The Earlier People

The Earlier People*

By Entong Anulay

This text describes several aspects of the Subanen way o f life before commerce came to the area: survival, the making of salt, clothing styles, and the blackening of teeth, a custom still practiced by a few until today.

                1 The earlier people moved every year to a new home,* because they did not yet understand how (else) to make a living. 2 For at that time, no one was selling anything at all.

                3 But they used to make salt, by a process they called megekpuk. 4 In the megekpuk process, a very large fire was built on the seashore. 5 When it burned down to coals, sea water was repeatedly poured on it to evaporate, and then the ashes of the wood would become salt.

                6 After that, they made lump salt. 7 The ashes that had turned to salt were mixed with water and then boiled. 8 When the water boiled away, it solidified and became very hard. 9 That was what was called lump salt.*

                10 Then they buried it under the ashes on the firetable, so that it wouldn’t melt. 11 Now matter how many years passed, it was still good.*

                12 Well, as for the elders’ clothing long ago, the men’s trousers were either short pants or very wide-legged trousers. 13 And their shirts were traditional Subanen shirts.* 14 Their turbans* were plaid.* 15 And they let their hair grow long, both women and men; there was no different in their hair style.

                16 Then when one slept, he didn’t remove his turban.* 17 And when he travelled, he wore a betelnut carrier* tied to his waist.


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