Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Road Home: DATI Clan Reunion

The Dugay Sub-clan
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Long ago there were four sisters - Dugay, Agnay, Tadaha, and Ingco. Dugay was the eldest and she was my father's grandmother.

I've been trying to unravel this thread both prior to arriving and since we got here. I don't think Dad has been deliberately vague - I think he is because this topic is confusing as well to just about everyone in the family when it comes to sorting out how we seem to be related to so many different different people here in Baguio.

It wasn't until I attended the DATI reunion and had a look at the family tree diagrams that I figured out one source of all the confusion. Great-grandmother Dugay had more than one family!

This is a very long story that needs to be told, but before I can even scratch the surface, I think it is important to enumerate some of the difficulties that my sister, brother, and I have faced (and will continue to face) when trying to piece together our family history:

Geography - Living in Canada has not made it terribly easy to get at the multiple sources needed when pursuing multiple lines of enquiry. Nor has it be easy to get corroborating stories from different family members. Hence the importance of using family reunions and other gatherings like funerals and weddings.

Time - My father's parents were born close to the start of the last century. My father, we know with reasonable certainty, was born before WWII. With each passing year the number of members of my father's generation diminish: each one a first hand witness to family, clan, and tribal history.

Language - My father's people speak Ibaloy (some sources read Inibaloy), which is distinct from Bontoc. According to my dad, both are spoken here in Baguio and Benguet overall. This dialect is specific to this part of the Philippines and is less well-known than the Ilocano spoken by the foothills people of Ilocos del Sur. The bottom line is that familiar communication with family members is restricted because my siblings and I don't speak Ilocano or Ibaloy. Even if we could speak Tagalog, the national dialect, I don't think we'd be marginally ahead of where we are now. My cousin tells me that the old folks speak far better English than they do Tagalog, and in fact prefer to do so (I think to minimize any association with the lowland Tagalogs who have made fun of the mountain people for so long).

Custom - This is where our difficulties increase greatly. (a) It is only after the Americans came to the highlands that the custom of using a surname was taken up. If you go back a few generations, all of the old folks only had one name because they really didn't go anywhere and clan affiliations were pretty obvious. Thus my father's great-grandfather was simply called 'Biray'. (b) Multiple marriages. It turns out that great-grandfather Biray was married 3 times, owing to the early passings of his first two wives. While his children were only 5 in count, they had 3 mothers and all of the extended family each one represented. (c) Marriage of relatives. My Dad and my step-mother are cousins, though from different branches of the clan. When they were first married they related to me that this was not unusual. After attending two family reunions, I can confirm this is not unusual at all. (d) Adoption of near-relatives. My cousin Jerry was adopted by my uncle Max's family because the family of the uncle he was actually born into was not able to care for him at the time.

So, by way of introduction, the story of my direct ancestors starts with great-great-grandfather Biray. Biray married three women (not all once!): Shakmay, Kanedja, and Simbay.

With Shakmay, he had one child, Sifet. With Kanedja, one child again, Shalingo. With Simbay, he had three: Smith, Orani, and Lingbanan.

DATI Reunion
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Sifet married Dugay and they had two children: Kangi and Bunga.

Kangi married my grandfather Edwin Bugnay, and this is where the history I am more familiar with begins.

The two reunions we came to attend were: (1) The Biray clan reunion, which encompasses all the descendants of Biray represented by the five sub-clans: Sifet, Shalingo, Smith, Orani, and Lingbanan. (2) The DATI clan reunion, which encompasses all the descendants of the four sisters: Dugay (who married Sifet), Agnay, Tadaha, and Ingco.


cousin Maureen in NY said...

Glad to see our ancestry in writing. I've heard of all those names too but it does get confusing when you meet people with different names but say they are our relatives. I'm sure you felt their love despite not understanding what some of them were telling you. Hope you learned a few words of Ibaloy.. AYSHI AF-AFIL.

Johnny Lingbanan said...

Hello, Alan!
You might not know me but I'm pretty sure we are related. My daughter was doing some checkings of relationships when she came to get your postings here. She asked me if I knew this and so when I was reading all what you've posted, the names you've mentioned were somewhat familiar. If I am not wrong you then must be a child of Manong/uncle Galvan. Again I'm not sure on how to address him cause like what you've mentioned, our relatives married their own relatives. That's what happened to my parents.
You know what? I'm surprised that your cousin Maureen could speak Ibaloy.
Well, hope someday we'll see each other. By the way, my daughter's name is Cheryl also.


Allan said...

Thank-you for visiting our blog! The children of Biray are scattered all over the world, so I am glad every time I meet someone else in the clan.

Yes, Galvan is my Dad. My step-mother is originally from the Shalingo side of the clan. This year's Biray clan reunion was hosted by the Lingbanan family at Camp Four on the old highway.

If you would like to contact me directly, send mail to allan.edwin [at] I will be happy to mail you a CD of the photos I took on our vacation.