The big reunion in Natonin

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

NATONIN, Mt. Province – Department of Education Acting Secretary Tonisito Umali graced the 5th Sas–Alliwa Festival during the grand opening.

Umali stated “baguhin ang kaya nating baguhin katulad ng ginagawa ng ating mga opisyal dito sa Natonin”. He encouraged the community to start changing the old ways to new one towards development.

He added “take pride for being mountaineer, be recognize, lift up your voice and be recognized my dear brothers and sisters of Natonin. Be recognized, be recognize. Rise up, people of Mt. Province.”


Umali is the new adopted son of Natonin this year. One of the past adopted sons is Dr. Reynaldo Bautista Sr. who was dubbed as ‘Hara’ of the community.

The Municipal Planning and Development Assistant Marissa Kalang–ad said the festival was initiated by former mayor Ana Marie Paz Rafael–Banaag during her term. Kalang – ad said Banaag conducted a competition on who will present the best term for a unique Natonin festival.

The tourism council voted for the term “Salliwa” which evolved to “Sas – Alliwa”. Then the 1st Sas–Alliwa Festival was held on April 22 to 25, 2008.

Municipal Mayor Mateo Chiyawan said the term ‘Sas–Alliwa’ means homecoming. He said it is a form of gathering natives of the town who went to other places or even abroad to unite for the celebration.

He added it is a kind of reunion for the community.

The town’s festival started on April 21 with a civic–military parade. The different groups like the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines with the CAFGU, local government officials, Arang Multi – Purpose Cooperative, Dagopan Cooperative, University of Baguio, beauties and gentlemen for the pageant, and the barangay contingents participated in the grand parade.

During the next days of the festival, traditional games like hu’hu’lig, sangsangkor (arm wrestling), tug of war, fuwat, kak–alluwey (bowling type game), and taktakkad were performed through competitions. These games were participated by children, teenagers, and adults who represented their different barangays.

On the hu’hu’lig (men – 15 years old and below) competition, Barangay Sta. Isabel claimed the first place while Barangays Tonglayan and Saliok ranked 2nd and 3rd, respectively. On the other hand, on the women category, Barangay Alunogan topped first while Barangays Pudo and Butac were on the second and third place.

Barangay Saliok conquered the Sangsangkor (men – 15 years old and below) competition wherein Barangays Sta. Isabel and Alunogan ranked second and third, respectively. For the women category, Alunogan, Balangao and Tonglayan leveled as first, second and third, consequently.

The fuwat competition men division for the 15 years old and below was garnered by Barangay Sta. Isabel then followed by Pudo and Poblacion.

Meanwhile, Barangay Poblacion won on the kak – alluwey competition under women division for 15 years old and below. Barangays Balangao and Butac were on the second and third place.

The taktakkad men category was bagged by Poblacion followed by Alunogan and Pudo. On the women category, it was Sta. Isabel which ranked first then Alunogan as second while Poblacion ranked third.

Moreover, the community’s native dance known as eagle dance which they called “halep” was also presented. Different gong styles were also performed like the ‘hapor’ and the ‘penawangwang’. Along with the native dance is their native costumes called ‘kinamat’ (for ladies) and ‘tayay’ (G – string). The native rice wines which they termed as ‘tonaw’ were presented as tokens for the visitors.

The cultural dance stage presentation both in elementary and high school categories were dominated by Alunogan as the best performing art group. Barangays Poblacion and Sta. Isabel were on the second and third place on the same categories.

On April 23, the community witnessed the Search for Ms. Lagkunawe and Mr. Fenne 2012. The representative of Barangay Tonglayan was crowned as the Miss Lagkunawe 2012 while the representative of Barangay Poblacion was declared Mr. Fenne 2012.

The municipality has 11 competing barangays namely Banao, Tonglayan, Pudo, Alunogan, Sta. Isabel, Butac, Balangao, Poblacion, Banawel, Saliok, and Maducayan.

The origin of the name “Natonin”

Kalang–ad revealed as per records, the American Thomasites were the first to write the word “Natonin.” The reason why these Americans wrote the term is dependent on three theories.

The first account states there is a place at the outskirt of the town center which is called Matongnin. It is possible the first encounter between the Americans and the natives could have taken place here and the name of the place was uttered by the natives.

Meanwhile, the second account stated the people of Natonin refer to the chilly weather as “tongnin”. “It is cold”, simply uttered in the Natonin tongue as “Magtongnin.” It could have been very cold when the Americans set foot in town wherein a local had remarked “magtongnin” and the Thomasite wrote down “Natonin.”

And the last account said the word “Mattomnin” is accordingly present in the Balangao dialect which literally means “eating of cold rice.” It was suspected a native invited a foreigner or a group of Caucasians for breakfast by saying, “Umale a ta man Mattomnin ta!” or “Umale ayu ta man Mattomnin taw!” The statements simply mean, “Come let us have breakfast of cold rice!”

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 04, 2012.


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