the second layer was not wound. The manufacturers most probably used a special cylindrical mold to add the second glass layer. Thus in the first example we have a drawn bead, in the second a bead with a drawn core but a wound exterior, and in the third case a drawn core and a molded exterior. Due to the golden color of the sinangit, the natives believed that it actually had gold inside, and, according to elderly Yami, only the wealthiest persons possessed such items. Later analysis actually proved that the metal coating of the core was done with silver.
 
The second kind of beads, the maraponay, are multiple wound, short, donut-shaped opaque glass beads. The Yami are convinced that the maraponay possess magic powers and they use them for powwowing, to stop bleeding, by placing them on a wound and chanting the appropriate healing words. Though this ceremony usually takes place in the privacy of homes, during my stay on the island I had the chance to witness it several times. For a better understanding of what these beads mean for the Yami, I shall now describe one such event.
 
On January 18, 1983, a three-man boat was inaugurated and launched in Yayo village. At the moment when the guests were picking up their shares of taro, received as gifts, a distant relative of the celebrating family, who came from another village, angrily threw his own share on the ground. Since he was drunk, people pretended that the act had passed unnoticed, but the host could not swallow the insult and slowly worked himself into a terrible rage. Soon, he was standing in the middle of the path, thumping his strong feet against the ground and hardening his arm muscles as he whirled his clenched fists in front of his chest. A fierce look and loud, foul language accompanied this amazing display of manawatawag, the traditional challenge to fight. Since the honor of the celebrating family was at stake, the fight was inevitable and it broke out right away. In no time, war gear was produced and the feasting party split into several groups. According to their commitments as regulated by tradition, two large fighting parties emerged, with a third neutral one who tried to appease them. The fighters went at each other on a relatively narrow flat area and a terrific stone, club, and fist-fight started. As a result, several people were severely injured.
 
One of them, a middle-aged man from the village of Iraralay, was bleeding profusely from a two-inch-long flesh-wound on his forearm caused by a sharp stone. The man found refuge in the house of a friend and sat down on the floor. He removed his necklace and unstrung one maraponay, a blue bead, pressed it gently against the edge of the wound, and, while apparently concentrating strongly, chanted a few words in a very low voice. Suddenly he lifted the bead for a moment and then again pushed it lightly against the wound, repeating the same words as before. In less than five minutes he had succeeded in stopping the bleeding. There was some coagulated blood in the wound but definitely not enough to account for the halting of the hemorrhaging. An old woman handed him a small leaf with pork lard on it, which he placed on the wound and fastened there with a few string-like palm bark fibers. Finally the man asked for some water, washed the maraponay, and put it back on the string. When asked where he had obtained that particular blue bead, he said that it had been in his family for many generations and that he had inherited it from his father.
 
The Yami often tie these blue beads on the necks of babies and small children to protect them from sickness and demons. The maraponay is also used for bartering or to pay fines for offenses that violate tribal rules. They are also used against snake bites, for the Yami, while working in the wet-taro fields, are often bit by the green bamboo snake. Depending on how much venom is injected and into what part of the body, the unlucky person may or may not survive the bite. For healing, a certain spiral-line-ridden, greenish maraponay is applied to the wound. This kind of bead is usually old, which is why its surface is not smooth, but it looks like a coiled-up snake, being close to it in color as well. For the Yami this resemblance of bead to snake does not appear to be merely coincidental, but is actually an indication of the bead's specific magic properties. If the intervention of the local shaman is needed, he or she will also be paid, as a rule, with one or more maraponay. Today, however, some of them will accept money instead.
 
Whenever a fishing party ends up with a "good" catch, the person in front of whose house the sharing of the catch will take place brings out his volangat, holds it over the heap of fish, sprinkling some millet over them while saying: "we respect you, do not avoid our net." When the fish are salted and strung, some of the maraponay of the fisherman will hang next to it for a while. Occasionally the brass or gold ovay and rarely the women's olo will be exposed there, together with the blue beads.
 
Another occasion when the blue beads may find use is during the ritual called mivahnwa, on the opening day of the flying fish season, when a chosen crew will carry out the sacrificial animal in a large boat to perform the sacrifice by dropping some of the blood of the animal into the ocean. After having swung the sacrificial animal up and down several times, waving it towards the horizon while calling the flying fish to come back, the crew returns to the crouching crowd at the ancestral landing place of the village. Then those who are not relatives or members of the chosen fishing group will offer some of their blue beads or ovey for some of the sacrificial blood -- enough to fill up their little tubular bamboo receptacles, which they will hang up at several locations, for example, in their fields, boats, and so forth. At the end of the flying fish season, the wings and tail of the dried fish will be cut off. This ritual, called manetted, is performed while men's and women's jewelry hangs next to the fish.
 
According to Yami belief, the human body houses a main soul and several other ones, located primarily in some of the joints. When a person dies, his main soul flies away to a different island, but evil spirits which can harm people remain. Thus strong taboos are related to the dead and especially to funerals. The Yami, who respect these taboos, live in a constant, uncontrollable fear of the dead. Those who are not family members of a deceased person, but participate in the transportation of the corpse and then in its funeral, are rewarded with blue beads, ovey, and even with a small patch of taro field or with gizit, small pieces of gold. Beads gained in these circumstances are considered unclean, however, and will not be used for powwowing to protect children from anito for at least a year.
 
Maraponay and ovey may also be paid as a penalty for adultery. In most cases, however, the offended husband will prefer somehow to kill the intruder, because otherwise he will be a permanent subject of belittling and teasing on the part of his fellow villagers. Once a murder is commited, however, nothing can stop traditional vendettas from being carried out by the asa no inawan, a group of close kin of the victim. Maraponay and ovey cannot solve the problem in such cases. Besides, the treasure of the killer may be taken by force at some point along the gruesome path of blood revenge.
 
The local mythology is full of events of magic in which the beads are mentioned. They are always the objects of extraordinary happenings or indicate the wealth of the culture heroes. Beads were important enough to even find their way into the Yami creation myths. In one of the versions, they are used as offerings to the flying fish. According to the myth, a man and his son from the old village of Ivatas tied the blue beads to the tails of the first flying fish so that the fish would promise to return every year.
 
I tried to obtain further information on the beads, but, as was to be expected, all that the Yami could say about their origin was that the beads were very old and that they were heirlooms, the belongings of their ancestors.
 
In May 1983, however, as I was recording place names on Irala and walking around the island, I started a conversation about Ivatan with Siapen-Kotan (Isamo), who was my companion. Between Yayo and Iratay, when we stopped to rest, he silently pointed towards the horizon and said: "There, from kavalatan where the south-west wind blows from, the flying fish come every year to keep our people alive. They know the trail, and if we are good to them they will always return. Our forefathers knew the sea and the currents like the fish. They built huge boats and, guided by the stars, traveled far away to Ivatan. Endless are the stories of their dangerous voyages and their cunning deeds. I dreamed all my life that some day, someone will bring strong men together and will build a mighty boat to sail back to Ivatan. They have gold there, maraponay and pagad. Our old fishing hook, the ayos, also came from there. It must be a beautiful land." Since I had planned to go to Ivatan anyway, I made a note of the three items, and decided to follow up on them.
 
Exactly one year later I arrived on Ivatan and curiously examined the personal ornaments of the people I saw around me. Yes, there were beads there, of all kinds and from all over the world, except the kind for which I was searching. I was very surprised by the goldsmithing skills that the Ivatans had developed. The finery of these people was of an incredible sophistication, and by no means could it be compared to the simple, crude, cocoon-shaped, hammered-out, thin, gold-foil ornaments of the Yami. Nevertheless, some of the Ivatan jewelry was referred to by words that the Yami used for theirs. For instance, obay, in Ivatan, is an earring. The repetition of the same word, oveovey, on Irala means the same thing.
 
I had about given up looking for the "magic beads of the ancestors" when, one day, a friend described to me the ritual of mivanowanwa, what the Yami call mivahnwa. It is the ritualistic opening ceremony of the flying fish season. According to my friend, every year, their father, who lived in the southern township of Oyogan, put a blue bead into a glass of native sugarcane wine, and, as a minor part of the ceremony, all members of the family had a sip of it. The father had the last mouthful from the cup, and as he drank it, kept the bead under his tongue. Then he got into his boat and rowed out to sea. At some point he would stop, utter a short prayer, and cast the bead into the sea. This was an offering to the ocean for the fish that he was going to catch during the season. I was also told by my friend that these blue beads were small in size and were called motin.
 
I had been informed also by Hornedo that among the fishermen of San Carlos de Mahataw, and of the bay of Valogan, the tradition of the mivanowanwa ritual was still strongly alive. When I went there and tried to obtain some information from the fishermen, however, for some reason they did not seem to be willing to talk about the beads. They only smiled when I questioned them about rituals similar to the one in Oyogan. Finally one of them told me that it was true that blue beads were cast into the sea, but he also added, "it is not advisable to talk about such things in the presence of the pali." By pali he meant the Spanish parish priest in whose company they had seen me several times. Actually, what the man was trying to say was that the priests were against harboring any vestiges of what they termed "pagan" belief, and they reprimanded the members of their parish who engaged in any sort of rituals which were not compatible with Christian dogma. It was also easy to understand that the gentle and good-hearted Ivatans tried to spare the Catholic fathers the grief of seeing them performing these rituals. As for the Catholic fathers, with all the records of the evangelization of the Batanes right there in their churches, they could hardly have been unaware of the experiences of their predecessors. It was the Dominican missionaries themselves who, in their effort to save many souls from damnation, even at the cost of propagating established "pagan" practices, transported massive amounts of beads to Batanes (Gonzáles 1966, 32).
 
Since the fishermen confirmed that the beads were being cast into the ocean, logically that meant that there must have been fewer and fewer beads on the island unless there was a source of resupply. So, where did the endless supply of beads come from? The fisherman's answer was: "From the island of Itbayat."
 
About a week later, I felt the same uneasiness among the Itbayats when I tried to get information about the motin. Finally, it was explained to me that the Itbayats were annually sending blue beads to Ivatan for some of the healers and for the fishing season ritual. They also told me that some of the fishermen would then send dried fish back to Itbayat in exchange for the beads. When I asked the Itbayats where their blue beads; came from, they said: "From the ground. Women, when they work on the fields, pick them up whenever they come across them, string them on a thread, and keep them there until someone will take them to Ivatan."
 
On a field on the top of Karowoban, on the very spot of the long abandoned legendary settlement, beads were all over the ground, either directly exposed or just an inch under the soil. And there were many kinds. Some of them were what the Yami call molag, the orange-colored beads. How they got there, nobody knows. Dr. Yamada of Kochi University, who is the most knowledgeable foreign researcher of the Itbayat culture, agreed with me that the beads may have ended up in the field as the result of some kind of "fertility ritual," that is, beads were deposited there in exchange for root crops. This seems to be an acceptable theory, in view of the Ivatan practice: beads to the ocean in exchange for fish.
 
Before my departure, some Itbayat friends came to give me quite a few beads. They were of many kinds, mostly blue ones, and to my great surprise, there were also some sinangit, the precious gilt beads of the Yami. Another surprise was a large agate bead that the Itbayats called olo. I was told that this bead was used by men for curing swelling of the testicles. The ailment itself is called olo and it takes an olo bead to contain it. The Yami too, we recall, have agate beads called olo. I never heard, however, that they used them for purposes other than adorning themselves.
 
When I returned to Basco in Ivatan, I fell sick with malaria. I was treated in the local hospital. My fever should have soon subsided, but instead it stayed right at the upper limits, draining me of all my strength. The lab results could not provide any explanation for the fever. The doctors wanted to discharge me so that I could go for treatment to Manila. At that point, my friends suggested that I let the mangaptos, the healer, come and see me. The person whom they had in mind was an old man, originally from Itbayat, called Santiago Salengwa. He was well known in the community for his healing powers. I also found out that there was a tolerance, a kind of "tacit agreement," between the doctors of the Basco hospital and the mangaptos. He could come in by night and see some of the patients who thought that he could do something for them when the doctors could not.
 
Leaving aside the question of Salengwa's treatment of me, which I found most efficient, the main point here is that, after our meeting at the hospital, I asked Santiago Salengwa to tell me about his healing powers and how he became a healer. He allowed me to record two of his incantations, but he was too shy a person to talk longer with a microphone in front of him. He was interested in hearing about the Yami and their blue beads, and he also told me that blue beads were powerful exorcising material. I gave him a handful of motin and left.
 
About a year later, a person from Ivatan was treated by this healer, who used for this purpose one of the last blue beads I had given him. Then, for some reason, Santiago Salengwa decided to let himself be recorded so as to tell me about himself. The transcription and translation of the conversation of Santiago Salengwa on the subject of his healing powers will be included under my discussion of the Bashiic belief systems.
 
After having returned to Irala, I showed the beads to my Yami family and to the village shaman. The shaman, who had never seen these blue beads before, looked at them, promptly separated some of them, and said: "These are the real beads of the ancestors. They are very precious. If you want to give them to your family or friends, they will first have to take them to the stream outside the village and wash them in that water and chant appropriate words for cleansing them. These beads come from the ground, and they have been guarded there by the anito for many years."
 
After returning to the United States, I asked Dr. William White of the Department of Geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University, to arrange for an electron microprobe analysis of the beads. It turned out that some of the beads from Itbayat were so similar in their chemical composition to those from Irala that they may have been manufactured in the same place. In the case of two gilt beads from the two islands, the analysis showed that they probably came from the same melting pot. Dr. Robert Brill of the Corning Museum of Glass, who kindly arranged for the analysis of another batch of beads, indicated that the glass of which the gilt beads were made could be of Chinese origin and could have been manufactured 700 to 1000 years ago.
 
At this point, the only certainty is that these beads had been in use on both islands long before Spanish contact, and that the natives have since employed them for various purposes. They have traded them among each other, and the beads are considered to have magic properties. Many of the beads are known to the Yami and to the Ivatans and Itbayats by the same name and are used for the same ritualistic purposes, thus offering another proof of the common Bashiic cultural heritage.
 
Comparisons with other beads found in South-East Asia, particularly from China, Viet Nam, Thailand, and the Philippines, will eventually help to shed more light on the origin of these glass beads.
 
To summarize, the jar-burial data supports the hypothesis that the Ivatan and the Yami, at some point in the past, shared the same culture, and that after having left the Batanes, the Yami continued for some time their jar-burial practices. The study of the beads confirms the Yami mythology according to which the blue beads of the Yami came from their ancestors who lived on the island of Ivatan
 
Bashiic Linguistic Affinities
 
As stated in chapter 1, the languages spoken in the Batanes and on Irala belong to the Hesperonesian language group. The grammars of Ivatanen, Itbayaten, and Yami are very similar. These languages operate on the basis of a "focus" system. This is characteristic of most Filipino languages. For a minimal understanding of this linguistic idiosyncrasy, here is an example from Yami:
 
The Nominative marker is o
 
The Accusative marker is so.

Macita

so

kayo

o

tawo

see

ACC

tree

NOM

man

The above sentence translates in the following way: The man sees a tree.
Should the focus of the action fall not on the subject, but on the object, the Nominative particle will "override" the Accusative one. Naturally, the sense of the objective case remains, but with an emphasis on it:
 

Macita

o

kayo

no

tawo

see

NOM

tree

AGT

man

The tree is seen by the man.
 
The lexicon of these languages also shows a very close relationship between them. In order to facilitate an understanding of the linguistic milieu that binds the Bashiic ethnic groups, the Yami and the Ivatans/Itbayats, I present a short list of words limited to the parts of the body, a few plants, and some natural elements. This basic list is not meant to be one of cognates, but rather of equivalent terms, many of which are etymologically cognate.

