this is y’egas, a t’boli singer from lake sebu in south cotabato. i came across her in 2004 when i went up the area to work on a documentary (which unfortunately i didn’t finish). the first time i met her at her home and asked her to sing for the documentary, y’egas started lamenting in song about the conditions of her people and fighting for ancestral domain land titles in a largely government protected area (watershed). i gave her a token of thanks (p500) for her help and left. i later learned from my guide that she didnt like me recording her; she was saying i might exploit her and her people and all that jazz. i was oblivious because she sang in her native tongue and didnt speak a word of bisaya! i also found out my recording got corrupted (used minidv tapes and for some reason they were pixelated and “choppy”) so i had to go back and redo the footage. i braved asking her to sing again and thankfully this time she was more than helpful, smiled a lot more and sang of the beauty of lake sebu and hoped i bring with me only good memories of her and her land. she even recounted the death of a beloved datu chieftain and sang about a local epic. here is the video to that song.
sorry, i have no way of translating this video. took me a while to find this file, one of the few scenes i was able to digitally convert and keep 5 years ago, and upload on youtube. has it been that long? i have one more of y’egas dancing and her brother, ma’afil, playing the hegolung he made for me. ill upload this vid at another time. here are my blog entries on the trip around zamboanga and lake sebu in 2004: