BAGNEN, BAUKO – Barangay Bagnen Proper and Bagnen Oriente banned travels going inside and outside of the barangay, including going to farmland, on June 13-14, 2023 in relation to the conduct of Obaya tradition paving the way to the conduct of rituals within the community. The lockdown is in accordance with the barangays’ joint Ordinance No. 03 titled Obaya .
According to Wilson Biag, Barangay Kagawad of Bagnen Proper,the lockdown contributed to the success of the implementation of the Obaya. The Obaya is an annual practice of thanksgiving for the upcoming harvest period called the sedey di pakde.
Penalty in Violating Obaya
Biag stated that “Uray no mayat nan ikkan di ili nu wada nan umuneg ay magapo sinan sabali ay ili, mabukabok wenno masibit nan ubaya,” (Even if the community conducted the obaya properly, if people from other places entered the community, the obaya will not be effective.) He also added that the community and outsiders should wait first for the community to finish yagyag or ending ritual before lifting the lockdown and travel ban.
Moreover, the main consequence of disturbing the ritual is obliging the violaters to pay whatever the elders will demand. However, Biag also noted that considerations will be given to people with important and emergencies. This includes government employees and students working and studying outside Bagnen.
Furthermore, any noise-producing chores were also banned like the use of chainsaw, hammer, rice mill, among others.
Rituals inside the Obaya
Stella Wanden, Indigenous People Education (IPED) Coordinator of Bagnen Elementary School explained that Obaya is the locality’s term for lockdown. It is a ritual established by their forefathers a long time ago in order for the locals to conduct rituals related to seasonal significant events within the community.
The community obaya is for the conduct of sedey di pakde.
Wanden shared that sedey di pakde is performed a day before obaya . This is the time where they will butcher a pig in the dap-ay. The next day is the start of the obaya. On the third day, the yagyag is performed wherein the people will butcher chicken in the dap-ay for the lockdown to be lifted.
Community’s Cultural Significance
Biag emphasized that the community has been practicing this tradition since time immemorial and has never skipped a year. According to him, the conduct of this tradition ensures enough and overflowing harvest to sustain the community until the next harvest season.
A member of the council of elders also expressed that the said conduct of obaya and the rituals within the community shows cultural value and appreciation to the community’s heritage. More than that, it also represents unity among community members as they believe that culture binds them wherein obaya serves also as their rest day. By Rosalina G. Pesaña