by Prof. Misskopinas
Lesson no. 7: Additional info about Dungans
I am honored that you are reading our balitaktakan here, and in my part my experience of 'Dungan'. My wawa (great grandmother) who herself practiced ancient medicine and healing traditions (she was considered a babaylan) taught me very much about these things. Everytime she meets a stranger on the road for the first time, she looks at them and smiles first to stand her 'ground' to ignite or show that her 'dungan' is powerful. She believes that if the dungan is not incited or is weak, the 'kalag' or soul is in danger. In some far more archaic hiligaynon in parts of Antique, Kalag or soul is Kalwa, very close lingusitically to Tagalog's 'Kaluluwa'. The tail goes that the Dungan is there to protect us, and it shadows everything we do. In social exchanges for example, people with more powerful dungans always get to have their way, that is why it is imperative they be good or should have good morals so that they can help others whose dungans are weak. I see this in the AMAYA story, her dungan or umalagad is of the highest order and she has the responsibility of using that grace for the betterment of her society.
Additionally, the dungans are meant to protect our 'Kalag' because we are nothing without our 'kalag' or souls. My wawa believed that there are evil spirits out to gain control of our Kalag and they prey on those with the weakest dungan. In so doing, these evil spirits can control the bodies and minds of people, essentially 'stealing' their bodies and imprisoning their Kalags. There are instances where there would be people who will take their relatives to my wawa (i was only a little girl then) and these relatives appear to be blank shells - silent, staring into the walls. My wawa uses a silver bowl, a collection of herbs, leaves and plants, candles, burning charcoal and ginger for a ritual that first discerns who took the 'kalag' and defeated the 'dungan' and left the body an empty shell. After discerning this, she calls the dungan and kalag back, giving an offering to God via some Latin incantations (here we see folk Christianity) and to Abba/Bathala by offering prayers, food and specific things to the river beside our old ancestral home. All the while in the healing chamber, the patient is sitting beside his relative in a room na pinausukan. My wawa puts some kind of powder in the embers that make the room smell fragrant. Then when she comes back after another set of prayers, the patient usually comes to his/her senses. I found it scary but at the same time fascinating. I have no doubt now that this practice came from her own ancient ancestors carried as a cultural artifact from the time of the ancient Pungsod (incidentally, pungsod in Hiligaynon means 'country' - hence a rajah rules a 'country' and a datu, a vassal kingdom within that country/pungsod.Even today in Panay and Negros, pungsod means counry as in 'balita sang pungsod'/'national news'). Alright everybody, good night ulit! Catch you all later!