What do great bulks of daily laborers in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Region 1 do after 5-6 days weekly of sweat and labor? Or, what do they go?
Indeed, the workforce, this vast social structure where rests the economic clout of CAR and R-1 to move forward towards prosperity.
How many men and women in employment and how productive they are at work is a framework of strong, sustainable and balanced growth building up to the future of the two regions.
They are what you call “worthy workers, and work will come.” They come in the likeness of a physician, engineer, lawyer, police officer, business person, office worker, carpenter, construction helper, mason, house help, reporter, barber and manicurist.
They are in the image of a street sweeper, store tender, sales person, electrician, mechanic, driver, police officer, military personnel, dentist, paramedic, nurse, painter, architect, columnist, teacher, working student, market helper, security guard, miner, etcetera and etcetera.
They are molded in the image of a mother; father, brother, sister, cousin or nephew.
All, they, are what you may call, “busy hands who achieve more, than idle tongues.”
Herald Express gives tribute to all, who, in one way or the other, takes to the toil, muscle and brain to make CAR and Region 1 a vibrant place to live for him/her and their families.
Herald Express, believing that any laborer has a right work for another who called upon him/her to labor, and, whether, by the labor expended, benefit was rendered, or not, charge for the labor that he/she has been called upon to perform.
Herald Express, believing that any laborer has equal right to labor for others, and, unless service was given, not charge for the work done. Hail to all who do labors out there!
Donovan Angliwen, from Buguais, Benguet, farmer, laughingly depicted last Tuesday about workforce, that includes him, and other worthy workers, by singing the song “Sixteen Tons,” sang by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Many highlanders happen to know this song, relating to it.
A song, simply depicting work. It goes this way: “Some people say a man’s made out of mud, a poor man’s made outa muscle and blood; muscle and blood and skin and bones, a mind that’s a weak and a back that’s strong.”
“I was born one mornin’ when the sun didn’t shine, I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine; I loaded sixteen tons of number 9 coal, and the straw boss said, “Well, a-bless my soul.”
“You load sixteen tons, what do you get; another day older and deeper in debt, St. Peter don’t call me yet for I can’t go, I owe my soul to the company store.”
If this be the merry message of the song, as good a judge as ever sang, how many natural pleasures incident to highlander and lowlander labors, which are conducive and elastic, arise from rational estimate of laughter through work.
You speculatively well know the answer by now where laborers do after engaging to sweat out their brows. Come Saturdays, during mornings, many hit the streets, jogging or walking through the parks. Some spend time puttering at their home gardens. Sunday appears. Others may go to church. Many make a beeline to the malls. Others go a visiting. In all, they who labor 40 to 48 hours a week invent ways to make their rest days useful.
Yet many merely like company and conversation. As many residents in CAR and R-1 are possessed of extra-ordinary capacities of which a principal part is their innate ability to contribute to conversation attendant to merriment and worthwhile conversation.
Indeed, how many and various are the means put in requisition for the attainment of peace of mind after labor and a little bit of relaxation. Come to think of it, life is a voyage, in the progress of which we perpetually change the scenes.
So it was last Wednesday, after leaving Buguias, Daily Laborer, like just any laborer, found himself at barangay Bahong, in Tomay, La Trinidad, on the brow of a small vale overlooking the main road going to Kapangan.
Clear and calm was last Sunday morning, yet there was a portent of coming rain as clouds overhead conspired in hazy whispers to dull the glistening rays of the sun.
A group of Bahong gentlewomen and gentlemen lounged besides Kapangan Road to enjoy a bit of company and conversation.
Rural highlanders, be they from any of the provinces comprising CAR or R-1 can be dead serious when seriousness call for it, or, like deranged fools, can be masters of social hours to split your sides open with their rural jests.
For example, Daily Laborer had always found to his surprise that you can peel the skin of a highlander man or woman and discover his/her a magician. He/she is the Old Sod (anyone who has the lineage in his/her own native soil) of myth.
A highlander can be an inversion, a reversion, an atavism. A highlander’s culture and tradition is an Aladdin’s lamp and their porridge bowls are magic wells.
And like any other toiler, the Bangho folks Daily Laborer conversed with for company hope, too, the best gift of the sun, that when the gloom of distress gathers round them, let them never know the want of the cheering ray. For they can be generous with their laughter.
As they lounged by the riprap along kapangan Road, enjoying company, Selina Lamiso, a petite lady, spotted a bachelor solemnly walking by. The man seemed too serious in deep thought.
He didn’t even bother to raise his head in salute to the group members who knew him. Daily laborer thought he was the most bashful man he ever saw who walked with two feet and ten toes on this earth.
“Apay kasla na-broken heart diay baro nga linmabas,” Lamiso commented.
Gazing long at the man, Lamiso cutely cooed, “Nu lukatam kuma ti barukong ti amin nga lalaki ket idjay adda makitam nga letrato ti babae.” (If every man’s heart could be carved and looked into, there would be found the image of some woman.)
Said group happened to be sitting near a water source trickling out from the earth, clear water set round with a rim of mossy old stones and paved in its bed with a sort of mosaic work of variously colored pebbles.
Martha Acmalis, a pretty housewife probably in her thirties, (Daily Laborer does not go around asking ages of ladies he interviews; if he does, chances are, they would kick him to hell and gone) looked at the silent water source and said, “Kasla met la diay linmabas a baro daytoy ubbog, malmalda-ay nga ag-maymaysa.” (The water source seems like young man who passed us by. Both of them are alone by their lonesome).
Whoever said women holds no humor had been proven wrong by Acmalis, who that, Sunday, proved for people who laugh, showing, through women, came laughter into the world.
Then Acmalis turned to Daily Laborer and quizzically intoned, “Nu adda ibagak kenyam tatta, ma-iprinta yu ngata iti Herald Express. Ti ibagak ket awan ti dakes. Ti ibagak ket panggep jay nakita tayu nga linmabas a baru.”
Daily laborer scratched his head, debating to himself whether what Acmalis would say would not be good to be read by Herald Express readers. He looked hard at the face of Acmalis but only saw a wisp of laughter under her eyebrows.
So Daily Laborer said, “OK, shoot, i-printa mi. I guarantee you!”
“You are a man of your word, I suppose?” Acmalis pressed to which Daily laborer said, “I am. Cross my heart!”
These are what Acmalis said in the most exact manner that Daily Laborer translated it from their vernacular Kankana-ey, into English: “TO WIDOWERS AND SINGLE GENTLEMEN: Wanted by a lady. She is agreeable, attractive, lovely, lively, desirable, careful, philosophical sometimes, authentic, supportive, compassionate and forgiving, generous, judicious, industrious, kind, vivacious, sociable, logical and most of all, honest! Please send all your inquiries to Daily Laborer.”
The last statement of Acmalis caught Daily Laborer by surprise and he protested, “Apay ngay nga siak ti pangitedan da ti inquiries. Saan ku pay ammo nu sino dayta ibagbagam nga lady. Where can we find such kind of lady and where is her address?”
Acmalis smiled devilishly and said, “Trabahom dayta nga mangbirok ta sika ngarud ti Daily laborer mi!”