Bikol is a region of approximately five million people on the island of Luzon, south of the Tagalog speaking areas around Manila. The six Bikol speaking provinces are Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate.
Data come primarily from the seventeenth century Marcos de Lisboa Vocabulario de la Lengua Bicol compiled during his nine year residence in the region between 1602 and 1611. Supplementary data come from the accounts of those who visited or were resident in the Philippines during the latter part of the sixteenth century or early part of the seventeenth century who wrote accounts of what they observed in the country.
Father Marcos de Lisboa was born in Lisbon and joined the Franciscan order in 1582 in Malacca. He was the Definidor y Ministro of the Bikol town of Nabua in 1602, administrator of the town of Oas in 1605, and Vicario Provincial of the Province of Camarines from 1609 to 1611. Lisboa remained in the Philippines until 1618 when he left for Mexico. He later returned to Madrid in 1622. The date of his death is generally given as 1628. Mention is made of an unpublished work by Lisboa in an anonymous manuscript of 1649. This is presumably his dictionary which remained unpublished until 1754, although handwritten copies were available up until the time of publication.
Entries which are found only in Lisboa’s Vocabulario are marked [MDL]. Entries in which the usage in Lisboa and modern usage are basically the same are marked [+MDL]. Those in which some part of the modern meaning is shared, but there is an additional component of meaning in Lisboa are also marked [+MDL: ] with the additional component of meaning shown after the colon. Other abbreviations used in the dictionary entries are as follows: s/t [something], s/o [someone], o/s [oneself], (fig-) [figurative], (typ-) [type or kind] and (arc-) [archaic]. Stress is shown on all modern Bikol entries, and those entries from Lisboa where stress can be determined, for example, badós [pregnant]. Most of entries cited in this paper have been abridged so as to focus on the aspect of meaning most relevant to the topic under discussion. Full entries can be found in the new Bikol Dictionary.
The Spanish kept track for the population of the areas of the Philippines they controlled. These areas were divided into estates or encomiendas, and a record of population was necessary to determine the amount of tribute or taxes to be collected by these encomiendas. For the Bikol region as it was constituted in 1591, incorporating the mainland peninsula and the island of Cantanduanes, the population estimate was 86,640 individuals. If we add to this the island of Masbate, the population estimate increases by 1600 to 88,240 individuals. This was probably not the total population considering that not all areas of the region were under Spanish control, and tributes were not officially required from the part of the population to whom no Spanish services, such as security, were offered, but it is probably a close approximation. Compared to the current population of over 5 million, we can see that the population was small, even in a region such as Bikol which had rich rice-growing areas and was considered well-populated by the standards of the day.
The population of 88,240 individuals comprised 22,060 tribute groups. This ratio of 4:1 seems to have been common in all regions of the Philippines under Spanish control. The tribute imposed was on a family group comprising a husband, wife and children who were considered minors. It would have also been imposed on individuals who were no longer considered minors, such as men over 20 and females over 25, albeit at a lower rate. We can only guess at the size of a family unit, but using the figures above, it appears to have comprised two to three children. While the Spanish commented that fertility was high among the Filipino women, they never commented that the families were particularly large (see Section on Marriage and children).
Marriage and children
When a girl first started to menstruate, this was celebrated among the Tagalogs by a four day feast. The girl herself was blindfolded for four days and nights while the feasting occurred. At the end of this period, the priestess removed the blindfold from the girl, and brought her to a body of water where she was then bathed. This ceremony was performed so that the woman would be able to bear children and would end up choosing a husband with whom she could share a long life.
Women did not wait for marriage to engage in sexual relations. Virginity was considered a hindrance to marriage, and a young woman, after she began menstruating, was taken to a man in the community who was paid to sleep with her for the first time. Once a woman was married, children were an expected outcome of this union. In an article attributed to Father Diego de Bobadilla, it is mentioned that fertility seemed high and he observed relatively few married couples without children. If a marriage did not produce any children, this was noted and commented upon. The term bawás is undoubtedly the same as the term for ‘to reduce’ or ‘diminish’. This term is not used with the meaning of ‘infertile’ in modern Bikol, which uses instead ba’óg, a term not found in Lisboa.
bawás barren, infertile (referring to a man or woman without children) [MDL]
báwas MAG-, -AN to diminish the amount of s/t; ... [+MDL: bawás MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to reduce or diminish s/t; MA-,-ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to reduce s/t by a particular amount; to remove s/t, causing a reduction in quantity or amount]
ba’óg barren, infertile, sterile; describing s/o who is unable to produce offspring; MÁGIN to become barren
Among the Tagalogs, where polygamy was not common, if a wife could not become pregnant, the husband sought permission from her to have children with one of their slaves. In the Visayas, the taking of more than one wife among the upper classes, was more common. Here, if he could afford to do so, a husband could marry again to find a wife who might produce an heir.
Some families may have felt a sense of rejection and disappointment at not having children, while others may have had just one child, stopping there either through desire or the inability to have further children. Loarca comments that among the Visayans it was considered shameful to have a large number of children. A large family meant that the family’s lands and wealth would have to be divided among many individuals, leaving all of them poor. The ideal in some families was to have just one child who would then inherit all the family’s wealth.
kuróm-kúrom regretful, disconsolate; MA- or MAG- to be disconsolate or despondent at marrying a person who does not have property; (PAG-)-AN to feel denigrated (the person to whom one is married, for not having land); also has the following contextual meanings: ... Kuróm-kúrom an bu’ót ta kainíng da’í kitáng pinagaatáman na áki’ We are downhearted at not having children to bring up [MDL]
bugtóng the only child in a family; bugtóng na áki’ an only child [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to not wish to have a second child; (PAG-)-ON to be an only child]
Children may also have been a factor in remarriage as the example in the following entry shows. Those who were married and suddenly found themselves single would often remarry. Divorce was common, and death due to illness, accident or conflict also claimed the lives of early Bikolanos. The number of children each of the partners brought to a marriage may have been an influence on whether or not to enter into a new relationship with a particular person. If each of the partners had the same number of children, this may have been considered a positive influence in furthering the relationship.
singpód MAG- to be equal; to be the same; MAG-, PAG--ON to equalise two things; to match or pair things off; MA-, -AN: singporán or MAG-, PAG--AN: pagsingporán to find a match or pair for s/t; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to match or pair s/t with another; MAGKA- to be matched, paired: Nagkakasingpód sindáng magagóm ta’ magkasí may áki’ That couple is well matched, each with one child; KA- equal; corresponding to; a match, pair [MDL]
Extramarital pregnancies would also have occurred. In such cases, if the father of the child was already married, he could choose to pay a dowry or bride price to the parents of the woman. The child was then accepted as his natural child, even though the mother was still not considered his wife, and became eligible to inherit part of the father’s estate. The estate was divided on a ratio of two parts for a legitimate child and one part for an illegitimate child. If both the father and mother were unmarried when the woman fell pregnant or gave birth, then it was probable that the couple would be married after the expected payment of a dowry or bride price.
When children were born as a result of adulterous affairs these children remained with the mother, were accepted by the father and inherited equally with the legitimate children as long as the affair was acknowledged and payment made in compensation. If the affair remained unacknowledged and no compensation paid, the children were not recognised by the father. They were included neither in his inheritance nor in that of their mother.
If an older woman was still having children, this was also reason for comment, although the comment doesn’t appear to be particularly positive, especially when used figuratively for an entry dealing with mice gnawing through something until there is little left.
udód MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to gnaw through or eat s/t completely, leaving nothing (mice, rats); (PAG)--AN: (pag)udorán to have s/t one owns completely eaten away or eaten up by mice, rats; (fig-) Kauudorán ni kuyán Said when an older woman is still having children [MDL]
A woman who had children year after year might also elicit the following comment which is modern Bikol, although the Lisboa entry is clearly related to birth and the expression may easily have been used as well during his time.
surót MA- one after the other, at close intervals; successive: Masurót siyáng magáki’ She has children one after the other [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to be ready to be born (a child); (PAG-)-AN to be ready to give birth (a woman); (fig-) Minasurót na gáyo iníng súgo’ ngunyán These orders are coming one after the other]
Working life clearly did not stop for a pregnant woman or for a woman with a small child. She continued working, and this too was noted and commented upon, particularly if this work involved travel and a degree of difficulty and inconvenience. San Agustin, writing in the mid to the later part of the seventeenth century and drawing as well on earlier accounts of the Philippines, mentions that in some villages women were indeed the breadwinners and their work was necessary for the support of the family. If this was the case, then giving up work due to a pregnancy may not have been an option.
mámat MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to breed animals; to raise animals for breeding; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to feed s/t to animals raised for breeding; (fig-) Kamamamátan ka man saná kainíng halyáw mo You’re bred to your merchandise (Said when a woman who is pregnant or accompanied by a small child continues peddling goods from town to town) [MDL]
There are references to the killing of unwanted children. Loarca in 1582, referring to the people of Pangasinan, mentions that some babies would be killed to keep the community from sliding into poverty, presumably during a time of want. Loarca also mentions that this practice was similar to that found in the Visayas. Chirino appears to confirm this occurrence in the Visayas when he mentions an incident involving a newly-born baby about to be buried along a riverbank by a mother who was unable or unwilling to undertake the additional strain of raising it. San Nicholas also mentions infanticide as a practice in Pangasinan indicating that children in excess to what a family wanted or could support would be buried alive.
Legazpi has a single mention of children being sold without apparent reason. It is possible that what was observed was the payment of a fee relating to the adoption of a child (see Section on Orphans and adoption). Without further detail, it is difficult to determine the exact nature of the transaction.
What if a pregnancy was unwanted? There must have been a number of ways to attempt to abort a pregnancy, thereby avoiding having to raise an unwanted child. There is, however, only one entry in Lisboa’s Vocabulario dealing with abortion which is brought about by manipulation of the foetus in the womb.
rugmók MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to bring about an abortion by manipulation of the foetus in the womb; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to cause a mother to abort in this way; MAKA-, MA- to be aborted in this way (the foetus) [MDL]
Pregnancy and birth
There are a number of words for pregnancy, both the general state and the physical appearance. For old and modern Bikol, ngídam refers to conception of a child, although modern Bikol has taken this further to refer as well to cravings felt during pregnancy, and attribution of particular characteristics to the child based on something the mother saw or ate during this period of time.
ngídam MANG- to be pregnant; to be carrying; to conceive; MAGPANG-, PANG--AN to look for s/t during pregnancy so that one’s child will be born with the characteristics of what is seen or eaten; to crave or long for s/t during pregnancy; IPANG- to be born with particular characteristics due to s/t one’s mother saw or ate during pregnancy; PANG- pregnancy; conception [+MDL: MANG-, IPANG- to conceive or be pregnant with a child; PANG- or PAGPANG- to be pregnant]
One of the characteristics a woman it seems did not want to impart to her child was to be born bald. To avoid this happening, the mother would refrain from cutting her hair once she knew that she was pregnant since such cutting could bring about this undesired result.
The two general entries for pregnancy in Bikol are badós and áwot, with modern Bikol replacing the former with badát when annoyed or angry (also see Section on Interacting with the child (Discipline)). Dará is used for polite reference.
badós pregnant, in the family way; MAG- to become pregnant; MAG-, -AN to make s/o pregnant; to impregnate; MAKA-, MA--AN to become pregnant out of wedlock [+MDL]
áwot MA- or MA--AN to be pregnant (a woman); IKA- to be carrying a child (be pregnant); AN NAKA- the child the mother is carrying; foetus [MDL]
badát pregnant, used only when annoyed or angry in place of badós
dará MAG-, -ON to bring or take s/t; to carry s/t; ...[+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to take or carry s/t; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to take or carry s/t to s/o; (fig-) MAG- to be pregnant (polite usage); MAG-, PAG--ON to be with child]
A number of entries also refer to the time a pregnancy begins to show, while others focus on the foetus with the mother seen as the place the foetus can be found.
báhod referring to the time it becomes obvious that a woman is pregnant; a bulge protruding through a covering such as a mat or cloth, resembling a pregnant woman’s stomach; (PAG-) -AN to begin to show (a pregnant woman); ... [MDL]
kambó MA- or MAG- to begin to show (a woman who is pregnant): Makambó na iyán kabadsán ni kuyán That woman’s pregnancy is beginning to show [MDL]
áki’ child, kid; son, daughter; ...[+MDL: MAKA- to grow (the foetus); MA--AN to be pregnant; ...]
tudók MA- to grow in the womb (a foetus); -AN: to be pregnant; PAG- pregnancy [MDL]
The irritation a woman may have sometimes felt when pregnant may also have been a reason for comment. The following example, however, seems particularly unflattering.
aringit MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to anger or infuriate s/o; to tease or incite an animal; -ON: aringiton na táwo peevish, irritable, cross; Kaaringiton mo doy How irritable you are; Kaaringiton mong magbadós, síring ka sa áyam You’re so irritable now that you’re pregnant, just like a dog [MDL]
The inherent danger to the life and health of a pregnant woman was also recognised. This is expressed figuratively in the two entries which follow, the first equating a pregnant woman with one staring into a hole, possibly an indication of the unknown, and the second with the navigation of possibly dangerous currents.
liliyáw MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to look down on s/t; to look at s/t from above; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to look down at a particular area; (fig-) Bagá naliliyáw sa kutkót an babáyi kon nagdadaráng áki’ A woman who is pregnant is like one looking into a hole (Note: A direct translation of the Spanish is: A woman who is pregnant is like one with one foot in a hole. No further explanation, however, is given for the Bikol or the Spanish interpretation) [MDL]
sibágat the currents in the Bikol River above the town of Alinauan (probably dangerous and difficult to navigate); (fig-) Da’í pa nakakasibágat an babáyi kon da’í pa nakakapangáki’ A (pregnant) woman in not out of danger until she has given birth [MDL]
One of the real dangers facing a pregnant woman was the chance of having a miscarriage. One of the signs of an imminent miscarriage could have been bleeding, although the following entry is not exclusively associated with pregnancy.
áwas hemorrhage; MAKA-, MA- to hemorrhage [MDL: MA- or MAG- to flow (blood from a woman due to illness and not when menstruating); (PAG-)-AN to suffer from this affliction; to bleed in this way (a woman); AN I(PAG)- the blood passed from such bleeding [MDL]
Of the terms for a miscarriage, sabát was common during the time of Lisboa, attributing a miscarriage to some malevolent cause. The second entry is modern usage.
sabát MA- to miscarry; to have a miscarriage (said to be caused by some evil influence); MAKA- to cause a miscarriage [MDL]
ku’á MA--AN to miscarry; to have a miscarriage; PAGKA--I: an pagkaku’áni nin áki’ a miscarriage
Within the religious world of early Bikol society, it was believed that a miscarried foetus took supernatural form in combination with a small black bird, emitting a call that was a danger to other pregnant women, causing them to also miscarry. While this entry is not found in Lisboa, it is a belief which persists in the Bikol region to the present time.
patyának supernatural creature resembling the fusion of an untimely discharged human foetus and a tiny black bird whose mournful wailing resembles that of an infant; if the wailing is heard at night by a pregnant woman, but not by others who are with her, this could indicate that she will have a miscarriage [BIK MYT]
A child which was carried full term could be stillborn, or could be born with one of a number of abnormalities (see Section on Death, sickness and health).
mundág born; mundág na gadán stillborn; MAG-, I- to give birth to a child; MA- to be born; ... PAGKA- birth; ... [+MDL]
There are a number of variations on the effects of the patyának on the mother or child. For Plasencia, in his description of customs in the Tagalog region, the term patyának refers to both the death of the child at birth and the death of the mother. A mother dying in childbirth along with her child was condemned to continually lament the death. This lament was heard at night and could presumably cause harm if heard by others.
For Ortiz, the patyának is blamed for most instances of unsuccessful births, resulting in either the death of the mother or child, or both. Here the patyának is seen as a goblin that hides in the trees around the house of a woman about to give birth, waiting to enter. To ward off its presence, men stand naked in all positions around the house, on the ridge, under it and outside, brandishing their weapons and slashing the air to prevent the patyának from entering and causing harm. If it is suspected that a patyának had already entered the house of a woman due to give birth, she was moved to another house which was considered safe.
