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Ibanag and town fiestas

The Ibanags (ee-buh-nags) come from the northern province of Isabela, Philippines.

My Mother is an ibanag. Although, I was not born in the province it was easy for me to adopt their ways by just watching. One thing I found amusing though was their love affair with fiestas.

Without needing an excuse these happy people celebrate everything. Every step of the way they seem to enjoy the adrenaline that accompany the annual preparations for a town fiesta. People save up and reserve the best for this occasion.

Only the best apparel are worn for the coronation night of the hometown queen, chosen through a balloting system. Anyone can purchase tickets or ballots in behalf of one particular candidate. Whoever gets the most number of ballots is crowned queen for that year. So those who have money can easily finance any candidate. Be it the mayor's or the big businessman's daughter. Whoever. As long as you have the funds. But the system's saving grace is whatever funds generated udirng the buying and selling of tickets go to a project like renovating the church, building a school classroom, or building half a kilometer of road,etc.

I find that neat, don't you?

Back in the old, old days, my Mom's relatives were urging her to finance my 'candidacy'. Thank God my father prevailed. He thought it was crazy :-)Spending money to get me to be a queen? He said these people are loonies :-)First of all, we didn't have that kind of money.

But whether it's one of the town officials'(or his family's) birthday, or wedding or anniversary, Ibanags will surely find any occasion to show their love for fiestas.


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"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.

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2. If the mother glows and radiates beauty, the baby will be a boy.
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