Let me refresh my readers about the Biniray, the subject of Fabicon-Fadrilan dialogue a year ago, which I retrieved, with the help of the former, from the archives.
The main reason I am writing about the topic is to provide Asi Banto-anons, Sibalenhons, Simaranhons, Odionganons, and Calatravanhons—and whoever is interested—a historical perspective of this enduring religious traditions which, I believe, is the thread that holds the Asi tribe together culturally and spiritually.
To understand the Biniray is to understand the Bantoanon psyche; to participate in it is to be interested in the evolution of the Bantoanons’ religious development.
As Fabicon wrote: “Maagnum ni hambilingon ka Biniray, lalo-ey kung ka mga batasan ag tradisyong pang kultural o pang sosyedad ay kaibhanan.”
It is in this context that we continue peering into the dialogue.
Asing biniray para kang San Nicolas?
Fadrilan: Inggwa pa et ibang dahilan. Si San Nicolas ay santong patron et mga marino (mariners). Sa Banton, inggwa et dating lanson nak ka ngayan ay San Nicolas. Ka tag-iya it kali ay taga-Soyawan sa Brgy. Banice. Ka ngayan et osang kompanya et mga lanson biyaheng Palawan et mga Fabula ay San Nicolas Lines. In Old Manila, San Nicolas was also a popular patron saint of many Chinese in the San Nicolas district of Binondo. An anecdote has it that through the intercession of San Nicolas, a Chinese child was saved from being devoured by a crocodile in the Pasig River. The Chinese used to have a fluvial parade (Biniray?) in honor of San Nicolas from Sta. Ana to Binondo (Del Pan) in the Pasig River.
There are San Nicolas patronal feast celebrations in about 40 town parishes, but four dioceses in the Philippines do not have the fluvial parade, or Biniray, event in their celebrations.
Fabicon: Your comments invite other trivia:St. Nicholas had performed significant miracles as well. The Senyor, stories had it, saved nine passengers in a sinking ship by holding on to them a lily.
In another occasion, he saved the burning castle of the Duke of Venice by throwing a piece of his famous blessed bread!Banton has its share of the San Nicholas story as well.
During the heydey of the galleon trade, the locals had contacts with the shipbuilders in Marinduque, thus, loan Spanish words in the Asi vocabulary exist to the present day: camarote, pugon, aribada, gromete, etc.
It was very possible that some Romblomanons, in general, and Bantoanons, in particular, as Bisayans, already learned the "language of the purling waves" in Cornelio Faigao's award winning poem, "The Brown Child").
The Bisayans' navigation skills were manna to the Spanish colonizers. Spanish chroniclers wrote of galleon ships manned by Bisayan crew members.It is significant to note that other than lanson and batil, the Bantoanons' alternative vessel for barter and trade was the pasahi/pasahe—a much-improved version of the biray.
It was very common during Biniray when a lanson or a batil were in drydock in Nasunogan. The pasahi took over as Senyor San Nicholas' "flagship". Devotees were all cramped in the upper deck as they sang and prayed in Hiligaynon!
Fadrilan: Unang nagrana sa isip et mga Biniray leaders kaling plano et kag guing totokor pa yang kag Silver Biniray, tuig 2007.
Inggua et pilang bangor, kung asing mahirap mahinabo kali sa nakraan: 1) Rakong gastos (plete, pagkaon, bayon) para sa mga deboto ni San Nicolas; 2) Mahabang oras (adlaw) nak sinra ay mapalta sa trabaho; 3) Marisgo ka biyahe sa ragat—ka buyan nak Septiyembre ay mabagyo, mauyan; ag 4) Waya et mas makusog nak dahilan. Inggua ra et Biniray (original) sa Banton.
Maramong Bantoanon nak nakaistar ngasing sa ibang lugar (liwit-liwit) ay nagpapauli sa Banton, banwang tinubuan, para sa pagrom-rom sa mga religious traditions kung Mahay nak Adlaw. Sa Metro Manila ag ibang lugar sa Luzon, ka imahe ni San Nicolas ay nag roro-aw sa mga bayay et debotong Bantoanon tuna et kag tuig 1999.
Ka naging mahadag nak ideya ngasing ay dapat pag-usahon ka selebrasyon et tanang Biniray events para kang San Nicolas. Ka main event ay dapat mahinabo sa "bayay" et ka Makaako ag ka ida serbidor nak si San Nicolas sa Banton. Ka mga ibang selebrasyon sa Romblon capital town, Odiongan, Metro Manila, ag Texas (USA) ay mga "supporting events".
Ngasing nak tuig 2008, ka tema et pista sa Banton ag Metro Manila ay a osa: "Nurturing Tradition, Living the Faith". Tan-a sa masunor nak mga tuig,kaling pagkakausa ay mahinabo. Osang Makaako. Osang Pagsalig. Osang San Nicolas. Osang Biniray.
Fabicon wrote that pre- and post-World War II Biniray activities enlivened the September Biniray week attributed to the active participation of the local government.
Fabicon: Perhaps, it is worthy of mention three Bantoanons—among the many in Banton's local history—ex-municipal mayors Silvestre Festin, Dionisio Fetalvero and teniente del barrio of Sibay, Luis Fabicon.
The three in the early 30s were known as "Manila boys", since they spent perhaps a couple or more of their post-teenage lives in Manila doing odd jobs before returning and living in Banton permanently.
Silvestre and Dionisio married fiesta queens, Nang Biday Fabonan and Nang Antang Fadri of "Miss Jones" fame, respectively. Luis married Felipa Festin-Faigao, the only daughter of Rufo Faigao, Banton's first elected municpal president.
The three men and their wives were very active in the promotion of Biniray in Banton, leading and organizing the communal pakaon, sadaw, comedia, koronasyon, novenas, banda performances, which were never absent as Biniray highlights.Without bias, Luis and Felipa had other things to do in Sibay. The couple’s first-born, Nicolas, born on September 10, died an infant's death, but they moved on.
The couple eked out a living, before they went to post-war teaching, by putting up a profitable sari-sari store in Sibay, one of the earliest Spanish posts in the island. Luis engaged in small business barter plying the neighboring islands in his pasahe, named, if i am not mistaken, San Nicolas. San Nicolas's crew saw two hardworking young men, Jose Faminial Sr. and Eugenio Fonte Sr.
Manong Joe, who is now retired in Toronto, Canada brings in him the "knowledge of the purling waves." Ask him about wind directions and he will oblige at will. The late Manong Gene, became a district supervisor in Romblon's public educational system.
Rinzi, it seems to me that prior to Suyawan and Banice, Sibay—with the San Nicolas pasahi and the sari-sair store as business models—gave birth to the concept of a corporation when the lanson Pinagaralan was launched under the leadership of ex-mayor Macario Festin. Pinagaralan also participated as flagship in the Biniray.
What am I writing about? It is, unfortunately, only a few of the many stories about all of us—our culture and history as an Asi community.
There are much more. Senyor San Nicolas is one of our major players in the search of our past and our faith in the pre- and post-Spnish Makaako The Biniray in manila cements what we have gone through regardless of our religious beliefs, our partisanhips, and kinships.
Lastly, Fabicon wrote: “Ka Biniray ag kulturang kayatay nak kung baga ay nakaluyloy sa ato mga paino-ino ay usang katawuhan it Asing kalag.