Sunday, 9 January 2011

snapshots of Mainit

In days of old Chonglian, with historical tidbits. Only in Mainit.

Students, parents, teachers and visitors pose in front of the first school building made of cogon grass and woven sticks or pine timber boards. This is in the late 1950s. The school site is in Lasfang.

There’s even an odd soldier.

Lining up in the morning, perhaps to pledge allegiance. That's the new schoolbuilding made of timber and galvanized iron (GI) sheets roof.

First commencement exercises Mainit Elementary School 1956-57. There's something odd about the picture. There's now two soldiers (Martin, that's even not odd). Yeah, but what were they there for?

More students at Grade 1 some years later. That boy, fourth from the right, looks like Fort. 

Mass before the start of the first barrio fiesta in 1965. This place was called fovora-an. (If you know the origin of the word, please comment. There's a prize for the first correct answer). Note stonewalls in the background.
In those years, Christian masses were rarely held in Mainit. Very few priests were willing to hike (half-day one-way) from Bontoc.

Fiesta games. Breaking the pot.

Climbing the pole. Kids watch the action from the stonewalls.
These stonewalls are pigpen enclosures. They also serve as retaining walls. Stonewalls are a prominent feature of construction in Mainit as in some other places in the Cordillera. These are essential in retaining house pads and fields especially ricefields.
Polichay's digressing but let's not get sidetracked from the main show.
Like the pole climber. He deserves a close-up view.

Looks like he took off his wakes. I don't know if any 'pole dancer' today has the balls to climb like this guy, with just the one-piece. A pole dancer probably has no 'balls', but if she can climb with just a 'one-piece', some nudging or tugging might happen.

Tug of war. I think this was the first 'war' between Mainit and Guina-ang. I don't know who won (wasn't born then) but had stonewall jackson not gone off to war-
There were no anti-war demonstrations then.

Just some ground demonstrations, next to more stonewalls. The edge of a ball or puff of steam from the main hotspring in Luag is just off the top-left corner.

Parents and Teachers Association (P.T.A.) officials.

Okay kids back to school. Calisthenics.
Leaning left. If these kids did this everyday, it's no wonder some think the I-Mainit are left-leaning. But that schoolteacher guy on the left, he is a straight guy.
Ring drills and the circle game. I think this inspired Joni Mitchell to write a song.

But this dance, the tambourine dance, was maybe inspired by a Dylan song. But man, where's the tambourine boys?

Graduation day at last.
Saknit. Sugar cane milling  is held in November or December each year.
Transporting sugar cane. From field to mill. That's the Luag hotspring in the background.

The vertical roller sugar mill in use in Mainit would have originated from China and brought to the Philippines in the early 1600s by Spanish missionaries. I do not have information when the mill came to Mainit (i still wasn't born then).

The roller mill is drawn by a water buffalo, or pushed by men.
The crushing mill is made up of three vertical cylindrical rollers with a very heavy timber beam attached on the top to turn the gears. A juice drainer is placed between the rollers. The canes are inserted between the rollers and crushed as the beam is turned.
Carabaos draw the vawer or beam round and round for about a couple of hours at a time. Sometimes the other draft animals (humans) give the water buffaloes a rest and take turns at pushing the beam.

Cane juice is extracted by the mill and collected in large vats. This is then boiled or 'cooked' in a hut also at the mill site. Various sugarcane products result from the milling.

Milling goes from early morning to deep into the night. Sometimes young people take turns at pushing the vawer. They sing songs (such as 'the circle game') until they tire. They then settle down for a taste of sugar cane candy or molasses, or maybe some of the previous year's sugar cane wine bayas. At night’s end the young men and women go off on their dates.
The adolescent boys duck off to their makeshift sleeping cabins built from the mulched cane. This is their sleeping quarters for many a night during saknit. By the next break of dawn, after a dip in the naturally heated hotspringwater-fed pool, they’ll be ready to go again with their assignments of the milling season. Milling can last up to a few weeks, a full month or. Saknit is like a festival. I missed a whole month of school one saknit.

At the end of each milling day, everyone involved in the saknit, takes home a share of timva and inti.

Guess what gifts the schoolkids exchange with each other at the Christmas break. No prizes for guessing. Tinva of course.
That's the old Grades 1-4 building.

There's more pictures in this video below (with pattong)

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