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Ambahan: Death | Mangyan Heritage Center

Ambahan: Death

When physical life comes to an end, the soul departs for another place.

The moment of dying, this singular experience, is vividly remembered afterwards by the soul, especially if death came during an agonizing circumstance.

Ambahan 246
Hanunuo-Mangyan English Filipino
Handwritten version of ambahan 246

Says the soul remembering:
Just a while ago at home,
in the house I used to stay,
My body was really bad,
lying sickly on the mat,
though not ready yet to go.
Scared to death I really was!
I was going to the right
and to left, back and forth!
So confused I was that time!
Now, my body laid at rest,
finally I took a bath
in the waters for the soul.
I am starting on my way
to the place my father went,
and where Mother joined him, too.

Taghoy ng kaluluwa:
Kanina nang lumisan
Sa dampa kong tahanan
Katawan ko'y naghihirap
Sa banig na higaan
Di pa lumilisan
Balisang nagpaalam
Pa-biling-biling naman
Pakaliwa't pakanan
Sige na nga kung ganyan
Ako na ay lilisan
Liligo sa hugasan
Sa tubig dalisayan
Sa bago kong hantungan
Sa tabihan ni Amang
Kapiling na si Inang!

Tragic, also is the Mangyan who died out of misery and chagrin because of the hardship he had to deal with! We do not know what his problems were or who caused them, but that he had some is clear from his explanation!

Ambahan 251
Hanunuo-Mangyan English Filipino
Handwritten version of ambahan 251

These are the words of the soul:
Who would finally not complain!
My house on the mountain slope
in the darkness of the night,
hurricanes were howling loud.
When the sun was in the sky,
the shower came lashing down!
All the southern typhoon winds,
all the north-western storms,
my house they were hitting hard!
That was exactly the case.
No wonder I left the place!

Hinagpis ng kalul'wa:
Sinong di masasaktan
Bahay ko sa tarikan
Kung gabi at karimlan
Ang hangin ay bugsuan
Kung araw ay sikatan
Ambon ay ampiyasan
Saklot ng habagat man
Pispis nga ng amihan
Tutok doo't bugsuan
Kang ganyan rin nga lamang
Sa dampa na'y lilisan

All this information comes from the realm of the dead, furnished by the deceased themselves! Communicating with the souls or spirits of the dead is nothing extraordinary for the Mangyans. These are those persons who possess the power to strike up a conversation with the spirits by means of a medium or daniw. The conversation resembles a séance among spiritualists.

The Mangyan who grieves about the death of a dear one likes to avail himself of the services of a daniw in order to see if the soul of the deceased cannot be convinced to come back and join his earthly body again. Positive results are said to be known, but they are not recorded in the ambahan verse. The ambahan samples available only relate the failure of the daniw and the decisiveness of the soul to continue his course in the other life.

Ambahan 252
Hanunuo-Mangyan English Filipino
Handwritten version of ambahan 252

Says the seer's medium:
You, soul, can you tell me please,
why is it you were so scared,
that time when you left the house?
Wasn't a spirit from the woods?
If so, I took care of that
through my prayers very strong
and the incantations too!
Your fears should have disappeared,
since the Evil one is gone.
All the more, it's long ago
that I caged him through my strength.

Ang wika nitong Daniw:
Kalul'wa, hoy sabihin
Takot ka ba at bakit?
Sa tahana'y umalis
Kung malignong gubatin
Ligtas nating talunin
Sa lakas ng dalangin
Sa tindi ng humigmig
Tuloy kang manahimik
Maligno'y gagapusin
Ngayon at noon mandin
Sa dunong bibihagin!