English

Ivatanen

Itbayaten

Yami

anus

datcian

aos

laos

armpit

kedwan

edwan

kekelehan

back

dicod

icod

likod

belly

vodek

odek

velek

buttocks

atang

tang

atang

cheek

pisni

pisni

posngi

ear

tadina

tadina

talinga

elbow

sico

sico

sico

excreta

taci

taci

taci

eye

mata

mata

mata

eyebrow

ciciray

ciciray

cicimit

face

dangoy

dangoy

moin

forehead

moin

moin

rorogwan

hair

vok

vok

ovok

nose

omodan

momodan

momodan

hand

ima

tanoro

lima

jaw

sangi

sangi

sangi

knee

tod

tood

tod

lips

vivi

xarip

vivi

mouth

obngoy/vivi

vivi/ngoso

ngoso

neck

lagaw

langaw

rangaw

shoulder

pakoh

pakoh

pisagatan

side

siri

siri

siri

thigh

pa

paa

(a)pa

tongue

rida

rida

rila

tooth

nipen

nipen

ngepen

top of head

totok

toktok

toktok

umbilicus

posed

posed

posed

camote

wakay

wakay

wakay

coconut

nioy

nioy

(a)nioy

cogon grass

vocid

vocid

vocid

taro

sodi

soli

soli

tree/wood

kayo

kayo

kayo

yam

ovi

ovi

ovi

earth

hanit

angit

xanit

water

danom

danom

ranom

ocean

tawo

hawa

wawa

sea water

taw

taw

atew

fire

apoy

apoy

apoy

sun

araw

araw

araw

moon

vohan

vohan

vehan

cloud

demdem

remdem

demdem or cinalab

 It is interesting to note the semantic transfer of "face" and "forehead," and "lips" and "mouth." Cognates in this data set are visibly obvious. I have made no attempt to compute such obvious phonological correspondences as Iv. v: It. v: Ya. v, or d: d: l.
 
The words of this list are part of a lexical set that usually changes very slowly. The names of the parts of the body, of the items forming the main food staple, and the words designating basic elements, are less likely to change as fast as the rest of the lexicon (Dyen 1965, 17), unless they fall under some kind of word-taboo.
 
Accordingly, other parts of the lexicon of these languages present a lower number of cognates. In the case of Bashiic, apparently the rate of difference between the semantic spheres is proportional to the word's distance from subsistence activities, or from items related to subsistence, as shown by the fact that the number of available synonyms that are cognates decreases. A lower number of synonyms limits communication across groups in the sense that for the speakers of the different ethnic groups there is "less to choose from" when they try to communicate. After the ethnic groups were separated, they developed different priorities in using certain synonyms, which resulted in their choosing different "generic" words for the same semantic value. This practice led to some of the comprehension problems that the speakers of the different groups are now experiencing. In conversation, when they sense that they are not understood, they tend to solve the problem by trying to reverse the synonomy change process. Below I shall describe a good example of this phenomenon
 
Intercomprehension
 
In 1984 I took with me some Yami recordings when I visited the Ivatans and the Itbayats, but they were mostly not understood. The recordings that I made in Ivatan and Itbayat, in turn, were even less understood by the Yami. In 1986 I succeeded in taking along a Yami friend named Si-Mogaz (male, 39), when I traveled from Irala to Ivatan and to Itbayat. My main curiosity was to see how well, after several hundreds of years of isolation, they could communicate with each other. Now we had living people at hand with a strong desire to communicate, which made the testing of mutual comprehension very different from the previous attempts with the recordings. The results showed themselves within the first hours of conversation. Si-Mogaz felt uncomfortable with the negative form of the Ivatan verb and was somewhat discouraged by the Spanish and English loanwords. As the hours passed, however, his conversation became more self-confident and a few very clear communication behavior patterns started surfacing. Both sides had realized by then that Spanish, English, and Tagalog loanwords on the one side, or Chinese and Japanese loanwords on the other, did not work, so they started eliminating them by looking for synonyms in their own languages. This spontaneous, instinctive response caused an unusual feeling of excitement for the conversants, as if they had understood subconsciously that they were making efforts to reconstruct the language of their common ancestors. Almost every time they succeeded in finding a proper synonym for a native word or bypassed an acculturated element of their contemporary vocabulary by finding a commonly understood synonym, they had to pause to express their excitement by saying: "we are relatives indeed," or "we surely have common origin." In the case of those Spanish words for which there were no Ivatan synonyms, or which were so strongly embedded in usage that the Ivatans could not work their way around them, to my greatest amazement Si-Mogaz started picking them up. At the end of the day he was using correctly the word siguro, which comes from the Spanish "sure." In Ivatanen it is used for "perhaps" and there is no exact Yami equivalent for it. He also learned some other words such as palek, "wine," for the Yami sake, which is a loanword from Japanese, kaywan instead of the Yami kagagan, and miharit instead of the Yami miyangey. The Ivatan word tohos, "top," he understood from the Yami tohos, which means the "top" of a tall object, usually a tree. In Yami, "top" is ingato, which the Itbayat speaker had identified as hinato, now a place name, meaning the "upper part" of the village. The Ivatan demdem, "cloud," was understood by Si-Mogaz from the Yami phonetic equivalent demdem, which means a thick black cloud at the horizon. The Yami generic word for cloud is cinalab, which may be related to the Itbayat cinohod, used only for cumulus-type of clouds. The list of such words, which are synonyms but not the "generic" terms, is very long.
 
After Ivatan, a trip to Itbayat followed. Si-Mogaz now enjoyed the conversations and was becoming more and more efficient in communicating. He joined some of the local young men on their fishing trips, and it soon turned out that in diving and in spearing fish there was no match for him on Itbayat. Each time, after diving, long hours of discussions and drinking followed. Here is a fragment from one of the conversations after the first fishing trip. The conversants are Si-Mogaz, who speaks in Yami, and Dominador Castillo, who speaks in Itbayaten.
 
 
 
In order to determine just how much the conversants understood of each other's speech, one day after making the recording I asked Si-Mogaz to translate for me the Itbayaten sentences spoken by Dominador, and then asked Dominador to translate for me the Yami sentences spoken by Si-Mogaz. We first went through the alphabetically arranged vocabulary of the transcribed texts. As expected, it turned out that in each case there were some words which one of them did not understand. I next read the sentences and asked them to translate. Each of them translated the sentences correctly, including those words which they previously did not understand. In the original conversation, the word diapinara, "not acquainted with" (line 22), had been understood by Dominador, but during the vocabulary test he mistook it for diapinaynaxa, which in Itbayaten means "why don't (you) rest." In context, however he understood it as it was meant by Si-Mogaz and he answered: "You are not used to it yet." His answer contains the loanword kabisado, "used to" (line 23), which probably was fabricated from Spanish, and Si-Mogaz could not understand it as a vocabulary entry, but figured it out from the context later. He tried to memorize it for future use, repeated it several times, but finally forgot it. Instead of kabisado, he later learned to use kaiwaman with the same meaning. In the case of the word omatohdaw, "float" (line 38), Si-Mogaz translated it as tomaxaw, which means the same thing. In a similar fashion, in case of the word patovozen "throw" (line 47), it is clear from the recording that Dominador understood the word, and later he could identify it again. As an explication he said that, though in his language "to throw" is pagtosen, the word tohor, "the pointed shoot of a plant," came into his mind, which, if inflected (pa+tohor+en), would add up to something close to the Yami word. (In Itbayaten, however, there is no such word as pathoren.) The last word of the text, mapekeh, "very slow" (line 51), exists also in Itbayaten, but it means "too exhausted."
 
Linguists currently consider Yami and Itbayaten to be two different languages, but the above translation shows that these languages are still very close to each other. The foregoing terms, however, are included in a semantic sphere related to subsistence. As mentioned earlier, the vocabulary of conversations that are part of semantic spheres not related to subsistence provides a smaller number of synonymous cognates to choose from, thus mutual comprehension is harder. As proof of this fact, discussions about religion, politics, travel, and entertainment were very hard for Si-Mogaz to follow, and occasionally even required interpreting. This was, of course, not only because of a lower number of synonymous cognates to choose from, but also because of cultural differences
 
Wind Names in Irala and Itbayat
 
Another proof of the close tie between the cultures of the Irala and the Batanes is provided by the names of the winds in the two languages. One day I asked a young Yami man about the Yami names of the cardinal points. The man could speak Chinese too, so he knew the Chinese words for north, south, east, and west, but after a few moments he said that there were no such words in his native language. As I was skeptical about his answer, I asked a few old men the same questions. It turned out that the young man was not altogether wrong about the issue. The Yami do not have names for the cardinal points because the concept of directions is identical with the direction of the winds. "East," in the sense of "there where the sun rises," dada no araw, of course exists, just as "west," "there where the sun sets," asdepan no araw. It is interesting, however, that the Yami do not use these terms to point out directions. For that purpose the names of the winds are used. So, at first it appeared that knowing the names of the winds was sufficient for understanding the direction descriptions of the Yami.
 
As I started to collect wind-names in the villages, however, it turned out that the names of winds and their respective directions did not coincide in all villages. Moreover, in some places, the names of winds had been simply replaced by names of mountains, as in "the one that blows from Ji-Marisan," malangin do Ji-Marisan. To my great surprise, some people did use such direction descriptions even when they were in other villages where the people, if they really wanted to understand, had to "convert" the mountain-name-direction into their own landmark-names or wind-names. This became a tricky and sometimes quite difficult thing to do, especially when the a wind-name was replaced not by a mountain-name, but by a term such as "the one that blows from the edge of the island," malangin do kadwan no pongso. To "convert" this into a wind name the listener would have to know the exact position of the speaker relative to the mountains of his village.
 
My method of collecting the wind names was the following: I sat down with an elder in an open place from where both the shore and the mountains could be seen well and asked him to point out the names of the winds by starting from north and advancing clockwise, degree by degree, until 360 degrees were completed. With a compass I determined the directions and wrote next to them their Yami equivalents. In the case of Imorod village, I used also Hsu's data (1982, 6). In Yayo and Iranmilek, I had the chance to check the data at the time when each of the listed winds blew. I found that there was no difference compared to the data collected at the time when the winds did not blow.
 
 

Dir.

Yayo

Iraralay

Iranmilek

N

rakwa keylawdan

keylawdan

towaza
malangin do Ji-Marisan

NNE

likeya keylawdan

-

-

NE

pangalitan

pangalitan

keylawdan
pangalitan

ENE

-

-
yowkalam
ESE

-

-

-

E

kakovian

kakovian

kakovian

SE

kakovian

somza

somza

SSE

itaw
maralaitaw

S

somza

kapiyaka

keytawan

SSW

SW

kavalatan

keytawan

malangin do Peysopwan kavalatan

WSW

kasariana

W

keytawan
itew

kasaryana

malangin do Ji-Pijangen

NW

towaza

towaza

komonmwan no makotoz

N

towaza

rakwa keylawdan

towaza

NNE

likeya keylawdan

NE

pangalitan

kemana

keylawdan

E

kakovian

pangalitan

kakovian

ESE

kakovian

SE

somza

somza

somza

SSE

keytawan

S

kasonognana

kasonognana

keytawan

SSW

kavalatan

kazazakana

SW

kavalatan

kavalatan

SW

malangin dorakwa ayo

WSW

monmo

W
kasaryana
kasaryana
kasaryana

NW

keylawdan

pangalitan

pangalitan

According to this chart the differences in wind names; shown between villages occur mostly on the borderlines of the cardinal points on the compass dial. If we group them only according to north, east, south, and west, there are fewer differences: North winds keylawdan, towaza pangaliatan; East winds kakovian; South winds somza, itaw, keytawan; West winds kasaryana.

Many of the Yami wind-names correspond to Itbayat wind-names, but in some cases there are differences in the directions that they stand for. In the case of the Itbayat wind names I used both Yamada's and my own data. (1976) Itbayat wind names:N hilawod; NE hayokayam; ENE palahanitan; E pangalitan; SE kuvih; S somza; SW itaw; WSW mahaxawod a havayat; W hawayat.
 
In Itbayat hilawod is north wind, and in Yami keylawdan, from the word ilawod, means the same thing. On Itbayat pangaliatan stands for east wind, on Irala for north-east wind. On both islands somza is a south wind, but kavalatan is a southwest wind on Irala. On Itbayat it is a "general" west wind. The Itbayat itaw is a northwest wind, but in the Yayo village of Irala it is considered a west wind. In Iranmilek it was listed by several people as a southeast wind. Today, on Irala there are wind names that do not exist on Itbayat, and vice-versa.
 
It is surprising that there is so much difference between the wind names used in different villages of the Yami. Since their subsistence activities depend on the weather and sometimes on the wind itself, as in the case of fishing and diving that are conditioned by the intensity of wave action, one would expect the Yami to have a more conventional and exact nomenclature for the winds.
 
Here I must record an observation that is intriguing but difficult to prove. The Yami seem to perceive the winds not only by the virtue of the physical existence of the winds, but also by a feeling or mood. I observed that most of my Yami friends from Yayo repeatedly went through different patterns of general behavior, according to the direction of the wind. I also noticed that their change in mood was not related to how the wind affected the possibility of subsistence activities. When kavalatan, the southwest wind, blew, we could not dive because the shore at Yayo had big waves, but the general mood of the villagers was good. When keytawan, the west wind, blew, on certain portions of the coast fishing was good. However, not only Yayo but the whole island seemed to feel miserable. When I visited Itbayat, I was not surprised at all when I heard people say that when the west wind blew for a long time they felt sick. I have no explanation for the phenomenon, but it had to be mentioned because in many cases the Yami defined the winds according to how they felt, rather than how the winds looked.
 
Several hundreds of years ago, when the Yami were still frequently visiting their relatives on Itbayat and Ivatan, their navigation techniques must have been more developed than they are now, and the wind nomenclature that they used was probably more consistent and exact than it is today.
 
The large number of cognates in the basic lexicon and the high level of intercomprehension suggest that the Bashiic cultures linguistically are very closely related. The fact, however, that the rate of cognates is the highest in cases of vocabulary related to subsistence, or terminology related to subsistence, such as names of winds or tools, indicates that not only the language, but subsistence activities were also commonly shared before
 
Belief Systems
 
I shall now proceed with the presentation of the Yami pantheon and various beliefs. As the pertinent literature indicates, the handling of this topic requires extreme caution. The scholarly activity of explaining in scientific terms what the natives of non-Western cultures think and believe has led to some of the major fallacies plaguing social science since the end of the past century. Once engaged in research on ethnography and mythology, however, one can hardly resist the urge to find out what the native thinks of his ancient customs and their purposes. One can resist even less the urge to draw certain "final conclusions" which will occasionally be used as proof for the existence of patterns in thinking, in culture, or in behavior that will serve as a basis for elaborate theoretical models. Although very often himself guilty of this fallacy, Malinowski provides a good example of this phenomenon in his summary of Lévy-Bruhl;'s conclusions concerning what he termed the primitive mind: "Primitive man has no sober moods at all, he is hopelessly and completely immersed in a mystical frame of mind. Incapable of abstraction, hampered by a decided aversion towards reasoning, he is unable to draw any benefit from experience, to construct or comprehend even the most elementary laws of nature. For minds thus oriented there is no fact purely physical" (Malinowski1954, 25).
 
Because in this study I shall often quote Malinowski, I wish to state here that I am well aware of the critical objections regarding Malinowski's theories. These objections granted, I still believe, along with many others, that the Argonauts of the Western Pacific remains unsurpassed in readability as well as in its harmonious blending of ethnography and folklore.
 
Social anthropology has, however, come a long way since Lévy-Bruhl and Malinowski. The topic of magic and religion in particular has generated and developed a discipline of inquiry wholly its own, producing many theories to clarify the relation between the human mind, magic, and religion. But so far, no theory has been able to provide an explanation that sooner or later has not been proven either insufficient or wrong. The topic of magic has generated much speculation and it will probably continue to do so. The present study will primarily concentrate on a comparison of belief systems and the phenomenon of change in belief systems in Bashiic cultures, and will only marginally attempt to speculate on relationships between the native mind, magic, and religion.
 
As has been mentioned before, we are still uncertain whether the Yami have a cosmogony which is undeveloped or degenerated (Beauclair 1974). The three divine layers, with Simo-Zapaw at the top, may be a reminiscence of a more multi-layered cosmogony that has indeed degenerated. In Yami creation myths there is a distinct sense of a multilayered exposition of existence, but the different levels are never clearly elaborated on by the informants and generally are given little importance.
 
The Yami have several names for what we may call celestial beings. Tawo do to literally means "the person up there," and sometimes tawo do langarahen is used, meaning "celestial person." The latter form occurs in the plural more often than the first one does. The expression akey do to literally means "the grandfather up there." Here, I have translated it as "heavenly grandfather," and in my interlinear translation I will render it as "Supreme Being."
 
