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Tuvyan is the indigenous name given to me by my kin in my father’s tribe, the Vanaw of western Kalinga, northern Philippines. The original Tuvyan was one of our ancestors, a legendary mingol ‘warrior’ and pangat ‘chief’ known, among other exploits in defense of his community, for his daring lagtuk ‘jump’ or salapaw ‘leap’ over a wide river during a sulung ‘village raid.’ The seemingly impossible feat, as I see it, can be a metaphor for all the big or long jumps we have to take in life, including career changes and worldview shifts.
tuvyan.com is thus a weblog inspired by my indigenous heritage. The textual and audio-visual posts on this site may not always reflect the views of my ethnolinguistic group, but these somehow reflect the local standpoint I speak from.
According to phrases.org, “call of nature” is an idiom that originally meant to “describe our urge to enjoy the pleasures of rural tranquility,” before it became the euphemism for, you know… 🙂 My site title thus highlights my attempts to write from an imagined corner of rural tranquility in an existential space marked by the hustle and bustle of the city.
The header photo is a snapshot of a northern Philippine village called Balbalasang in the province of Kalinga. It is situated along Saltan, dubbed the “cleanest river in Kalinga,” which flows from the Vanaw headwaters. Vanaw is one of the province’s 44 ethnolinguistic groups and its official vugis ‘territorial boundary’ includes the three barangays in Balbalan (Pantikian, Talalang, and Balbalasang) and two municipalities (Daguioman and Malibcong) in the Jay-as ‘the place of Jay-an and Von-as’ — i.e., territories in the Province of Abra. The Vanaw tribe is the guardian of the 1,338-hectare Balbalasang-Balbalan National Park (BNPP), and manages the mercury-free Ga-ang community mines located in Talalang.
The Vanaw-Kalinga area is also the main research field site of my ongoing language and documentation project, initially done under the Cordillera Studies Center (CSC) of the University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) but now an independent work, which envisions the production of an official orthography, cultural dictionary, a bilingual (Vanaw-English) folklore collection, and an audio-visual documentation of the tribe’s indigenous knowledge systems and practices (IKSP).
I started blogging in 2007 with WordPress and then with Blogger. Several years later, I took down my weblog and kept it offline for some time until it finally found a home in this new self-hosted site this year (2019).
You can find here musings and rants, academic essays and creative nonfiction pieces, prose and poetry, announcements and trivia, and some other stuff on topics as varied as my serial job-hopping experience.
I am an independent researcher from the Bontok and Vanaw ethnolinguistic groups in northern Philippines. My research interests are Religious Studies (biblical hermeneutics, christian fundamentalism, foreign religion-local culture interface), Indigenous Studies (Igorot cultures, indigenous tourism, Kalinga ethnopop, vojong), and Folkloristics (mythologies, Vanaw folklore, Ullalim). I’m also a dabbler in creative writing, especially creative nonfiction and poetry.
Logo & Tagline
The logo of this website was created by my daughter, Vashti Nicole whose native names are Kaplaan (Fontok) and Ulat (Vanaw). The tagline speaks of my positionality as a non-religious indigenous person, an academic and creative writer, a transient expat, and a city dweller who pines for the country life.
Scott Mágkachi Sabóy