The patyának also caused harm to the child. As described by Zúñiga, the tongue of the patyának was inserted into the womb of the woman in labour. By so doing it prevented the child from being born. To keep the patyának from reaching his wife and causing harm to the child and mother, the husband barred the doors to the house, lit a fire, striped off his clothes and naked vigorously slashed the air with a sword.
The bird called tiktík was seen as a messenger of the patyának as well as another feared supernatural creature called the aswáng (the entry below is Bikol). This bird positioned itself on the roof of a neighbouring house and from there extended its long thread-like tongue into the anus of the child, enabling it to suck out the entrails resulting in its death.
aswáng supernatural creature; a devil or witch said to eat human flesh; -ON or MA- to be bewitched, enchanted or put under a spell [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to bewitch s/o; to call s/o an aswáng; to search out the bodies of the dead to feast on; MANGHING-, PANGHING- -AN to accuse s/o of being a witch; (fig-) KA- gluttonous: Kaaswáng mo doy sa pagsúngay What an aswáng you are when it comes to eating]
A mother could be assured that the child she was carrying was still alive when she continued to feel movement in the womb.
hikól-híkol MAG- to slither; to wiggle, wriggle, writhe; to squirm [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to slither; to move (a child in the womb)]
When time for the birth arrived, contractions signaling the onset of labour were possibly expressed by the following term.
surót MA- one after the other, at close intervals; successive: Masurót siyáng magáki’ She has children one after the other [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to be ready to be born (a child); (PAG-) -AN to be ready to give birth (a woman); (fig-) Minasurót na gáyo iníng súgo’ ngunyán These orders are coming one after the other]
The pain of labour in modern Bikol is expressed by the term báti’, a term which in Lisboa’s day simply indicated ‘to feel pain’. The specific term in Lisboa is batyág, which is also used in modern Bikol.
báti’ MAG- to feel pain; to be in labour [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to feel pain; -ON or -AN to be in pain; I- to cause pain; MA- describing that which is sensed]
batyág MAG- to be in labour; to have labour pains [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to be in labour; (PAG-) -ON to feel the child while giving birth]
The movement of the foetus into the birth canal would lead the mother to subsequent pressing down firmly to expel the child.
gulmó’ MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to squeeze or press s/t in the clenched hand or between the hands (as a nut which one is trying to crack); to press down on a child in the womb (a woman about to give birth); (PAG-)-AN to move into the birth canal of the mother (a child about to be born) [MDL]
da’gós MAG- to groan under a strain, often associated with the strain of defecating when constipated [+MDL: MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to push forcefully (a woman giving birth, a constipated person when defecating)]
A woman experiencing a particularly difficult labour may utter a sentence such as that included in the follow entry where she begins to doubt the benefit of having the child in first place.
kurí MA- or MAG- to experience great difficulty in giving birth; (PAG-)-AN to have a difficult labour; PAG- a difficult birth; Makurí an pagkurí si károy kainíng áki’ It was very difficult seeing the benefit of bringing this child into the world (Said when one has had a difficult birth) [MDL]
A pregnant woman would not give birth alone, but would use the services of a midwife. The role of the midwife was acknowledged during Lisboa’s time, as she is in the present.
tagamasúso midwife; MAG-, -AN to serve as a midwife to s/o; to deliver a baby for s/o (a midwife) [MDL]
One of the earliest actions undertaken by a midwife may have been to confirm a pregnancy by seeing if their was some firmness in the womb.
tantán MAKA-, MA--AN to feel to see if there is some firmness in the womb (a midwife): Nakakatantán akó nin makasá digdí sa tulák mo I am feeling to see if there is some firmness in your womb [MDL]
When the time came for the birth of a child the midwife would offer the pregnant woman a massage to help relieve her pain, and have available as well various plants to help the mother or facilitate the birthing process.
hílot MAG-, -ON to massage s/o; PARA- masseur, masseuse [+MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to massage a particular part of the body to relieve pain; to treat a woman during childbirth with massage (a midwife); MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to treat an ache, pain or dislocation by massage]
panangtáng plant (typ- used by midwives to treat women, serving as an aid in childbirth) [MDL]
After giving birth a woman would be offered some privacy in the form of a screen placed around her bed.
úbong a curtain-like screen placed around the bed of a woman who has just given birth; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to place such a curtain around s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to put such a curtain in place [MDL]
The common term ‘to give birth’ is mundág (see above), although during Lisboa’s time it was possible to use a verb form derived from the noun umbóy [infant].
umbóy baby, infant [+MDL: MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give birth to a child; also: a term of affection; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to call an infant by such an endearing term]
Among the Tagalogs, and presumably also common in other areas of the Philippines, women, as soon as they are able after giving birth, bathed in a nearby river or lake. The newly-born child was also taken from the mother and bathed, its head then rubbed with sesame and civet after it was removed from the water.[25 ]The birth of a child among the upper classes of Tagalog society would be greeted by a week of celebration accompanied by songs sung by women.
Nursing, weaning and the first solid food
The two main terms for suckling or nursing are based on the noun for breast. Súso is the most common and is used in modern Bikol as well as the Bikol represented in Lisboa’s Vocabulario. The second term, mími is used only in modern Bikol. The sound of a child suckling is shown by the somewhat onomatopoeic term sarupúsop.
súso’ breast, teat, udder; bust; MAG-, -ON to suck milk from the breast; MAG-, -AN to nurse, suckle (a child or animal sucking milk from the mother); MAGPA-, PA--ON to nurse, suckle (a mother nursing a child or an animal its offspring) [+MDL: súso: kaitmánan nin súso the dark area surrounding the nipple; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to suckle milk; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to nurse, suckle (a child); MAPA- or MAGPA- to nurse a child (the mother); MANG- to predict or foretell the future by looking at the teats of a dog; TAGáMA- midwife; MAGTAGáMA-, PAGTAGáMA--AN to serve as a midwife to s/o; to deliver a baby for s/o]
mími breast (human); MAG-, -AN to suck milk from a breast or bottle; MAGPA-, PA--ON to breast or bottle feed; to suckle
sarupúsop a sucking sound (such as that made by a child nursing or sucking on a nipple, or by s/o drinking through a straw); MA- or MAG- to make this sound [MDL]
Children who insisted on nursing too frequently could cause annoyance, and this might be expressed by the figurative meaning of dungkál where the nursing child is compared to the feeding of pigs. It has been suggested that in upland Philippine societies, the nursing of pigs by a woman was not uncommon, and the reference here could be to such an occurrence. There is nothing specific in Lisboa to indicate that this was the case.
dungkál MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to dig s/t up with the snout (pigs); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to poke the snout into s/t (pigs); (fig-) Nagdudungkál ka giráray You’re always sticking your snout in (Said to a child who wants to continually nurse) [MDL]
Children were weaned at different times, the specific instance dependent upon the wishes of the mother and the insistence of the child. There were reputed health reasons why a mother would let a child continue to suckle, and one of these was that the child would be healthier, generally expressed as being ‘fat’.
na’ós MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to allow a child to suckle or nurse as often as it wants; seen as a sign that the child will grow fat [MDL]
A child who continued to nurse could be referred to by the figurative meaning of puknít, a term which generally refers to removing something from a place where it has become stuck.
puknít MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to detach s/t; to remove s/t from where it is stuck or where it has become lodged; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to detach or remove s/t from s/t else; (fig-) Da’í pa mapupuknít sa súso iníng áki’ This child still has not been weaned; Pagpuknitá nindó iyán naggugúlong Separate those who are fighting [MDL]
Children would eventually, if not forced to stop nursing, simply wean themselves by growing tired of a process that they no longer required.
halót MAKA- to grow tired of suckling (an animal or child due to having suckled a lot, or to being close to the stage of being weaned); MAKA-, MA- to suckle milk; MAKA-, MA--AN to suckle milk from the mother [MDL]
Once children have been weaned, they are introduced to their first solid food. Before a child has its own teeth, this is done by giving it food which has been previously chewed by and adult. It is interesting to see that the same entry applies to chewing food for an old person who has lost his or her teeth.
ngungó’ MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to chew s/t so that it can then be given to a child who does not yet have any teeth, or the elderly [MDL]
When a child gradually becomes able to feed itself, it is time to introduce it to the eating norms of the community. Bikolanos ate with their hands. There are enough entries in Lisboa to indicate that this was the common practice. Rice was eaten by the handful, comments were made when someone ate without first washing their hands, and dried foods, such as puffed rice, were also emptied into the mouth by the handful
kakán MAG- to eat; ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MANG-, PANG--ON to eat everyday food; Da’í kamíng kinakakán We have nothing to eat; MA-, I or MANG-, IPANG- to eat with the hands; MA-, -AN or MANG-, PANG--AN: pamamangánan to eat in a particular place, such as a dining area; to eat from a table or a particular utensil, such as a plate; ... ]
daklót MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to take a handful of rice from a plate; to eat rice by taking a handful from a plate [MDL]
takwó MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to eat s/t without first washing the hands [MDL]
aruróng MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to eat s/t by tilting the head up and throwing a handful of food into the mouth (as when eating puffed rice (pilipíg) or other sweets) [MDL]
A child had to be taught the proper way of eating. This, as with all skills learned by a child, took time. A child holding food in its hand could be compared to filling a container with a narrow opening. Very little food ended up entering the child’s mouth.
pídot a narrow mouth or opening; MA- to have a narrow mouth or opening; MA- or MAG- to become narrow or constricted (an opening); Si pídot na ngúson (ngúso’ an) áki’ iní, nagwarák na si kinakakán What a narrow mouth this child has, scattering about what she is eating (Said when a child still does not know how to eat) [MDL]
When children had more control, they might place a whole handful of food in the mouth at one time, particularly when it looked as if the food was about to fall from the hand. Once in the mouth, it was inevitable that the child was going to chew it all, and this was a cause for comment.
luklók MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to put a whole handful of food in the mouth all at once because of having trouble holding it (as a child might do) [MDL]
damók MAG to chew with the mouth full of food: Nagdamók na iníng áki’ This child chews with his mouth full [MDL]
Children could go off their food, or could fall into a rebellious mood where they just refused to eat. Such actions might lead to a general coaxing of the child, or an insistence that the child eat.
sálo’ MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to encourage a child to eat (especially when they show they need some prodding); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to insist a child eat s/t under such circumstances; saló’-sálo’ MAG- to keep insisting that a child eat; MAPA- or MAPAPAG- to show you want some coaxing or encouragement to eat (a child or an adult): Napapapagsaló’-sálo’ ka giráray nin pagkakán You always want s/o to encourage you to eat [MDL]
When a parent or guardian had some particularly delicious food, he or she would often feel better if this was shared with a child or other loved one.
tigók MA- to feel uncomfortable eating a particularly desirable food without a child or other loved one joining in; MAKA-, MA--AN to want s/o to join you in eating; MAKA-, IKA- to want to share a particular food; Makatiró-tigók na ta’ da’í ka na dúlok Offer to share the food you are eating since no one will approach you to ask for some (Said when one is eating and a relative or acquaintance is looking on) [MDL]
A child given some food it is not yet used to might start to drool. This might happen when given something hot, such as chilli, although a young child might also drool as a natural course of its development,
wágak saliva, spittle; MAG to drool, slaver, slobber; to salivate; MAG-, -AN to drool over s/t; also MAKAPA-, MAPA- [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to salivate, drool; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to drool on s/t; Nawágak na iníng áki’; nakakán gayód nin chile This child is drooling; she’s probably eaten a chilli]
wuloy MA- describing a child who always drools or dribbles; MA- or MAG- to drool, dribble (a child); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to drool on s/t [MDL]
Circumcision was commonly practiced in the Philippines. For men it was performed by slitting the skin lengthwise, and not by cutting around the foreskin to remove it. Technically this should be referred to as supercision. Women were also circumcised. This is described as a slitting or opening up of the clitoris. There is no mention of female circumcision in Lisboa and presumably this did not occur in the Bikol region. It is likely that this practice occurred primarily in the areas more heavily influenced by Moslem religious practices.
The Spanish, indeed, generally assumed that circumcision was a custom adopted from the Moslem groups to the south, through trade and intermarriage between inhabitants of Borneo and the Tagalog speaking area around Manila which was, at least nominally, Moslem at the time of arrival of the Spanish. For groups that were more distant from Moslem influence and had no recollection of contact with them, it was seen as a custom originating with their ancestors.
Male circumcision was said to be so widespread among the Tagalogs that for men to reach puberty without being circumcised became a focus of negative comment. Such uncircumcised men were called by the term supót, once meaning tight or constricted, but gradually taking on the meaning of having difficulty gaining entry in sexual intercourse. These men continued with the custom of circumcision simply to avoid derision. Supót in both modern Tagalog and Bikol has come to mean, simply, uncircumcised.
Other reasons given for continuing with male circumcision where no religious, social or ceremonial grounds were cited were for health and cleanliness.
The general term for circumcision is túri’ and this type was accomplished by cutting the foreskin. The existence of a second term in Bikol, patas, indicates that there was also another method of circumcision. The tying of a strand of hair around the foreskin implies that skin was removed by depriving it of a blood supply, causing it to shrivel and die.
túri’ circumcised; MAG-, PAG--ON to circumcise s/o [+MDL: túri MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to circumcise s/o]
pátas MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to cut the foreskin by tying it with strands of hair; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to circumcise s/o in this way [MDL]
The sign of an attractive adult in the Bikol region, as in much of the pre-Hispanic Philippines, was a flattened forehead. In Bikol, in fact, it was the lack of such a feature that was remarked on, not its existence.
ligpí’ flat (the forehead); MA- one with a flat forehead; MA- or MAG- to flatten out or grow flatter (the forehead); KA--AN kaligpí’an flatness (of the forehead)
luntók MA- describing s/o who has not had their forehead flattened when a child; MA- or MAG- to once again grow round (the forehead of a child when the flattening process is stopped); Abóng luntók mo Your forehead is very rounded [MDL]
The forehead of a child was shaped starting when they were young. For this purpose a small flat piece of metal was used. In addition to this, a cushion was also used, possibly serving to protect the forehead from the piece of metal.
sípit small, flat piece of metal used to flatten the foreheads of children; MA- or MAG- to shape the forehead of children with such a piece of metal [MDL]
sa’op s/t resembling a small cushion used to shape the forehead of children; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to shape the forehead of children in this way [MDL]
The flattening process must have also had an affect on the crown of the head, leaving a small indentation. In addition to flattening, an indentation was also placed in the child’s forehead, made by pressing a small piece of bamboo against the skin.
babá’ indentation found on the crown of the head of those who have had their forehead flattened [MDL]
lantíng small piece of bamboo about 3 cm in length, used for compressing type in printing or for placing an indentation in the forehead of children [MDL]
In other areas of the Philippines the forehead of a child was flattened by placing the head between two boards, this process also creating a head that appeared longer rather than rounded.
The head of an infant or child could be protected with a cap or bonnet referred to as suklób, a term which has been broadened in modern Bikol to mean to drape or veil something.
suklób MAG-, -AN to cover s/t (as with a cloth, blanket); to drape or veil s/t; MAG-, I- to cover with s/t [MDL: a child’s cap or bonnet; beret; MA- to place such a cap on a child; MAG- to wear such a cap (a child)]
There is a general term for naming in Bikol and this is ngáran, a verb used for assigning a particular name and for giving a particular name to someone. In modern Bikol the more specific term, bángon, is used when a child is named after someone in particular. During Lisboa’s time this term had an even more specific referent, and was used when a child was named after a particular deceased grandparent.
ngáran a name, title; noun: ... [+MDL: Sí’isay ngáran? or Sí’isay an ngáran mo? What is your name?; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to give s/o a name; to call s/o by name; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give s/o a particular name]
bángon MAG-, I- to name s/o after a particular person: Ibángon mo siyá sakó’ Name her after me [MDL: MA-, -ON to name a child after its deceased grandparent; MA-, -AN to take the name of a particular grandparent]
Children were also named after a particular event or occurrence at the time of birth. In what must be a reference to Visayan naming practices among the Cebuanos, Bobadilla mentions a child could be given the name maglintí’ if it was born during a storm with thunder and lightening, or gubáton if the birth occurred during a time of war with enemy boats appearing off the coast, gúbat meaning ‘enemy’ or ‘foe’.
