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WE NARRATE

Bugan, daughter of Hinumbian in Tuktag, a region in Kabunyan (skyworld), has been besieged by uncles, nieces, and other relatives to marry one of her own people. However, Bugan adamantly refused. So, she was advised to leave Kabunyan and settle in any place she desired.

One day, while the weather was excellent, she looked down to the earthworld and observed. At a place called Pangaggawan (now a part of Bolog, Kiangan), she saw a naked man. He was young, handsome, and very industrious too. He worked from daybreak until sunset hunting wild animals. But he was alone in the area.

Bugan felt pity and love for this lonely man named Kinggawan. She was determined to go down the earthworld and marry him. With the permission of her father, Hinumbian, Bugan gathered the necessary provisions which included a vessel of cooked rice and clothes. Then , proceeded down to the earthworld.

Upon arriving at Pangaggawan, Bugan went to the hut of Kinggawan who was then preparing fire. She called from outside. Kinggawan answered but could not go out because he was naked. Upon realizing Kinggawan’s predicament, Bugan threw a wano (loin cloth) which she brought with her from the skyworld. Kinggawan got the loin cloth and wound it properly around his groins and waist. Then he went out to meet Bugan.

With humility and shame because of his status, Kinggayan welcomed Bugan to his small hut. He also offered her good meat from the animal he hunted. When darkness fell, Bugan have nowhere to go for the night. Hence, she slept with Kinggawan inside the hut. In the morning, Bugan confessed to Kinggawan that her primary purpose in coming down to the earthworld was to marry him so that they could plan better ways to hunt.  From then on, they lived as husband and wife.

 Sometime later, Bugan thought of moving to Kiyyangan. Her husband Kinggawan consented. In Kiyyangan, the couple was blessed with a son and named him Ballitok who grew up to be strong and healthy. Meantime, by continuing their hunting and other activities, they became prosperous in Kiyyangan. This invited jealousy from their neighbors. One day, a neighbor placed tukbo plant (bischofia javanica M.) on Ballitok. This caused skin allergies all over his body. Ballitok had been crying because of the itching. Because of this, Bugan requested to her husband that they move to another place. However, the peace they found in their new settlement was short-lived as their neighbors got envious of them and spread tukbo inside their house causing all three of them to get sick.

 Bugan became very angry. She felt that their neighbors didn’t like her. So, she decided to go back to the skyworld along with her husband and son. Having prepared all their needs, Bugan carried Ballitok on her back and the family started their long journey. It was not easy for Kinggawan, human that he was. Finally, on a very steep and slippery path, Bugan observed that her husband could not really make it. Finding no hope for Kinggawan to continue the journey, Bugan said to him, “You cannot really go with me to the skyworld, neither can I go back with you to the earthworld for the people there do not like me and I do not like them just the same. They wanted to kill me and I do not want to die there”.

While unstrapping Ballitok from her back, she continued, “Go back to Kiyyangan and I’ll go back to Kabunyan. As for our son, let us divide him. You will have the upper portion and I will have the lower part”. Against the will of Kinggawan, Bugan pulled out a sharp knife from her pouch bag and cut their son from the waistline into two. Bugan got the lower portion and left the upper portion for Kinggawan. Both took their shares of the body and carried to their respective homes.

Upon reaching her home in Kabunyan, Bugan used her supernatural powers to make the body of Ballitok whole again. He had a lighter complexion as the same with the rest of his original body. As days passed by, Bugan was concerned with Kinggawan and the upper portion of their son's body. With her complete son in her arms, she went to a place where she can view Kinggawan. To her dismay, she saw the half portion of his son’s original body being feasted upon by flies. Anxious, she hurriedly went down to the earthworld, wrapped the upper part of Ballitok’s body, and ascended to Kabunyan.

With anger in her heart, Bugan cursed the people on earth for neglecting Ballitok. Painstakingly, she removed the decayed portion of Ballitok’s upper flesh and threw them into the fields of the earth. Because of her curse, the decayed portion turned into worms which multiplied and infested the rice crops.

Fortunately, she was able to make the upper portion of Ballitok’s body whole and brought life into it. But since the salvaged parts were already darkened because of the process of decay, the child had a very dark complexion. Thus, there were two persona of Ballitok, one is light-skinned and the other is dark-skinned.  Eventually, the children returned to earth and multiplied. Thus, the origin of the light and dark-colored people of the earth as well as the various worms that often ravage farmers’ crops.

Note: This is the Hingyon version of the story. Other municipalities in Ifugao have different versions of the story.
Narrated by Kimmayong Dulnuan of Hingyon. Translated by Jocelyn P. Kidayan, a Public Health Nurse at the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Banaue Service Center.
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