Dawak:a way to heal body of the olds, eliminate bad spirits


He was just lying in his bed, it’s been a month since his sickness occur, but seems his prayers are still unanswered. Every time he close his eyes he hear whispers and murmurs. He was very pathetic. His eldest son decided to perform dawak for the old man.

Such related scenario is the reasons why people of Sadanga, Mt.Province perform Dawak for the olds. Accordingly the soul of the sick old will not find rest. Accidents and sickness is prone to the old for the reason that there was no prayer offered to Kabunian performed by male elders.

According to Labnay Par-ogan, Dawak is a ritual performed to heal the sick and is also performed to cleanse the body of the dying old before he leaves the world. Meanwhile it is also believed to command bad spirits that they are not welcome inside a house.

“In performing Dawak, the first child born children are the one who shoulder the expenses, because they are the ones who will inherit the properties of the parents. But if the parents will live long and it happens that it will get sick again, the second child will shoulder the expenses”, said Dumbay, a Belwang elders.

During the Dawak, some preparations are to be ready. A pine tree, at least 20 meters slashed from the mountains, is placed in front of the house that serves as pudong to show and inform bad spirits around  that the sick elder is being cleansed thus they plead to get away from the person.

Dawak requires an animal to be butchered as an offering to Kabunian. It could be two pigs and one carabao. In the morning, a carabao is to be butchered, the males will go to the mountains or rice field where the carabao will be butchered.

After butchering, the meat will be brought to the host’s house in preparation for the evening ritual where participants will be fed.

Later, when the community finished eating, elders gathered together will perform their ay-yeng. The ay-yeng is a prayer of the elder men to Kabunian to heal the sick’s body. They believed that through prayer, the sick will recover and if ever the sick he perceived to pass away, the sick will be welcomed by his family who already passed in the world.

When the ay-yeng is done one pig will be butchered  together with the supon (gift) brought by the female elders usually in form of tobacco, alcohol, bread and matches, the elders will be bringing these to their houses as their compensation.

Lastly, in the morning, the second pig will be butchered together with the relatives and neighbors as a closing ceremony for the dawak.

Dawak as a cleansing ritual

Dawak, is also practiced to bleass a new abode for families. After a house is constructed the family will perform dawak to ask Kabunians’ protection so that bad spririts will not dwell in the house. This is similar to house blessing being performed by other religious group.

Meanwhile Agcov Guingar, warned that if dawak is not performed to a newly built house, the owner cannot sleep well and bad luck is free to enter the house such as anito that can harm the family even to the point of death by the member of the family.

Dawak is a way to show your love, care and responsibility to your parents as their child. It also binds the community to believe and continue such tradition from their ancestors. Aside from just being a practice it’s a way of conserving culture that has been part of the community life among the people of Sadanga, Mountain Province.#Grazilla P. Manengyao

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