All Yami creation myths speak of the "heavenly grandfather," but in the material that I have seen so far there is no indication whatsoever that the "heavenly grandfather" is Simo-Zapaw himself. To be sure, his name surfaces neither in myths collected seventy years ago nor in recently collected ones. Furthermore, the ritual performed every December at the ancestral landingplace, which is the only ritual meant to bring sacrifices to the "heavenly grandfather," is not associated in every village with the occupant of the topmost layer of the Yami cosmogony either. In the village of Imorod, it is believed that at the time of the mivahnwa festival, which is the opening day of the summer fishing season, the offerings of the Yami are made to the god Si-Omima. According to one version of the myth, it was he who spoke through the mythic black-winged flying fish; and instructed the Yami in the art of summer fishing.
 
As far as the topic of their pantheon is concerned, the Yami hold conflicting views. If they are pressed for precise answers, they immediately start contradicting each other and even themselves. Despite all this, or rather because of all this, there is a general feeling that there is only one top celestial person, who may be called by different names, in each case not excluding the supremacy of another name. This brings to mind the All-Father belief, which, according to Lang, "among primitive cultures, cannot be considered as an irrelevant matter of mythology, but more like a simple and pure form of early monotheism" (qtd. in Malinowski 1954, 23).
 
Lang's idea then may suggest that while Yami cosmogony has retained an early form of monotheism, it has developed a multilayer structure which, after having reached a certain degree of sophistication, due to culture change and migration perhaps, slowly lost its importance and degenerated, reducing itself towards its original simple monotheistic characteristics.
 
In a Yami person's everyday life, the most important divinities are not the gods, but the ghosts. They are also the most sophisticated components of the Yami belief system. We recall that the Yami believe that there is a main soul, anito, which resides in the head, and there are several other souls, located mainly in some of the joints. The latter ones occasionally may leave the body at the time of sickness or severe distress. Such a departed soul can be recalled, though, by the means of magic. When a person dies, his main soul flies away to a place called Malavang a Pongso, the "White Island," but the rest of the bodily souls becomes anito, evil spirits who try to harm people.
 
The attitude of the Yami towards the deceased and human death in general is very idiosyncratic and will be dealt with in more detail in the section on taboo. During my stay on Irala, I witnessed the death and burial of several natives. Some of them died of old age, some by violence, and some of sickness, especially during the cholera epidemic of 1984. All the deaths and burials that I observed took place in the village of Yayo. Professor Liu Ping-hsiung, the director of the Ethnology Department of the Academia Sinica, the most knowledgeable student of Yami ethnography, has recorded in minute detail Yami burial rites at the time of an accidental drowning of a young man in 1957. The rituals described by Liu have hardly changed since his observation. My field notes indicate minor differences, but these were either mistakes in performing the ritual or territorial variations of one and the same rite.
 
The Yami practice both interment and exposure burial. The circumstances determine which method is going to be applied. If someone dies of old age and was known throughout his life as a good person, then interment is chosen for the funeral. This is carried out at the kanitwan, the interment burial ground. If the person was known as mean, especially for using black magic to cause sickness, distress, or even the death of someone, then exposure burial is chosen. It is carried out at the karocilicipan, the exposure burial ground. In the case of accidental death during work in the jungle, or, more frequently, during diving, the corpse is not even returned to the family home, but is carried straight to the disposal site for exposure burial. In the village of Yayo, this site consists of the ledges and the crevices of a huge wave breaker rock named Igang. The corpses of children are either buried at the pamililinan or children's burial ground, which is close to the regular interment burial ground, or deposited in the clefts of old coral rocks by the shore named kararangan (Liu 1957, 179). In recent years the government of the Republic of China has insistently discouraged exposure burials, and as a result they are hardly ever practiced these days.
 
If death occurs after sunset or shortly before sunset, so that there is no time to bury the corpse before the setting of the sun, the interment takes place early the next morning. It is never carried out in the dark. It is important to mention that the Yami do mourn their dead. The parents wail for their children, or vice-versa, citing the good qualities or brave deeds of the deceased. If the body stays in the home overnight, nobody sleeps and a mourning ritual is performed in the fashion of a wake. According to most informants in Yayo, the reason for not sleeping is to be alert against the possible danger of being harmed by the ghost of the newly deceased. As a matter of fact, the corpse is verbally associated with a malevolent ghost, and, likewise, the mourning house is associated with the abode of the ghost by the rest of the village. It inevitably comes to mind that the wake, in the Western sense of the word, may have originated in such practices.
 
The sense of the word anito is not quite clear. The majority of the Yami agree that it means the soul of a dead man, thus indicating that it designates an invisible entity. But the corpse is also spoken of as anito, and in this case it is not an invisible entity. Furthermore, the Yami often talk about the anito no mavyay a tawo, which means "the ghost of the living person." This concept should not be confused with the "soul" of a living person, for which the Yami word is pahad. As I see it, there is a potential malevolent ghost in all the living, and in certain cases the malevolence is manifested even during a person's lifetime. It is not clear, however, if the "ghost of the living person" coincides with the ghosts that are released at the time of death. The Yami themselves cannot tell the difference. If pressed for an answer, they usually make up one that in most cases is not accepted by others. Such makeshift answers are forgotten almost immediately by the informants themselves, and, at the time of the next conversation, under pressure they may make up a totally different and even more fantastic answer.
 
According to the explanations of Siapen-Sirongen of Yayo, the journey of the main soul to the White Island takes place in several phases. When a person dies a natural death, the soul which resides in the head flies down to the ancestral landing place, where a boat containing his or her previously deceased relatives is waiting for it. They receive the soul aboard and immediately proceed to an island where they go ashore and wait for several days. After the newly arrived soul has lost its death-stench, which, according to Siapen-Sirongen, may take from three to seven days, the spirit party board again the avang, in this report a Western-type large ship, and they sail to the "White Island." The place of the intermediate stop was named by the narrator as Tung-sa Island. Tung-sa is the Mandarin name of the Pratas Islands, an atoll-like formation of a few small islands in the South China Sea. The islands belong to the Republic of China and were totally unknown to the Yami by this name until recently, when a few natives were contracted by Chinese merchants to harvest palatable seaweed at Tung-sa.
 
For a proper insight into the Yami ghost world, and to prepare the ground for a discussion of taboo, here is the account of Siapen-Mangawat of Imorod about what the anito is and what it does:
 
Now I will tell you what I have heard from the mother of Siapen-Lawas of Imorod concerning the existence of ghosts. What she said was meant for those who say there are no ghosts, because the mother of Siapen-Lawas had seen ghosts.
Ghosts can be of many kinds. They originate from two different sources: from good people's soul and from bad people's soul. The souls of bad people wander around and about the villages of the island as ghosts, while the good souls, they fly to a place called Ji-Malavang a Pongso, the White Island, and they live there.
The bad souls wander about the village and these are very bad, people say. They harm people, they lure people with temptations, they make good hearted people turn bad, they make people feel sick, they make their own children sick and their own relatives as well, and this is how people get ill. From old times this is how people explained why people got sick or anxious or why they got injured. These are all, all, the wrongdoings of ghosts.
The good souls, whenever they hear that their relatives are about to have a celebration, row their own boats to the island of the Yami and take the fruit offerings of their relatives, after which they return to their island.
Bad souls will enter all kinds of bodies. They will enter not only people's hearts but those of animals and fish as well. They cause injuries and sicknesses to people. The souls of insane people cause the sickness of their relatives.
Ghosts also harm the plants, and they eat some too. Ghosts can make wings for themselves and can fly. They also can walk on the surface of the ocean. Ghosts can make their own boats, they can make their own taro fields. They can do anything and everything. Once they were living people so they can do everything people can do, it is said.
When people went to the caves of Ji-Karahem the place was full of ghosts, who had a huge fire burning. People had not used fire yet at that time. This is how they got it. Fire came from the ghosts. In the caves of Ji-Karahem there were very many ghosts, they were making boats there, taro fields, and were catching flying fish, weaving baskets, planting and harvesting millet and miscantous grass. There was everything there for the ghosts.
Good ghosts can also make their own boats and their own wings. They can walk on the waves of the sea and fly from village to village. Good ghosts are peaceful. They do not harm their own relatives but love them, do not harm their livestock either but increase their goats, poultry and pigs. They do not harm people at all. It is only the bad ghost that hurts people. For instance, someone who did not love his child or his parents, after death he or she will enter the body of a rat and will make the life of his or her children or relatives miserable. Such a bad soul can also enter the body of a pig and make the animal eat things which originate in or have something to do with ghosts. Bad souls can also enter the body of fish. When diving, if one is bit or stung by something, that is also the doing of the ghosts. Bad-hearted people after death may also become bamboo snakes and lie in wait on the taro fields to bite the feet of people. So this is how the bad ghosts act.
Good ghosts, on the contrary, they help their relatives, and if their relatives are worried for some reason, good ghosts always know how to comfort them. Ghosts can hear everything even if it is spoken in another village. They can hear and know everything, anywhere, without going near to those who speak. Even if someone says something in Taiwan, they can hear it right away, just like God.
All evil is due to ghosts. If people go insane or get depressed, if they steal or fight or anything of the sort, it all comes from the ghosts.
When it is day for us, it is night for the ghosts, and when it is night for us, it is their daytime.
The fields with crops of the ghosts are those of eypo, angshed, and raun. (The first one is edible, the second and third are not. They cause itching.)
The pig of the ghosts is the raccoon, the largest wild animal on the island, and the goat of the ghosts is the rat. They have also poultry, but I do not know which of the birds. Ghosts can weave, make their own loin cloths.
In addition to the anito there is a second kind of ghost called the vongkow. They can also make themselves wings to fly and can walk on the surface of the ocean.
Siamen Poypoyan of Imorod saw a vongkow, and this is what I learned from him.
As far as the shape of a vongkow is concerned, the body is large and fat, vongkow are larger than ordinary ghosts. The skin of vongkow is red and their eyes are also entirely red and some of them have no hair. I do not know about these ones without hair, because nobody has seen them, but it is said that they are the most cunning ones.
Vongkow do not make people sick, neither do they bother them with small things. They only take the souls of bad people. Not of all of them, of course, but if, for instance, one catches a person out there on the high mountain, he will take the man's soul, especially if it is after dark or if the person is making a lot of noise.
Vongkow do not stay in the village, they spend most of their time in their own homes, in huge caves or on the mountain tops
 
Magic
 
The performing of magic, both white and black, is known to the Yami. While white magic can be performed by anyone, black magic is usually performed only by people who do not have children because, according to Yami belief, the children of those who perform maniblis, black magic, will surely die. Finally not only his children but also the performer of black magic himself will die. The most horrible deed in the realm of black magic is to bring someone into contact with the sand of the kanitwan, the burial ground (Liu 1957). According to the explanations of several informants, the person who wants to harm others goes to the cemetery and collects a handful of earth or sand. On his way home he may just throw it on his enemy's roof, or right into his house. Inez de Beauclair mentions that, according to local belief, the mixing of the sand into someone's drinking water produces the strongest effect (Beauclair 1974, 45). After the deed has been committed, the person who serves as a target for the magic, together with all the members of the home, will soon get sick and may in the end even die. The performers of magic will not escape this fate either. If they do not die of sickness, surely some kind of accident will make them share the fate of their victim.
 
In the village of Iraralay, I was told about the names of several people, with or without children, who came down in local history as miraraten a tawo, sinners, people who had performed black magic and caused the sickness and death of others in their community. And as legend has it, finally they all had to pay with their lives for what they did.
 
The fruit of Barringtonia Asiatica, a kind of breadfruit tree, is highly tabooed. If the fruit or, worse, a branch of the tree is put into someone's home, then the person will surely fall sick. The fruit of the tree is called teva and is feared so much that even the mentioning of it is considered indecent or aggressive. Many of the fights that I witnessed started with an exchange of insults in which teva teva ina mo, "your mother, teva," was high-ranking in its insult potential. Interestingly, this swearing is not conceived as its Western counterpart, in which people call each other's mothers bad names. It does not say that "your mother is..." It does worse. It creates a sort of verbal contagion that involves the evil plant and the mother of the opponent. It arouses the anxiety that occurs when having been victimized by black magic.
 
Another form of practicing black magic; involves a small lizard called gozagozan. If someone, for instance, steals the root crops or the bananas of a person, the aggrieved party may take revenge by performing the following ritual: he catches a lizard and with his knife slashes or guts it without killing it. While performing this act, he urges the innocent lizard to take revenge for the unjustly inflicted suffering by harming the primal cause of the incident, the thief. Another version reduces the act of the rite to homeopathic magic with a touch of voodooism: the aggrieved party will wrap the dying lizard into a banana peel that the thief has left behind and hang it on the plundered banana tree, or even better, place it in the culprit's footprint. Then he will murmur over the suffering lizard: "the one who stole my crop should suffer like this lizard."
 
Yet another form of black magic involves the vine of a rattan-like plant. Like most black magic related items, this is also referred to as kamanrarahet, which may be translated as "the bad one, the evil one," or also as "the tabooed one." It is interesting that the performer of this type of magic does not use any secrecy. As a matter of fact, it is performed with the consent of all the parties involved. Here is an example: if two persons disagree on the rightful ownership of any kind of property, and if they have exhausted all peaceful means of settling the matter, they will resort to the ultimate judge, the kamanrarahet. They go to a certain place outside the village, at least that is how it is done in Yayo, and put a piece of the vine on a certain rock known for serving this purpose. Then one of the men will repeat the essence of his argument, after which he will cut through the vine with his knife. The other person will do the same thing. According to Yami belief, the person who lies or is wrong will surely die within a year. But if a person goes through this ritual because he believes that he is right, this will not necessarily ensure that he will survive it. According to Siapen-Kotan (Isamo) of Yayo, if someone was told by his grandfather, for instance, that a certain field belonged to their family, but the matter has only now become a subject of dispute leading to the vine-cutting ritual, his offspring will have to suffer the consequences if the grandfather lied generations ago.
 
In Yayo there is an old man who is known for having harmed the community with his black magic practices. Though I came to know him well, he was never willing to talk about his experience. According to the villagers, one day some twenty years ago he found that most of his ripe bananas had been stolen. The footprints indicated that the culprits were children from his own village. In his rage, he promptly cut off a few vines known as vivias, and, whirling them over his head, cast a spell on all the children of his village. As the story goes, a few days later several people went to see the local shaman because there was something wrong with the village children. Many were sick and a few infants seemed to be in life-threatening danger. The shaman told them about what only he and the old man knew, and as a result, within a few hours, the people set the old man's house on fire. He had to run for his life up into the jungle, but the members of his lineage put out the fire and finally appeased the villagers. A few days after the incident, he returned home. In less than a month, he broke his hip, which later did not heal correctly, and he ended up with a strong limp. Of course, there was no question in any villager's mind as to why that accident happened.
 
In the summer of 1983, while I was thinking of strategies to get the old man to tell me about his black magic; experience, one night, a friend's mother came to our house, and, in a very alarmed tone, suggested that I and at least one other male member of the family should go right away to see the old man. She said that at dawn he wanted to cut a gozagozan for me. At first I thought that after my longtime insistence he was now going to show me how the magic is done, but the somber expression on the faces in the room convinced me that I was wrong. When the men started putting on their armor and someone reached for the palolpalo, the 9-foot-long traditional fighting club of the Yami, I panicked and asked everybody to stay in the room and first explain what happened. The woman who acted as a messenger said that the previous day, when we had worked up in the jungle, I had caused irreparable damage to the old man's water canal. Such an offense, if left without material or at least moral indemnification, is considered a crime and a great insult. As it turned out, some of the logs which I had felled that day had later rolled down the steep slope and, before falling into a ravine, had crushed the old man's plastic pipes, which one of his sons had brought him from Taiwan. The pipes were smashed to pieces and were indeed beyond repair.
 
Somehow I succeeded in stopping the men from arming themselves and went up to see the old man alone. I admitted my fault, told him that I was going to buy him a new piece of pipe, and gave him some cigarettes. He forgave me, and then we sat down and talked -- magic, all night. Among other things, I asked him, "why cut the lizard?" Could he not have just gone up on his roof and manawatawag, cried out loudly his grievances and threats, as everybody else does? Had he done that, through indirect talk and gossip the villagers would have made me buy his pipes anyway! The old man's opinion was different. Had he done that, he said, since I was a foreigner, he would have become the laughing stock of the village, because nobody ever went up on his roof to complain about an American. "Besides," he said," one does not cut up the lizard if he knows exactly who the culprit is; for that there are other ways to harm." By this he actually meant that because, he knew it was I who did the damage there was no need to "lizard" me. He would use other procedures of black magic that can be directed more accurately towards a single household. This is also why the family got so alarmed. The old man finally told me that he did not really want to harm anybody, he just wanted to scare me. Needless to say, with his background of maniblis, except for me nobody believed him. The following day I went out to help him get the water flowing onto his taro fields. He showed me how to catch the lizard, how to cut it, and what words to say if needed. It is from him that I obtained the explanation that the lizard will have to look for the culprit to avenge its unjustly inflicted suffering.
 
