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Once upon a time, a Kankanaey community in Sakaang in Kibungan flourished because of abundant harvest and livestock.

(Photo is not of the writer; Credit to the owner)

Once upon a time, a Kankanaey community in Sakaang in Kibungan flourished because of abundant harvest and livestock. But one day, the community was disturbed because a young lady named Linda (original name as Lindang/Lendang) was allegedly possessed by 'unseen' evil spirit. Linda lost her sanity and became a curse in the village. Whenever she points her forefinger to animals like chickens, pigs and cows, they suddenly collapse and die.

The inhabitants feared that all their animals would die if Linda would be allowed to freely roam in their community.

One evening, a group of headhunters called "Busol" or "Buso" unexpectedly arrived in the village. Fearing for their lives, some of the villagers told the 'Busol' to hunt instead the young woman Linda and take her life on their behalf. The 'Busol', led by a young man named Abyadew, agreed to kill and get Linda's head.

The following morning, Abyadew and his group, chased Linda to carry out their plan. Linda ran fast as she could until she crossed a river and proceeded to a nearby nipa house to seek refuge. When the 'Busol' followed her up, they interrogated the house owner, an old man named Osi, who claimed that he did not see Linda. Osi told the Busol that Linda possessed extraordinary power and that the spirits may have hid her somewhere. Unknown to the Busol, the house had a double wall made up of indigenous materials and inside it, Linda hid in fear. The Busol thus roamed around the village the whole day looking for her.

Osi secretly instructed Linda to hide inside his house until he holds a 'canao' purposely to cure her from supposed spirit 'possession.' Osi later held a canao and invited the Busol as a show of friendship. Several animals were butchered during this occasion.

When the villagers were playing the gongs and solibao, Osi asked the Busol leader Abyadew to dance the 'tayaw'(male native dance). Osi then called Linda from inside the house to dance the sadong (female dance) with Abyadew. Unexpectedly, Linda regained her sanity and came out looking beautiful unlike her previous witch-like image.

While they were dancing, Abyadew felt attracted with the beautiful Linda. Invoking the powers of Kabunian, the village elders chanted prayers for the two partner-dancers. In a positive twist of fate thereafter, Abyadew and Linda fell in love with each other.

After the canao, Linda was fully cured from "bad spirit-possession". She married Abyadew with the full blessings of the village elders. And the rest is history. Abyadew and Linda and their children's descendants lived happily ever after.

And it was through this love and marriage that ended the war-like attitude and head-hunting activities of the Busol, who later embraced the peaceful culture of the inhabitants in this part of Benguet. (Source: Oral narration of the late Mayor Teodoro Paguli Bolislis of Kibungan, Benguet)

Note: We are still trying to research who are the descendants of Abyadew and Linda. (Photo is not of the writer; credit to the owner).

By: Macarthy B. Malanes

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