Monday, April 19, 2021

The Origin of Tapuy and Other Cordillera Tales (Book)

The Origin of Tapuy and Other Cordillera Tales is a book featuring a collection of folk tales originating from the Cordillera region. Published in 1998 as an initiative by the Igorota Foundation, the volume contains 18 stories by various authors. The book was a collaborative effort with three editors (Rosella Camte - Bahni, Teresa R. Dagdag, and Marjorie M. Balay-as) and three illustrators (Anne Claire Delen, Brian Batong, and Edwin Dicksen).

I found myself a copy of the book through the Baguio Book Club group page on Facebook. This is an online book club where bibliophiles based in Baguio and La Trinidad talk about books and yes, sell books. 

Considering that the book was published in 1998, I was surprised when I got my hands on it because it was nearly in mint condition. Completely intact and good as new. 

The book, in a way, champions women as all of the stories have prominent female protagonists. After all, it was published by the Igorota Foundation, a non-profit organization who has made it one of their goals to recognize the roles that women play in community development and in inspiring localized progress.

Rosella Camte Bahni has this to say in her Introduction: "This book is special not only because it is the initial production if Igorota Foundation on the Cordillera culture presented in book form, but also because it highlights Cordillera folktales featuring Cordillera women as lead characters. It explores various non-stereotypic images of women and challenges us to review our taken-for-granted perspectives about them."

As to the stories themselves, I found them very interesting but lacking. Many of the stories feel like summaries. There's great material in the plots but they were not as fleshed out as I expected. The stories felt rushed.

I also feel a bit confused as to the authorship of the individual stories. There's a reference section at the end of the book that details the sources of the stories. However, it's not clear if the stories were taken verbatim from the sources or the editors concocted the stories based on the materials from the sources.

Overall, this is an interesting book for people who are looking for Cordillera folk tales and legends. The collection features stories from all corners of the Cordillera region. As I said, most of the stories are super-short. You can finish the whole thing in one sitting.

Where can you get a copy of the book? I got my copy from an online seller on Facebook. Search for Montanosa Bibliophile and ask if he/she still has copies left. If this doesn't work, you can try university libraries. UP Baguio sells a good collection of literature on the Cordillera. There's a chance they carry copies of this particular title.