Volayang kan Gawan (Adolfo Bawanta)

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*Thanks to Rhoda “Anjonga” Salabao Tangbawan for the additional data on uncle Oppong!

Volayang kan Gawan” is a folkloric narrative that recounts the beginning of the delineation of the Vanaw tribe’s vugis (territorial boundary). It tells of a certain Volayang from Vu-uk in present-day barangay Pantikian, Balbalan, Kalinga who, after a hunting trip in the hinterlands upstream (towards present-day Abra), decided to further explore the resource-rich area. He took with him another adventurer named Gawan from the neighboring Mabaka tribe and, together, they laid claim to certain territories which eventually led to the establishment of the territorial boundaries of the Vanaw and Mavaka (Mabaka) ethnolinguistic groups.

Parts of the narration have a monorhymic structure which I think are traces of the story’s earlier version as a poetic narrative, possibly a chant — a ballad, an epic, or a part of an epic cycle. It also mentions the material culture of the early generations of the Vanaw people, particularly the use of antique jars or some other earthen treasures which were supposedly broken at strategic locations, such as a mountain peak, to serve as boundary markers or signs of territorial claims.

The narrator, Adolfo “Oppong” Bawanta (b. 17 July 1952), is one of the respected elders of the Vanaw tribe. He resides in the village of Talalang, Balbalan with his wife, Jocelyn Guiawan-Bawanta. They have six children — Ajamay, Saganay, Yanyan, Lum-oy, Cory and Arlene.

Mr. Bawanta is a member of the board of the Banao Bodong Tribal Association, Inc. (BBTAI), the policy-making body of the so-called “Mother Banao” (Kalinga side of the tribe covering barangays Pantikian, Talalang and Balbalasang). The BBTAI oversees the operations of the Ga-ang community mines and the general socio-cultural affairs of the tribe.

The photo below shows him doing the alva-ab (chant for the dead) during the wake of Mr. Clayton Bittanga on 28 July 2019. In the next photo, he [2nd from the left] is seated beside then BBTAI chairman Allen Jesse “Sonny” Capuyan Mangaoang, the incumbent congressman of the lone district of Kalinga, during a consultation meeting with researchers.

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