The Iluko term Rumsua (pronounced “room-swa”) is also known as tummaud and agburayok. The name is rich with symbolic significance. Its analogy represents “manifestation” (the process of materialization or making something evident); “revelation” (the act of revealing or disclosing something); “morphogenesis” (giving rise to form and variety); “abiogenesis” (spontaneous generation of life); and “to spring forth.” As found in one Iluko dictionary[i], rumsua is also defined as: “to happen, to occur, to come about, to appear, to come in sight, to become visible, to show itself, and to reveal itself.” Sanskrit words are also compounded in this term. Ru is the "soul," "root," or "depth." Sua (sva) is the "self," and the middle letter m is the self-descriptive "me." Thus, rumsua, in a Sanskrit context, means the "soul of the self," the "soul of me," or the "root or deepest aspect of one's being."[ii] The term ru can also be found in the Philippine term guro (from Sanskrit guru), which is composed of two words: gu (darkness) and ru (light, knowledge). Thus, a guru is "one who removes the darkness," "one who enlightens," or "one who reveals the light," thus showing the relationship with the term rumsua as manifestation and revelation.
The creviced stone on the left symbolizes the feminine while the elongated stone on the right symbolizes the masculine – both placed together to represent the union and interplay of dual forces. Photo Copyright © 2008 | Virgil Mayor Apostol.
|Pinangpanga-type linglingo with horned goat heads.|
|The water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) is terrestrial but heavily dependent on water to cool down since they have no sweat glands.|
The nuang or carabao (water buffalo) is designated as the Philippine national animal rich with spiritual symbolism. It is the “beast of burden” which continues to give strength in cultivating the land. Some refer to this animal as the backbone of our culture. It symbolizes power, persistence, and determination, revealing the psyche and character of the people. It is a peaceful animal, but if aggravated, it will charge with a fury. Among certain groups, the nuang is the ultimate sacrifice during indigenous ceremonies.
The hand rides on the nuang symbolized by its horn (sara). The horn, when converted into an instrument (tangguyob), is used to signal the need for attention. It is blown by the holder of the tangguyob, such as a panglakayan (head leader) to summon the community to certain events. When the horn is converted into a tandok, it is used to suck out poisons left by animal bites. After a special processing procedure, it is also used to absorb poisons left by those animal bites.
The parts of the hand (ima) are as follows:
Tangan Thumb or pollex
Tammudo Index or forefinger
Pattungagan Middle finger (pangando)
Pasariw-at Ring finger (pangansi)
Kikit Auricular or little finger
Since the hand is a major body part used for expression, whether it is in healing, music, art, dance, self-defense, or literary arts, it is only fitting that it be representative as the Rumsua icon.
Rumsua: Ancestral Traditions, represented by the Rumsua icon, is an entity dedicated to the preservation and practice of cultural traditions of the Philippines, with emphasis on the amianan (northern) cultures.
Icon concept and design by Virgil Mayor Apostol. Graphics by Rumsua and Benni Abiog of KulEye™ Productions.