(Glossogobius giuris) is a freshwater fish native to Mainit Lake. It is called “biya” in Tagalog and “white goby or tank goby” in English. The term “pidjanga” is also sometimes fondly used to refer to the Mainitnons, the people of the Municipality of Mainit, a town in Southern Philippines. This blog hopes to capture potentials of Migrants Pidjangas for the Development of our Town by attempting to document development issues, folk stories, and current concerns, about the Pidjanga — both the fish and the people.

Atuyob and Tawas

By: ZYMosende (Taga Barangay Magsaysay, Poblacion Mainit)

April 10, 2002

"Toy, (referring to Lolo Bitoy), taghilantan man inin bata, kataas raba, ato na ini ATUYOBan, nan dispis (despues) TAWASan kay dakan mawaya an hilanat". Lola Tisay (Teresa Mongado Simchico-Mosende, 1906 -1994)

During my childhood in the early 80's (sounds dugay na noh, hehehe),
oftentimes when I get sick (usually fever), my grandfolks bring me upstairs and let me sleep in their room! This is true to all of the grandchildren of the Mosende family. I, together with the grandchildren, consider this as a very precious experience.

Initially, I am given all sorts of "tiniguyang" medications. I am given a specialized drinking water. It comes from our "banga" that contains two special stones, a fist-sized "carbon" and a half-fist-sized "sulfur". To me, the water was refrigerator cold. When put in a long drinking glass ( I think a Nescafe glass with "giring-giring sa kilid"), all sorts of herbs, all "hamot" and "inday-uno-an-baho", were put. I remember the names of some - "tamok", "busikad", "hilbas", "sagbong"... gee, I can still picture them while writing this.

I am also sponge-bathed with "suka na aslom karadjaw" to cool myself. My regular morning and afternoon bath are suspended. Just imagine how one smells-like after three days.

All my meals include a "bisaya na itlog". Lolo or Daddy makes a small hole on the egg, puts a little salt and mixes it using a toothpick. Gwark... I eat the eggs raw... "para sustansiya kuno". I almost developed an egg phobia.

When the fever gets very high... ATUYOB and TAWAS come in! Upon Lolo Bitoy's signal, Lola Tisay opens her metal box (old square biscuit container with round cover - resembling that of Skyflakes). All sorts of stuff come out - to name a few - "panit nan page", "kilyawan", "tawas na puti and tapuy", "dahon nan buli", slices of tree barks, wood picks (bagan "hilono" an ngayan), "kamangyan", "pili" (incense) etc. Lola cuts some parts of my unwashed clothes (samoy-samoy nan baro) - "sobra na hilo (thread)" or "gisi na laylayan" etc. She then mixes in a used coconut shell these "personal things" with the "atuyob" ingredients. Lola then murmurs some prayers while I sit in front of her partly wrapped with a thin blanket. She lights the mixture and puts last the incense powder. The house usually smells like the church... this is done every 6PM for three days.

For three days too, during the "atuyob" days, a small white tawas is tied in my shirt. The shirt is not usually changed during the whole duration of the ceremony (whew!). At the end of the third day, the tawas is put on a metal container and heated using a candle. The tawas melts and it comes in different forms. Most of the time, if it looks like a circle with some few small circles in it, Lola will describe it as a face of a man. The usual conclusion was "nabujagan" or "tag-gabaan". "Ah, an kongking man bagan ini na nubisita nan isa ka adlaw kay an tawas jaoy malagat na mata sana bagan kulot an buhok!" sometimes, the melted tawas resembles a tree, a pig, etc and, of course, the interpretation differs. On the fourth day... in the final atuyob, the melted tawas is included... with prayers that the cause of
the "bujag" or "gaba" will spare me from its scourge.

The whole process cures me, well, us.... fantastic, isn't it!


krouzifixion said...

i also experienced these kinds of healing ceremonies.. hehehe.. i even called this atuyob (i think its the same with toob) as a "tapahan" ceremony where i am the copra... hehehehe... and at the end, whew... SUCCESS!!! at last makaligo na for how many days na panhapyas (like the bojo) as well as the "vinegar bath" hehehhe... kamo, will you still try this with the medications and apparatus we have now? in my part, as a last resort na siguro! i think amo sad kamo! hehehe...

ZYMM: 100% Pidjanga said...

hehehe... nakakatawa ako sa bojo!

sagol badja imo minainit nan bol-anon hu! toob, i think is bol-anon or cebuano of atuyob.

hmmm... lisod! hospital man dajon kun mangasakit an kids!

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CBCP News: Mining threatens 4th largest freshwater lake in PH

SEVEN are in the town of Mainit, Surigao del Norte... of the 15 exploration permits (EP) that the Regional Office 13 (CARAGA) of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Environment department approved as of June 30, 2010.

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