Ambahan: Food and work

Obtaining food keeps the Mangyans busy for most of the year: selecting and preparing the field; sowing the carefully kept seed; weeding and cleaning the plants; harvesting the most precious food, cotton-white mountain rice. Unfortunately, an ideal harvest depends on an exact amount of sun, wind and rain. Often though, an extensive drought, a nasty typhoon or prolonged monsoon rains effect the opposite result, hardship and scarcity of food. It is therefore, no wonder that the Mangyans worry about their crops a great deal.

Rice is a food the Mangyans enjoy. After they have harvested their rice, it seems that there will never come an end to their supplies. But, before they realize it, gone is all their hope and happiness.

Ambahan 136
Hanunuo-Mangyan English Filipino
Handwritten version of ambahan 136

This kind of rice, Kabasag,
When I saw for the first time,
The stalks were heavy with grain.
When I returned and looked again,
Empty and flat were the heads!

Ang palay kong Kabasag
Nang minsan kong namatyag
Uhay ay sangkatutak
Nang balikan ko't tingnan
Uhay ay mangahungkag!

Ambahan 137
Hanunuo-Mangyan English Filipino
Handwritten version of ambahan 137

The little black bird Sawi,
So hereabouts its was told,
Had a tail long and pretty.
But the bird when it grew big,
Tail, alas, shorter it grew,
Struck by lightning as storm blew.

Ibong si Sawi-sawi
Noon pa man ang huni
Buntot, mahabang dili
Subalit nang lumaki
Buntot ko ay umiksi
Kinidlat, binuhawi!

Whether one likes it or not, it is necessary to work hard in order to keep his stomach filled. He has to work hard even if he has the help of the spirits.

Ambahan 139
Hanunuo-Mangyan English Filipino
Handwritten version of ambahan 139

Our good and precious soil:
Would it be as beautiful
if we did not work and toil?
Very soon it would be waste.

Ating lupang payapa
Paano pa gaganda
Kung di tayo gumawa
Dagli 'yang mawawala!