In an example from the Tagalog region, Chirino mentions similar naming practices. The mother chooses a name based on circumstances accompanying the birth, such as malíwag if the birth was difficult, or a name based on hoped for qualities in the child, such as malakás [strong]. Chirino also mentions that it is possible for the mother to choose a name that might not have such strong relevance to current or hoped-for circumstances, although the names he mentions, such as dá’an [road], báboy [pig] and manók [chicken] may very well have referred to objects or animals in plain view when the child was born, or to those which might have had a stronger relevance to the mother than that readily apparent to the casual observer. These given names are the only ones a person uses throughout his or her life, except for the addition of a surname at the time of marriage. It is likely that the addition of a surname at marriage was not a traditional practice, but one introduced by the Spanish and beginning to spread in the areas of earliest contact, such as the Tagalog region around Manila.
For the Tagalogs, male and female children were given the same names, the female name being distinguished by the addition of an -in suffix. The example Chirino gives is ílog [river] as the name given to a male child, and ilógin as the name given to a female child.
In addition to a formal naming process, children were also referred to by a series of affectionate or pet names (also see Section on Interacting with the child (Endearing expressions and actions)). This is also mentioned by Chirino, but he gives no examples.
yabá’ a word of love or affection (as parents might use when speaking to their children); MAG-, -ON to say this expression to a child; MAGPA-, PA--ON to show love and affection to s/o; to treat s/o as the favourite; to favor s/o; PA- dear, darling; favourite [+MDL: words of love or affection, as parents might use with children, older people with the young, those of high status with those of lesser status, and among those fond of each other: O si yabá’ Oh my darling; úgay ko iká yabá’ How I feel for you my darling (Said to a child who is crying); MAPA-, IPA- or MAGPA-, IPAGPA- to say words of affection, respect; MAPA-, PA--ON or MAGPA-, PAGPA--ON to speak to s/o with such words of respect or affection]
dángat PA- favourite, darling, pet; used only for people; MAGPA-, PA--ON to like or love s/o (as parents for children); to dote on s/o; KAPA--AN love, affection [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to cry to get what it wants (a child); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to cry to get s/t from its parents (a child); MAPA-, PA--ON or MAGPA-, PAGPA--ON to give a child all it wants; MAG-: magdángat a child who cries to get what it wants; úgay ko si áki’ kong pinadángat Oh my darling child]
idí’ a term of affection used for children; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to call children by this name [MDL]
ikí’ term of affection used by women when speaking to their daughters; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to speak to a daughter with love and affection [MDL]
umbóy baby, infant [+MDL: MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give birth to a child; also: a term of affection; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to call an infant by such an endearing term]
damól-dámol term used to compliment a child: Damól-dámol kainíng áki’ How plump this child is; -ON plump (a child) [MDL]
Parents were often referred to by the name of one of their children. This was done for politeness leading to parents being called, for example, amán Juan (amá ni Juan) and inán Juan (iná’ ni Juan), respectively, father and mother of Juan.
Chirino also mentions that this was the common way of addressing parents in the Tagalog region. The name of the first-born son or daughter was the name of the child chosen for reference to the parent. The following entries are Bikol.
pasó-amá’ MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to call a man by the name of one of his children, and not by his own name, as a sign of respect; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to call s/o in this way; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use the name of a child when calling the father; amán Juan the father of Juan; amán Dáto the father of Dato; also see amá’ ‘father’ [MDL]
pasó-iná’ MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to call a woman by the name of one of her children, and not by her own name, as a sign of respect; MA-, -AN or MAG- PAG--AN to call s/o in this way; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use the name of a child when calling the mother; inán Juan the mother of Juan; inán Dáto the mother of Dato; also see iná’ ‘mother’ [MDL]
Stages of development
There are various terms which describe the stages of development a child passes through on the way to adulthood. The most general of these terms are umbóy [infant] and the more encompassing term áki’ [child] which also includes various types of familial relationships.
umbóy baby, infant [+MDL: MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give birth to a child; also: a term of affection; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to call an infant by such an endearing term]
áki’ child, kid; son, daughter; MAG- or MANG- to give birth; to reproduce; MANG-, IPANG- to give birth to a child; PANG- the birth; MAGPA- to deliver a child (by assisting the mother); PAG- birth; MAG-: magáki’ father and child, mother and child; magaráki’ parents and children; KAG- parent, parents; KA--AN childhood; KAPAG--AN: kapagarakí’an children, offspring, progeny; clan, descendants, family, kin, kinship, relatives; descent, lineage, parentage; garó áki’ childish, immature, juvenile; áki’ pa still a child, immature; áki’ na sadít or áki’ sa la’óg nin tulák foetus; áki’ sa luwás illegitimate child, bastard [+MDL: MA-, -ON to accept s/o as one’s child; MAG-, PAG--ON to adopt a child; MAG-, PAG--AN to take a child from its natural parents for the purpose of ad!
option; MAKA- to grow (the foetus); MA--AN to be pregnant; KAG- parents; mother or father; KANGAG-: kangagáki’ parentage; relatives, kinfolk; ancestors; akí’-áki’ MAG- to act like a child; MAG-, PAG--ON to do s/t like a child; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to treat s/o as one’s child]
There are, however, more specific terms which describe the maturation process of a child’s early years, as well as the later years leading to early adulthood. These stages include the first signs of awareness by the child, when they take notice of those around them and of people talking to them, when they are able to turn over independently and when they are able to crawl.
bungát MA- or MAG- to go through various stages of growth over a period of months (children); as from when they are born to when they become aware of things around them and people speaking to them (called maukó’); and from then until they are able to turn over (called mala’ób); and from then until they crawl; and so on through other stages of life, including brief illnesses [MDL]
The onset of puberty for a male child and what we would call the teenage years, is probably first identified in the Lisboa Vocabulario by the changing of the voice. Following this is a term for the mid-stage of ones teenage years, hagbáyon, and then finally the more mature early years when a young man would be ready to start courting. A young man particularly mature for his years is described by the term hadóng-hádong.
lagás describing an adolescent whose voice has changed; MA- or MAG- to change (the voice at adolescence) [MDL]
hagbáyon teenager; child (up to 15-17 years old); MAG- to reach the age of 15-17 years [MDL]
baró-batá’ teenager [+MDL young man, bachelor; MA- describing a man who is dressed for courting; MAG- to adorn o/s; to dress in one’s finest (a young man, usually for the purpose of courting); MAG-, PAG--AN to adorn o/s for a particular person or to appeal to a particular person; MAG-, IPAG- to put on particular items of dress or adornment; MA- to grow up to be a young man]
hadóng-hádong physically big or mature for one’s age (a young man, see baró-batá’): Hadóng-hádong na si kuyán How well developed that person already is [MDL
As one grows older it becomes time to look back and recall what one can from one’s childhood. The accuracy of these recollections was probably no greater than it is today, but the Bikol term used is interesting. Matá means ‘eye’ and associated with it are various verb forms meaning ‘to wake up’. One of the meanings of the prefix ga- is ‘to be like’ or ‘to be similar to’.
gamatá MAKA-, MA--AN to recall things from the earliest times of one’s childhood: Nakagamatá pa akó nin sakóng mga kaganák I can still recall the way my parents were when I was a child; Makakagamatá na daw iníng áki’? Will this child remember what she saw in the past?; PAGKA- remembrance, recollection of one’s childhood; MAPA-, PA--AN to make s/t for one’s children or descendants which will serve as a reminder of their childhood; MAPA-, IPA- to leave s/t to one’s children, descendants to serve as a reminder of their childhood [MDL]
Other stages of childhood were associated with speech. As we will see, being able to speak well was a sign of developmental maturity. Knowing when to speak and what to say was seen as a sign of social maturity associated with learning the polite norms of society.
A young child who was unable to speak clearly was noted and commented upon, as was one who was still unable to pronounce the sounds ‘l’ and ‘r’, something speakers of English can easily relate to as children learning English may go through a similar stage.
kapóy describing s/o who stammers or mumbles; Kapóy pa describing a child who still does not speak well [MDL]
muyít describing the speech of children who still have not learned to pronounce the sounds ‘l’ or ‘r’ properly, substituting a ‘y’ in their place; for example: kaláyo [fire] is pronounced as kayáyo and hárong [house] as háyong; also applicable to adults who have the same problem [MDL]
Speaking at an early age, as well as speaking well, could be seen as positive as long as the child knew its place in society. Lagbás is simply a statement of early speech development, but tádong is more than that. It refers to the content, rather than just to simply existence of speech. Additionally, the figurative meaning of a term like tangbáy may very well refer to speech, the matching of maturing concepts with the ability to express them.
lagbás MAG-, -AN to pass s/t by; to go too far beyond s/t; to overshoot a particular destination; MAKA-, MA--AN to go too far beyond: ... [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to pass by; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to pass by a particular place; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to pass by to get s/t; (fig-) Kalagbás na manarám ni kuyán That child is speaking at a young age]
tádong MA- intelligent, bright, capable, competent; MAG-, -AN to comprehend or understand s/t [+MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to comprehend or understand s/t; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to possess particular skills or abilities: Mínsan áki’, kon matádong na magtarám, hihinangogón nin dakól na táwo Although she’s a child, if she is good at speaking, many people will listen]
tangbáy MAG- to do s/t together; to arrive at the same time; to be born on the same day; MAG-, PAG--ON to make a matching pair; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to make one thing match another; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to match one thing with another; Katangbáy ko si Juán Juan is the same age as me or Juan arrived at the same time as me; (fig-) Tangbáy an bu’ót kainíng áki’ or Tinatangbayán nin bu’ót iníng áki’ This child has always shown common sense; tangbáy na úlay a basic tenet (an opinion which one has always held) [MDL]
A child’s precociousness, however, could easily become a negative quality if its newly acquired ability at verbal expression was not restrained by the knowledge of when or where to use such speech. While a term such as tarí’-tári’ appears to be neutral, or even positive in an appropriate situation, it quickly becomes negative if the child’s forwardness manifests itself in a situation where it is inappropriate.
tarí’-tári’ MA- talkative (a child); forward (a child not afraid to speak out) [MDL]
Children who speak out of turn also open themselves to ridicule. Certainly an expression such as ‘a little knowledge is dangerous thing’, is applicable to the figurative expressions of hulbót and púdo, and in tu’ód-tu’ód we have the clear dismissal of a child’s view based simply on age.
hulbót MAG-, -ON to pull s/t out; to unsheathe; to extract s/t; MAG-, -AN to extract s/t from s/t else [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to pull s/t out from a hole or tight place (as a ramrod from the barrel of shotgun or a plunger from a syringe); (fig-) Abúbong áki’ iní; iyó pa saná kahuhulbót, ikáng makakaáram kaiyán What a child you are; as soon as you are born, you know about that (Said, no doubt, when a child speaks out of turn)]
tu’ód-tu’ód MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to do s/t with care and consideration; to take s/t knowing it is yours to take; MA-: matu’ód-tu’ód na táwo a careful, considerate person; PAGKA- manner, disposition: Mará’ot an pagkatu’ód-tu’ód ni kuyán That person has a poor disposition, manner; Da’í pa máyong háros an pagkatu’ód-tu’ód; áki’ pa giráray an bu’ót His judgement is worth nothing; he’s still a child [MDL]
púdo fruit of the búyo’ vine [+MDL: (fig-) Iká an magbubu’ót kaiyán na garó ka pa saná ing púdo. You’re going to concern yourself with that, as if you were the fruit of the búyo’ vine (Said when a child is about to interrupt a conversation and give his or her opinion); Padangá kainíng garó na ing púdo This one is very insolent, just like the fruit of the búyo’ vine (Said when one of little consequence is too forward)]
Adults who, as with children, choose to expound on a subject they may know little about, may also find themselves compared to children.
bu’ól heel of the foot [+MDL; -ON describing s/o with a large heel bone; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to step on s/t with the heel; to do s/t with the heel; (fig-) Iká an magbú’ot sakúya’, mapulá pa an bu’ól mo You’re telling me what to do when you yourself are new at the task (lit: When you have red heels like a newborn infant)]
The admirable way for a child to show its maturity is to grow into the surrounding society, not just learning its language, but its norms as well.
tata’ó MA- or MAG- to mature (a child); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to grow up learning the proper way to behave (a child); to grow up learning the customs of one’s society; Maráy an bu’ót ngápit kainíng áki’ kon tumata’ó This child will be wise when she grows up; Tata’ó nang táwo si kuyán That person is mature [MDL]
Physical signs of maturing mobility, such as learning how to stand and walk may be seen in the entries for balungbóng, referring to an enclosure to keep a child from falling, and alangbát where we have a narrow corridor constructed in a house to aid a child in its first steps at walking.
balungbóng an enclosure placed around the sides of a snare, trap or fish corral to keep out unwanted birds, game or fish; also used as a temporary shelter for game until they can be properly confined, or as an enclosure to keep a child from falling; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to enclose a trap, animal or child in such a way; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use s/t to form such an enclosure [MDL]
alangbát MAG- to toddle; to start learning how to walk [+MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to walk in s/t resembling a narrow corridor constructed in houses for the purpose of assisting young children taking their first steps (similar to what happens in Spain where a child follows behind a small cart); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to place the arms on a railing, window sill; Naaalangbát iníng áki’ This child is starting to take its first steps]
A child’s physical development may also be commented upon in an attempt to guess how it will look as an adult. An early judgement on whether a child will be tall or not may be made by the length of the child’s limbs while the child is still quite young.
lagwás MA- long (arms - from the wrist to the elbow, and the elbow to the shoulder; and legs - from the ankle to the knee, and from the knee to the groin); describing a person with long limbs; Abóng lagwás kan mga takyág kainíng áki’; dakúla’ gayód ngápit This child has long limbs; he will probably be tall when he grows up [MDL]
In addition to physical mobility, we also have the transition from a child’s baby teeth to adult teeth, as in the following entry.
típo’ MAG-, -ON to knock out a tooth or teeth; MAKA-, MA- to get a tooth knocked out; MA--AN to lose a tooth; IKA- to cause a tooth to fall out [+MDL: MANG- to lose one’s teeth (one who is old, or one who is young when losing their baby teeth): Naninípo’ na iníng áki’ This child is losing her baby teeth]
There is nothing in the Lisboa Vocabulario to indicate that a person with a light complexion was considered in some way more handsome or beautiful than someone with a darker complexion, or to indicate higher class origins. There is one entry which draws attention to the complexion of a child which had lightened after becoming dark due to exposure to the sun.
lu’ás MA- or MAG- to lighten (the skin of a child which had grown darker from exposure to the sun) [MDL]
Ceremonies and beliefs
A child needed to be protected from the evil spirits around it which threatened it and the community as a whole. There were a number of ceremonies which were held to insure such protection. While some of these could be held directly by the family, others involved the local priestess whom the villagers turned to for help.
balyán priestess to whom local people turned in time of need to offer up prayers and perform rituals [MDL]
One of the family ceremonies involved a pig which was fattened beginning with the birth of a child, and then killed only when the child was considered grown, probably at puberty.
bágit a pig, fattened from the time a child is born into the owner’s family, and then killed when the child is grown; the butchered pig is then eaten at a feast called karinga; MA- or MAG- to grow and mature (this type of pig); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to celebrate the growth of a child with the slaughter of this type of pig [MDL]
There were also ceremonial feasts held to secure the health of a child. These were held in honour of the aníto or ancestral spirits. One of these, karinga, was mentioned directly above. The second of these was called gámit.
aníto ancestral spirits once represented by carved wooden statues [+MDL: MAG-, PAG--AN to make a sacrifice or hold a festival for a particular aníto; MAG-, IPAG- to offer s/t as a sacrifice; to present s/t as an offering; MAPAPAG- to ask that a sacrificial ceremony to the aníto be held]
gámit (arc-) ceremonial feast in honour of the aníto; MA- or MAG- to organise such a feast; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to serve particular foods at such a feast; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to hold such a feast for a child; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to hold such a feast for a particular reason [MDL]
In order to place the child under the care of ancestral spirits as a form of protection from evil spirits, such as the aswáng, the child was carried by the balyán to all parts of the house, or walked in procession around the house.
yúkod a ritual in honour of the aníto held to secure a blessing for a favourite child and to protect him or her from the curse of the aswáng; a child is carried by the balyán to all parts of the house, and then proclaimed to be under care of the ancestral spirits [BIK MYT] [MDL: a ritual held for children in honour of the aníto; children walk as in a procession around the inside of the house; MA- or MAG- to walk as in a procession, performing this ritual [MDL]
One of these evil spirits was the pupó’, the presence of which could be discerned when a child’s growth was stunted, something which could be caused by the pupó’ placing its hand on the head of a child (see Section on Death, sickness and health for this entry).
