The agpamago is considered to be the highest celebration for a Mangyan clan living in the same balaylakoy. In this celebration, Mangyans from different places are invited to share in the thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest and other blessings from the field and forest. Together, the Mangyans proudly thank Kapwan Agalape’t (Almighty God) for the blessings he has given to their crops.
The agpamago deepens the relations and interactions among the Mangyans as it brings them to help each other in the preparations for the festivity. Every Mangyan who joins in this celebration has his or her own task.
The agpamago is held at an area inside the balaylakoy that is called the palangganan. Each family that lives in the balaylakoy where the agpamago is celebrated contributes a bucket of rice for everyone to share. In this way, every family comes to know all the more the character, traits, and ways of every Mangyan.
The agpamago also gives every participating Mangyan the opportunity to deepen his or her relationship with other angyans as they all share in the preparations for the celebration amidst conversations, well-wishes, and personal interactions.
The celebration is made up of several programs that include singing and games by some of the Mangyans, from the elders down to the young men and women, with children watching them in their festivities. The beating of rice stalks creates a sound that blends with the maidens’ singing (banggi), to which the young men respond with their own songs. The elder men and women, too, perform their own exchange of songs. That is why it is in such an event that they get to discover and enhance their own abilities, talents, and characteristics. This is an occasion for each of them to enrich their abilities and personalities as Mangyan.
Part of the agpamago is the ritual of slaughtering a pig (pansula) to predict what may happen in the future for Mangyans in various places and for those who live in the balaylakoy in terms of their livelihood, crops, health, and relations. Only elders (apalaki) who are known to be people of virtue and righteousness perform the agpamago, since it is considered to be the highest ritual among the Mangyans.
Tools for the Agpamago
- Lusong – the lusong has four to eight holes. It serves to grind the rice grains.
- Halo – this acts like a mechanical grinder, which mashes the grain shells.
- Bilao – the maidens use this to take away the crushed grain shells.
- Kawali – this is used for heating the rice grains, which will then help keep its quality.
- Balanan – this is where the clean rice grains are placed.
Other Mangyans continue their conversations, interactions, singing, and playing while work on the rice grains is done.