Saturday, August 26, 2006

KALADUA: Root of the Agrarian Problem in Pampanga and the Essence of Kapampañgan Nationalism

The Kapampangan has always been touchy when it comes to the question concerning land. His history has been marked in blood by social unrest that has its roots in the agrarian problem. Even now with the eruption of Bunduk Pinatúbû, thousands would rather have themselves buried in lahar than be removed from their lands. As a result, both past and present, the Kapampangan region has always been a thorn in the national government's backside.

So what is it about land and the Kapampangan? The answer is simply found in his long forgotten cosmology, in the question dealing with the nature of his soul, his kaladua.

The word kaladua is derived from two Kapampangan words: kala, which simply means soul, and aduâ, which means two. The Kapampangan believes that he is in the possesion of twin souls: one being his personal soul which could be removed from his body at will - to mangalug as when one is hungry, to travel at night and hurt one's enemies as in the case of the powerful mangkukusim, to visit ones relatives in the form of the kambubulag when one is near death, or simply travelling when one dreams - , the other being the soul of the land which sustains him in life but returns to earth at the moment of death.

The ancient Kapampangan believed that when a person dies, if he is good, his personal soul goes to the White Rock on Bunduk Aláya and become one with Apung Sinukuan; His other soul would return to earth and strengthen his mother, his Indûng Tibuan.

Simply put, the Kapampangan and his Indûng Tibuan, the land of his birth, are one and the same. Their souls are as one. The twin souls must always come together otherwise the Kapampangan simply can not be. With this in mind, one now can easily understand the old saying: Ing taung alâng gabun, tau yang alâng kaladua, a man without land is a man without a soul. If one has taken to note, the name Kapampangan applies not only to the person but also to his land and his language as well.

The Kapampangan is touchy when it comes to the question of land because the question deals not only with an accidental preoccupation but with the deeper question concerning himself: his very being, his soul. When one touches his land he not only touches something he merely posses, rather he touches his very essence, his very self. Now one could understand why the unnamed rajah of Macabebe reacted with such violence when the Spaniards decided to take his land, they were taking his soul and his life as well. One now could understand why the thousands in Lubao and Betis chose death rather than surrender in the battles of 1571, or the countless who fought the Americans in the 1900s, or the Japanese in 1941 to 1945; somehow, deep down in their psyche, they knew their sacrifice would further strengthen their mother, their Indûng Tibuan, to whom their souls would return at the hour of death.

Siuala ding Meangubie
CURRENTS 4th Week February 1995

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