24.11.07

The Ibanag Family in Retrospect

The Ibanags just like most Filipino groupings are matriarchal. When my mother was younger she wielded a power over me that forced my tongue in check whenever she gave me a scolding or admonition for a real or imagined “wrongdoing”.

No one ever talks back. Let alone me. I can not recall if there ever was an instance when I mastered enough courage to explain anything even when there was a chance to do so. But it sure did happen one day when I was already 26 years old and had 2 children. Swell. :-)

The elderly are treated with respect in the Ibanag culture. Deference is essential if not required and is lavishly displayed and shown. Proper language and the right tone of voice characterize conversations with the elders. It is not uncommon to take the elder’s hand, bring it to the forehead or kiss the hand to show courtesy and respect.

Women are venerated in the Ibanag family. Most of the time they have the last say in decisions involving family affairs. Although Filipinas are known to be sweet and gentle, Ibanag women on the other hand talks loud, emphatic, and aggressive specially if speaking the Ibanag dialect. What I don’t get is the fact they speak all at the same time in decibels that even neighbors find hard to tolerate. Short of being boisterous, Ibanags are way too noisy for their own comfort. And they seem to be fighting every chance they get.

But make no mistake. The Ibanags are loving people. They never leave your side. They lend their presence particularly when there is a problem or a family crisis. Your enemy is their enemy. Your friend is theirs as well. They can make you laugh, They can make you cry. There is neeeeever a dull moment for the Ibanags. What a bunch, they are:-)