There were other similar beliefs. A child suddenly taken ill, or developing in an abnormal way may be seen to be affected by what we may call the evil eye. In an attempt to find a reason for the perceived effect on the child the parents may utter to expression below, wondering who may be responsible.
huró-huró MAG- to groan, moan [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to groan, moan (the ill); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to groan about s/t; Da’í máyong naghuró-huró nin si satóng mga áki’? Is there anyone moaning over our children? (Meaning: Is there anyone ill-disposed toward our children)]
While parents may consider their children as little angels, others may have different ideas. Speculation about how a child may turn out could easily be made when the topic of conversation turns to a particular family. The expression related to children below equates the early success of someone’s own crops with social consequences which may be far less pleasant.
ngasá a belief or superstition that if one’s fields or crops are particularly successful in comparison with those of others, death or misfortune will soon be visited on s/o in the town, or the crops themselves will be lost; MA- or MAG- to die or be visited by some misfortune as foretold by such a superstition; to fail (one’s crops); Ngasá na palán lugód idtóng pagkabu’ót nang dá’an kaidtóng áki’ In spite of all the good qualities this child has shown, she will not come to a good end [MDL]
When a child develops particular characteristics or expressions which otherwise seem to be unexplainable, or for which an origin cannot easily be found, others in the community may attribute this to outside traumatic events, such as witnessing the burial of a parent.
tagí a habit, characteristic or expression exhibited by a child (such as the way of holding the head, moving the mouth or hands or using a particular facial expression) said to come about because, when placing a dead mother or father in a shroud, they had seen the same look, expression or position; MA-, IKA- to exhibit such habits, expressions or characteristics; MAKA- to influence a child in such a way (a dead parent) [MDL]
The entry below is not found in Lisboa. It is a modern entry which shows an attempt by the parents to imbue certain qualities in their child by choosing particular foods which they have come to believe will impart such qualities. (Also see Section on Naming)
sumbíl referring to the action of parents who give a child as its first solid food, a food whose properties they hope to impart to the child; for example: the gizzard of a chicken so that the child will have a good appetite; the tail of a pig so that the child will be fat; the flesh of an eel so that the child will have supple bones that will not break if it falls; MAG-, -ON to give a child a particular food in order to bring about a desired effect
Interacting with the child
Caring for the child
There are any number of words which refer to the care of others. General terms such as lábot and tandá’ refer to general care and responsibility. More specific is a term like angkóy referring to the care of children, or of those who find themselves dependent upon others.
lábot business, affairs, concern, care; attention ... [+MDL: ... MAG-, PAG--ON to look after s/o; to take an interest in or show responsibility toward s/t; to feed or support s/o; to entertain guests; MAG-, IPAG- to offer s/t to guests; to offer food or other support to someone under your care; MAKA-, MA--AN: malabtán to watch over (a rooster over its hens); MA-, MA--AN to feel a responsibility for s/t: Nalabtán akó kaiyán I have a responsibility for that]
tandá’ MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to look after s/o; to take responsibility for s/o; MAPA-, PA--ON to have s/o take responsibility for s/o; to have s/o testify to s/t or bear witness to s/t; ... [MDL]
angkóy MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to care for or provide for s/o in the family, such as parents for their children or children for an elderly parent, or for others taken into the household and treated as members of the family who are unable to care for themselves [MDL]
Care of a child is constant, as alluded to in the entry below, where a mother refers to herself figuratively as a pole bound by a string of coconuts, surrounded and unable to devote herself to much else aside from the raising of her children (aburóng). This is made quite specific in the entry kiríng-kíring.
aburóng a string of coconuts tied around a bamboo pole; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to tie a string of coconuts to a pole; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to utilise a pole for the tying of a string of coconuts; (fig-) Garó na akó inaburongán kainíng mga áki’ It is as if I am being tied like coconuts around a pole by these children (Said when one is surrounded by children) [MDL]
kiríng-kíring used to describe the work of a mother in the raising of small children; MA- to be busy with the everyday chores of raising small children: Pa’anó akóng makatuklós kainíng nakiríng-kíring na akó kainíng mga áki’ How can I work since I am kept so busy with these children [MDL]
A term such as ákay may probably be interpreted in a number of ways, but the image of a mother hen trying to control her chicks gives one the impression that the mother is being referred to somewhat disdainfully as someone who should be more in control of a group of milling, if not unruly, children.
ákay MA-, -ON or MAG--ON to call chickens or chicks for feeding (a mother hen); (fig-) Iká palán an naákay kainíng mga áki’ So you’re the one who has responsibility for these children [MDL]
While it was probably common to let children run naked while in the vicinity of the house, or to dress them only in an upper garment, caring for a young child would, from time to time, have involved some form of diapering. In Lisboa’s Vocabulario the term for this was hamó. Although it is not clear what material was used for this diaper, there is a good chance that it was put together from some type of leaves. An option, no doubt existed, to use any material that proved suitable. Lampín is a modern term.
hamó diaper, nappy; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to diaper a child; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to place a diaper on a child’s bottom; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use s/t as a diaper [MDL]
lampín diaper; MAG-, -AN to diaper a child; to change the diapers of a child
The faeces of an infant also had a special term during Lisboa’s time. While the general term was udó’, for children the reference was igít.
udó’ dung, excrement, faeces; MAG- to defecate; MAKAPA-, MAPA- to feel like defecating [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to defecate (the crudest expression); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to eliminate feces when defecating]
igít MAG- to defecate bit by bit [MDL: bowel movement of a small child, an infant; MAG- defecate (a small child, infant)]
Caring for a child involved not only the necessities, such as cleaning them and providing food and shelter, but also a degree of entertainment, either to divert a child or to keep it busy. Clapping the hands lightly might be one way of distracting a child, or responding to a happy shared moment, or giving it a toy or trinket to stop a period of crying (also see Section on Tantrums and crying).
pikpík MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to give small claps (as when entertaining a small child) [MDL]
kalyág MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give a child a toy or some bauble, or generally distract it in some way so that it will stop crying and be quiet; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to distract a child in this way [MDL]
There may be other occasions when a child needs to be distracted, such as when it has put something in its mouth which doesn’t belong there and needs to be removed.
kikík this word repeated two or three times is said to children while trying to remove s/t from their mouths with a finger (s/t dirty, sharp or otherwise harmful); MA- or MAG- to repeat this word to a child; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to remove s/t from the mouth of a child with a finger while saying this word; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to introduce a finger into the mouth of a child while repeating this word [MDL]
More broad in its meaning is alíng which covers the area of general entertainment as well as relaxation which includes singing to the child. There are more specific entries for lullaby which are included below. Both layláy and lúlay are modern entries for lullaby and are not found in Lisboa. Most interesting is the Lisboa entry, uhúya, which is simply the repetition of this word sung to relax a child and put it to sleep.
alíng MAG-, -ON to baby-sit for s/o; to watch over s/o; to lull children to sleep; to make children laugh; MAG-, I- to entertain children with a particular game, song; KA--AN amusement, entertainment, game, diversion; PARA- governess, baby sitter; nursemaid [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to rock a child; to entertain a child or an adult to calm them down or help them relax; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to divert s/o’s attention with a particular entertainment; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to sing a particular song or play a particular game to distract or entertain s/o]
layláy lullaby; MAG-, I- to sing a lullaby to s/o
lúlay lullaby (softer and more melodic than layláy); MAG-, I- to sing a lullaby to s/o
uhúya a way of singing in which the refrain uhuya is repeated many times; MAG- to sing in such a way; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to sing s/t in such a way; to lull a child to sleep by such singing; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use the voice in such a way [MDL]
Caring for a child also involved some training, as shown in the figurative meaning of gámal whose primary meaning relates to the training of a gamecock to sit on the hand (also see Section on Interacting with the Child (Discipline)).
gámal tame, docile; MÁGIN or MAG- to become tame; MAGPA-, PA--ON to tame; to domesticate a bird, animal [MDL: a tame gamecock trained to sit on the hand; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to train a cock to sit on the hand; (fig-) Pinagagamál ko sa escuela iníng áki’ I’m training this child to go to school]
Interacting with the child
Endearing expressions and actions
There is often a great deal of love associated with caring for a child, and this can be seen in some of the expressions used by the parents, and by many of their actions. When calling someone, the usual expression is mári. For small children, however, there are other expressions, such a padit and utó’, this last one indicating more affection (also see Section on Naming).
mári come here [+MDL: Mári ngáni’ kamó? Why don’t you come over here?]
padít come here, used to call small children; short for paditóy [MDL]
utó’ a term of affection used when calling small children; MA- or MAG- to call small children using such a term [MDL]
Kissing, also, was not uncommon, although this was done by the rubbing of noses, and not with the lips in the western style.
dulí’ MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to kiss s/o many times; to bestow many kisses (as on a child, rubbing noses as was the traditional custom); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to kiss using the nose; Pinagduduli’án pakaráy ni kuyán iníng áki’ That person is really kissing this child [MDL]
Other types of physical contact involved caressing the head and face of the child and moving to show protection, such as placing the arms around the child from a position behind.
takúyog MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to caress the head and face of a child [MDL]
guló-guló MA- cute and cuddly; MAG-, -AN to squeeze and cuddle a cute child; to pinch the cheek of a cute child while uttering endearing expressions [MDL: guló’-guló’ MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to caress the face and head of a child]
kubkób MAG-, -AN to place the arms around a seated child while standing at his back in order to warm or protect him
Associated with the cuddling could be the uttering of words of comfort, especially if the child is showing signs of distress
aró-áro MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to caress or comfort a child; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to say particular words of comfort [MDL]
áro’ MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to call chicks to a particular place to eat (a mother hen, referring to the area of ground the mother hen is currently pecking); (fig-) MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to quiet a crying child by saying some comforting words [MDL]
Parents who enjoy their children will often play with them, holding the feet and gently moving them about, bábo, or tickling them to make them laugh, uród-uród.
bábo MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to play with a small child, holding it by the feet and gently moving it about; also babó-bábo [MDL]
uród-uród MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to play with infants or small children, tickling them to make them laugh; (fig-) Garó na akó ing inuród-uród It is as if I am being tickled (Said when one feels the skin crawl when passing an area that gives rise to fear) [MDL]
Children would not necessarily remain quiet. They could easily respond when played with, making a gurgling expression such as ukó’, or children could lie quietly practicing sounds by covering and uncovering the mouth producing a sound such as wáwa.
ukó’ describing the sound made by infants when they laugh or try to speak when s/o plays with them; MA- or MAG- to make such a sound; to gurgle; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to direct such a sound at s/o; maukó’ the stage in a child’s life from when they are born to when they become aware of things around them and people speaking to them; maukó’ na to start making sounds (a child) [MDL]
wáwa MA- or MAG- to make this sound (a child covering and uncovering its mouth); (fig-) to be completely drunk: Nagwáwa na kan pagkalangó si kuyán That fellow is dead drunk [MDL]
A child might also make faces, either to gain attention, or to respond to attention, or in a attempt to establish a line of communication to convey discomfort or urgency.
ungís MAG- to grimace, snarl [MDL: MA- or MAG- to make faces (an infant, small child); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to make faces at s/o]
Interacting with the child
Carrying and lifting
A child was frequently lifted and carried. This could be for the simple reason of transporting the child from one place to another, or simply to initiate physical contact in an attempt to reassure and comfort the child.
There were a number of ways to carry a child. Commonly the child was cradled in a sash or cloth slung in front of the body. This general meaning later disappears in modern Bikol and the term acquires a religious meaning associated with holding the child during a baptism. A small child could also be carried in a cloth strapped to the back.
abít assistant to the sponsor at a baptism; MAG-, -ON to carry or hold the child during a baptism [MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to carry s/t or s/o, such as a child, in a sash or cloth slung in front of the body; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to cradle a child in a sash or cloth; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use a sash or cloth for this purpose]
habán MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to carry s/t strapped to the back with a cloth (as one might carry a small child); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to wrap s/t in a cloth which is then strapped to the back for carrying [MDL]
Carrying a larger child for shorter distances was usually accomplished by placing the child astride the hip, giving support from the back. This is a modern Bikol entry. Smaller children would be cradled and carried in the arms.
kilít MAG-, -ON to carry s/t (usually a child) astride the hips, with one arm giving support at the back
kilík MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to carry s/t in the arms, such as a small child; to cradle a small child in the arms [MDL]
tangól MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to hold a child in one’s arms [MDL]
It was not only the case that a child was held because of the intention carry it from one place to another. It may have also been the case that the child was simply insistent on being lifted up by one of its parents, as children who are out of sorts, or frightened, or simply clingy and more demanding might do.
dada’úlas MAG-, PAG--AN to persist in trying to climb up to a place one is not capable of reaching; MAG-, PAG--ON to attempt to climb up to get s/t: Dada’úlas na sakó’ iníng áki’ This child insists on climbing up so that I can hold her in my arms; (fig-) Dada’úlas ka na Keep trying (the more you persevere the more chances you have to do it) [MDL]
A child’s attitude could easily change from one period of time to another. The child might continue to be clingy after being lifted up and constantly touch the person holding him or her. The figurative part of the entry kuraphág compares this to the way a dog raises its paws as when begging for something to eat.
kuraphág MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to raise the paws (a dog, as when begging for a tidbit to eat); (fig-) Nagkukuraphág sakó’ iníng áki’ This child is pawing me (Said when a child reaches out with both hands, as a dog would with its paws) [MDL]
A child could be standoffish and distant, ignoring the person holding them, as if being lifted up was the last thing the child wanted, or once having its way, it was now content to show a bit of independence.
urí MA- jealous, envious; MA-, MA--AN to envy s/o; to be jealous of s/o; PAGKA- envy, jealousy [+MDL: MAG-, PAG--AN: pagurihán or pagudyán or MANG-, PANG--AN: pangurihán or pangudyán to not want s/o to share in your good fortune; MAG-, IPAG- or MANG-, IPANG- to not want to share your good fortune with anyone; MA-, MA--AN: maurihán or maudyán to be jealous of s/o or s/t; MA- or MA--ON: mauurihón or mauudyón jealous, envious; mauríng áki’ a child who ignores the person holding him or her in their arms]
A child could also be picked up and seated on one’s lap, sakúlo, or laid out so as to go to sleep. This last entry, húlid, also extends to placing a child in a cradle.
sakúlo MAG-, -ON to sit, place or hold s/t on the lap; MAG-, -AN to sit on s/o’s lap [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to seat a child on one’s lap; MAPA- to ask to be seated on s/o’s lap (a child)]
húlid MAG-, I- to lie s/o down to sleep (as a child); MAG-, -ON to lie down beside s/o; An Hinúlid image of the dead Christ [MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to lay a child in one’s lap, in a cradle; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to lay a child down on s/t or in s/t, such as a cradle]
It would not be unusual for children to be placed in a makeshift cradle or a hammock to be gently rocked, either to comfort them or to put them to sleep.
