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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.

Swell.

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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. :-)

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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.
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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 …