You may have the impression that I’m boastful and just pulling your leg, but I’m not. I’ve witnessed this honesty first hand during my childhood days.
Obviously, there may be inevitable changes today. But I’m declaring that Kalinga people are inherently honest. Let me mention specific circumstances to support my claim:
1. Houses were never locked
In our village, sometimes, I and my friends played hide and seek inside empty houses. The old folks were all in the field or kaingin working.
The tots were left behind – including me - some naked, and some with snots and morning glories in their eyes; some with mud and soil on their bodies. But we rarely got sick. We have developed significant immunity against certain diseases. We were too young to work, so we took care of ourselves and eat whatever was left by the elders.
But wait, we’re going off topic. So, the houses were unlocked. We opened the door and freely entered. Valuable items were left lying around and no one ever coveted or stole someone else’s property.
Of course, there’s no such Utopia anywhere, so there was one man who was tempted to steal a goat. Yes, a goat; animals were very valuable then. The entire village witnessed his ‘trial’ with the village leader resolving the issue. He never repeated his misdeed again.
2. Marriages were not documented on paper
During marriages, a ‘taddok’ (playing of gongs) was rendered by various groups. Then a pig or carabao was slaughtered for food. “Basi” (wine) was shared and the merriment continued up to the wee hours of dawn.
Big bonfires were built at the center of the plaza and girls and boys sang the “salidummay’, while flirting with one another. The old men and women talked among themselves, recalling phenomenal events in the village. There were many weird and strange encounters with supernatural beings and ghosts.
The couple then would live as husband and wife, without proper documentation of their marriage. I guess this doesn’t apply nowadays. One has to possess a paper stating that she is legally married to Mr. so and so.
Nevertheless, I’m attempting to show you how it was in the olden days. Those marriage vows were lasting. Couples stayed together through thick and thin. They resolved any misunderstanding and remained true to their oral vows. That was how honest people were.
3. Verbal agreements are honored
You don’t need a paper and a signature to legalize agreements. You simply state your agreements verbally and it was sealed permanently. The folk honored them and never questioned their legality.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a society such as this one?
Today, I’m sure this custom still exists in Kalinga villages. This may not be true with the cities and bigger provinces because these places are melting pots; people come from a variety of foreign places.