dúyan cradle, hammock; MAG- to lie in or rock o/s in a cradle or hammock; MAG-, I- to rock s/o in a cradle or hammock; duyán-dúyan MAG- to rock or swing in a hammock [+MDL: hammock, and by extension: a child’s cradle; MA- or MAG- to lie in a hammock; to rock o/s in a hammock; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to place a child in a hammock serving as a cradle; to rock a child in a hammock]
tabyón MAG- to swing; to rock back and forth; MAG-, I- to swing or rock s/t or s/o back and forth; MAG-, -AN to swing from s/t [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to swing back and forth; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to rock s/o back and forth (like a child in a cradle)]
For a longer period of rest, coinciding with either a nap or a full night’s sleep, a child would be laid out alongside the mother, or taken to bed by the mother.
duróg MAG- to sleep together; MAG-, -ON or MA- +KA- to sleep with s/o; may also be interpreted as: to commit adultery with s/o; PAKIPAG- the act of sleeping together; adultery [+MDL: MA-, -ON to sleep next to s/o; MA-, I- to place s/o in bed with another; MAG- to sleep together (a number of people in a row, one after the other); MAG-, PAG--ON to put two people to bed together; to lay two things out next to each other; MAG-, IPAG- to put a child to bed next to its mother; to take a child to bed; to lay one thing out next to another; KA- the one you sleep with; unless otherwise indicated, these entries may have nonsexual or sexual connotations]
Interacting with the child
The lack of care
Just as there are parents, and in particular women as the primary care-givers in the case of the Philippines at the turn of sixteenth century, who dote on their children or at least give the time they demand as part of the maturing process, there are also parents who neglect their children. In a small town situation this would be immediately obvious to the other villagers and would no doubt lead to comments and disparaging remarks. Some of these remarks are shown in the figurative meanings of the following entries, comparing a mother to a snail that lays its eggs and moves on, showing no interest in the subsequent development of her offspring, to a hen with an egg laid outside the nest and not to be concerned with, and looking at an unkempt and dirty child as one that might have been scooped up with a basket-like net used to catch small fish. While a child running around naked in the village may not always have been a topic for comment, there were times when obviously this was the case, with the implication being a lack of care or supervision.
kuhól snail (typ- edible, small, black, freshwater; found in fields, canals and small pools of water); MANG-, PANG--ON to collect such snails [+MDL: (fig-) Síring ka sa nangangáking kuhól; da’í máyo’ maglalabót sa áki’ You are like a snail when it comes to the young ones; you don’t pay attention to your children (Said when s/o leaves children alone, like a snail, which lays its eggs and moves on)]
lágak referring to an egg laid outside the nest; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to lay an egg outside the nest (a hen); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to lay an egg in a place outside the nest; (fig-) Bagá lámang na lágak ta’ da’í ka naglalábot sa áki’ You’re like a chicken which lays an egg outside the nest because you don’t take care of your children [MDL]
ku’á ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to take s/t; to go to get s/t; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to take s/t from s/o; to go somewhere to get s/t; MAKA-, MA- to find s/t; to come across s/t; (fig-) Minaku’á da’á idtó saímo They say that originated with you; Garó naku’á sa saráp iníng áki’ It is as if this child was found in a rattan net (Said when a child is very dirty or covered with filth)]
úmag describing those who go about naked, like robbers or highwaymen; (fig-) Garó na giráray úmag iníng áki’ This child always seems to walk around naked, like a highwayman [MDL]
Interacting with the child
From time to time the care of children also involves curtailing their over-exuberant actions. For whatever reason, there comes a time when children have to be disciplined. When children have done something which needs correcting, or when they are just being annoying, they may be referred to by one of the anger words used commonly in Bikol. These words are used in place of the standard word for child, áki’. Two of these anger words, askít and busbós are no longer current. These are presented below along with example sentences. There are two other entries which are not presented. Of these buldáng exists in modern Bikol as it did in old Bikol, and pásit is only used at the present time.
busbós child, used when annoyed or angry: Kasasawáyon na busbós iní What a naughty child this is [MDL]
askít child, used only when annoyed or angry: álo doy kainíng askít na iní How noisy this child is [MDL]
Before a verbal reprimand, perhaps in a public place or among others where discretion is considered important, a parent might try to warn a child that they are overstepping their bounds with a warning look.
siklób MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to warn or reproach a child or others with a particular look or gesture not to do or say s/t inappropriate in public; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give a particular look or make a particular gesture; Kada’í tata’óng siklobán na áki’ iní! This child just doesn’t know the meaning of a warning look or gesture! [MDL]
Less subtle is the term kurumó’, used in modern Bikol to indicate a child should fold its arms across the chest and keep still. Stronger was the term biklád used during Lisboa’s time to rein in a child moving about restlessly among people, and for a child who cannot keep its hands off things, the term darahímot may have been heard to try to keep the child in check.
kurumó’ describing s/o who has their arms tightly folded across the chest, with the hands tucked in; keep still! (Said to a naughty or fidgety child, meaning he should fold his arms tightly across his chest); MAG- to fold the arms in this manner; to stand with the arms folded in this way [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to fold the arms in front of the body; MANG- to have the arms folded; (fig-) Nagkukurumó’ ka lámang You stand there with arms folded across the chest (Implying: You are doing nothing)]
biklád MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to open out or unfold something; MA- to be opened out or unfolded; (fig-) Anón (Anó an) ibinibiklád mo? What’s the reason for you opening things out like this? (Said when children do not want to sit still, but move about among people; somewhat insulting) [MDL]
darahímot term used to scold a restless or fidgety child who cannot keep its hands off things in the house, or who breaks things it touches: Si darahímot na áki’ iní What a restless child this is (one who can’t keep its hands off things); si darahímot na manha’bón a kleptomaniac (one who can’t help stealing everything they touch) [MDL]
The general term for reprimanding or scolding during Lisboa’s time was túyaw, although the meaning has changed and its current usage is different. A successful reprimand may have been commented upon, as indicated in the figurative meaning for the entry turiná’.
túyaw MAG-, -ON to comment on s/t; to remark about s/t; MAG-, I- to add a comment or a remark; PAG- commentary [MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to scold or reproach s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to say s/t in reproach; MAG-, PAG--ON to scold s/o (many people); MA- argumentative]
turiná’ MA- or MAG- to stop (on a journey, trip); MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to stop for s/t; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to stop at a particular town or location; (fig-) Natuturiná’ iníng áki’ ta’ gíkan na tuyáwon This child has stopped because he’s just had a scolding [MDL]
Children have changed little over the years, and there are numerous references in Lisboa to movement and fidgeting. One reference compares such children either to a swarm of rice beetles, or to the discomfort and subsequent movement caused when covered in such creatures. Another compares restless children to the movement of loose teeth, and still another to the quick darting of the tiklíng bird.
bukós MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to wrap s/t in a cloth, paper, a leaf; to shroud the dead; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to wrap a cloth, paper, a leaf around s/t; to cover or wrap the dead with a shroud; (fig-) si da’í nabubukós na ngúso talkative (lit: one whose mouth is not wrapped); Kada’í pabubukós na táwo iní This person is very talkative (Said when unable to shut someone up); Garó na kitá nagbukós nin súhong kainíng áki’ It is as if we have covered this child in rice beetles (Said when a child is restless and fidgety) [MDL]
hungáy-húngay MA- or MAG- or MANG- to be loose (teeth); to move about restlessly (as a child): Nanhungáy-húngay na iníng mga ngípon ko All of my teeth are loose; Nahungáy-húngay na giráray iníng áki’ This child keeps moving about restlessly; (fig-) Nanhungáy-húngay na iníng pagtuklós nindó Your work is just movement (Said when one is not working seriously) [MDL]
tiklíng bird (typ- the size of a hen, with long legs, inhabiting ponds and rice fields) [+MDL: (fig-) Si maulyás iníng áki’, garó na ing tiklíng This child is wild, like a tiklíng bird (Said when a child darts about from place to place)]
From restlessness we gradually approach mischievousness. Perhaps the most common word for this is sawáy. Although its core meaning is ‘to scold’ or ‘to admonish’, some of its affixation possibilities seem to imply actions that might very well lead to a scolding, that is to say, being mischievous. This same verb is used as an example in the entry for kulág which is also presented below.
sawáy MAG-, -ON to prohibit or forbid s/o; MAG-, I- to prohibit or forbid s/t from being done; MAGPA-, PA--ON to restrain s/o; to keep s/o from going astray or doing wrong; -ON: sarawáyon mischievous, naughty, recalcitrant, wayward [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to admonish or scold s/o; to restrain s/o; to correct s/o who is doing s/t wrong; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to prohibit s/o from doing s/t; MAKA- to do s/t leading to a scolding, admonition, correction; MA- or MA--AN to be admonished, scolded about s/t; MAPA-, PA--ON to tell s/o to put a stop to s/o else’s behaviour; -ON: sasawáyon mischievous, naughty; MASA--ON or MAGSA--ON to be mischievous, to misbehave; MASA- -ON, SA--ON+-AN or MAGSA--ON, PAGSA--ON+-AN to damage s/t when misbehaving]
kulág garrulous, talkative; restless; -ON: kulágon describing s/o who is talkative or restless, one who cannot sit still or be quiet; also used to describe women who are immodest: Kulágon pang gáyo iníng áki’; sasawáyon pang gáyo This child is very restless; very mischievous [MDL]
Discourtesy also involves more specific actions, such as refusing to get out of the water, or answering back to one’s parents.
buráng referring to fish, dead and bloated, found floating in water; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to place fish into water to swell or bloat; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to place fish in a particular body of water; MA- to boat (fish); (fig-) Kasasawáyan na áki’ iní. Bu’ót gayód na maburáng What a disobedient child this is. It looks like he wants to bloat like a dead fish (Said when a child refuses to get out of the water) [MDL]
tiwáy MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to be in disagreement with s/o; to not see eye to eye with s/o; to not conform to s/o’s opinion; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to hold a divergent view or opinion; Katiwáy mong áki’ sa magúrang Your child is very discourteous to his parents [MDL]
On a more general level, a child’s indiscretions may just be commented upon by those in the family, or by those in the community, indicating that the child has got out of hand, or that its behaviour is very unusual. More specific comments may relate to the child’s attitude, such as going about looking for a fight. Very unusual or aggressive behaviour may also lead the community to simply ignore the child as best it can.
lá’as MAKA- to spoil (meat, fish which has been stored too long after being preserved); to become too sour (as hímay which has been stored too long); IKA- to cause such spoilage: Mabatá’ na iníng bangkáy ta’ nakalá’as na The corpse is smelling because it has been kept too long (before burial); (fig-) Nakalá’as na an pagkasasawáyon kainíng áki’ This child’s misbehaving has gone too far; Mará’ot an lá’as na bu’ót nin táwo or La’as na táwo This person just takes thing’s too far [MDL]
totó’o actual, true, valid; ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to believe s/t to be true; to say that s/t is true; KA--AN: katoto’óhan truth, certainty; PAGKA- truth; really, truly; ... strange, unusual: Si totó’o na or Si totó’o na palán What an unusual thing; Si totó’o nang áki’ iní What a strange child this is; Si totó’o na kamó How rude you are]
sígay rooster’s mating dance; MAG- to perform this dance [MDL: MAG- to approach each other ready to fight, extending a wing (two fighting cocks); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to approach another cock for a fight (one cock toward another); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to extend a wing ready to fight (a cock); (fig-) MAKI- to be looking for a fight (children): Nakikisígay saná iníng áki’ This child just goes around looking for a fight [MDL]
sabót MAG- to sing in harmony; to play instruments in harmony; MAG-, PAG--ON to harmonise; to follow the rhythm of s/t; ... (fig-) MAGKA- to agree, concur; ... Anó ta’ minasabót ka kaiyán lulónglulongán? Why are you bothering to tease that crazy person?; Harí kitá pakisabót kaiyán áki’ Let’s not get involved with that child; Harí papasabót kaiyán na lalangó Don’t try to reason with that drunk [MDL]
Just as children may have to be scolded or reprimanded to make their behaviour conform to standards acceptable to the community, or at least, to the family, we also have children who obey and follow what they are told. The general term for obeying someone is kúyog, although there are other meanings also associated with this root.
kúyog MAG-, -ON to obey s/o; to comply with s/t; ... kuyóg-kúyog MA--IN-: makinuyóg-kúyog obedient, mindful, heedful [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to obey s/o; to imitate s/o; MAPA-, PA--ON or MAGPA-, PAGPA--ON to entice, persuade or convince s/o; to insist s/o comply with s/t; ... ; MAPA- or MAPAGPA- s/o who has their way; one who always convinces others]
More specifically for children during Lisboa’s time, we have sagámat, as well as a number of figurative meanings associated with other verbs which are presented below. One of these presents the image of a child obeying its parents as the joining of a seamlessly fitted piece of wood (daghóp).
sagámat MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to listen to what it is told to do (a child); to heed or obey s/t (a child) [MDL]
daghóp tightly joined, seamlessly joined, well fitted (wood); MAG-, PAG--ON to join together two pieces of wood with a perfect seam; ... ; (fig-) Daghóp sa magúrang an bu’ót kainíng áki’ This child obeys his parents [MDL]
At other times, getting a child to obey may involve a little more persuasion, first requiring that the child be calmed down, particularly if it is crying or has thrown a tantrum (see Section on Interacting with the child (Tantrums and crying)), or simply capturing the child’s attention so that communication may continue.
lu’ló’ MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to soften the bark of the ábaka plant or the maluba’go tree by bending it back and forth to make it easier to extract the fibers for weaving or the making of rope; (fig-) Pakalu’lo’ón mo an bu’ót kainíng áki’ Calm this child down (by reasoning with him or her); Da’í máyo’ nalulu’ló’ an bu’ót ni kuyán There is no mollifying this person [MDL]
pitóng MA-, -AN: pitngán or MAG-, PAG--AN: pagpitngán to stare at s/t with awe or rapture; to fix the eyes on s/t; to stare at s/t as if transfixed MANG-, PANG--AN to be enraptured, entranced, transfixed (as by the beauty of s/t); MAKAPANG to draw or capture one’s attention; KA- -AN: kamimitngán s/t which calls attention to itself (fig-) Mapitóng na iníng áki’ The child is now paying attention [MDL]
Interacting with the child
Tantrums and crying
The life of a child presumably would not be complete without a series of tantrums and times of tears and screaming. For the image of a child throwing a tantrum, Lisboa has the entry pulók-pusók which is the same entry for a chicken thrashing about after it has had its head chopped off. While in modern Bikol this has come to mean ‘spastic’, other terms have replaced this original term for the meaning ‘tantrum’. Based on the sound of stamping feet we have parág-padág, and the image of feet thrashing about in kiráy-kisáy and kuráy-kusáy.
pulókpulók spastic; MAG- to shake spastically [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to jump about (as a chicken which has had its neck wrung or a bird which has fallen into a trap); to throw a tantrum, thrashing about on the floor (a child): Pulók-pulók na iníng áki’ This child is really thrashing about]
kiráy-kisáy MAG- to kick the feet out repeatedly (as a child throwing a tantrum); var- kuráy-kusáy
parág-padág MAG- to stamp the feet repeatedly (as when a child throws a tantrum)
Crying takes many forms. We have the physical signs of emotion which might lead to crying, as when the child screws up its face and starts to pout, or simply to show annoyance or defiance.
hibí’ MA- a crybaby; MAG- to cry, weep, bawl; MAKAPA- saddening; MAPA- to burst out crying [MDL: MA- or MAG- to pout (children about to cry); MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to screw up the face into a pouting expression; MA-: mahibíng áki’ a pouting child]
lagbúyot MAG-, -ON to pucker the lips and puff out the cheeks in preparation for blowing on s/t [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to pucker the lips and puff out the cheeks, ready to blow on s/t; Nalagbúyot saná iníng áki’ kon sinúgo’ na This child just pouts when asked to do s/t]
We also have the more emotional signs of annoyance which might lead to crying or simply to defiance, such as when a child becomes testy or cranky.
