DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/5 May) – While aboard a boat from Visayas to Mindanao, passengers would usually stay on the deck to enjoy the rejuvenating air while at sea. And this is what happens when a Cebuano and an Ilonggo travel together:

“Hala, may pating sa dagat, To!” Dodong tells Toto. To his surprise, Toto looks up in the sky and asks: “Diin man? Waay gani pro!”

Clearly, they don’t understand each other because in the Cebuano dialect, pating means shark. But in Ilonggo, it means dove.

The following day, they arrive at Polloc Port in Parang, Maguindanao. Dodong asks Toto to have their lunch at the nearby carenderia. “May monggo kamo dire nang o kadyos? Daw nahidlaw na gid ko bah,” Toto asks.

Dodong laughs and tells Toto: “Pahalata gyud ka bay nga Ilonggo ka kay ngita man gyud ka monggo ug kadyos.”

Kadyos or pigeon pea is one of the most popular garden plants among Ilonggos.

When we moved here in our subdivision in Davao City, I noticed a kadyos plant right next to our fence. I therefore concluded that our neighbor is an Ilonggo.

Days later, an old woman talked to us in Cebuano but the accent really sounds Ilonggo. When I asked her her hometown, she said they are from
Iloilo.

Among Ilonggos, kadyos are usually served with pata or pork. I’ve seen this recipe in only two restaurants in Davao City: Casa Leticia’s Sagay Café and Casa Ilongga at Gaisano Mall.

Aside from pork, kadyos is also cooked with minced core of the banana stem and native chicken. It is known as ubad or “fluorescent” among
Ilonggos because the core resembles a fluorescent lamp after taking it out from the stem.

For non-Ilonggos, they find it weird to eat the “fluorescent” because for them, the only part of the banana that could be eaten is the fruit.

Back to Dodong and Toto.

“Nang, tagai kami sang ginamos beh para ganado gid bah,” Toto asks the tindera. Dodong complains that he doesn’t like ginamos because he wants bagoong. Again, both of them argued which one should be served.

For Ilonggos, ginamos is the one with reddish color while we call the dark one as bagoong. In short, it’s opposite to what it means among  Cebuanos.

At the market in Ilonggo-dominated towns, ginamos is sold by cup. It is displayed like a mound of dirt in the dried fish section.

After having lunch, Toto tells Dodong: “Karon lang ta lakat ’pre ah kay busog pa.” Dodong hurriedly carries his bag and calls the pedicab
driver.

“Lakat ka na haw?” Toto asks. “Busog pa gani ta. Mabusdik ni karon tiyan ko.”

“Ingon ka karon lakaw na,” Dodong says.

In Ilonggo, “karon lang” means later, but in Cebuano, it means right now. Sometimes, we also say: “Karon lang dugay-dugay.” This means much
later and you have to wait a little bit longer.

But some Cebuanos would laugh at the phrase, saying that it is conflicting because the word “karon” has a sense of urgency while “dugay-dugay” means later.

Minutes later, both of them leaves for the bus terminal.

Aboard the bus, Toto complained: “P’re, ga lingin ulo ko ba. May bonamin ka dyan?”

“To, lingin naman na daan imo ulo. Unsa pa imo gina reklamo? Gusto ka mahimo na square?” says Dodong.

Upon arriving in Midsayap, Dodong boards a jeepney while Toto waits for a pedicab. “Dong, mapanaw nalang ko ah. Kadugay man sang
traysikol.”

At the back of Dodong’s mind, he says: “Hala, ngano man to sya mag-panaw nga murag kusgan pa man to. Gi-atay, akoy sad-an ani kung
pakamatay to.”

Dodong tries to call Toto’s attention but the latter has already walked several hundred meters away from the bus.

[Keith Bacongco is a MindaNews reporter/photographer and is a proud Full Blooded Ilonggo (FBI) married to a Davaoeña. The couple lives in Davao City.]