Ilocano Folklore

San Esteban

South China Sea coast of long ago… Barangay Tarangotong, Sawat

As kids we played outdoors most of the time – running, swimming, discovering sweet-sop groves, picking guavas and fruits in season, climbing coconut trees, mango trees and towering tamarind and santol trees, wrestling with other kids – you name it, every activity – we did it.

There were times when we would find ourselves in an unknown part of the ramparts, some place we’ve never explored before. It felt strange to be there… even eerie and mysterious. Were we trespassers in a sacred place? My aunts and grandfather thought so and for one’s health and well-being there were certain protocols to follow when leaving such a place.

Here’s the superstitious practice my aunts used to do when we happened to be in a place in the ramparts we have never been before. Upon leaving, my aunts would call on our spirits – our souls perhaps – to come on home with us. They would tell the spirits to not tarry, linger and play any longer because it was time to go home. They chanted their call for our spirits to go home with us:  “Intayon… dika’y agbatbati…” (translated – Let’s go, don’t stay here).

Signs that one’s spirit remained at a previously visited place manifests as a general feeling of malaise, lack of enthusiasm, lethargy, ashen and pale coloration of the face, and a general feeling of being lost. It happened to me one time. To effect a cure my aunts took with them one of my worn t-shirts, trekked back to the place and called out to my spirit once more, “Intayon… agawid can… dika agbatbati…” (Translated – Let’s go, go home, don’t stay here). It worked and I felt better.

Fast forward to today. Fellow Augustinians live and work all over the world. Let me ask you… where is your spirit? Do you need help calling your spirit to come back home with you to good old St Augustine School? Because we need your help to send these bright kids who are financially poor to attend SAS high school. “Intayon… dika’y coma agbatbati… agawid tayon diay Tagudin… diay SAS ta tulongan tay dagitoy ubbing a nasirib”… (Translated – Let’s go, don’t stay here, let us go home to Tagudin, to SAS so we can help these bright kids). Click here to help these kids attend SAS.