kirí-kisí describing the actions of a child when about to cry (such as when being reprimanded); MA- or MAG- to become peevish and testy (a child); (fig-) Kirí-kisihón na táwo si kuyán That person is restless, fidgety [MDL]
kibód MA- or MAG- to become, cranky, angry or irritated (a child when not given s/t it wants or when refusing to take or eat s/t); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to become angry or irritated at s/o; Minakibód túlos iníng áki’ This child gets cranky quickly [MDL]
There are a number of terms for the crying of a small child. These probably refer to the soft crying of an infant, also shown figuratively in the entry ilyá’, comparing crying to the bleating of a goat. Crying does not always have to confrontational. A child might shows a certain amount of shame when crying and therefore turn away, as in the entry hilád-hílad which shares this meaning with that of a dog turning tail to run, or the somewhat clinging meaning of a child chasing after its mother in the entry lánat.
agúsod MA- or MAG- to wail (an infant, a small child) [MDL]
úha’ MA- or MAG- to cry (infants) [MDL]
ngingí’ MA- or MAG- to cry (infants) [MDL]
ilyá’ the bleating of sheep, goats; MA- or MAG- to baa (sheep, goats); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to bleat at s/o or s/t (as a kid calling its mother); (fig-) Anó an pagilyá kainíng áki’? Why is this child crying? [MDL]
hilád-hílad MA- or MAG- to turn tail (a dog, another animal); to turn away (a child when crying); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to turn away from s/o [MDL]
lánat MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to follow behind s/o; to chase after or pursue s/o; (fig-) Garó naglánat si kuyán pagtatangís That person cries like a child running after its mother; Garó ka maglánat You act like a child [MDL]
Mild weeping and simpering is not the only sign of a child’s crying. Crying associated with a tantrum or with not getting ones own way can easily be louder, and Lisboa also has entries for screaming and persistent loud crying.
kigrít MAG- to scream (as a child might while crying); also MAKAPA-, MAPA- [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to scream (a child)]
kurigít MA- or MAG- to scream very loudly while crying (children), almost to the point of no longer being able to emit a sound [MDL]
ráray MA- to cry loudly and persistently (a child); to last a long time (an illness, a feeling): Nararáray an hulók ni kuyán The person has been angry for a very long time ... [MDL]
What to do with a child who refuses to listen or continues to scream despite all attempts to calm it? One option is to just give in and let the tantrum or crying fit run its course, as in the somewhat harsh entry for hiyán.
hiyán sig, attack; said to a dog to get it to attack, usually repeated a number of times; Hiyán na lugód Go on then; the meaning here is highly contextual: said to a child who is crying, it may mean, Go on, cry until there is nothing left of you; said when coming upon a man who doesn’t beat his wife, and being unhappy with what the wife has said, that person may say, Go on, finish her off; MA- or MAG- to say this word [MDL]
Crying does not always have to be out of defiance. It may also be due to fear or distress, as a child awakening from a nightmare.
ngárat (PAG-)-ON to awake or wake up crying (a child, said to be because of a nightmare or frightening dream) [MDL]
There are a variety of expressions used by children when under emotional stress. A child who is quietly crying, calling to its mother, might utter the expression inayó having within it the sequence iná’ [mother]. Children also know how to win favor from their parents, using endearing expressions referred to as hungóy-húngoy when they try to ingratiate themselves. And if a parent is dead, a child may repeat the expression amayó in mourning. This has within it the sequence amá’ [father].
inayó expression used by children when crying or calling affectionately to their mothers [MDL]
hungóy-húngoy MA- or MAG- to use endearing expressions; to be overly loving or nice (a child when asking for s/t from its parents); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to ingratiate o/s with one’s parents (a child when wanting s/t) [MDL]
amayó expression used by children when mourning or fondly remembering their parents [MDL]
Orphans and adoption
In an age when the causes of disease were poorly understood, and long before the discovery of medications to target and treat specific diseases, illness would spread and at times devastate a community. Additionally, women died in childbirth, in spite of the help of a midwife and the religious incantations of the balyán. Wars were common, and men were expected to either participate in raiding parties against neighbouring towns or were forced to defend their own towns against similar incursions from outside. Death of one’s parents through any of these means led to the orphaning of a child. The term ílo, referred to a child who lost both parents or just one.
ílo MAKA-, MA- to be orphaned; ílong lubós an orphan; ílo sa amá’ a child with no father; ílo sa iná’ a child with no mother ... [+MDL: lubós nang ílo an orphan who has lost both mother and father; MA- to be orphaned; IKA- to lose one’s parents]
The death of one parent, ill-health or increasing familial poverty, often left children without a parent or parents who were able to care for them. In such circumstances children would be cared for by someone else. This was frequently an informal arrangement with children being entrusted to relatives or another family where their care could be guaranteed.
síro’ MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to marry one’s child to s/o who is wealthy, or to one who has a large family, in order to secure that child’s future; to entrust an orphan to the care of a family who can offer support and protection; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to marry one’s child to s/o; to marry s/o who is able to offer you security and support; Isinisíro’ ko na lámang saindó iníng áki’ ta’ da’í nang kaganák I’ll entrust this child to you since he has no family [MDL]
káya MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to give s/o support and sustenance; to care for s/o (as an orphan); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give s/t as support or sustenance [MDL]
sákop MAG-, -ON to accommodate s/o; to take s/o into one’s custody or care; to house or put s/o up (as for the weekend); to include s/o in one’s plans or activities [+MDL: sakóp MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to accommodate or include s/o; to take s/o into one’s custody or care, taking responsibility for all expenses; MA-, -AN: sakopán or sakpán MAG-, PAG--AN: pagsakopán or pagsakpán to include or accommodate s/o within a group (as one’s family or household); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give or pay s/t on behalf of s/o in your care; also: MA-, MA--AN: masakopán or masakpán to be included in a group (as another’s household or family); KA- one included or under the care of another]
Care could also be offered to someone if it became obvious that there was no one to care for them. Such would be case if a child was seen wandering around town, probably dirty, unkempt and hungry.
sapód MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to take in s/o who is wandering about, seemingly lost (whether a slave or free person): Sinapód ko na lámang iníng áki’ ta’ nagkakabasáng-basáng I’ve taken in this child because he was just wandering about aimlessly [MDL]
A number of entries which during Lisboa’s time referred to the general care of someone and concern for their welfare have become more formalised in modern Bikol referring to either adoption or foster care. In each case the central meaning of dependency is clear.
atáman referring to s/o in the care of another; s/o who is adopted or is a foster child; a servant, pet; MAG-, -ON to adopt s/o; to care for s/o; to nurse, nurture or support s/o; to foster a child; KAG-: kagatáman nin amá’ foster father; kagatáman nin iná’ foster mother [MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to concern o/s with s/t; to take an interest in s/t; to attend to or look after s/o; MANG-, PANG--ON to take care of s/o; to show concern toward s/o or s/t; PAG- or PANG- care, attention, concern]
ampón MAG-, -ON to adopt a child; MAGPA-, PA--ON to have o/s adopted; to depend on s/o; PAG- adoption; PAGPA- dependence; -AN orphanage [MDL: MANG-, PANG--AN or MAGPAPANG-, PAGPAPANG--AN to ask for pity or compassion from s/o; to seek the protection of s/o; MANG-, PANG--ON or MAGPAPANG-, PAGPAPANG--ON to ask for pity or mercy for s/o [MDL]
There are also references to adoption in Lisboa. Adoption could take the form of an informal acceptance of a child into a new family, or it could be a very formal agreement involving the exchange of a sum of money to guarantee that the child receive a prearranged level of care (ngamáy). It is interesting that in this last entry failure to provide the agreed level of care results in the reclaiming of the additional money paid to guarantee such care, but does not seem to result in removal of the child from such less than optimum circumstances.
áki’ child, kid; son, daughter; ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON to accept s/o as one’s child; MAG-, PAG--ON to adopt a child; MAG-, PAG--AN to take a child from its natural parents for the purpose of adoption ...; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to treat s/o as one’s child]
ngamáy a particular type of adoption where the adopter gives one tael of gold to the person offering a child for adoption. This person then gives the adopter two taels of gold, in return for which the adopter agrees to take special care of the child by feeding him or her well. The child then stays with the adopter as his child. If the child is not well cared for, the one putting him or her up for adoption returns to claim the additional tael of gold which was paid; MANG-, PANG--ON to adopt a child in this way [MDL]
With regard to inheritance, Plasencia, in his description of the customs of the Tagalogs, mentions that the adopted child inherits a sum from the adopted parent equivalent to double the amount paid at the time of the adoption. If one tael of gold, for example, were paid at that time, the inheritance would comprise a total of just two taels of gold.
Morga mentions that an adoption was commonly witnessed by the relatives of the one being adopted. This no doubt added some formality to the adoption process and served as a guarantee that the terms of the adoption would be carried out. Differing from Plasencia’s account, the person being adopted gave all his or her possessions to their new guardian. In return they were not only cared for, also obtained the right to inherit along with the guardian’s natural children. 
If the adoption was not successful, with the adoptee being ungrateful or unsatisfied with the care, or the adopter unwilling to continue with the care, the child was sent away. The adopter then returned the initial sum of money paid at the time of the adoption and the contract was voided. If the adopted child were to predecease the adopted father, all rights to the inheritance would end with this death, the adopted child’s children not being eligible for any of the inheritance.
Parents could also be forced into considering adoption for a child when extreme poverty led to the depletion of the family’s resources, including food. This could also come about through a failure of one’s crops due to natural phenomena such as the passage of a strong typhoon leading to wind damage and flooding, or plagues of mice or locusts.
tingáting a poor season, a poor harvest; scarcity in the yield of rice: Tingáting an na’áni ko My harvest was poor; MáGIN to become poor (the harvest) [MDL: the long dry period which follows the rainy season: Tingáting na iníng húraw ngunyán What a long dry spell this is]
habín MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to pick the rice heads from a regrowth of rice after the primary growth has been harvested, dagingdíng, done during a poor season when only such regrowth can be relied on [MDL]
dudyók referring to the impoverishment of one’s supply of food; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to reduce the ordinary ration of food due to increasing poverty; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to reduce s/o’s ration of food; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to reduce the ration of food by a particular amount; MA- impoverished (referring to s/o without a good supply of food) [MDL]
pihít MA- lacking in food; short of food; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to cut the share or ration of food served to one’s household; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to reduce the amount of food served to members of one’s household by a particular amount; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to serve members of one’s household less food due to increasing poverty [MDL]
kulapós (PAG-)-ON to be caught short of time; to not have enough time to complete s/t; to run short of food ... [MDL]
During such times there was no question about storing food for future need. Any food that was obtained was immediately eaten, and much of one’s waking time was devoted to finding food resources.
rapárap MA-, IKA- or MAGKA-, IPAGKA- to wander far and wide in search of food, other items; to travel a long way to get food; MA-, MA--AN or MAGKA-, PAGKA--AN to wander far and wide over a particular area [MDL]
da’ída MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to spend or consume everything one has due to necessity; to say all that comes to one’s mind: Anó na saná an da’í minada’ída kainíng paggútom There is nothing we haven’t spent to overcome this hunger [MDL]
hídop MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to eat s/t necessary to keep one from starving; to give food to one who is starving; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to sustain s/o’s life by giving them s/t to eat; to sustain one’s own life by eating s/t; MAPA- to ask for food during a time of starvation, famine [MDL]
ató-áto MAG- to live from hand to mouth; MAG-, PAG--ON: magató-áto nin pagkakán to eat s/t immediately upon finding it and then search for the next meal [MDL]
tubtób MAKA-, MA--AN to fill up all empty spaces; to satisfy the hunger of one who has not eaten (by filling up the stomach with food); ... [MDL]
Any food would do during times of scarcity. If there was nothing to eat with rice, then piquant sauces would be used to make the rice palatable, and if rice were not available, then Bikolanos would turn to other foods, to plants and trees whose fruit was normally avoided, and root crops which were past their prime and would normally be fed to animals.
hambúra’ a sauce made from lemon juice, salt, water and chilli, eaten with rice when fish is not available; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to make such a sauce [MDL]
valintuhód plant (typ- which in times of need is mixed with rice and cooked) [MDL]
biyú’os tree (typ- growing along the coast, producing a long, spike-like fruit eaten during times of food scarcity) [MDL]
pakrós MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to cook taro leaves which are fed to pigs; to cook ruined taro which is eaten during a time of hunger; -ON: pinakrós the food produced after cooking taro leaves [MDL]
Children, if not affected during the early stages of food scarcity, would eventually also be deprived of food when their parents no longer had any food to offer. There are two entries in Lisboa which make this clear and reveal the probable sentiments of parents who found they could no longer offer their children sufficient nutrition to keep them healthy.
úga: úga ko used to express one’s feelings about s/t that should not have occurred; to be sorry about s/t: ...; úga ko da’í na máyo’ I’m sorry I have nothing else (to give you); úga ko iníng áki’, nagútom na I feel so sorry for this child who is hungry [MDL]
dúhol MAG-, I- to bestow, grant or proffer s/t; to pass or hand s/t over [+MDL: MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give s/t; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to give s/o s/t; (fig-) Da’í máyo’ akó nin idudúhol kainíng áki’ I have nothing to feed this child]
A prolonged scarcity of food would have consequences for the health of all in the community, especially on the young, aged and infirm. There are a number of entries indicating the weakness that could be felt from a continual lack of food.
lágok MA- to grow weak and listless due to lack of food [MDL]
paróy-pároy weak with hunger or illness: Paróy-pároy na lámang akó kainíng pagkagútom ko I’m just weak with hunger [MDL]
hingkág MA- to be weak and tired from work or hunger; MAKA- to cause s/o to be tired or weak (work, hunger) [MDL]
salápid braid, plait; pigtail; MAG-, -ON to braid or plait s/t [+MDL: MA-,-AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to braid or plait s/t; (fig-) Nanaró-salápid an bitís na kuyán kaiyán nangalalangó The feet of those who are drunk are all twisted up (also applied to those who are very tired or weak from hunger and who have trouble walking)]
The eventual outcome of a prolonged period of hunger could be death. Infants, in particular would be adversely affected when nursing if their mothers did not get enough sustenance to produce milk in sufficient quantities or of a high enough level of nutrition.
bungtás MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to starve s/o to death; MA- to die of starvation; MA--AN to lose a relative to starvation; MAKA- to leave s/o to die of starvation; PAGKA- hunger, starvation [MDL]
amátas (PAG-)-ON to weaken or die (a child due to a lack of milk when nursing); (PAG-)-AN to have such a child or be bereaved by the death of such a child (the parents) [MDL]
Death, sickness and health
Children died, whether from the effects of malnourishment or for myriad other reasons such as accident, disease or simply lacking the stamina to survive long after birth (also see Section on Pregnancy and birth). The general word for all types of death is gadán. There are also more figurative entries, such as comparing the death of a child to being left in the dark after the extinguishing of a candle, párong, and to losing a child shortly after birth to having something knocked suddenly out of one’s hand, tikwíl.
gadán corpse, the deceased; gadán na dead; MAG-, -ON to kill or slay s/o; to assassinate, execute or murder s/o; MAKA- deadly, fatal, lethal; malignant; MA- to die, pass away, perish; to succumb; MA--AN to be bereaved; to have a death in the family; KA--AN death, demise; PAGKA- the death of, the killing of [+MDL: MA-, -ON to kill s/o; MAG-, PAG--ON to kill an animal; Nagadán idtóng áki’ ko, da’íng síring si bu’ót ko I have never felt so bad as after the death of my child; ...]
párong MAG-, -ON to put out a candle; to turn off a light; MAKA-, MA- to go out (as a candle); to go off (as a light); ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to put out a fire, a candle; Parónga iyán candela Put out the candle; (PAG-)-AN to be left in the dark when candles are extinguished; (fig-) Garó kitá napadngán nin si saró’-sáro’ tang áki’ It is as we have been left in the dark by the death of our only child]
tikwíl MAG-, -ON to tap s/o in order to call their attention [MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to knock s/t out of the hand, causing it to fall; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to knock s/t out of s/o’s hand; (fig-) Garó sindá tinitikwilán nin si saindáng áki’ It is like they have had their child knocked out of their hands (Said when a child dies shortly after birth)
When mourning, parents may refer to the deceased child by the term ginahá’, a term showing great love and affection and replacing the standard term áki’.
ginahá’ child, same as áki’, except that it is a term of endearment showing great love and affection, used primarily in mourning a dead child; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to call a child by such a name as a sign of great love and affection [MDL]
There were any number of ailments that could befall a child. Particular abnormalities that were present at birth were generally referred to by the term malhí’. In Lisboa’s example we have a child born with a particular skin abnormality which is attributed to the father’s profession as a fisher.
malhí’ MA- to be born with a particular deformity or abnormality; MA-, MA--AN to have a deformity which resembles s/t: Namalhín matá ta’ parahíkot an amá’ The child was born with skin resembling the mesh of a net because the father fishes with a net for a living; MAKA- to resemble such a deformity or abnormality; PAGKA- deformity, abnormality [MDL]
It is probable that the child referred to was suffering from ichthyosis, a genetic skin condition which causes the skin to become dry and scaly. For many sufferers the skin takes on a mesh-like appearance, with noticeable lines forming between larger areas of dry skin.
In the entry which follows we have the description of an infant suffering from head swellings or abscesses. In an attempt to explain their existence, blame is placed again on an external cause. Where in the entry above it was the occupation of the father that was identified as a possible cause of the child’s deformity, in this case blame is attributed to the mother’s choice of particular fruits which she ate while pregnant.
halón swelling or abscess which appears on the head of infants, said to be caused by the mother having eaten particular fruits which caused such an ailment; (PAG-)-ON to suffer from such an affliction (children); MAKA- to cause such an ailment (certain fruits) [MDL]
There is a possibility that the head swellings referred to are dermoid cysts. These are formed during development of the embryo when two parts of the skull close along suture lines, pinching off an area of skin and forming a pocket. As a cyst has no outlet, when the glands on the skin develop in a normal way, they do so within the pocket, causing the pocket to enlarge, eventually forming a lump or bump on the scalp.
Lisboa has an entry that refers to the swelling of what is most likely a lymph node in the armpits of small children.
abílay a swelling in the armpits of small children; (PAG-)-ON to have such a swelling (a child) [MDL]
This swelling is probably the result of the body’s reaction to an infection on the arms or hands. The modern term for the inflamation or enlargement of a lymph gland is lymphadenitis and this type of ailment is common in children.
There are also other types of physical reactions to disease mentioned in Lisboa. Hard swellings on children, called bútig, possibly refers to sebaceous cysts or benign skin tumors, and scabs which form on the head, called panúni, to an infestation by lice, or a skin infection caused by staphylococci.
bútig hard swellings found on children; -ON describing a child with many hard swellings [MDL]
panúni scabs which form on the head of children; (PAG-)-ON to have such scabs (children); (PAG-)-AN to form on the head (such scabs) [MDL]
Children also suffered other ailments. A child with rotting teeth was referred to by the term rubrób, a term which also refers in general to this particular situation.
rubrób decaying or rotting teeth; -ON one possessing such teeth; MAG- to decay or rot (the teeth) [+MDL: a child with decaying or rotting teeth; decaying or rotting teeth; MA- or MAG- to decay or rot (the teeth of children)]
A child who was held and vigorously shaken could become nauseous, or in more extreme circumstances, ill. The same term for this state, rugyá’, also referred to the nausea experienced by a child which was picked up and held too many times in rapid succession.
rugyá’ MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to shake a child (making it nauseous or ill); to shake one who is ill, causing them to grow worse; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to make a particular movement when shaking a child or the ill; MA- to grow worse (one who is ill due to moving about from place to place); to feel the effects of alcoholic drinks, such as tubá’, due to too much movement (one who has been drinking); to feel nauseous (a child picked up and cradled too frequently in the arms) [MDL]
A child in a general state of ill health would also not grow normally, appearing stunted as children around them matured normally. An extreme form of stunting would be attributed to supernatural causes, as in the entry for pupó’.
iriyód MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to bore or drill s/t (with a bit); to punch or pierce s/t (with a punch or pointed instrument); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use s/t for boring or drilling; (fig-) Nagiriyód na lugód iníng áki’ This child is not only not growing, it appears to be shrinking (as if they are drilling themselves into the ground) [MDL]
pupó’ a hot-tempered, vengeful spirit who, by touching the head of a child with its hand, causes the child to grow weaker and weaker until it dies [BIK MYT] [MDL: an ancient belief which holds that if a spirit or ghost were to place its hand on the head of a child, the child would not grow; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to touch the head of a child in this way (a spirit); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to place a hand on the child’s head; Pinupó’ nin ísaw iníng áki’ ta’ da’í minatúbo’ An isaw has placed its hand on the head of this child, and as a result she is not growing; (fig-) Garó na pinupóng sabó si kuyán It is as if that person is about to fall into the hands of pirates (Said when one is about to give up)]
Two possible reasons for extreme stunting in growth are cretinism and dwarfism. Cretinism is a congenital defect which occurs in infants who have a decreased function of the thyroid gland, that is a gland that is unable to produce enough of the hormone thyroxine needed for normal growth. Dwarfism in general refers to people who are of abnormally short stature and this may be caused by a spontaneous genetic mutation of the sperm or egg.
Children in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century Philippines also suffered from recognisable diseases common in the western world, such as measles and mumps.
bayukó’ mumps, ...; -ON: bayukó’on describing a person with mumps; -ON or MA- to get or suffer from mumps [+MDL: (PAG-)-ON to suffer from mumps]
tipdás measles, ...; -ON one with measles; -ON or MA- to have or suffer from measles [+MDL: (PAG-)-ON to have or suffer from measles]
The situation with regard to chicken pox is less clear. There is certainly a modern word for this particular disease, utós, but this does not appear in the Lisboa Vocabulario.
utós chicken pox, an acute viral disease usually of young children, characterised by skin eruptions and a mild fever; -ON or MA- to have or suffer from chicken pox
Smallpox was identified (pukó’), as well as another type of pox which remains unidentified, hanggá. Since this is defined as being fatal, it is doubtful that it referred to chicken pox. Modern Bikol also has another term for smallpox which during Lisboa’s time simply meant pimples on the face, burútong, also unlikely to be chicken pox based on this description. A fourth term, hubóg, referred to the pus which developed with the various pox-like infections.
pukó’ smallpox, ...; -ON or MA- to have smallpox; to have pock marks [+MDL: (PAG-)-to have smallpox; Makurí si pagpukó sakó I’m very ill with smallpox; mapiláng pukó’ scarred with pock marks]
hanggá pox (typ- fatal); (PAG-)-ON to be sick with such a pox [MDL]
burútong smallpox, ...; IGWÁ or MAY to have smallpox; -ON or MA- to suffer from smallpox [+MDL: pimples on the face; (PAG-)-ON to appear (such pimples); -ON burutóngon one with a lot of pimples]
hubóg to become pussy (pock marks associated with chicken pox (utós), smallpox (pukó’, burútong), or other pox-like infections (hanggá)) [MDL]
While chicken pox was probably seen as a disease separate from smallpox in many traditional societies, there is debate on when it was scientifically identified as a unique virus. Credit is usually given to the Itallian Giovanni Filippo living in Palermo in the sixteenth century, although neither knowledge nor acceptance of this discovery was universal. In England chicken pox continued to be seen as a mild form of smallpox well into the eighteenth century. It is likely that this was also the case in the Philippines, and a term for chicken pox different from that of smallpox did not come into being until after Lisboa had completed his dictionary and left the Philippines.
Of all of the ailments affecting children, the most common was the ordinary cold. Here we have the image of children, sometimes with what seemed like a perpetual cold, showing all of the symptoms including liberal amounts of mucus constantly flowing from what must have been a red and raw nose. This mucus could be sniffed in, especially before the child learned the technique of how to blow, or it could be wiped clean by the child, an adult or older sibling. A child with a long-lasting cold could be compared to wood eaten by the shipworm, such must have been the state of the skin around the nose.
si’pón mucus in the nose; a cold; IGWÁ or MAY to have a cold; -ON or MA- to have or catch a cold [+MDL: sipón MAG- to be filled with mucus (the nose): Nagsipón na doy Your nose is stuffed up; -ON to have a cold, a runny nose]
hudót-húdot MA- or MAG- to run (the nose of a child); to sniff in the mucus of a runny nose (a child) [MDL]
tátod shipworm, a worm-like marine mollusk of the genera Teredo and Bankia which bore into wood, often causing extensive damage; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to eat into the hull of a boat or wood long exposed to saltwater; -AN: tinatóran the marks left in wood eaten by shipworm; (fig-) Ati’tí’ iníng si’pón kainíng áki’; garó na ing tátod How disgusting that child’s runny nose is; it’s as if he’s been eaten by the shipworm [MDL]
Periods of disease no doubt alternated with periods of health. Certain individuals, too, were likely to be healthier than others. Health was often equated with plumpness, and so someone on the heavy-side might be called ‘healthy’, although there were more specific terms for this.
hintóng healthy; MA- or MAG- to maintain or retain good health; Hintóng pa an háwak ni kuyán That person is still healthy [MDL]
Health was also equated with agility and nimbleness. More specifically, children who were robust and active would have also been considered healthy.
liksí’ MA- agile, deft, nimble, sprightly, spry; fit, hardy, healthy; in peak condition; MAG- to become agile; KA--AN agility, fitness; health, well-being
bagsík MA- swift; strong, powerful, mighty; healthy, invigorated; ... [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to become stronger, swifter; MAPAKA-, PAKA--ON to have s/o do s/t briskly or with agility; to empower s/o; to give s/o the power to do s/t (as empowering a god); MAPAKA-, IPAKA- to have s/t done with speed, agility]
parík-patík robust, active (children): Bagsík na áki’ iní; parík-patík na doy What a quick child this is; how robust [MDL]
Children occupied their free time with a variety of games although it is unclear what the exact modern equivalents of many of these games are. Some of these games are easy to identify, such as walking on stilts, or spinning tops, a game which still occupies youth today. For other games, Lisboa has presented very little detail, and so it is often only by conjecture that we might be able to determine what types of games these actually were.
Children played using the everyday materials around them. They played with stones and shells, and with small pieces of coconut shell. They also used reeds and grasses, and burrs that were produced by local plants. They also used their hands.
In the game below, which Lisboa refers to as báli, we have very little information about what might be involved. If clues can be had from Cebuano, a Visayan language of the central islands to the south of the Bikol region, and an area from which the Bikol region has drawn a number of cultural traditions, the word balí means, among other things, ‘to reverse’ or ‘to turn something over’. The game possibly involves the placement of the hands, either facing up or down.
báli game (typ- children’s, played with the hands); MAG- to play such a game [MDL]
There is also not much information about the next series of games which children played with pieces of coconut shell. All we know is that in the game called bagól the pieces are rolled, in sabád they are thrown, and in amírong children keep their eyes closed when playing.
bagól children’s game (typ- in which round pieces of coconut shell are rolled); MAG- to play this game; MAG-, PAG--ON to play with such pieces of coconut shell [MDL]
sabád piece of coconut shell thrown by children when playing; MAG- to play with pieces of coconut shell [MDL]
amírong game (typ- children’s, played with pieces of coconut shell, the players keeping their eyes closed); MA- or MAG- to play such a game [MDL]
The term bagól means ‘coconut shell’ in the Bikol dialects of Albay and Partido. In Cebuano, in addition to meaning ‘coconut shell’, it is also refers to a type of children’s game played with coconut shells. The first child places a coconut shell on the ground. The aim of the second child is to throw his or her coconut shell, trying to hit the first. It is possible that the Bikol game Lisboa is referring to is similar, with a piece of coconut shell rolled instead of thrown.
Larger pieces of coconut shell could also be used in improvised implements which the children used as toys.
karabkáb adze, small axe (typ- made by children from coconut shell) [MDL]
Shells were also popular objects for children to play with. Commonly used were the cowry shells, buskáy, but other shells were also used, such as the clam shell, bibí, the seashell, búya’, and the snail shell, damá.
áray game (typ- children’s, played with cowry shells (buskáy)); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to play a game with such shells [MDL]
taráp MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to throw cowry shells (buskáy) as one would throw dice (children when playing); -ON: tarápon cowry shells when used in this way [MDL]
bigít game (typ- children’s, played with shells of the clam bibí); MA- or MAG- to play such a game [MDL]
búya’ seashell (typ- small, yellow) [MDL: seashell (typ- red in colour, used in children’s games]
damá snail (typ- black with a reddish interior, used by children in their games [MDL]
Children also used reeds and grasses in their games, as well as burrs from particular plants which they would throw at each other.
baság game (typ- played by children in which pieces of bamboo-like reeds or grasses (gáho’ or lupí) are thrown at other pieces which serve as a target; MAG- to play this game (children) [MDL]
ginsá’ burrs of the grass called uraróy, thrown at each other by children when playing; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to throw such burrs at s/o [MDL]
They would also used natural items such as the skin of the betel nut to make what must have been a small drum formed by digging a hole in the ground.
tamadóng drum (typ-); also a hole dug in the ground and covered with the thin skin of the betel nut (talulhó), made by children and hit like a drum; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to beat such a drum, making a sound; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use s/t for striking a drum [MDL]
A captured bird might also provide some diversion, not doubt until it became exhausted or eventually died from the trauma of being held the by the beak as it attempted to fly away.
lído’ MA- or MAG- to fly back and forth, going nowhere (a bird held by the beak by a child when playing); (fig-) Lidó’-lído’ na lámang si kuyán It appears as if that person is flying back and forth, going nowhere (Said when one cannot move) [MDL]
Stilts were a common pastime. Children would walk around on stilts called sungkáyaw. Not content with just walking, they would also engage in games, trying to push one another off balance, timbakó’, striking an opponent on one of the stilts, bintá, and trying to lift the stilt causing the person to fall, pátid.
sungkáyaw stilts; MAG- to walk on stilts [+MDL: bamboo stilts used by children when playing; MAG- to walk on such stilts; (fig-) Garó na nagsusungkáyaw si kuyán It is as if that person is walking on stilts (Said when one is very tall, with long legs)]
timbakó’ MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to walk on stilts; refers to children when playing, trying to push one another off balance [MDL]
bintá MAG- to strike one another with a stilt each trying to lift the stilt of an opponent, causing them to fall (an action called pátid); MA- to strike another in this way (children when playing) [MDL]
pátid game (typ- children’s, in which one child strikes the calf of another child with their shin); MAG-, to play in this way (two children or many playing with each other); MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to strike s/o on the calf in this way; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use the shin to strike s/o in this way; [MDL]
Children also engaged in the noisy roughhousing that children everywhere engage in. They would take turns piling on top of one another, some children being forced down to the bottom of the pile and then extricating themselves to again throw themselves onto the top of the pile for the whole process to begin again.
dapóg MAG- to take turns piling one on top of the other (two children, one first on top and the other lying on the back or side, and then reversing the positions); PAG--ON to be one on top of the other in this way (two children); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to pile or jump on top of s/o lying on the ground; MAGKA- to pile one on top of the other (children at play): Nagkadarapóg na si mga áki’ Those children are piled one on the other [MDL]
dumóg MA- to pile on top of s/o; MAG- to pile one on top of the other; PAG--ON to be one on top of the other, as children jumping on one another during play, dogs and cats when frolicking; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to throw things one on top of the other; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to throw things onto others or onto a particular place; MAKA-, MA--AN to accidentally fall on s/t; MAGKA- to end up one on top of the other; MAPA-, MAPA--AN to plunge head first into s/t; to fall headlong [MDL]
Children were also not averse to hitting one another, or this is the assumption that may be drawn by the game Lisboa refers to as bagudbód whose homonym refers to the sound made by being struck by a closed fist.
bagudbód game (typ- children’s) [MDL]
bagudbód the sound made when one is hit by a closed fist; MA- or MAG- to make such a sound (a punch, a blow with the fist) [MDL]
And if the punch was too hard, or they came too frequently, it is possible that the following expression might be uttered to show displeasure.
usmó expression used by children among themselves when annoyed; a mild curse [MDL]
All of these children’s games were probably accompanied by a great deal of excited laughter and shouting, and no doubt parents or adults who were disturbed by the ruckus would try to put a stop to it or have it toned down. Any type of boisterousness was referred to by the term ruyák. Children, however, who were particularly disturbing were compared to the sound of frogs in the rainy season, and for those splashing around in the water when swimming, or bathing or just cooling off the term tábog was used, referring to the movement of the hands.
ruyák sound of boisterous children playing, people talking, men drinking; MA- or MAG- to be boisterous; to make a racket: Nagruyák na iníng mga áki’ These children are making a racket; Ruyák-ruyák na iníng nagiinóm Those men who are drinking are really loud [MDL]
talapáng frog; MAG--IN- to act like a frog [+MDL: Garó na kamó tinúbig na talapáng You’re like frogs in the rainy season (Said when children shout or make a lot of noise)]
tábog describing the movement of the hands when children swim or splash around in the water; MANGAG- to splash about in the water: Nangagtábog na iníng mga áki’ These children are making a lot of noise splashing around in the water [MDL]
Children liked to spin tops as one of their pastimes, and this can still be seen in the rural areas of the country. These tops were most commonly of rough-hewn wood with a bit of metal serving as the tip. Children supplied string of a required length to get the tops down and spinning. Children also had contests to see whose top could spin the longest, or which top could spin in the more upright position for the longest period of time. Each of the stages in the spinning of a top, whether individually for pleasure, or in a contest, had a special term.
The top used by children was called paglóng and the string used to set it spinning was hugá’. This was pulled forcefully, hubód to set the top spinning, sigáw.
paglóng top (typ- used by children); MAG- to play with such a top [MDL]
hugá’ string for a spinning top; MAG-, -AN to wind a string around a top
hubód MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to pull back quickly and forcefully on a string attached to a top to set it spinning; (fig-) Garó na kitá ihinubód kainíng sálog It’s as if we are being used as a top string by this river (Said when one is being swept quickly along by the current) [MDL]
sigáw MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to spin a top [MDL]
ítok MAG- to spin; to be spinning; MAGPA-, PA--ON to spin s/t; PA- propeller (usually referring to the small plastic kind used by children) [+MDL MA- or MAG- to spin (as a top); MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to spin s/t (as a top); to roll dice; (fig-) Nagítok na si kuyán That person has spun around (Said when one turns around as if hit in the foot, and drops down to grab the part of the foot that hurts)]
When it came to contests, two tops would be spun together, generally to see which would spin the longest. It was important that both tops be spun at the same time, siyá’, or else the last top to spin would have an advantage. This is no doubt the advantage implied in the entry húnong.
siyá’ MAGKA- to spin one top with another; to match one spinning top with another (children when playing) [MDL]
húnong MAPA- or MAGPA- to be late in spinning a second top (children when playing tops); MAPA-, PA--AN or MAGPA-, PAGPA--AN to spin a second top late [MDL]
The top which spun the longest was called handáy, but this applied to tops which were spun at the same time. Tops might spin on an incline, limbáy, but eventually they would all come to a halt, and this was called tubód.
handáy referring to the spinning top which lasts longest in contests; MA- to spin the longest (a top when thrown at the same time as another); MAKA-, MA--AN to last longer (one top in comparison to another); MAG- to spin together (two tops in a contest)[MDL]
limbáy describing a top that spins inclined to one side and not straight up; MA- or MAG- to spin in this way (a top); (fig-) Naglimbáy na iníng paglakáw Your walk is like a spinning top inclined to one side (Said when one hardly moves when walking) [MDL]
tubód MA- to stop spinning (a top); to come to an abrupt stop [MDL]
Children, to a large extent, were invisible to the Spanish explorers and administrators who first came to the Philippines. They were mentioned primarily in relation to the more unusual aspects of early Philippine society: to their killing when a family or community felt it could not care for additions to its population, or their adoption or sale when they could not be properly cared for. Children were also mentioned as part of a line of inheritance, whether they were legitimate or illegitimate, or whether the offspring of slaves or freemen.
To the early priests children were seen as objects of conversion, and were usually referred to almost in the abstract as being successfully baptized. Children from this perspective were the future of the new religion and the key to its acceptance and spread. This hoped-for future was far more important than what was considered a pagan present into which the children were born.
Priests, along with the early secular Spanish, also recorded rites of circumcision, considered an anathema to the priests, and a sign of timely intervention by the Spanish. This particular practice was believed to come from the Moslem south, from a religion already entrenched in the Tagalog areas around Manila. They also recorded practices such as head-flattening and naming, and took an interest in local ceremonies and beliefs surrounding the birth of a child. These beliefs and the supernatural world they represented formed a challenge for the priests whose aim was to extinguish them and replace them with Christian doctrine and practices.
Women, too, did not feature greatly in the early descriptions of the Philippines. They were included in discussions of marriage, inheritance and class, but as to their role as mothers and carers, little was said. It was to the compilers of early Philippine language dictionaries that the task fell to record the details of birth and childhood that have come down to us. These early lexicographers were the priests who took an exceptional interest in the societies it was their duty to change. Their mission was undoubtedly, twofold. Some of these priests did their lexicographical work so well, that it is hard to imagine that they did not wish to record for the future details of these new and unknown societies. There was also a more pressing need, and that was to create a language resource for the priests who were to come so that they could communicate with individuals in these new societies and carry out their mission of conversion.
It is from Marcos de Lisboa’s Vocabulario de la Lengua Bicol, perhaps the finest of the early dictionaries, that we gain valuable and more detailed insight into pregnancy, birth and childhood in this particular region. From these entries we learn about the feelings associated with pregnancy and the dangers and pain associated with birth. We learn of the role of the midwife and the types of assistance she was able to offer.
From these entries we also gain insight into the everyday raising of the child, from the early period of nursing and weaning, to the introduction of the first solid food. We also see the stages of development, both the physical stages such as turning over and crawling, to the more abstract stages associated with speech and the child’s discovery of its place in society. We also learn how parents interacted with their children: how they cared for them, how they spoke to them in various endearing ways, how they lifted and carried them and how they disciplined them when the time came for such actions. We also learn how children might have been neglected and how the community in general felt about such occurrences, and we also learn about their inevitable tantrums and periods of distress and crying.
We also have an insight into the sadder aspects of raising a child: their death and periods of ill-health. Entries in the dictionary also give us some insight into the feelings of parents about these events, and they provide us with enough detail to be able to assign a modern interpretation to some of these ailments. Finally, we are also given information about how children enjoyed themselves, what games they played, what toys they made and the materials they used in these leisure-time activities. Additionally, the dictionary adds detail to all of the aspects of childhood and birth mentioned by the early priests and secular Spanish. We learn more about adoption, naming, circumcision, head-flattening, ceremonies and beliefs, all of which enable us to reconstruct a long-gone, yet ageless world, where women fell pregnant, gave birth and raised children.
 Eusebio Gomez Platero, Catálogo Biográfico de los Religiosos Franciscanos de la Provincia de San Gregorio Magno de Filipinas, Manila: Imprenta del Real Colegio de Santo Tomas, 1880, p. 53, as cited in Jose CallejaReyes, ‘Ibalón: An Ancient Bikol Epic,’ in Philippine Studies, 16 (2) (1968):318–47, p. 323.
 Entrada de la Seraphica Religión de Nuestro Padre San Francisco de las Islas Philipinas, an anonymous manuscript of 1649 held at the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, MSS No. 505, 1895, p. 51.
 Malcolm Mintz, Bikol Dictionary, Vol. I: English-Bikol Index; Vol II: Bikol-English Dictionary (incorporates the seventeenth century Marcos de Lisboa Vocabulario de la lengua Bicol), Australia: Indonesian/Malay Texts, 2004.
 G.P. Dasmariñas, ‘Account of the encomiendas in the Philippinas Islands,’ 31 May 1591, in Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, 55 vols, Cleveland: AH Clark, 1903–1909; CD-ROM version, Bank of the Philippine Islands, vol. 8, pp. 96–141, pp. 126–27, (henceforth B&R).
 Joel M. Reyes and Rodolfo Sosonto Perez III, Spanish Expeditions to the Philippines,’ in An Online Guide about the Philippine History, online: http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Pool/1644/spanishera.html, accessed 6 September 2007.
 Juan de Plasencia, ‘Customs of the Tagalogs,’ 1589, in B&R, vol 7, pp. 191–92; also in Francisco de Santa Inés, ‘Crónica de la Provincia de San Gregorio Magno de las Islas Filipinas, China y Japon, etc.,’ 1676, in Biblioteca Histórica Filipina, Manila: Tipo Litografía de Chofre y Comp. 1892, Appendix 3, p. 600.
 Miguel de Loarca, Relación de las Islas Filipinas, Chapter 6, 1582, in B&R, vol. 5, pp. 34–187, p. 119; Pedro Chirino, S.J. Relación de las Islas Filipinas (1604), Manila: Historical Conservation Society, 1969; also in B&R, vols 12 & 13, chapter 19, vol. 12, p. 251.
 Antonio de Morga, Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (1609), Cambridge: The Hakluyt Society – Cambridge University Press, 1971, Chapter 8, p. 278; also in B&R, vols 15 & 16, vol. 16, p. 131.
 Diego de Bobadilla, ‘Relation of the Filipinas Islands by a religious who lived there for 18 years,’ 1640, in B&R, vol. 29, pp. 277–311, p. 292.
 Juan de San Antonio, Chronicas de las Apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos, Pueblo de Sampaloc: Convento de Nuestra Señora de Loreto, 1738, p. 168.
 Loarca, Relación de las Islas Filipinas, Chapter 6, in B&R, vol. 5, p. 119.
 Plasencia, ‘Customs of the Tagalogs,’ in B&R, vol. 7, pp. 181–82.
 Plasencia, ‘Customs of the Tagalogs,’ in B&R, vol. 7, p. 182; also in San Antonio, Chronicas de las Apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos, p. 172; and Sta. Inés, ‘Crónica de la Provincia de San Gregorio Magno,’ in Biblioteca Histórica Filipina, pp. 596–97.
 Gaspar de San Agustin, Conquistas de las Islas Philipinas, Madrid, 1698, in B&R, vol. 40, pp. 187–295, p. 255.
 Loarca, Relación de las Islas Filipinas, in B&R, vol. 5, p. 105.
 Chirino, Relación de las Islas Filipinas (1604), chapter 44; and in B&R, vol. 13, p. 51.
 Andres de San Nicholas, Historia general de las religiosos descalzos del orden de San Agustin, 1664, in B&R, vol. 21, pp. 112–259, chapter 5, p. 140.
 Miguel López de Legazpi, Relación de las islas Filipinas, 1569, in B&R, vol. 3, pp. 54–61, p. 55.
 San Antonio, Chronicas de las Apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos, p. 155.
(Spontaneous Abortion),’ in MedicineNet.com, 12 Jan 2007, online: http://www.medicinenet.com/miscarriage/article.htm, p. 3, accessed 6 September 2007.
 Plasencia, ‘Customs of the Tagalogs,’ in B&R, vol. 7, p. 196.
 Tomás Ortiz, Práctica del Ministério, ca 1731, in B&R, vol 43, pp. 103–12, p. 107; also in San Antonio, Chronicas de las Apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos, p. 155.
 Joaquin Martinez de Zúñiga, Historia de las Islas Philipinas, 1803, in B&R, vol. 43, pp. 113–27, chapter II, pp. 125–26.
 Ortiz, Práctica del Ministério, in B&R, vol. 43, p. 108; also in San Antonio, Chronicas de las Apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos, p. 155; also see Fernando Blumentritt, Diccionario Mitológico de Filipinas, Madrid, 1895, pp. 97–98, for further interpretations of patyának for the Philippines and other areas in Southeast Asia.
 Morga, Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (1609), p. 249 and in B&R, vol. 16, p. 79; see also Bobadilla, ‘Relation of the Filipinas Islands by a religious who lived there for 18 years,’ in B&R, vol. 29, p. 288.
 Bobadilla, ‘Relation of the Filipinas Islands by a religious who lived there for 18 years,’ in B&R, vol. 29, p. 293.
 William Henry Scott, Barangay, Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1994, p. 25.
 Ortiz, Práctica del Ministério, in B&R, vol. 43, p. 110.
 Morga, Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (1609), pp. 280–81, and in B&R, vol. 16, p. 134.
 Pablo de Jesus, ‘Letter to Gregory XIII,’ 1580, in B&R, vol 34, p. 318.
 Lieutenant Charles Norton Barney, ‘Circumcision and flagellation among the Filipinos,’ September 1903, in Journal of the Association of Military Surgeons, as cited in B&R, vol. 16, p. 134.
 Loarca, Relación de las Islas Filipinas, chapter 6, in B&R, vol. 5, p. 119.
 Bobadilla, ‘Relation of the Filipinas Islands by a religious who lived there for 18 years,’ in B&R, vol. 29, pp. 292–93; also see Scott, Barangay, p. 22 for a general discussion of the situation in the Philippines and the Visayas in particular.
 Bobadilla, ‘Relation of the Filipinas Islands by a religious who lived there for 18 years,’ in B&R, vol. 29, p. 292.
 Chirino, Relación de las Islas Filipinas (1604), chapter 80, and in B&R, vol. 13, pp. 200–01; also see San Antonio, Chronicas de las Apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos, pp. 145–46.
 Chirino, Relación de las Islas Filipinas (1604), Chapter 80, and in B&R, vol. 13, p. 201.
 Chirino, Relación de las Islas Filipinas (1604), Chapter 80, and in B&R, vol. 13, p. 201.
 Chirino, Relación de las Islas Filipinas (1604), chapter 80, and in B&R, vol. 13, p. 201; also see San Antonio, Chronicas de las Apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos, pp. 145–46.
 For further discussion see Mintz, ‘Anger and Verse: Two Vocabulary Subsets in Bikol,’ in Vical 2: Western Austronesian and Contact Languages, Papers from the 5th International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics, Auckland: Linguistics Society of New Zealand, 1991, pp. 231-44; and Jason Lobel, ‘The Angry Register of the Bikol Language of the Philippines,’ in Current Issues in Philippine Linguistics and Anthropology: Parangal kay Lawrence A Reid, ed. Hsiu-chuan Liao and Carl R Galvez Rubino, Manila: The Linguistic Society of the Philippines and SIL Philippines, 2005, pp. 149–66.
 Mintz, ‘Prehispanic Terms for War and Conflict,’ in Pilipinas, vol. 26 (Spring 1996):165–93.
 Plasencia, ‘Customs of the Tagalogs,’ in B&R, vol. 7, pp. 182–83; and Sta. Inés, ‘Crónica de la Provincia de San Gregorio Magno,’ in Biblioteca Histórica Filipina, p. 597.
 Morga, Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (1609), p. 275, and in B&R, vol. 16, p. 126.
 San Antonio, Chronicas de las Apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos, pp. 171–72
 Plasencia, ‘Customs of the Tagalogs,’ in B&R, vol. 7, pp. 182–83; and Sta. Inés, ‘Crónica de la Provincia de San Gregorio Magno,’ in Biblioteca Histórica Filipina, p. 597.
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 'Dwarfism,' in Kids Health for Parents, Nemours Foundation, online: http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/growth/growth/dwarfism.html, date reviewed October 2005, site accessed 6 September 2007.
 'Chicken Pox,' in The Medical Symptoms Database online: http://www.symptoms101.com/med/archives/2005/05/chicken_pox.php, accessed 7 October 2007.
 Mintz, ‘Anger and Verse: Two Vocabulary Subsets in Bikol.’
 John U. Wolff, A Dictionary of Cebuano Visayan, Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines, 1971.
 Wolff, A Dictionary of Cebuano Visayan.