09 April 2016, Quezon City
I started to know more of Padi in 1992 when I joined the regional secretariat of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA). Nasurok dua ay dekada nan napalabas. I now remember two instances Padi, others, and I traveled together. The first was to Dallic, Mtn. Province in 1992 to assist him in documenting the disappearance of a farmer. Saan pay a dimmanon ti kalsada idi. Isunga nagna kami manipud Balikyan a sumangat. And the second was when I accompanied him, Mother Dolores of Ifugao and (I think) Ama Banag of Kalinga to the 10th Kilusang Mangbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) Anniversary in 1995 somewhere in Nueva Ecija.
1989, Tadian, Mt. Province
Who would not forget the high spirit and boundless energy of Padi that beats us of the younger years? “Snappy! Snappy! Snappy!” He would often call to prod others to act or walk faster. His signature jump and shout “ayehaw” when he starts his speech shocks the tired and sleepy to full attention. His endless talking-talking, singing, humming, moving and playing of the nose flute (too much at times J)provide good company and keeps the driver alert in long road travels.
Tadian, Mt. Province, 1989
Aside from these lively “antics” of Padi – dakkel ay iyaman tako geddan ken cia nan gaget na ay mangibigay isnan gawis ya kagawisan nan nainsigudan ay ugali, pammati ya kapanunotan. It is but admirable that he is able to bring about a positive fusion of his indigenous beliefs and practices, his Anglican faith, and his progressive advocacies for human rights and indigenous peoples rights.
As an elder, he felt strongly for the younger Igorot generations to learn and know how to speak his or her own “kali” or indigenous language. Many times, he would chide many Igorot activists including me – of not teaching our children to speak the “kali” well. It is a shame; he says and shakes his head in disappointment.
It is no wonder that most of his compositions were in Kankanaey and some a mixture of English, Kankanaey or Iloko. He even translated the names of the calendar months in Kankanaey and made a rhyme supposedly for easier recall. Nan malagip ko et kag wada nan Opog ya Dalipey or sounds like Opog and Dalipey. He also translated in Iloko-Kankanaey the biblical passage “man does not live by bread alone,” which became popular – “saan a makan laeng iti pagbibiag ti tao…” Often times, when he teaches and sings this passage – he forgets the words – and hums his way until he remembers the words or goes back at the start and sings it to the end.
He was also a human rights defender. In 1993, Padi, Chris Batan and Manang Mila Fanaang were on their way to Betwagan (Mountain Province) to document human rights violations there during the US Marcos Dictatorship for the filing of the class suit against the Marcoses. CAFGU elements opened fired at them killing Chris.
Like many in the CPA, the military vilified him. They often accused him as an NPA or a member of the New People’s Army. When he retired from his regular clerical duties as an Anglican priest – angangaw na ay kanan – “Wen. NPA ak because now I have No Parish Assignment.” However, Padi persevered despite various attacks on his person and life. He remained an active member and officer of the CPA until his sudden death.
I last saw and spoke with Padi last Saturday (02 April) during the wedding of his niece Endenna Solang in Baguio City. For us who have been with him several years back would notice he has “slowed down.” Sadly, he has aged. He asked me several times for my name ya nan kubbaw ko. I would reply like it was the first time he asked.
Rest in Peace, Padi. We can see you walking with your long black umbrella while singing “Tumured! Bumangon! Lumaban! …” #