The mythology of the Yami has preserved a few examples that fit the description of the black magic practices current on the island today. In a variant of the journey of Simina-Vohang, when the seafaring party reaches the island of one of the gods and steals all his bananas, the god performs four different black magic rituals on them. They are all homeopathic, being based on the principle that "like produces like: effect resembling cause" (Frazer 1964, 35).
Several mythological implements of magic often appear in the Yami myths. There are several variants of a story about a dagger that can fly anywhere, even to other islands, and kill as ordered by its Yami master. Another oft-mentioned object is the magic kakahow, the porridge-stirring stick that can be used to stir up the ocean. All these instruments of magic are present in the folklore of other Southeast Asian countries. Malinowski mentions the existence of a "conditional curse" among the Melanesians. This form of cursing is widespread among many tribal populations in the world, and the Yami also have it. If one leaves a pile of cut wood in the forest, or has a tree with ripening fruits, and wants to assure that they will not be abused in any form, the Yami make knots in a certain shape on a handful of grass and leave it in a conspicuous position next to their property. For the traditional Yami, this is not only a "keep out" sign, but also, as I have been told in Yayo, a matter of potential trouble that "may not be controlled if it occurred."
 
The Yami believe that when they squat at the edges of the irrigated taro fields or stand bent over their plants while plucking them, they are always potential targets for ghosts to sneak up on them. To protect themselves from the attacks of ghosts, they stick into the ground, right behind themselves, a small bundle of a kind of grass which has a strong fiber, is very pointed, and can prick through the skin of the ghosts. The natives call it sinasa. It is used very widely among the Yami, being present in almost every story in which a tawo, a Yami, fights the ghosts. In the story of a Yami trapping raccoons, when the man finally confronts the ghosts and the "master demon," he kills them by throwing sinasa at them. There is also a story of a giant octopus that had such long tentacles that it simply "plucked off" the passersby from the shore path. According to legend, a clever Yami made a big vanga, or pot, in which he ignited some firewood and placed it on the path by the shore. The octopus grabbed it and burned itself badly, and the man finished it off by stabbing it in the eyes with sinasa. According to Hornedo, this story is known also in Ivatan with the slight difference that the fuel ignited in the pot is laji, or cotton.
 
Sometimes the bundle of protective grass is also called singeh. This word, however, originally referred to another "protective symbol," composed of two bamboo sticks put together in the form of a cross. During many rituals, such as the one called manetehd, in which the tail and the wings of the dried flying fish are being cut off, the pile of dried fish and the workers are protected by this cross-like "ghost chaser." The cross-like shape of the singeh has nothing in common with the Christian symbol.
 
In mid January of 1984, while sitting and mending nets with Yami friends, we were discussing the power of taboo. Some of the younger ones said that taboo was foolish and that only old people believed in it. To test them, when we were about to decide the place of that day's night-diving trip, I suggested the Igang, which is the most horrifying place of all because of exposure burial. Even those who earlier said that they did not believe in taboos could not help making a terror-stricken face. I insisted, however, and finally we ended up almost "bargaining in yards" while trying to settle upon the diving area. They wanted "farther away," and I wanted "closer." Finally we settled for a "still dangerous" marginal area. In the evening, on our way down to shore, these young men who had claimed that they did not fear ghosts all started plucking sinasa. They formed it into a small bundle and combed their whole body through and through several times, some of them even murmuring a protective spell. Finally, they fastened the small bundles of grass under the rubber band of their goggles. Some also had their small amulet knives hanging on the same rubber band. Conscious of breaking a taboo, after slipping wordlessly into the black waters of the moonless night, they all started swimming quickly away from the burial rock, visibly ignoring the potential hide-outs of sleeping daytime fish, which were the actual targets of the night-time diving.
 
 
Taboo
 
Although an obvious point, here it is useful to recall that the inherent strength of any belief system is that it is believed. No matter how apparently illogical or seemingly self-deprecating an action may seem to non-believers, people will perform it if they believe that they must, or that the consequences of not doing so are worse than those of completing the action. This is the basis of traditional ritual practices and taboo. Something is believed "because it is true." And what makes it true? The fact that it is believed and that everyone believes it.
 
As for taboo, one can say that it provides the ultimate answer to the perennial question, "why?" To this query, taboo supplies the answer, "because." This works within any culture in which the ultimate argument to authority (whether it be a god, the government, or tradition) is also the boundary or parameter of the people's plausibility structures. The horizon of the people is defined by their belief in the actions of their forebears, and these actions may not be logical. They may be supernatural, preternatural, or magical. Regardless of how they stand in the light of Western logic, let it be remembered that these things are true because "they were like that" since time immemorial and were recorded in myth. That Simina-Vohang hit the firmament with the mast of his boat and had to cut the spar five times is no more or less logical (or ludicrous) than transubstantiation. Both are illogical and both are acts of magic. They are conjectures that are believed only when one has already submitted oneself to the power or truth of their underlying authority. In such a situation the power of truth is perceived as an "optimal solution to a problem," which involves magic, or an "order" or an "interdiction," which is a taboo. In either case it becomes an organic part of the belief system. Furthermore, as Malinowski points out "magic and religion are not merely a doctrine or a philosophy, not merely an intellectual body of opinion, but a special mode of behaviour, a pragmatic attitude built up of reason, feeling and will alike. It is a mode of action as well as a system of belief, and a sociological phenomenon as well as a personal experience" (1954 268).
 
We can certainly accept magic as a mode of behavior and a pragmatic attitude. That also means that the conscious mind requires certain actions to shift the idea, the magic thought, into practice, which we may interpret as ritual. To establish and to secure itself as a survival resource of the individual or community, magic also demands a restraint or ban on certain other actions that may contradict its aim or its expression in ritual. In many cases, the sense of these contradictions disappeared a long time ago, but the interdictions themselves remain in the form of various taboos.
 
Today, the word taboo is mostly known as something that should be avoided and should remain untouched. As in the case of most loanwords, very few people know in what circumstances this word entered their language and what it meant in its original cultural environment. The fact is, however, that for the past two hundred years, since Captain Cook introduced the notion into literature, we have failed to produce a definition of taboo that accounts entirely for what it may signify in all cultures.
 
Franz Steiner, an authority on the subject, defines the term in the following way:
Taboo is concerned (1) with all the social mechanisms of obedience which have ritual significance; (2) with specific and restricted behaviour in dangerous situations. One might say that taboo deals with the sociology of danger itself, for it is also concerned (3) with the protection of individuals who are in danger - and therefore dangerous - persons [. . .] Taboo is an element of all those situations in which attitudes to values are expressed in terms of danger behaviour. (1967 20)
 
Captain Cook and Captain King observed among the Tahitians that the native women strongly respected certain food interdictions when in a group aboard the explorers' ship, but if they were safe from the inquisitive eyes of their tribal friends, they heartily ate anything they could find. At that stage of his inquiry, Captain Cook therefore concluded that taboo was something that had primarily a "social importance" and only secondarily a self-valued moral significance (qtd. in Steiner 1967, 24).
 
Margaret Mead was of the opinion that taboo was entirely a matter of the mind and not controlled by physically expressed regulatory actions. Drawing on Mead's theory, while relying on Captain Cook's notes again, Steiner quotes an incident when a tribal girl had been severely beaten by her fellow islanders for having eaten a tabooed item. Steiner also adds sarcastically that "the islanders who tried to beat some respect for the laws and customs of their people into that foolish girl, appear to have been quite unaware of Margaret Mead's definition of taboo, according to which the culprit should have found only automatic penalty without human or superhuman mediation" (1967, 26).
 
The relation between magic and taboo is not easy to grasp. What seems to be certain, however, is that between magic and taboo there is a certain correlation. If a ritual requires a certain action, such as the wearing of a helmet, that implies that the failure to wear a helmet is "against the rule," and as such it may be interpreted as taboo. In such situations the Yami, for instance, use the word makanio or makaniaw, which is their generic word for taboo. If a pregnant woman does not eat squid because she is afraid that her child will walk backwards, that implies a ritual already in the sense that by observing the taboo, she believes that she is causing the birth of a normal child who will grow up to walk as everybody else. Though taboo cannot be separated from magic, in certain cases the link between taboo, magic, and ritual is not so clear. For instance, in the case of certain food taboos, there are no links to any special rituals, but the fact that by observing the taboo one expects to preserve one's health is like performing a ritual of not eating something-- so that one's health will remain good. I doubt that the natives who firmly believe in a food taboo; will clearly distinguish the validity of the results of its violation from the validity of a "scientifically" perceived phenomenon.
 
This probably is not in line with what Malinowski says when he distinguishes magic from science, asserting that "in every primitive community there have been found two clearly distinguishable domains, the Sacred and the Profane; in other words, the domain of Magic and Religion and that of science" (1954, 17).
 
His original argument is that the natives have a good knowledge of their environment, but that this knowledge and hard work are not sufficient for good results. Thus magic has to be involved to eliminate unexpected and otherwise uncontrollable harmful agencies (1954, 29). Though Malinowski does not say that taboo and science are separated in the mind of the native, he does say that magic and science are. If I consider magic and taboo inseparable, on Malinowski's grounds one may argue that having a permanent ban on eating swordfish is different from planting seeds into the wrong soil. By this I mean that in the first case the native believes that the violation of taboo will lead to sickness, though we as outsiders believe that it is not necessarily true, but in the second case it is a fact well known by both the native and us that the seed cannot grow in bad soil. In my opinion, if the native believes in both the "fact" and the taboo, they are probably both equated in his mind with what only we differentiate as a scientific fact. As has been shown above, however, there are borderline situations when the domains are not so clearly distinguishable.
 
The literature on taboo amounts to entire libraries. Probably the most acceptable theory was invented by Malinowski, who suggested that "the meaning must be found in the situation, in the manifold simultaneous overlapping and divergent usages of the word" (qtd. in Steiner 1967, 34). And indeed, the only conclusion reached over and over again is that there is too much diversity in abstract and concrete occurrences of the notion expressed as taboo. Therefore it should be applied or analyzed not in a general but in a more limited manner, restricted to a given cultural ecosystem. I agree with this idea and accept it as a guideline. Thus I shall limit my reporting and classification of taboo to its occurrence in the Bashiic cultures, analyzing it comparatively within Bashiic folklore, and will only occasionally refer to similar phenomena in other cultures.
Here is an example of how taboo works among the Yami. A certain person is known in the community as a good man who always acts according to the requirements of the traditional life style. In other words, he respects taboo. His goats climb up on a steep rock and one of them falls to its death. The villagers will say, "poor man, he lost a goat, he is unlucky." Another person is known in the village as one who constantly violates traditional behavior. If his goat falls to its death, most villagers will just raise an eyebrow and say something like, "you see..." or "what else could you expect." While this is the basic idea of how taboo works, I must say again that the many cases of its occurrence reveal such complexities that it is difficult indeed to account fully for its role in Yami social life and tribal economy.
 
The Yami have an impressively large quantity of rituals, and, since magic and taboo are related, their lives are so interwoven with taboos that it is almost impossible even to record them all by working with informants. Even living with the tribe a year or two would not provide enough occasions for the researcher to encounter most taboo situations of the culture. Thus I shall touch upon only a few aspects of the Yami's "jungle of taboos."
 
The fiercest taboos, and by this I mean the resulting anxiety level if the taboo is violated, are related to anything that is connected with death. Here I quote a list containing most of the taboos that the Yami have to observe at the time of someone's death and funeral. These data were collected and published by Liu (1957, 181). To this day, they are being strictly observed by the eldest two generations of the Yami tribe. I took the liberty to adjust here and there the phonetics of the transcriptions. When a person dies the family must observe the following taboos: Members of the mourning family are not permitted to visit other people's houses for the duration of the mourning period. A taboo fence has to be erected around the house in which the death occurred. A spear has to be set up, protruding from the house. Moving within the house, the members of the family, wearing the ayob, have to carry weapons. When preparing the first meal after the death, new stones have to be put up at the fire place, and fresh fire wood has to be used. Only water taro may be consumed, specially brought in from the field. Should there be a supply of taro in the house, it has to be thrown away. All utensils used at the first meal after the death have to be discarded. Should members of the family leave the house, they have to wash face, hands, and feet (to clean the whole body is taboo, as this is believed to cause swellings) and whatever they took along, before returning, and change their clothes. The use of the word marakat, to die, is tabooed. Amina-porog do karawan has to be said instead, which means to disappear (literally to fall off) from this life, or the expressions makatarowan, or sicarwan, to go away, may be used. Kanitowan, burial place, has to be replaced by kapijan, good place. The family is prohibited from going near the burial ground, kanituwan. The animal killed on the third day after the death may never be a goat alone. It must be either a pig, or a pig and a goat. In the village of Yayo the use of a chicken is prohibited.
 
The Burial Group must observe the following taboos: All persons who took part in the burial have to wear the ayob in their own house. The burial may not take place after twilight. Should a death occur late in the afternoon, the burial has to be postponed until the next day. Within the burial ground, only a well overgrown spot may be chosen for the grave, in order to avoid the site of a former burial. While on the burial ground, spitting and blowing of the nose has to be avoided. No ornaments, such as gold or silver bracelets, may be worn during the burial; otherwise they have to be thrown away. The burial group has to turn away from the grave when throwing the first handful of earth on the corpse. The footprints have to be effaced from the burial mound. All traces of soil and sand of the burial ground have to be removed from hands and body. Members of the burial group must take their meals alone. Their food has to be prepared separately, and only fresh taro may be used. If the death occurs during the fishing season, all fishing has to cease until the next change of the moon. The name of the deceased may not be mentioned.
 
The members of the village where the death has occurred must observe the following taboos: Villagers may not approach the house in which the death took place. Villagers may not go near the burial ground, kanitowan. The road along which the corpse was carried to the burial ground has to be bordered by bamboos. Villagers sprinkle ashes into the four outer corners of their houses while muttering some spell. They are not supposed to leave their village during the night. For the time of the mourning period sexual intercourse is forbidden. If the death occurs during the fishing season, all fishing has to cease. All working has to be suspended. It is prohibited to receive visitors from other villages. Should people have to pass through the village where the death occurred, they are supposed to hurry through without delay (Liu 1957, 181).
 
All the above taboo;s are ultimately related to the idea of danger, of potential harm that may result from contact with, or from the presence of, the dead. Thus they may be spoken of as taboos of impurity or contagion.
 
Of course, not only the dead generate taboos, but also the living. For instance, if we look at the taboos that a family has to observe when the mother is pregnant, from conception to the post-partum period, one can only wonder how they can all be memorized and so strictly respected. First of all, the word "pregnant" is banned in most conversations that take place while any kind of subsistence activity is being performed, such as fishing, farming, cooking, drying fish, making boats, and building houses. Pregnant women are not allowed to go down to the ancestral landing place.
According to some variants of the Yami creation myth, the great flood was caused by a pregnant woman who went down to the shore at the time of low tide. She turned over a white coral stone, from under which the flood waters started gushing out. Instead, the words mamili so kanen are used, which mean: "the one who has to choose her food," meaning that she has to observe the strict "food taboo." The husband of a pregnant woman may not join the divers, and nobody is allowed to accept from him, or give him or any member of his family, a share of any common or individual catch. He or she is not allowed to touch any item that is part of fishing paraphernalia, nor permitted to attend meetings of others where subsistence-activity-related decisions are being made. The saw, which is a fairly new instrument among the Yami, is also tabooed under these circumstances, and the violation of this taboo will result in the eruption of numerous boils on the back of the knees and on the inner side of the elbows.
 
Here is a selected list of some of those fish (and other food) which the husband is not allowed to eat from the moment his wife becomes pregnant:
 
Aciod, surgeonfish sp. (Acanthurus lineatus), which is not only the fish of humans, but also the fish of the demons.
Angsa, surgeonfish sp. (Acanthurus nigricans). If this taboo is violated, after birth the child will always have poor health and will be disaster-prone, because this fish is considered to be among no anito, the demon's fish.
Kamanciracirawan, grunt sp., including all Plectorhynchus in the Pomadasyidae family).
Kavavaoywen, tuna sp. (Thunnus). If this taboo is violated, after birth the child will often experience severe headaches and his or her face will always be red from the poison of this fish.
Ketketan, rabbit fish, (Siganus spinus). If this taboo is broken, it is believed that the child will have worms in the stomach, just as this kind of fish does.
Mavaheng a lagarow, wrasse sp., (Thalossoma quinquevittata). If this taboo is violated, after birth the child will surely have very dark skin like the color of this fish.
Paloy, porgy sp., (Monotaxis, grandoculis). Its teeth resemble human teeth, and the mouth inside is totally red. If the taboo is violated, certain diseases of the mouth may occur, which cause the child's bucal cavity to look like that of this fish.
Rangoyan, unicorn fish, (Naso unicornis). If this taboo is disregarded, the child may have a strange nose.
Tagarit, wrasse sp., (Gomphosus varius). If this taboo is violated, after birth the child will have a long protruding mouth like this fish.
Tanigi, Spanish mackerel, .(Scomberomorus niphonius). If this taboo is violated, after birth the child will have a long, protruding mouth like the fish itself.
Teztez, squirrelfish, (Adioryx spinosissimus). If this taboo is violated, after birth the child will have a red collar-like mark around his or her neck (of the color of the fish) through which line the body liquids will ooze out. The phenomenon is called magetget.
Tapez, butterflyfish sp., (Chaetodontidae). They mostly swim in pairs. Thus if the taboo is violated, twins may be born, which is a bad omen. The newborn will have to be put to death.
Vazizyo, wrasse sp., (Gomphosus varius). This name is used mainly in Yayo, but in other villages the fish is known as tagarit. Its nickname is tarokok, which stands for a kind of cuckoo, the Centropus bengalensis lingator Swinhoe. This fish is also believed to be the fish of the anito, so its consumption is strictly tabooed.
Kazab, turban shells, are also tabooed. If someone violates this interdiction, the child's saliva will be running out the mouth all the time, producing a slurping sound, like the one from the shell when it closes.
Kananis and anus, squids, are also tabooed, because they swim with their "heads backwards" (unlike koita, the octopus, which is not tabooed for men during their wife's pregnancy). If this taboo is violated, after birth the child will have problems learning how to walk properly, and (according to the Yami) most probably will always try to walk backwards.
 
These fish are not allowed to be eaten by pregnant women either. For them, in addition, there are several other food items on the taboo list:
 
Amiyngan, goatfish, (Parupeneus trifasciatus). In the village of Yayo it is believed that the consumption of this fish by a pregnant woman will frequently cause her child to laugh with no reason.
 
Dahodo, wrasse species, (Cheilinius rhodochrus). The violation of this taboo will later cause great anxiety to the mother, for her child will be ever restless and very tense. The phenomenon is known as tomidohdoh.
 
Kono, giant clam, (Tridacna gigas). Since the clam does not change its place, if it is eaten, people believe that the child will have problems learning how to walk.
 
Kovahan, surgeonfish sp., (Acanthurus triostegus). Should the pregnant woman violate this taboo, her child may have strange birth marks since the fish has black stripes on its body.
 
Koyta, octopus. If she violates this taboo, the child may end up with a multitude of black birthmarks on the face and body.
 
Cineha, a kind of reddish crab. Only old women are allowed to eat it. Pregnant women should pay much attention to not eating anything that came into contact with it, or with the water in which the crab was boiled. If this taboo is violated, the child's flesh will suffer.
 
Kalang, crabs, in general are allowed to be eaten, except for those which are mutilated. If during their capturing they lost a leg, tentacle, or pincer, they are highly tabooed for pregnant women because it is believed that the consumption of such crabs will lead to children being born without a finger or a limb.

Taoz no kois, heart of pigs, at time of sacrifice. If this taboo is violated, after birth the child will develop cardiac arhythmia

 
After the birth of a child, most of the above taboo;s remain valid for a year. Right after birth, the consumption of any fish is tabooed for the mother. Only dried taro leaves boiled in hot water and pork, if available, are allowed to be eaten. Land taro or yams are also tabooed at this time because they do not grow in wet places and their consumption will lead to "drying off" the mother's milk. Eating of small freshwater snails is also forbidden because they will cause the child to become very thin.
 
Some of these food taboos are lifted after four months, such as that of the "dry" rootcrops and the freshwater snail, but most fish will remain taboo for the year. Exceptions are the ilek, rudder fish, the kovahan, and the red parrot fish named liton (also known as abtekan).
 
The food taboos described here are far from being a complete list. I have selected only those taboos for which the Yami had an "explanation." The rest of the food taboos will be mentioned later in their relation to subsistence.
 
As the child is growing up, many other rituals take place and new taboos join the list. The day after birth a name must be given to the newborn. The naming is somewhat similar to "baptism; by water." The mother, brothers, and sisters of the infant, and the karios, the midwife, gather in the house where the infant is. The father goes up to the water canal of the irrigated taro field of the family and fills a receptacle with water. From there, he must return home immediately. On the way it is taboo to stop, engage in conversation of any sort, or look at the ocean. He must be very careful not to stumble, or hit his foot against anything on the road. He must pay the greatest attention not to spill even a drop of the water. Any violation of these taboos will surely result in the immediate or premature death of the infant. When he gets home, the members of the family sprinkle some of the water on the top of the child's head while saying: yako imo sabey so toktok, "I mark you on the top of your head," after which several long phrases of good wishes for health, knowledge, and prosperity follow.
 
The naming ceremony is followed by a feast at the home of the parents. A pig or a goat is slaughtered. If they cannot afford either of the two, several chickens can replace them, and if poultry is not available either, fish will also do. It must be a very large amount of fish, however, and only big fish should be used for this purpose, especially the ilek, or rudder fish (Kyphosus lembus). It is somewhat hard to catch all the right fish for such a celebration, because of the above-mentioned strict food taboos. Half of the sacrificial food must be taken to the house of the karios and given to her. At the end of the day she returns the empty containers.
 
As expected, all domestic activities are taboo-ridden. As far as weaving is concerned, for example, there are many rules to observe, but the greatest taboo associated with weaving in general concerns a certain part of the men's talili, or vest. It is the white stripe in the lower middle section, which is approximately two inches wide, with intricate white
patterns, and is called vokow. As the weaving of the vokow progresses, the health of the weaver is exposed to an increasing amount of danger. This danger is associated with the potential harm the vokow can cause.
When the weaving of the jacket is finished, a "taboo-washing ceremony" is required which will free the weavers of the "curse of the vokow. If a person who is not of the right age dares to wear a jacket with vokow, his backbone will be deformed and he will be crippled for life.
 
It is interesting to note that among the Yami, certain rituals and interpretations of taboos are somewhat interchangeable. For instance, the young men who finally decided to dive in the neighborhood of the "rock of death" used sinasa grass, thus applying a magic that was usually used on land. They combined it with the use of the amulet knife, which was only meant to protect the diver in the water. For the Yami there is no way of "getting around the taboo;" without violating it. It is known that in many cultures there are rituals that are used to "override" certain taboos. In Israel for instance, according to Judaic religion, the use of cars is forbidden during the Sabbath. If this interdiction becomes inconvenient, some religious Jews put a life preserver on the seat of the car -- to sit on during the ride. The idea comes from the fact that riding in a car is forbidden, but traveling on water by boat is not. Taking a piece of boat equipment into the car, they aim for a "backward magic of contagion" in order to "get around" the taboo which cannot be lifted otherwise. Most interdictions of the Sabbath are treated in similar fashion, even some of the strict food taboos.
 
There is one more taboo-related event I should mention here. It is interesting because it shows not only how the taboo works, but also how it may come into existence. In the spring of 1984 I was recording the ancestral story of Ivalino. Siapen-Manabey, the narrator, had turned down my request on several previous occasions because he said that there was no particular pride in telling others that he and his lineage were "latecomers" on the island. He meant that the people of Ivalino, according to the myth known as the story of Simina-Vohang, came from the Island of Ivatan and founded the village of Ivalino, but at that time the island was populated already. To this day, the Yami of the other five villages often tease the inhabitants of Ivalino for being latecomers. The reason Siapen-Manabey finally agreed to tell the story was that I was supposed to go to Ivatan the following month. For the Yami, especially for the ones from Ivalino, Ivatan is a "mythic reality," and they are very much intrigued by it. Since I was preparing to go to the land of his ancestors, he wanted me to report on it after my return in great detail. He also chanted a message for the Ivatans, which I was supposed to take along with me and play on my taperecorder to the long-lost relatives on the Island of Ivatan.
 
Siapen-Manabey had been telling, singing, and chanting the myth for over four hours. He had finished the part with the sea voyage and was just about to start the genealogical part of the myth, when suddenly his daughter, a middle-aged woman who was among the audience, started shouting at him. She was trying to stop him from telling the katapilanda, the family tree, and was arguing with him in a loud voice. She said that if I took the story with me to Ivatan, and if they hear it there, the Ivatans will surely try to come to Irala and try to revenge themselves for all the evil deeds of the Yami. First, I thought that by "evil deeds" she meant the petty theft and cheating of the Yami, which occur abundantly in all the major stories. It turned out, however, that she was talking about a certain family heirloom. I could not find out what it was or understand the context for the source for the feud with the Ivatans, because they handled the issue with surprising embarrassment and unusual rudeness. As the narrator's daughter was getting ever louder, people started gathering, and in no time she had a greater audience than the narrator. Then she shouted and screamed herself into a half insane state of mind, at which point, suddenly, all the people stood up and left.
 
Later, Siapen-Manabey explained to me that his daughter thought that from telling these stories only misfortune would come, and, with her violently protesting attitude, she made him responsible for any tragedy that now might occur in their family. Since the argument got out of hand and was witnessed by so many people, the famous narrator could do nothing else but end his story-telling career. "Now, my daughter's words are like a pending curse," he explained. "If someone in our family will drown, or be bit by a snake, or break a limb, that will surely be because I endangered them with my stories." According to my sources, he told no more stories until he died in the spring of 1990.
 
Diviners
 
As has been shown, among the Yami, black or white magic can to a certain extent be practiced by anybody. At the same time, there are forms of magic that are the privilege of certain individuals. These activities, which we may consider "paranormal," are the following: detection of ailments, their cause and their healing, prediction of certain events, locating lost objects, and revealing the truth about lying, mischief, theft, and crimes committed secretly. Those persons who have the capability to perform any or all of these magic-related activities, according to the goal of their magic and to the way they perform it, are called zomyak, somkey, mamahad, makahaw, and makazid.
 
To discuss these categories I need to use a word which is comprehensive enough to permit me to refer to all of these aspects in a generic sense. For this purpose I shall use the English word "diviner," with an extended definition encompassing here any person who has one or all of the mentioned magic powers.
 
A zomyak, according to the Yami, is a person who can detect, identify, and heal a sickness. It is believed that the magic power of the person comes from a celestial agent, who can be akey ta do to, "our heavenly grandfather," once perceived as the "Supreme Being" of the Yami myths, or, more recently, "our Lord" of the Christian faith. A zomyak is someone who can heal without having to touch the sick. He or she just invokes and concentrates the healing power upon the suffering person. Of course, if the sickness is due to the presence of a malicious ghost, the zomyak can promptly chase it away. He or she can interpret dreams, cause coconuts to fall to the ground from their branches, and command birds to do the same thing as they fly through the sky (Beauclair 1974, 18). According to myth, if someone has a close encounter with death, that can instantly make him a zomyak. All cases of possession, especially if they manifest themselves in the form of trances, fall into this category.
 
A somkey is essentially a healer. He uses his hands to massage the body or a certain part of the body of a sick person. To make his intervention efficient, he murmurs certain spells while he is rubbing the sick person's limbs or body. He can obtain and interpret important information about the sickness from the crackling noise produced when pulling at the patient's finger joints. Mamahad is synonymous with somkey.
 
A Makahaw is a native who can tell right away if another person is lying, has stolen, or has committed a punishable crime. There is no way to keep anything secret from the mamahad. He or she will know of all adulteries and can even detect adulterous thoughts. If someone violates taboos or performs black magic of some sort, the makahaw will know that too.
 
A Makazid is someone who is endowed with the special skill of being able to see ghosts. He can see them day or night as they walk down the village paths, in the rain forest, at the shore, or on the ocean. The ghosts do know that he can see them and for this reason they all fear a makazid. He or she cannot only see the ghosts, of course, but can also threaten them and chase them away and, by virtue of this fact, can also heal. If a native loses his soul to a ghost or a vongkow, the makazid can go and get it back from the evil ones, who are visible only to him or her.
 
These are the main divisions of Yami diviners, but I am certain that in reality these categories are not that sharply divided. The folklore proves that they constantly infringe on each other's assumed sphere of activity. Sometimes the somkey is also reported to have had the power of knowing the whereabouts of lost people, and there are cases when the makazid, who could see a ghost, healed his suffering fellow man by means of rubbing his body while uttering a spell. As for pulling at the finger joints for telling the future, this is performed in the myths also by protagonists who were not known as diviners.
 
The best example of the lack of strict delimitations in the devining performance is the case of the zomyak of Yayo village. Because I lived in Yayo during most of my fieldwork, I not only came to know this person well, but actually ended up several times as one of the subjects of her practices. The zomyak of Yayo is a woman. When I got to the island her name was Sinan-Pangankaman. Later, her eldest child, a girl who married a Taiwanese aborigine, had a daughter whom they named Si-Manliven. Consequently, everybody's name changed in the family, and the grandmother, the zomyak of Yayo, now is called Siapen-Manliven. Though she is a zomyak , she cannot make coconuts fall off palm trees, nor can she make birds drop to the ground, but she can perform all the other functions of her category. Moreover, she can perform everything that a makahaw can, and according to her and the natives, she is able to see ghosts, too, a fact that makes her a makazid as well.
 
Siapen-Manliven of Yayo is a very well-known person on Irala. The natives come to see her with all kinds of problems. For her services as a zomyak, she is supposed to receive some tamtahmek, treasure, which can be blue beads, or gold foil, or even broken gold which is called gizit. These days, when there is little gold left and even less use for blue beads in the quickly emerging cash economy, she also takes money. It is important to note that even though money is clearly becoming more and more important in the lives of these people, she does not turn down blue beads as a form of payment. During her healing sessions, or when some important information about a crime is demanded, she enters a trance and contacts her "God power." While in a trance she can tell, in most cases, with great exactness what the ailment of a sick person is, where certain persons are, where lost objects lie, or whatever an aggrieved party would like to know. She never incriminates people by name, but describes very clearly how they look, or where or in which house they live.
 
I was somewhat puzzled by Inez de Beauclair;'s statement that "the Yami have neither professional priests nor magicians or medicine men or women" (1974, 16). She is right as far as true "professionalism" is concerned, but in a society in which there are no leaders, not even persons who are primus inter pares, there can be no such "professionalism" because that would automatically create a new social category. That certainly should not mean, and this has to be explained, that there are no individuals among the Yami who can carry out the same activities that in other societies only the professionals perform. In other words, the Yami have diviners and the fact that they are not professionals does not imply that they are dilettantes or amateurs. It simply means that their society lacks the social stratification necessary to isolate such an elite. Nevertheless, it is true that none of the Yami diviners earns his or her living only by the practice of magic. They all attend to their farming and to their fishing.
 
Inez de Beauclair also asserts that the Yami have no shamans. She mentions, however, reports of possession and of certain persons who could heal or provide information of all sorts while in a trance (1974, 16). I assume that at the time of her fieldwork there was no person on the island whose talents were so comprehensive as those of Siapen-Manliven, who, in my opinion, can by all accounts be considered a shaman.
 
I tried several times to question her about her magical powers, but she always refused to answer or enter into any conversation likely to drift onto that particular subject. But during the summer of 1983 I suddenly started feeling very tired and in less than a month lost 45 pounds. After none of my antibiotics seemed to control the infection signaled by my extremely swollen lymph glands, I went to see her. I eased into her palm the two blue beads that I received from my tribal grandfather for this purpose and told her that I was sick. "We all know that you are sick," she said. Then she said a ghost in the jungle had entered my body through a hole that was none of my natural openings. It lives there, she said, and now it was multiplying in my blood, while it drained me of my energy. She also said that in this particular case she could not chase it out. Finally I ended up in the emergency room of the hospital of the National Taiwan University, where, to my great luck, Professor Hsieh, a tropical disease specialist, immediately diagnosed the symptoms as the result of scrub-typhus. As he explained later, the almost microscopic larva of the tsutsugamushi, a red mite, which lives on green vegetation, especially in the tropical rainforest of the island, had bitten its way through my skin, and a bacterium called Rickettsia, which lives in the mite's saliva, had penetrated the human sanguimotor system, causing a bacteremia. Now the organism was multiplying in my blood, causing the high fever and a cardiovascular infection. Thanks to Dr. Hsieh's expertise, I became that year's medical convention's topic. A visiting Harvard University M.D. was brought in to observe my recovery, and after two months of hospitalization I could return to the island.
 
