A Tagalog idyoma mirrors the economic and political reality in Abra, Northern Philippines. [In Abra, most Tinguians generally speak Ilocano-a major Filipino language]
"Kapit!" (Hold on) shouted the driver as the jeepney geared up a mountain pass with nothing much to stop it from plunging into a long, deep ravine save the driver's dexterity at the wheels. "Kapit!” echoed the passengers who grasped the bar up front and over their heads and the railing on their backs to protect themselves from rolling out of the overloaded vehicle.
“Todo kapit!” (Hold on tight) screamed the passengers sitting on the rooftop, standing on the estribo (jeepney entrance) and hanging on to the sides. A porky squealed, the chickens squawked and a child let out a long wail.
Every five hours, there is only one public transport going up the earthquake-ravaged and government-forgotten, location of the Tingguians. Going up this remote Barangay in Abra in Northern Luzon means waiting for passengers to occupy every available seat and space on the jeepney's roof, side, andestribo.
Like most Filipinos in the hinterlands, the Tinguians describe their life as kapit sa patalim (literally clutching [the blade of] a knife). Figuratively, this Tagalog idiom means a desperate hanging on to life, even if there is hardly a prospect of success, prosperity or hope.
The more than 23 million Tinguians live a kapit sa patalim life probably because of poor delivery of basic services due to corruption. This situation is the same in other remote parts of the country as well as in most urban poor communities.
Shamelessly, corrupt leaders are kapit-tuko in their positions. With all their might and lawlessness, they cling on to their seats of power, and they won't budge even if they are inefficient, ineffective or immoral.
A way to fight corruption is through kapit-bisig (linking arms together) that results in unity, cooperation, camaraderie and sharing of resources. WithPeople Power 1 (1986), Filipinos linked arms to drive away a dictatorship.Kapit-bisig, they vowed never to allow any would-be dictator to rule ever again.
EDSA People Power 1 is a testament of a people's faith in God in toppling a dictatorship
Ultimately, Filipinos credit God's total participation in this peaceful revolution. The miracle of toppling a dictatorship without bloodshed was because of God's mercy. Indeed God is Ang tunay na Kapit-an ng Pinoy [The Filipino's true Anchor/Railing/Captain].
The word Tinguian may have been derived from the Malay word "tinggi,"which means mountain or highlands, and may have been coined during the early Spanish period. As used by the Spanish colonizers, the word refers to all mountain people or hill tribes in Zambales, Bohol and Basilan,.