Skip to main content

Lessons I Learned from an Ibanag Mother

Mothers, I consider are heroes of our times. She gives birth to a child. Physically feeds the child from her own swollen breasts. She nurtures, sacrifices and sometimes even die for a child. There are countless stories of mothers dying from childbirth, or those who die trying to save a child from being mortally wounded, from an accident or fire or drowning. Mothers are venerable.

But mothers make mistakes too. After all, they are humans, not programmable beings that at a drop of a hat move according to a set of instructions. Yes, they too err. Like loving their children too much, where it eventually becomes a disservice to the child.

Mothers have feelings. Though they are masters at the art of sacrifice they too get hurt. From indifference and subtle and overt acts of disrespect. For mothers, sacrifice is equated with love. But they need their children's understanding. Please consider that they are no longer the spring chicken they once were; trying to be all things to everyone, all the time. The truth is her supermom days are considerably decreased, getting less or totally gone.

And what mothers won't do for their children? Even if it means losing face when she is forced into situations of failed monetary obligations. She goes to the extent of borrowing money so the children can continue to go to school -- or buy their needs.

At the first taste of financial freedom, mothers seldom think of themselves. It's all for the kids. Instead of replacing a long worn-out bag, she asks her children what they want so she can get it for them.

Mothers will always be the first to console her children when they are down with a trivial concern or bogged down by a heavy burden. Even a simple headache can get a mother running to the drugstore to get an analgesic when there's none available at home.

Despite her heavy tribulations from life's problematic realities, she tries always
to display a pleasant disposition, making the home comfortable, pleasant, clean, because her children's comfort is her life's purpose. Those were the days, when my mother was young, and strong and not half-blind. Sigh. :-( Oh I miss those days. But it is always good to look back ... to remember. But there's one wish I'd like to make.

I hope I live the day to read any of my children's blog describe me like I describe my Mama here now. :-)

Cheers to all Moms!!!

Popular posts from this blog

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 kn…

Ibanag and Filipino Childbirth Rituals

"For parents, birth rituals and ceremonies provide an immediate sense of connection as well as inclusion of the child into the clan, tribe or community. These rituals establish at a very early stage, who they are. The rituals also serve as guideposts as they grow and develop their own sense of identity. Even if they drift away from or reject their heritage, their early experiences give them a place to return to if they so choose".

The Ibanag culture is filled with childbearing rituals and practices which have been handed down from one generation to another. Here are some of them.

1. It is said that if a pregnant woman has a lot of blemishes or pimples on her face, her baby will be a girl.
2. If the mother glows and radiates beauty, the baby will be a boy.
3. If the mother craves for sweets and other carbohydrates, the baby will be a girl.
4. If the mother is craving for oily or fried foods, the baby will be a boy.
5. The mother should not eat 'balut' (a native duck egg d…

Learn the Ibanag dialect?

As I mentioned in one of my prior posts somewhere in one of my blogs, the Ibanag dialect is somewhat difficult to learn because when you speak it you can sound like a chirping bird :-)

I learned the dialect by just hearing it from my Mother who use it everytime her relatives come to our home to visit. And this was not that often. You see, her relatives from Isabela, that's where she was born, come to spend their vacation with us every summer, yes the whole summer months. And yes, EVERY summer of EVERY year. Well, they don't come empty handed. They bring sacks of rice, ample stocks of meat enough to feed all of us for 1 month. They bring live animals too, like chicken, piglets, not to mention baskets of fruits and vegetables, even our neighbors get their share.

Wherever Ibanags are, you know they are around because they are so loud and so noisy. They have this habit of speaking all at the same time :-)Sigh. Now if that is not enough reason for anyone to learn the dialect, I …