Siapen-Manliven told me that my blood was clear now. She also told me that I still had something strange in my blood, but that was all right because I had been born like that. It took another year and two more tropical diseases for me to find out that what she had detected was Thalasemia minor, a type of hereditary anemia common in the Mediterranean area.
 
A few months before my departure from the island in 1984, Siapen-Manliven came to our home and said that she was going to tell me the story of how she became a healer. Since in this chapter I want to compare some of the aspects of the Yami healing activities with those of Ivatan, I shall now render into English the story of Siapen-Manliven, and will later discuss some of its mythical implications
 
 
In the beginning I wasn't really a good person. When I went to the fields I often thought of stealing other people's crops, and I had a wicked soul.
 
One day when I went to the field I saw an apparition. That time I was with two friends who said, "Let's cook our food and eat together." First we wanted to go and wash our faces. At the water, suddenly I saw a huge bamboo snake. It had a very large head and its body was very, very long and thick. Half of it was like the volay, the mythic serpent. On the back of the snake there were pigeon-like birds sitting. They had white wings, white bodies, and black tails. The head of the snake moved towards me, then I fainted and knew nothing of myself for a while. After that I tried to run up the slope. Since I was alone I was so frightened that I couldn't even think. There in the field I fainted again and when I came around, I just sat there, and the snake was also there. Then I realized that there must have been a reason for me to see such an apparition, probably because I was so mean and worthless. Otherwise why would God show me anything like this? I started calling my friends, "Sinan-Mamogaz, Sinan-Sensengan, come quickly, look what a huge snake," I said. They came running. "Where," they asked. "There, right there," I said and pointed. "There is nothing there," they said. "But can't you see it, look how huge it is!" I said. "There is nothing there," they said. "That is strange," I said. "Let's go home," my companions said, and they were pulling at me to stand up. Others came by and asked me why had I not gathered any food yet. I told them that I had no strength to walk. While we were talking I saw that there were a lot of pigeons watching us, but nobody could see them. "I am sick, perhaps, and I want to go home to rest," I said to my friends. "But where did you go, what happened?" the others asked. "I just went over there on Siamen-Omladan's mother's field to wash," I said.
 
Then I thought I should chew some betelnut, so I walked over to an aricanut palm, and got what I wanted. While I was chewing, suddenly two giants appeared, they were as big as the Igang, and it looked as if they were wrestling. I stopped and could not take my eyes off them. I wondered how come I could see anything like that. Then I thought I should pray. The two giants also prayed with me. Then I knew that this was all for me to become a good person, not to steal and not to lie anymore. I even thought of going to church because I had joined two groups earlier, first a Protestant and then a Baptist group, but that was quite a while ago. Then I also thought of going to Siam-Paroy's church, the Protestant one. I was still watching the two giants and was trying to make out if they were really from heaven or if they were demons. The pigeons, many, many of them, they were all around us all this time. I moved towards the giants. One of them went away and disappeared. The other one suddenly started shrinking, and became a person of regular size. But it did not stop shrinking, it went on and finally it changed into a small stone person. I do not remember exactly what happened then, I must have fainted again. My friend came and asked me why I was sitting there in the field, because it was time to go home. My companion asked me what I was holding onto. It was this little stone doll, she took it from me saying that she was going to keep it for me. I left my basket and my other belongings there on the field and returned to the village. After I arrived home, I fainted again. My husband couldn't understand what was going on with me, so finally I told him that I had to have that little stone doll back. I sent him to the house of Siapen-Manlikod to bring it for me. When he returned, my husband said that bringing such objects into the house was taboo and didn't want to give it to me. "If you think it is evil, throw it into the fire," I said. He didn't want to do that either, so finally he gave it to me. As I touched it, it immediately changed into a person, jumped up on my suitcase which was up on the rack, and just sat there staring at me. Than he told me that only I could see and hear him. He talked to me and asked me why I still lied and stole if I had joined a Christian church and why I was not behaving as a decent person. He talked to me about these things for a long time.
 
I went to Taiwan to see a Baptist preacher. I stayed there for about a month and all they talked about was why their religion was more important than all the others. About a month later I returned home. My family members all joined different kinds of churches, and we had a big discussion trying to decide which one was better. My brother and my husband argued that it was none of my business which church they belonged to; finally I decided to join the Protestant group in Siam-Paroy's church. He was the leader of the first church on the island, and it was he who made the sezez, the snapper, oyod or real fish, so that all women of our village could eat it.
 
About a month later, one evening I saw a lot of fish swimming around in my room, as if it were under the ocean, and also a great number of white pigeons flying around among them. I asked my husband to throw them out, but he could not understand what I was talking about. Another month passed, then on a late night someone knocked on our door. First we ignored it, but the person insisted, knocking and kicking the door. "Who is it and what do you want?" I asked. "Come quickly," a woman said, "my daughter is dying, please come and help me!" "But what could I do for her?" I asked while I was trying to open the door. It was Sinan-Liowawa, crying on my doorstep. "We all know that you are a zomyak, come quickly and save my child," she said. She was terribly frightened, so I went with her, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do or say once we got there. When we got to her house, the child was as if asleep, trembling, burning with fever, and she had white foam at her mouth. It looked indeed as if she were going to die right away. I thought I should try to pray, but I did not even know a prayer, so I was trying to make up one by myself. While I was trying to do that, suddenly I realized that I knew that I could heal her. When I thought of this, the little girl opened her eyes and asked for cinowat, boiled water. They gave her some, then she got up, looked at us in surprise, and asked her mother what we were doing in their house so late at night. Somehow, I knew for certain that she was out of danger already, but also knew that it was going to take some time for her to recover completely. That was exactly how it happened.
 
After that, whenever people were sick they always came to see me for help. Now, even if they do not come, I know right away if someone falls sick, and if there is something that I can do, I go to their house and try to help even if they do not ask me for it. The easiest for me is to tell if someone's blood is affected by a ghost or anything else, even the kind of sicknesses men can get in the Taiwanese whorehouses. I know when people lie, steal, or kill, and I know where they hide the stolen objects. I know when they commit adultery even if they are far away; as a matter of fact, distance has nothing to do with it. I do not know how come I know it, I just know it, that's all! Now I know that this power comes from God. When I heal, I do not see God in person but I feel his power coming over me. I saw him only once, he arrived in front of my house on a huge ship. It was not like our boats, like a tatala, but like a big foreign ship. He was clad in white and looked like an American, his hair was white and curly like yours, Si-Mateneng, and he also had a white beard. This happened right before my brother died. He had a huge life-size mirror with him. The mirror was bright in the front and pitch black in the back. He said that in the front he could see people's virtues, and, on the dark side, their sins
 
 
From this testimony of Siapen-Manliven we can see that, although magic (as it is understood in Yami culture) can be practiced by all, there are those special individuals who have a vocation for it. And the word vocation is employed in its religious, albeit somewhat syncretic, sense. Siapen-Manliven is developing the first vestiges of Christian consciousness in her life and work as a zomyak. It is worth noting that the only time she saw God was before her brother died. The Yami have the tradition of observing the taztazmamo, the worst omen of all, an apparition that forecasts a death in one's family. In this case, even though she did not explicitly say so, she associated the time of the apparition of God with that of her brother's death. Her relatives who die become anito like everybody else, and God, heaven, and all the saints cannot override the strong taboos concerning death.
 
A good example of this is the case of the son of the Catholic catechist of Yayo village. The son, a religious young man, a promising future catechist, was sick. The relatives asked the shaman to help him. She, the shaman, said that there was nothing one could do to help in his case. The young man went to Taiwan, to a hospital where the doctors examined him and said that he had an ulcer. With medication in his pocket, he returned to Irala, but within a few days he fell sick again. The shaman said that he would not live and, indeed, in three days the young man died. His last wish was that he be buried as a Christian, with a cross at his head. Knowing that he was the son of the catechist, I thought that they would consider his last wish and break the taboo. I was wrong. His father, the right hand of the Catholic missionary, together with the relatives, had him buried before the sun set, and his grave, like that of any other Yami, remained unmarked. The burying tools were thrown away, and his name has never been mentioned again since the day he died. Today, the new religion, "God and the son of God," is filling the life of the Yami, but certainly does not guide it. The shaman considers herself religious, but at the same time accepts all the tenets of the Yami pantheon with all its functions. Thus God may even appear as a taztazmamo
 
 
The Belief Systems of the Batanes Cultures
 
The belief system; of the Ivatans is just as much a split entity, and thus a mixture, as the rest of their culture. It is fragmented by the presence of two distinct plausibility structures, the Catholic Church and the Ivatan anito.
 
The anito is a category of invisibles, rather than the name of a kind of super- or preternatural phenomena. To this category belong (a) the souls of the dead, (b) place-specific spirits, and (c) wandering invisibles neither identified with nor tied down to any particular locale or thing (Hornedo 1980, 21). Each of these sub-categories has a unique and identifying modus operandi. First, however, one must consider that there is no indigenous Ivatan word for "preternatural" or "supernatural," nor even for "spirit" in the Christian sense. When Ivatans refer to the beings belonging to what Christianity calls the spirit world, they say sira o di a voya (those who cannot be seen) (Hornedo 1980, 50). And second, there are two types of Ivatan consciousness which must be distinguished: (1) the indigenous pre-Hispanic consciousness that has persisted to the present and (2) the Christian consciousness fostered by Roman Catholic evangelization since l783. While the concept of the "supernatural;" is basic to Christianity, the indigenous Ivatan notion of the world of the anito is that of the invisible. This means that the Ivatan worldview distinguishes two worlds, the visible and the invisible as contrasted with the later natural-supernatural Christian distinction.
 
Today, the visible-invisible and the natural-supernatural distinction of worlds coexist in the consciousness of the Ivatans, with the "invisible" being vaguely equated with the "supernatural," which, in any case, is also invisible (Hornedo 1980, 51-52). In spite of Spanish Catholic missionary efforts, the anito has remained the most durable and widely accepted object of belief among the Ivatans. In fact, as pointed out by Hornedo, Christianization, especially Catholic dogma, has suited the natives well and has actually reinforced the original "pagan" beliefs. The existence of a hell, with devils who are invisible but always there to tempt and harm a person, fits in perfectly with the native conception of the Ivatan anito.
 
Spanish chroniclers, starting with Fray Juan Bel in 1720 down to Fray Anastacio Idigoras in 1895, invariably noted the anito belief. The ancient Ivatans appear to have had no notion of a supreme being, or if they had, they probably regarded him as remote and having little to do with their daily activities and pursuits. It was to the anito that the people related themselves with ritual fear and care. Even today, the beliefs concerning the anito and the related practices used to deal with them are still very much alive. This is true not only among those who are not Christians, but even extends to the Catholic clergy (Hornedo 1980, 21-22).
 
Although the current beliefs concerning the anito have incorporated much Catholic ritual, the worldview behind these beliefs is inherently non-Christian. It cares nothing for distinctly Christian values such as spiritual salvation and is based on an ethic of "be good to those who are good to you, and bad to those who are bad to you." Culpability, in the world of anito, is attributed on the basis of outcome, not on the basis of moral responsibility. Christian symbols such as holy water and the cross are used as charms, devoid of their religious meaning. This view has drawn hostility towards practitioners of anito-related rituals from priests and devout Catholics alike. It must be mentioned, however, that this opposition has not necessarily denied the existence and power of the anito, particularly those associated with places (Hornedo 1980, 40).
 
The first distinct class of anito is that of a returned soul of the dead, the soul of the departed whether perceived in "real" life or in a dream. Although the souls of the dead are known as pahapahad, from the Ivatan word for soul pahad, when these souls appear or manifest themselves to people, they are called anito (Hornedo 1980, 2). When the anito of a dead person appears, the reaction of the viewer is the same as a Westerner's response to a ghost--with one exception. The dead person's anito is carefully heeded when he or she makes requests for favors, but resisted when he or she indicates the desire to make the living follow him or her in a path regarded by the living as associated with damnation (Hornedo 1980, 28). In other words, the anito is taken seriously.
The following is a typical case cited by Hornedo:
 
Antonio Gutierrez died in l977 leaving behind three grown children: two men and one woman. A third son had died earlier. The men were his sons by a second marriage, the woman by his first marriage. Soon after the father's death, the children had difficulty deciding each one's just share of their father's estate, the father having left no written will. The youngest, Juanito, had lived with their father and served him till his death. The woman had married early and had lived away from her paternal home for many years. The youngest naturally felt that he should have a larger share than his half sister. They were, therefore, ready to settle the matter in court. But before they could do so, Juanito dreamed of his father. He saw him throwing a fistful of coins and saying, "tawri pa o da Maring," or there is some more for Maring. When he woke up, Juanito believed that his father's anito had meant to tell him that his half sister should be given more than she had so far been given. So Juanito relented and agreed to give Maring a more generous share of their inheritance. (Hornedo 1980, 28)
 
This narrative incorporates many of the characteristics of the anito of dead humans. The anito has the recognizable likeness of the deceased. Although this is common, sometimes sounds alone are sufficient to suggest the anito's presence. The anito relays a message to Juanito. This is not unusual. Anito frequently relay messages to individuals. However, they tend only to show themselves to groups of people. Juanito's father appeared at night and in his house. As we shall see later, anito manifest themselves regardless of place or time of day. Also, Juanito obeyed the anito. This is the universal response to an anito whose demands are not excessive. The anito, whose demands may reflect its needs in the hereafter, is obeyed out of sympathy and fear of retribution. Many anito manifest themselves to indicate their condition in the other life, whether it be a condition of temporary suffering or eternal damnation. The Ivatans interpret its status via clothing (black garments are believed to indicate suffering) and other signs which the living find meaningful. Thus, even if the apparition is silent, the viewer can interpret its state in the hereafter (Hornedo 1980, 28-30). Given the Ivatans' great fear and respect for the anito, they avoid certain places and things associated with the dead, especially at night and when alone: cemeteries; farms owned by dead persons known to be mangmo, who intend to cause fright; coffins, poles used as part of a stretcher for carrying the dead; places of death (whether from suicide, accident or illness); places reputed for anito apparitions; and churches (Hornedo 1980, 30).
 
The second type of anito is that which is associated with a particular place. In the West, we would liken this to a haunted area. Anito may inhabit particular trees (especially vadichi), fields, farms, or caves. These anito may be protective and friendly to the owner of the property, hence the tradition of introducing succeeding generations of the family to them, as long as the owner continues to perform the traditional ritual of kapamivyay in which food and drink are offered to the anito. And to those humans who are privileged to know how to deal and communicate with them, the macanito, they may even become subservient. However, to most people these anito too are frightening and even dangerous. The anito manifests itself through perceivable phenomena such as sounds, the human voice, the sound of musical instruments, the appearance of animals, and even human form. Hornedo describes another case of anito interfering with the living.
 
About a kilometer west of Barrio Savidog in Sabtang island is a region called Mayavosoy. Here the Volang family own a parcel of farm land that has traditionally been believed to be guarded by anito. Many people have reported having seen nanak (piglets) running about in the grass and among the plants and then suddenly vanish into thin air. One day, it is said, young members of the Volang family came to cut banana leaves and pick pineapples. But to their surprise, they discovered that the leaves and fruits they had picked disappeared, and when they looked at the plants, they saw they were back on their stalks. Frightened, the children went home to tell their parents about what happened. Bebek, one of the old people, it is said, went to the farm and scolded the anito saying: "Anmyan sa aya o mangay jiya am yavayohen nyo sa ava ta kaynapwan ta say." (When people come here, don't be bothered because they are our grandchildren). (1980, 37)
 
The third class of apparitions, the wandering anito, is so-named because they are not clearly associated with any particular person or place. Although their manifestations are similar to those of the anitos
associated with place, two forms of wandering anito are of particular interest. These are the kapri and the dayanak. The kapri, an anito that supposedly lives under trees and gives out amulets, has the peculiar ability to change its size to that of the surrounding objects, but it is not an indigenous member of the Ivatan world of invisibles. Like the Tagalog Kapre, it comes from the Spanish word cafre, defined as a "folkloric giant who appears at night and lifts houses." Hornedo explains in a note that "The Spanish cafre is said to refer in ancient Spain, during the time of the Saracen or Moslem invasion, to giant soldiers known as Kaffirs from Kaffraria, a province in Persia" (Hornedo 1980, 50). The fact that the kapri is probably a result of Spanish importation is reflected in the lack of giants in Yami folklore. The dayanak, on the other hand, is a mythological being sometimes referred to as koto n'tana or louse of the earth, and is generally audible, not visible, in manifestation. The sound it makes is that of an infant's short crying bursts; it is heard as if from far away. This may be due to its small size. It is thought to be able to inflict harm without being seen, and when seen it has the appearance of an infant with red eyes and possessing many gold trinkets. The form of the dayanak coincides with the sound attributed to it, and tradition says that those ornaments bring harm to those who accept them.
 
