The Barcelon Panabang Folktale Collection

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Related: Kanu and Noka in Kalinga Oral Tradition

Vanaw stories, as narrated or chanted by the late Barcelon Panabang, are now available to the public for free @ http://www.ioc.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~yoneno/database.html .

The collection contains 30 stories in Vanaw and English, with corresponding audio recordings. The stories are as follows:

  • Jaliwattok
  • Iyug
  • Kavunyan
  • Gunjaliyan kan Julimaman
  • Lakinta
  • Agwam un Mankavalyan
  • Iyu
  • Sussuwan ji Barun Makmak
  • Tribun Ji Vanaw
  • Nampalpuwan ji Vojong
  • Mavikal
  • Talalang
  • Gakab
  • Nangal-an ja si Ngadngajan ji Najumajuma un Igaw
  • Pantikyan
  • Tukak
  • Juljulaw
  • Manganup
  • Valvalasang
  • Malibkung
  • Palpalayon
  • Wajagan kan Julimaman
  • Mutit
  • Jangu
  • Nampalpuwan ji Jangu kan Laga
  • Galingan un Mangaywan Sangasang Jukligan
  • Nampalpuwan jin Ngajan un Jay-as
  • Nangal-an jas Ngajan un Masaji-it
  • Sungngayad kan Gunu
  • Juwan Vuvya-in Manganup

Prof. Michiyo Yoneno-Reyes, PhD, recorded the stories on 04-05 December 2006 at the Panabang residence in Balbalasang, Balbalan, Kalinga. It was part of her study entitled, “The Banaos: Migration History and Cultural Integrity as Seen from Folklore.” Funding assistance from Professor Yoneno-Reyes enabled Barcelon Panabang and his son Warren to consult with fellow iVanaws in Kalinga and Abra on certain geographical data, local history, and/or folkloric materials. The collection (see cover below) includes 30 stories with transcriptions and English translations.

Some years after her Vanaw fieldwork, Professor Yoneno-Reyes and I got to talk about the project. She was then with the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) while I was with the University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB). She asked me to go over her unpublished work for comments. Coincidentally, several colleagues at UPB and I began working on the Vanaw language and culture documentation project at the time. I had questions about the transcription and translation in the collection of stories, so we began to see how we could collaborate towards a transcription that conforms to a newly developed, although incomplete, Vanaw orthography I and some colleagues at UPB had begun to work on. We also had the privilege of consulting with Vanaw elders in the Vanaw-Kalinga area during a joint fieldwork.

Professor Yoneno-Reyes eventually left the Philippines to teach at and edit an English journal for the University of Tokyo. I, on the other hand, moved on to teach in Bahrain. Shortly before that, I had lost a significant portion of my audio-visual files I had gathered over several years in Vanaw. I decided to shelve my Vanaw documentation project in frustration. Through Professor Yoneno-Reyes’ encouragement, however, I realized the project needed another kickstart starting with assisting her in finalizing the Panabang stories for online publication.

On 14-26 January 2019, Professor Yoneno-Reyes arranged for me to work on the project in Osaka where I had the honor of meeting the leading expert on Philippine Austronesian Linguistics, Dr. Lawrence Andrew Reid, or “Laurie” as he likes to be called. Unassuming and kind, he went over one of my transcriptions, immediately figured out how my language works, and offered some advice. To this day, he continues to graciously offer his expertise on my ongoing Vanaw language and culture documentation project. I have found his brilliance illuminating (and overwhelming at same time!).

Throughout those two weeks in Osaka, I went over the printed transcriptions, rewrote them to fit the texts to our working orthography, and compared these to the audio recordings. There were substantial discrepancies between the text and the sound files, and I realized I would have to work on my own transcriptions directly from the recordings which I did but was not able to complete. It was tougher than I had thought it would be. Translating the original text to English proved challenging as well, as I struggled to figure out how to make the text in the target language (English) readable while making it as faithful to the source language (Vanaw) as I could. Although I have tried to hew the translation to the original text as faithfully as I could, I have had to change the syntax for the English translations in some places, while at the same time retained a stilted translation in others. My translations were in a lot of ways faulty, but Laurie’s sharp editing made the texts palatable to a linguist’s tastes.

Back to Bahrain, I continued to correspond with Laurie and Michiyo transcribing, translating, editing, and re-writing for over 15 months as our hectic schedules permitted.

Fast forward to now, we have at last completed the transcription and English translation of all 30 stories. Its print edition — with my orthographic notes — is already in the pipeline with the University of Tokyo and expected to be off the press later this year (2021). With Professor Yoneno-Reyes’ permission, I also intend to write a new streamlined version of the folktales which hopefully will be more accessible to a general readership. As for this current version of the folktales collection, whatever errors readers may find in the text are mine and would be happy to make the corrections should anyone discover any mistakes in both the transcriptions and translations.

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