It was only a three-day stay with some friends in Ireland on September 4 to 7, 2023 but the impact on us was so immense and important. Alice met up with her best friend, Ester. I thought they would have an unending story, but I observed the contrary. They must have found fulfillment and at homeness by simply seeing each other. On the other hand, I got the chance to spend more time with Sir Emiliano “Emil” Dinamling, the husband of Ester. We shared stories but most of the time I preferred listening to his wisdom-loaded lectures and stories. Besides, we got the chance to meet and reconnect with acquaintances made during the 4th ICBE gathering held in Ireland way back 2007.
More than a sister
My wife always talks to me about her best friend from high school days then to their college days and even after then. Their unbroken friendship up to the present despite having a family of their own must have been built on solid trust for each other that made them feel more than sisters. Thus, Alice convinced our daughter to try to find a cheap air fare and book for two so we could meet this friend and her husband even for a few days while they are in Ireland visiting their daughter. The point also is to bring vitamins that they carry home and give to our younger sister, who is sick of which we are so desperate to help her to recover. Alice knows that when her best friend will get home and visit this sick sister, she feels as if she is there for her.
A Chance of Reconnection
We spent two nights in the house of Ester and Emil’s daughter in Drogheda. Though their daughter Esel and son-in-law, Lloyd, came to Ireland a few years ago, they started well and got two young boys of their own. Besides, they just acquired a new home and that was one of the many reasons why their parents came over to help a bit. They brought us to the Dublin center for a good stroll and got the chance to meet kailians (barrio mates/town mates). We got up to the apartment of Theresa at the top floor of the building right in the city center. Standing on the balcony makes you feel you have seen the whole city.
After these two nights in Drogheda, Tom and Julia came in the morning all the way from their place in County Galway to meet with us. They took days off just to be with us. They wanted us to visit at least one of the important ancient places in Ireland and so they proposed that we get our luggage with us so we do not need to come back and that will save us time. The six of us then, Tom and Julia, Ester and Emil, and Alice and I, got enough space in their car and drove to Newgrange. Newgrange is a prehistoric site with monuments, such as a mound and chambers, plus an interpretive visitor center. While on the site, I saw a caption, “Here is the right place to reconnect with your ancestors.” As an Igorot, I am always keen when speaking of ancestors. Though we were not able to get into the ‘Bru na Boinne’ monument since we did not know that we must make a reservation beforehand, we were able to enter the exposition site. Inside, there is an animated show of the Neolithic lifestyle. By observing the photos and watching the animated videos, I was truly reconnected to our ancestors in the Cordillera. One that got me most fond looking at it was the practice of kini-ing (the method of preserving fresh meat or fish by suspending them around or above the hearth.) There was no kini-ing that we saw in the locality though, but I still have the memory of having tasted the kini-ing of the Alapos (our old folks) several times in the Cordillera during my teenage years.
An Overnight in a BIBAK Ireland’s Home
The visit to a historic place in the county Meath and county Dublin made our day so busy and enjoyable that we became unmindful of the time and forgot that there were people waiting for us at the house of Carmen and Tim. It was through the initiative of Tom and Julia to have arranged an overnight stay at Carmen and Tim’s house, so we could rekindle the camaraderie. It was in 2007 when BIBAK Ireland hosted the 4th ICBE gathering that we went to Dublin. Since then, only few of BIBAK Ireland’s members were able to participate in the succeeding ICBE gatherings. Though not many of the members showed up in the evening, there were newcomers that could potentially add to their Igorot circle. The family of Lloyd and Esel made acquaintances with Tim and Carmen including their children, and with Tom and Julia. We also met up with Divina and husband with their son. Divina hails from Kiangan.
Among other things, we talked about the 12th ICBE gathering to be held in Belgium in 2025. Somehow their interest in the ICBE gathering got rekindled. I mentioned to them that this 12th ICBE gathering will be managed by the second generation. In the opinion of the three families present, they were enthusiastic. They were also optimistic that the group would come to agree to propose hosting for the second time an ICBE gathering in Ireland. As to what I heard and got as an impression, BIBAK Ireland seems to have the greatest number of second generation at present with the age bracket of 5 and above compared to other BIBAK/Cordillera/Igorot groups/foundations/associations in Europe. I also took the chance to encourage them to write their articles/anecdotes/poems/songs for the volume II of the 3 Ts book. Hopefully, they will. And certainly, they have time to do so since submission of entries will last until 31 October 2023. With our overnight stay, I learned that the house of Tim and Carmen is a home for BIBAK Ireland. Members used to and still do converge there for meetings and/or socialization as they were blessed to have a house with more space. We got a room too for overnight from September 6 to 7 before they (Tom, Julia and Carmen) brought us to the airport back to Brussels. There and then, I realized why the Malidom – Umayat’s house is a home to BIBAK Ireland. 10/09/2023
About the Author
is half-Benguet and half-Bontok, and belongs to the Kankana-ey ethnolinguistic of the Cordillera. He lives in Brussels with his wife, Alice, and their daughter, Marivonne.