The following two episodes cited from Hornedo illustrate the above-mentioned attributes of the wandering anito.
 
Juan Galarion was walking one night across the town square at one end of which stood the parish church of Mahataw, when he suddenly became aware of a very tall walking being. He could not make out clearly the features of the being but the silhouette-like form could be seen as being as tall as the church. He knew it was an anito and he sought to avoid its path. He believed it was a kapri (1980, 40).
 
The second story particularly exemplifies the more malevolent
tendencies of the anito.
 
A man had suddenly fallen ill in the field and come home in great pain and in delirium. A mangaptos (medicine man; literally, masseur) was called in. When the mangaptos arrived, he said he saw several anito (whom he alone could see). He said that these anito had been encountered by the victim somewhere in the fields and that the man must have done something they did not like, so they inflicted harm on him. He asked for incense, particularly the incense taken from the burner used in church (because that has been blessed, according to him). This was burned, for its smell is believed to drive the anito away. Then holy water was also sprinkled on and around the sick man so that the anito would not be able to touch him again. Then the sick man was massaged with special oil preparations and spices such as garlic which are believed to neutralize the effect of the anito (1980, 43)
 
 
This last narrative relates the use of Christian symbols and practices as charms or rituals in anito belief. Other rituals and spells include distorted versions of prayers, particularly in Latin, as well as the crucifix and the Missal. The pali or priest is regarded with certain dread by the people because it is believed that he has a superior knowledge of prayers. Using the Missal, with its special incantation, he can ask God to bring about anything he desires. For this reason, in cases of extreme harassment by anito, the priest may be called in to perform an exorcism. When the people become unruly or when crimes are committed in the parish, the priest is believed to be able to pray at mass for a typhoon and other natural catastrophes to punish the people. This would be particularly true if the priest wore green robes to mass because the people attach extreme importance to the color of the priest's attire. It is also believed that the maniple and the stole of the priestly vestments are instruments for driving away evil spirits. However, it must be noted that his powers are believed to come from God, the angels, and the saints (Hornedo 1980, 50-51).
 
The Ivatan believes that he or she is in daily contact with the powers of the invisible world, which he regards with fear, especially since he does not usually know what is going on there. He does believe, however, that there are groups of gifted people who have the power to deal with or understand the invisibles. They are regarded as privileged humans who are not only of the visible world but also in possession of powers regarded as belonging to, or on the level of, the anito. Thus it is sometimes said of them, anito o vit na, or "half of them is anito" (Hornedo 1980, 45).
 
These privileged humans are divided into five classes: macanito, mamkaw, masolib do dasal or manlatin, manolib, and mamalak. Two other categories of privileged humans that operate in similar circumstances are the mangaptos or mamyay, the healers, and the priest or pali. These two categories are somewhat apart in the sense that their gift does not lie entirely in the realm of the anito, but does have cause now and again to overlap it. As has been explained previously, the macanito is someone who has at his command powers believed to come from invisible forces that give him control over the invisibles. Generally, his powers are regarded as beneficent to good people and threatening to those who are bad. The mamkaw is like the macanito in that he traffics with invisible powers, but differs from the latter in that his works are regarded as sinister and evil. His tools are charms and ritual. Although his spells have bad consequences, they are said never to be unprovoked. Retribution is the motivation of his actions. The masolib do dasal, or the one who knows magical prayers, and the manlatin, the one who has Latin spells, use spells of Christian origin, thus setting them off from the mamkaw and the macanito. Most of the masolib do dasal have been choirboys, acolytes, or sacristanes in the local parish churches. The results of the spells are generally considered beneficial, although under provocation, the manlatin is believed to inflict punitive harm. The manolib is a witch. Although of either sex, the greater number are old or middle-aged females. Their powers are considered evil and inspired by jealousy or envy. She or he possesses a tovong (a bamboo tube) which contains a variety of reptiles and insects. From these she concocts her powers, or kari with which she can inflict pain and disease on those whom she hates or envies. Women witches are believed to perform nocturnal ceremonies in isolated places during certain phases of the moon. They perform their rituals alone, with their hair disheveled and dangling. The witch's powers are believed to come from the devil. The mamalak are diviners. They appear to be related to what the missionaries of the l8th and l9th centuries call somkey. They claim to be able to read one's fortune in the palm of the hands, or from other signs in the body. They are also believed to be able to know a person's character by simply looking at his or her appearance. Certain mamalak claim that they can foretell when someone is going to die. It is believed that these powers come from invisible forces (Hornedo 1980, 45-48).
 
It should be noted that the Spanish have recorded the existence of a kind of diviner called somkey. On Irala, this category of diviners still exists and is called somkey as well.
 
Most of the data on the Ivatan belief system presented so far has come from Hornedo's expertise on the topic. In the following pages I shall involve another source, a person who is also an expert but in a quite different way. This person is Santiago Salengwa, one of the well-known healers of the Ivatans. I have described earlier how I met him in May 1984, when I was sick with malaria in the Basco hospital. At the suggestion of my Ivatan friends, I became one of Mr. Salengwa's patients. One year later, I succeeded in obtaining from him the story of his career as a healer. The story was recorded in the form of a conversation with Ms. Oliva Elica of Basco Batanes. Here is his story:
 
On the third Wednesday of Easter, before I went to Valogan, I told my companion in the house, the late Domingo Garcia, to ring the clock at three in the morning.
 
"Where are you going?" Domingo asked.
 
"I want to go to Valogan." In my dreams, this old woman always wanted me to cure ailments. "I didn't want that, but she forced me to," I told Domingo. So, he adjusted it to three, but that meant that if I woke up when it rang, then I was late already. So, I said, "put it to fifteen to three." He did that. At fifteen to three when it rang I did not rise, but did so when it was three.
 
I went outside, but I was somewhat afraid because she told me to go some place from where I can see the rising of the sun. I did that, and as I was looking at it, it turned bright red in the East, and then I saw a table -- similar to this one here. Then I saw an object which looked like a piece of straight wood, similar to that one over there. Then, there was one that was somewhat crooked, it looked like those three pieces of wood over there. Afterwards, I saw two bottles with different contents, one white and the other red. The wood was still there. While the sun was rising, I saw an arm like that of a big man.
 
"You saw the arm up to the elbow?"
 
"Yes." Afterwards, I saw the woman opening the bottle. She took the straight wood which was broken to pieces. She crossed it with the oil until the wood was straightened out. Then she massaged it and laid it aside. Then she got the white oil. She got hold of the crooked wood. She opened the bottle with the white content and she made the sign of the cross. She rejoined the ends of the bones. When it was rejoined, she massaged the veins. The sun kept going higher. Then I saw her getting hold of the one like these over here (wood), she took some from the content of the white bottle, she crossed with the oil the two broken branches and the pieces returned to their places.
 
When the sun was high already, gradually, I couldn't see the table and the arm of a man. As I was there, I said to myself "what does all that mean?" On the eve of Holy Saturday, the woman came into my dream and she said, "I was sent by God the Savior to give you the instructions. He wants you to help all those who have ailments on earth." In my mind I said, "Why me? I'm not a wise man." I was quite apprehensive; then someone came and asked me to massage his hand which was sprained. "I'm not a wise man," I said. "That is not true, besides your father is wise in this!" he insisted. While I was massaging his arm, it returned easily to its place. "You see that you are wise!"
 
From that time they began to come to me for massage. I began in 1934 and went on till 1943. I was noted for returning dislocated bones and joints. Afterwards, the old woman came again into my dreams. She said, "I was sent by God the Savior to tell you this and that. After 50 years, you will be still alive, and there will be an additional knowledge to what you have now, in order to help our God, the Savior." "What is that going to be?" I asked. I did not know what she meant. Then, one Saturday, while I was sleeping, I dreamed that she was holding two objects; she placed them into my hands while I was sleeping, but when I woke up there was nothing to be seen. I did not know what it was all about. Afterwards, a mother brought a child who had abdominal pain.
 
"Was he as old as my son Aji?"
 
"Yes, as big as Aji" (about twelve). I massaged him and he recovered very easily. After that, I said to myself, that must have been what the woman meant by additional skills. It seems that I can remember well that week. Someone who had a back pain asked me to massage him. I massaged him and he recovered easily. That could be called additional because it was added to my usual knowledge.
 
That is why from that time and until now I have not stopped "holding people." That does not mean that every time I "hold a person," I know the ailments and that I can cure them. I am not like the doctors, who know the cure of all ailments because they are doctors. God has pity on me, and I promised in front of God that as long as I live I shall use my knowledge to heal.
 
This is a long story. I'm somewhat lazy to tell stories anymore. When I was interested in doing that, it was good, but now that I'm growing old I can't move easily, and I can't remember everything. According to the one who first came for massage, I inherited my skills from my parents. They knew how to return dislocated joints.
 
"Did your father massage before?"
 
"Yes, and my mother massaged muscle spasms and any other ailments."
 
"Are those the things that we call 'damaged by ghosts'?"
 
"Yes, that is it."
 
"And how do you know it was from a ghost? How is it that just by 'holding someone,' or taking the pulse of a person, you know what kind of ailment the person has, and in which part of his body, and what the cause of the ailment is."
 
"When we say it is 'damaged by ghost' or 'hit by wind,' when I touch or massage the part which is painful, I can feel that it is open. But when I massage it, the blood clots and the opening closes. Afterwards, you heat water and put a hot compress on it, apply tiger balm or rubbing alcohol. That is all that I can do if it is damaged by a ghost."
 
"When I got sick, you said it was because I was touched by a ghost. Then you did not use any rubbing alcohol. How did you see it was because of a ghost?"
 
"I did not see the ghost. Whenever I go to drive away ghosts in bad fields, for I have prayers to drive them away, that is the only time I can see them. When we take a walk on the roads, I don't feel like seeing them because they have different features from man. But sometimes they ask me to drive them away. For example someone says: 'This here is my field, the bad part is at the edge, see to it that you go there and drive them away.'"
 
"But what must you do when you go to a field like that of Jose Calderon?"
 
"I told him to tell me when we are nearing the place so that I can say my prayers to keep us away from accidents. For instance, here is their field, and we are still here, but when we are approaching the very place he had to tell me that. I prayed. When we arrived he said: 'There is now our field.'
 
"Stay here far away,' I said." "Where is the source?"
 
"It is at the trunk of the nala tree and the kamaya tree! I went there where the winds were. But if you drive away the wind in the field, don't stay where they are. For example, this is the inside of the house, don't go inside for they go out and you are not aware of what they will do to you. Stay a distance away from their house."
 
"What must be done if their house is there and you are here?"
 
"Say a prayer to bring them out! Before the ghost comes out, I feel the earth shake a bit, then it cracks and smoke comes out. As the smoke comes out, then you see the ghost standing there. When you see them, it is good if you are wise in reading and wise in memory. And I'm not wise, my sight is poor for reading too. I had the prayers copied with me, and when I started to read one paragraph, they were already through with their prayer."
 
"Who, the ghost?"
 
"The ghost, the wind, as we call them, it is said that they were Angels, Cherubims in heaven before, and when the Virgin Mary said Mass in heaven, they were the ones who played the music. Like those in the choir. When they disobeyed God, they came to look like what God had made, man. But then when God became mad at them for not obeying, the seven choirs were thrown away to whatever place. For example, when we clear land, burn it when it dried, then they get burned, and if they have wounds, their wounds will be transferred to the man who cleared the field and that is the hardship. If we know the source of the ailment, we then look for the healer to drive them away. You can't reason with them for they have sufficient reasons. They say, 'Why do you drive us out from here? Before we used to stay here, according to God's wish.' 'But we paid for this soil, and this is our own jurisdiction, and I want you to get out from here. Go near the sea!' They will answer, 'You go there if you like, we don't like it there, this is our house.' They don't run out of reasons for they really have sufficient answer for you. Even sufficient prayers to face you, so don't go to face them with a skinny prayer. For example, if you sing, they sing with you, if you read, it's the same, they go ahead of you to finish the prayer. If you have the prayer memorized, they go ahead of you to finish the prayer. They are wise, that is why they can do that. When people here say, 'If you go through the fields, do not say vulgar words, like demon or devil for it is to their favor. As those are their names, those are not curses for them. It is the prayers of the Lord our God which are curses to them, for then they are thrown out of any place. If you curse them saying 'you will never see light,' the so said ghosts are so indignant, because that is the same curse that our Lord God put on them. That is why I copied the prayers."
 
"I was saying, when you cured me, you used incense and moten, right? Then was that a ghost or no?"
 
"Yes, it was your late husband who caused your ailment. As if your lost one came to hold you, pitied you for you were alone to carry on all your life, and as he held you it turned to an ailment, but when we used the moten, the incense and holy water, we parted him from you so that he will not come to hold you again. The moten which the old Americano gave me are gone for I used them in many places, wherever I went. The length of the katoyan, the string with beads, as long as this. This is from Itbayat, which Armando Delatado and I found," he said. He was his companion to look for those things in the former town of ancient people. I have used it up fast for those are the only things I use, and now I have only one left. Before, when I ordered incense from Manila, the unblessed was 1.00 Peso per kilo. I sent it back to late cardinal Santos, when it was sent back I paid 14.00. If I send 100.00 Pesos' worth, a kilo, now when it returns it is 150.00.
 
"Are the ghosts afraid of that?"
 
"Yes, when I go to remove them from bad fields. They don't stop reasoning for they have sufficient reasons, but when they are tired of reasoning, they get out and that's when you say the curse of God and your prayers and use the incense. They can't stand the a bad odor. They cover their noses and turn their backs and go away. Then sprinkle holy water on them so they move away faster. If they see the crucifix on you, they don't like that because they don't have that."
 
"If we scatter holy water in the so called 'bad field,' will they be afraid of that?"
 
"Without prayers? No, that will not do. If you first scatter the holy water and then burn incense, then they won't be afraid for the holy water and incense are outside while they are inside the earth. As the late choir teacher in Itbayat said, 'You are as if going to war without a gun.' That can't be done. The incense, holy water, crucifix and prayers are what you use as your gun. That's why we use those."
 
Once when I tried to go to chase them out, I was not told exactly where their house was, so that I could keep distance. So, I was exactly in their house, they were three, a couple and their child. When they came out, I looked and the child was not there. Where did the child go? He did not go out with them, I said. Afterwards, I was surprised by a crinkling noise behind me. I looked, he was a very short distance from me already. That's why it is very delicate if you go right into their house. Their houses are inside the earth and look like the houses of Eskimos, they are similar to a coconut shell turned upside down, but with only one door.
 
"Can they be seen by us?"
 
"You can't see them without the prayers. If you say the prayers you could, but not if you have a weak body and mind."
 
"If we say the prayers together, do we see them?"
 
"You may see them. For example I give you the prayer, but when you see them you get frightened and you will shout."
 
"If you cannot do that you die?"
 
"You don't entirely die, but you will be like if they gave you an ailment because of which you can't move."
 
"Can you cure that?"
 
"That I can cure, like our late choir teacher in Itbayat. What was his name? Maximo Cano, the father of the Mayor. The father of the Mayor then was a choir teacher like Manuel Ruiz.
 
"If you like to learn," he said, "come to my house at 8:00 o'clock."
At that time it was raining. On the fourth day a townmate died, his name I can't recall. When I arrived at their house, I greeted his wife in the kitchen. She said, "go to him in the living room." I went to him in the living room, he was reading a misal. I greeted him but he did not talk, he just went on reading the misal, so I went back to the kitchen.
 
