Cantilan’s Name-Calling Culture
By Euly V. Eleazar
Bandillo The CCMCL-USA Newsletter
EVERYONE knows that a.k.a. stands for the phrase “also known as.” It’s another way of saying “otherwise,” derived from the Latin “alias.”
Writers and artists have their professional aliases called pseudonyms or pennames. Actors use stage or movie names, too. In the crime world, aliases are used to waylay or deceive nosey law agents World Scope Encyclopedia, 1969 and the Oxford Word finder Dictionary and Thesaurus, 1996).
The usage of an alias is normally acceptable if the user himself designates it. But other than self-choice, it becomes name-calling (ngayan-ngayan), which is abusive.
Cantilan excels in name-calling for fun, which the public enjoys. Those given aliases, sans their personal consent become the silently resentful souls of the town upon knowing of their appellation. In the CarCanMadCarLan area alone, many persons are victims of unglamorous names appended to them. Some are more known of their alias rather than of their Christian or surnames. This abusive name-calling cultural practice is centuries old and universal in the region.
Historical and cultural researchers won’t be surprised to find out how name-calling originated in the area. The dense ethnic composition of the once huge Caraga Province (from the present Davao Oriental to the Misamises) that was recorded as Surigao Province on the last decades of the 19th century Spanish period is a rich resource of name-calling. The dominant Manobo, Mandaja (or Mandaya) and Mamanwa tribes then practiced the culture of naming their newborn after places or things of their fancy. The later generations, mostly of migrant Visayan stock made it a pastime of calling some persons other names than their own.
To start, Mantika (pork lard) was the appellation given to the father of Mania and Medardo (as of 1982, no one knows of their whereabouts). They were neighbors of Kutsara (spoon); Ekog (tail), baptized as Ambrosio Cubillan, father of Rolando; Tambuli (Pacific triton), known as Serapio Crabajales; Bager (slang for mischievous) was Bernardo Arreza, father of former town councilor Titoy; and Pating (shark) was Zosimo Uriarte.
Then there was Katsila (Spaniard), father of Pare Godo Urbiztondo. Berenghinas (eggplant) was the father of Tiyong Crabajales. Bagis (naughty) was a Millan in Baybay I (San Pedro). Buyagat (big eyed) was Genero (Alo) Arreza. His son Dativo was called attorney being extra-argumentative. Mandunggo (anatomically one of the stomachs of a cow) was father of Didi and Mesot Puerto. Karas (harrow or rake) was the father of the late mayor Diego Millan. Utsohan (a preserving jar that contains eight glasses of tuba or coconut sap) lived in Consuelo.
Upatan (a measure of palay containing 4 gantas) was another Consuelo man. Pala (spade) was the father of the late Samuel Azarcon. Baong (polished coconut shell used as a drinking vessel) was Antonino Guazon. Sako (sack) was a name given to Antonino Arreza. His neighbor, Senon Plaza was Parot (for parrot). Living close by them was Tap-ong (waste mound) known as Fortunato Mirabales. In Madrid Bulingot was Vicente Mollaneda.
Ang-ang (ladder rung) was Simeon Arreza, father of Ontong now a Madrid resident. Bugisak (young mullet or biyanak) was a paternal relative of Rolando Julve. Basilan (Basilan Island) was Paquito Roy’s father. Another son, Nonito was called Basi. Paquito himself was called Sargin by his father-in-law, Conos, but got the high ranking title Colonel when yours truly gave him a “rapid promotion” during Martial Law. Thus, the out-of-towners military men deployed in Cantilan addressed him, Sir.
Burot (bloated) was Kesyo and Cardo Guillen’s father. Vice Gov. Jose Arreza was called Wayahan (for his left handed slap of unruly persons). Batuhan (basket made of pandanus leaves used to store newly harvested palay) was the father of Rafael Lozaldo of Consuelo. Celestino Cuartero, father of Pare Candong was named Espelman being tall like the Texan Robert Spielman, who came to Cantilan then as a guerilla commander during World War II. Parotpot (tiny fish caught in fine-meshed baling) was the name given to Teofilo Pingol, father of Marianita P. Urquia and Leoncia P. Catre, and stepfather of Benjamin U. Guimary, husband of Portia Nena Arreza.
The father of Procopio Olvida was named Angsohan, a tiny species of shrimp (not shrimp fry as misconceived). Palalay, an indiscriminate womanizer was the grandfather of the late Anatalio, and Orcesio Lozaldo, and by some reportedly “unclaimed” descendants from Cantilan up to Consolacion and Siargao islands in Surigao del Norte. Bigas, Tagalog for bugas of polished rice was a monicker given to Vicente Cuballes.
Kabang (with spot like skin pigmentations) was Montano A. Ortiz I, Colero (a corruption of the word cholera) was given to Pedro A. Coleto who was considered by some as choleric and sweeping when angered. Karkab of Magasang have no connotation or equivalent in Cantilan terminologies.
Pagod (charred object or charcoal), also of Magasang was so called due to his very dark skin. Another person named for the color of his skin was Mr. Santos, an Ilocano teacher. He was called Black Santos. Later on, Santos Azarcon got the same name – Black Santos. Karagan (garruluous and somewhat clumsy) was the name of Catalino, father of former town councilor Tinong Urquia. Pasilit became the name of Tapi Barrangay Captain Crispin Sual, who can hardly pronounce the word “facilitate” without pausing on “facility”.
Baga (lung), grandfather of Virginia Sering Segar-Lugo was the great grandfather of Mare Malou Lugo Herrera. Hapuyas (fondler) was the father of the late Procopio “Reddy” Almeda, grandfather of Yolanda Almeda Millan who is the wife of Rizalino or “Isang”. Isang’s father Manuel “Awing” Millan was also called Dinagit, meaning, snatched by a hawk and dropped. Gara (short of gara-gara or show-off) was given to Gaudencio Cuartero. Ciento-trayenta was a Guimary married to Bernardita Orneta of Magasang. Sometimes he was also called Davao-Oregon, his favorite places to recall. Pompio Cuballes was called Lagtab for supposedly being physically forceful in entering the houses of helpless widows at night by using his bolo as the weapon of doorway destruction.
Some stories behind the name-calling culture in Cantilan are very apparent with no further explanation. Others have tales too long to write down and unmentionables like bata pa (still a baby), camisola (chemise), trombone slide, etc. (all of them meaning uncircumcised).
One of my “respondents” in Cantilan who happily accepted the jokes of name-calling was Father Herman Maalman, MSC. At a drinking bout of “Kulafu” at a store near the old public market that was flattened by a fire of suspicious origin, he said he respected Cantilan culture and won’t impose his European manners. The 23-year Cantilan parish priest, who retired and died in about 1982, said he loved to be named as Holitawo (his corruption of olitawo) among his catechist-angels, led by durable Agatonica “Tikay” Lugo.
Reposted from Cantilan FB Group
Posted by: Don Uriarte