"Why, isn't anyone in there," the wife said.
 
"He has something to do."
 
"Why, doesn't he attend to you?"
The wife went to the living room. He did not answer her, he just went on reading the misal. After he read the misal he came to the kitchen.
 
"So you are here now my brother," he said.
 
"Yes, I came to you but you had something to do. That's why I stayed here." He said, "The misal is like this, read this and this, two paragraphs."
 
I could read it but because it was in Latin I could not translate it into Ivatan. After I read it, he lighted the hurricane lamp and he told me to go across the cemetery. In my mind I was afraid. Because I liked to learn, I took the hurricane lamp and I went. I was thinking while I was on the road. If this is our cemetery, this is the national road curving this way, I will turn to the grassy way. I was a bit afraid. I sat here and there outside the cemetery compound because it was the fourth day after there was a burial and that scared me. After a long time of sitting, about thirty minutes, it looked as if they had already frightened me, so I wondered if I was going to take the lamp in there or not. I thought, brave men can go on. I went on walking. I arrived in the cemetery compound. I walked and climbed the cross and hung the lighted hurricane lamp. When I got down from the cross, I immediately turned my back. I saw them walking in front of me, by my side, and heard their murmuring voices. I did not mind them. I went on walking. As soon as I got out from the cemetery compound, I ran. When I was near the town, I walked slowly for I was tired from running.
 
When I arrived at the house of the choir teacher, I greeted them.
 
"Did you take it there?" he asked.
 
"Yes."
He peeped outside, he saw the cross and hurricane lamp as it was seen clearly from their door.
 
"I took it there as you can see," I said. He peeped, "you surely took it there," he said. As for the second part of my readings, he asked, "Did you read the three prayers there?" I read them. After reading them, I told him that I didn't know how to translate Latin to Ivatan. "Never mind, just read it," he said. As it was horizontally like that, he said, "Read two paragraphs so that you will stop being afraid." I read those, then he took the book of Saint Mary. That is usually kept by the priest, but because he was the choir teacher, and my cousin, like a brother to me, he kept the book whenever the priest went away from Itbayat. That is why it was easy for me to copy the prayers. All the prayers for healing are there.
 
What made me laugh was that in the prayers in the book of St. Mary it is written that the pig's manure is a medicine for asthma. When I think of drinking the pig's manure, I can't stomach it, but what you do is dry it until it's very dry. When it's very very dry, then burn it, take the ashes and mix it with medicine, and then drink it as medicine for asthma. According to the choir teacher, you need to know prayers to remove a ghost in the field.
 
"Yes, if you want, there are many more prayers here," he said. "If you want to have a a thief stuck to the tree from where he stole your plants, you may copy that prayer too and learn it." I thought, if I have not visited my plantation for three days and a person was stuck to a tree there and died, after three days he would already have bad odor. That's why if you use this prayer, you should be industrious and go to see your plants frequently so that the dead person will not smell bad. Because the parents or husband or the brothers or relatives of the person who died like that can be mean to you. And what will the government ask you? The value of the coconut or corn or watermelon or whatever was taken from your plants. They will ask how much was the value of the watermelon and then they will tell you how much the person's value was. That's why you should think in advance and compare the value of watermelon or corn or coconut to that of a person. The value of a person is bigger, that's why I stopped learning those prayers. I still know them, but I don't like to do that, only if they steal too much and keep doing what I don't like. Then I do it.
 
"That's what they say about you."
 
"No, no, when you read those prayers, to get a thief stuck to a tree, you must answer first God, second, the government, third the victim's relatives. Then, you are not answering for your own deeds when you talk to the persons. It's Lord God's will. He is our creator as it has been said."
 
As I recall, when I was a young man I did prayers in all the places where our plants were. Then I came over here or I went to Manila, or any other place, and I could not go and check my plants. Had it happened that I killed a person, then I would have been made responsible for that. That is why I stopped learning those prayers. I don't like to disturb other's wisdom.
 
Other prayers, for example, to find what we call ghosts, and prayers to calm the mind of persons who would like revenge, or put you in danger wherever you go, those are the prayers I took and studied. It seems you may use them wherever you go to keep you away from danger. That is why I learned them
 
 
In a sense, the approach of the mangaptos is that of the Yami healers. This is mostly true because the target are the anito, the ghosts, which the two cultures still share. The major difference is that the Ivatan healer takes his oración, incantation, straight out of the Bible, and he is a very religious man. The Yami understands the text of his incantations. Salengwa does not, because they are in Latin, and this is precisely what gives them power. For the Ivatans and the Itbayats it seems to be plain that some of the powers of the pali, the Catholic priests, hide in the obscure Latin prayers of the sacred books, and, as Mr. Salengwa himself explained, it is a great luck if someone can copy and learn these prayers.
 
According to Santiago Salengwa, my ailment resulted from the fact that I had tread on fields guarded by ghosts and had removed broken pieces of funeral jars from the ground. If these items are touched by outsiders, trouble can result. He also explained that shards can be removed from the ground only after the proper incantations have been uttered. Here is the text of his oración: "Benedeste de omnipotentes patrie et filio et espirito santo. I sicut erat en principio et en secula seculorum. Amen."
 
Another useful oración which should be said every time one leaves home and in situations when there is eminent danger, both of which may be the result of the doings of the anito, is the following: "Desendam supervors, maniz semper. Amen."
 
As the healer himself explained, a collection of the most useful oraciónes is so important that he will never leave home without them. He has most of them memorized, but some long ones he had copied for himself. Paper gets destroyed fast, so he copied them many many times.
 
As is to be expected, the Catholic missionaries of Ivatan do not encourage the healing activities of the mangaptos. All "pagan" survivals of the old Ivatan culture generate negative responses on the part of the Dominican clergymen. On one occasion, when I mentioned the local healing practices to one of the Fathers in Ivatan, he just rolled his eyes and said that he preferred to talk about less unpleasant topics. This happened at about the same time that the Pope appointed six professional exorcists to protect the northern towns of Italy from the works of evil.
 
Siapen-Manliven's activity can be juxtaposed to the position of Santiago Salengwa, a masseur or mangaptos on the island of Ivatan, who is also a "user of blue beads." He functions in Ivatan life as Siapen-Manliven does on the island of Irala. And this he does under the reproachful and stern gaze of the Catholic church. Known to both the doctors and the people of the island for his curative powers, Salengwa has incorporated into his repertoire many forceful chants and rituals based on the power of Catholic religious practices. Here we can observe the accommodation of "pagan" beliefs to the imposition of Catholic truth, and vice-versa. And yet, just like the zomyak, the mangaptos occupies an essential niche in the belief and subsistence systems of their islanders. The perseverance of these traditions bears witness to their importance in the Batanes. Missionaries reported the existence of shamans on the island of Ivatan who were called somkey. Today, their descendants are known as mamalak. Among the Yami the somkey still exist, however. It can be inferred from this situation that specific individuals with healing and magic powers are not only a necessary part of the belief system, but are apparently an intrinsic and vital part of subsistence livelihood as well.
 
It is noteworthy that the Yami belief system is changing according to the same pattern as the Ivatan belief system. Christianity, as Hornedo correctly pointed out, suits perfectly the original belief system of the Bashiic cultures (1987). The new religion does not replace the old one. The Christian God is put on top of the already existing Yami pantheon, and the Christian hell, with the devils, is put lowest, lower than the layer which contains the Yami anito. Thus, nothing is really replaced within the belief system, but the pantheon itself is enlarged. The Ivatan fishermen go to church right before they start the ritual which requires the offering of the blue beads to the spirit of the ocean. The Yami go to church before they start the mamorow so laktat ritual, the chasing of the sickness from the village at the time of an epidemic. In both cases, the belief in a Christian God only enhances the power of rituals which are based on the ancient belief system of the ancestors. This fact is reflected very clearly by the practices and world view of the Yami shaman and the Ivatan healer, and it also explains why the Ivatan belief system has not changed so much as other aspects of Ivatan culture
 
 
Magic, Ritual, Taboo, and Myth
 
It is somewhat difficult to decide how to limit and confine to specific topics the discussion of abstract phenomena present in myth. For example, it is widely accepted that ritual and myth are not only very closely related to each other, but interwoven. Of course, opinions still differ about the exact nature of the relation and interaction between them.
 
The idea that myth not only incorporates magic, ritual, and taboo, but also interacts with them, is not rejected by folklorists, mainly because the relations are extremely difficult to verify. This is due to the complex, multilevel encoding process by which a culture imbeds in myth phenomena such as magic, ritual, and taboo. The problem of how these abstract entities interact with myth is complicated even more by the fact that, on one hand, myth has magic-, ritual-, and taboo-generating capability, while, on the other hand, magic, ritual, and taboo have myth creating power. To understand the relation between these abstract phenomena and myth, first we have to examine the process of how they are incorporated into myth and what their stability is like once they are part of a myth.
 
Malinowski views magic as "the most important and the most mysterious aspect of primitive man's pragmatic attitude towards reality" (1954, 138). Mysterious or not, reality, in the particular case of the Yami, is also everything transmitted in the stories of the ancestral grandparents, including the necessity of rituals. If we accept Malinowski's assertion as valid, myth can be viewed as a carrier of an attitude, or, rather, a larger selection of attitudes, one of which concerns ritual. In this context, however, myth is by no means a generator of ritual; neither is it necessarily a life support system for it. Consequently, on one hand the customs associated with performing any kind of ritual may slowly disappear from a myth, while the ritual itself either remains in practice or becomes forgotten. On the other hand, just as often but not necessarily for the same reason, certain rituals may vanish completely, but the oral tradition may preserve them for a long time in myths. To a certain extent, this should also be valid for magic and taboo. Lévi-Straus; asserts that "a myth may well contradict the technographic reality to which it is supposed to refer, and the distortion nevertheless forms part of its structure. Or it may be the case that the myth perpetuates the memory of customs that have disappeared or still persist in another part of the tribal territory (1970, 45).
 
This idea seems to be especially true in the case of certain aspects of Yami-Ivatan comparisons. One mysterious issue, that of the palek, could be explained by this theory. The issue concerns alcoholic beverage consumption, which has a long history in most tribal cultures, including the ones populating northern Luzon. The making of palek, the fermented sugarcane juice wine, most probably was imported from northern Luzon to the Batanes. At the time of Spanish contact; in the seventeenth century, the natives of the Archipelago had already developed a drinking habit. The Yami, who in my opinion share common ancestry with the Ivatans and Itbayats, for some reason tabooed the making of that alcoholic beverage and placed the sugarcane under a partial taboo as well by giving it a name which indicated a certain connection with the ghost world: onas no anito, the ghosts' sugarcane. Palek, the word by which the fermented sugarcane juice must have been known to the Yami before the splitting of the tribes, has been retained by the Yami language. It is pronounced parek and it is part of a highly taboo-ridden ritual. At the time of house inauguration ceremonies, a bit of millet is sprinkled into spring water and this, the parek, is then sprinkled with the blade of a knife on the main post of the house, called tomok. The action is accompanied by a proper incantation. Should a drop of parek fall by accident on any of the by-standing, feasting participants, according to Yami belief that person is sure to die within a very short time. The taboo of the contact of humans with the parek is still alive, and very much feared among the traditional Yami. Since both the making of the alcoholic drink and the plant that serves as its prime material are associated with taboo, it is safe to assume that earlier there must have been a powerful incident which generated the taboo with all its implications, and that must have been remembered for generations.
 
The mythological data collected so far in the Bashiic culture area do not provide any reference to such an incident. Interestingly, the mythology supplies more than enough reliable data, which is supported by material culture evidence, to show that after the parting of the two groups, there were still many intentional and unintentional contacts between the Yami and the inhabitants of the Batan Archipelago. Yet in spite of the contacts with Ivatans and Itbayats who knew well how to generate the process of fermentation, wine-making was not reintroduced amongst the Yami and, with the plant itself, wine-making remained under strict taboo. I believe that the unknown incident, which must have led to the severe ban on wine-making, was probably related to some major offense committed as a result of alcoholic intoxication. If the event ended with death, or, worse a massacre, it is very probable that it generated a whole chain of related taboos. As already mentioned, time may change or even totally eliminate the perception of myth-carried events and customs. This seems to have happened to the palek taboo because the probable cause of the interdiction, the drinking of alcohol itself, slipped out of the focus of the taboo: at the time of Japanese contact, the Yami quickly developed an unusual gusto for the liquor that the newcomers brought along. At present, while taboos concerning sugarcane and wine making are still valid, the tribe is facing the severe problem of advanced, general, and chronic alcoholism.
 
Another phonetic form in which the original word has survived in Yami is parek, which, as in maparek, means "blurry." After torrential rains, the ocean water gets polluted from the inpouring streams, which renders diving impossible for several days. The word maparek is used to describe the opaque light-diffusing condition of the seawater due to impurities. On Itbayat, the same word is used for the same phenomenon, and the natives seem to agree that the origin of the word lies in the strong resemblance of the muddy, blurry seawater to the color and turbidity of the sugarcane wine. Hornedo noted that in Sabtang both palek and parek are known, but states that there is no convincing evidence that one derives from the other (1978).
 
What will be incorporated into myth and what not, and what will remain stable and what will rapidly disappear, is very hard to tell. Above I argued that certain incidents that led to intentional or unintentional killings may have produced the existing taboos. The incident that may have generated the cane and wine taboo, however, may have never been recorded in Yami mythology.
 
Weapons that have been involved in manslaughter are strongly tabooed by the Yami. By virtue of their physical existence, such weapons may preserve memories of the incident of killing that brought about the taboo. Inez de Beauclair mentions in her field notes that the massacre of the crew of a stranded American ship by the Yami at the beginning of the century faded out of memory and never became part of the local legends. At about the same time, however, the incident of an involuntary killing in the village of Ivalino came down in a mythical way, developed several variations, and brought about the introduction of a taboo. According to the story, two brothers once went diving together, but when they wanted to get into the water, one of them realized that he had forgotten to bring along his little amulet knife. These small one-inch blade knives are usually tied to the rubber band of the goggles, next to the diver's ear. The Yami believe that the ghosts of the deep will not attack if they wear such a knife. The reasoning of the Yami in this case is that the ghost, before attacking the diver, will have to disarm the man, but the amulet-knife is too small for the ghost to grab; so, upon seeing it, the ghost will give up and will not even approach the diver. Carelessly, the young men did not return for the knife, but went on with their fishing. Soon, in the current they saw a very large fish. When they got closer and were about to spear it, they saw that it was not a fish, but a large piece of green cloth, which they promptly seized. Once on the shore, they wanted to share it, and one of them tried to cut the cloth with his little amulet knife. While he was performing a slashing motion, proceeding with the knife from his end of the cloth towards the end held by his brother, the knife slipped through the cloth and ran into the brother's body, killing him. This incident, which is recent enough to be still remembered as a childhood memory by old folks, produced a taboo observed mainly in Ivalino, but as a result of frequent intermarriages it has diffused to other settlements as well. Consequently, now in Ivalino, one with a knife does not cut "away," but towards himself.
 
The episodes of this apparently true story are visibly broken down. New elements are introduced that act as accommodating devices for gaining a stable, permanent incorporation into myth. The fact, for instance, that the two brothers perceived the cloth as a fish and wanted to spear it is a typical mythic twist to the plot. Having regularly dived with the Yami for a long time, I am absolutely sure that such a confusion could never happen. If the basic story is true, the brothers probably noticed the drifting cloth and, recognizing it for what it was, swam for it and brought it to shore. Accordingly, in an incomplete version retold in Ivalino, the informant stated that the big fish changed into a cloth when they wanted to spear it. In reality, in my experience, if divers thought that such a thing had happened it would have been considered a very bad omen, and the divers would have immediately given up not only the pursuit of the cloth, but the day's diving altogether. They would no doubt have run back to the village to consult their local specialist of the spirit world. The second mythic element is that the accident was caused by the amulet knife. While this is not absolutely impossible it is highly improbable, due to the shortness of the blade.
 
Thus it is safe to conclude that there is no way to anticipate how culture change will retain or modify an element of folklore. The comparative analysis of the Yami, Ivatan, and Itbayat folkloric data strongly supports this statement.
 
The foregoing information on the archaeology, linguistic affinities, and belief systems of the Yami and the inhabitants of the Batanes supports the common origin hypothesis which I have proposed. In the following I shall examine the narratives and folksongs of these peoples

 

 

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