When I did my research for one of my master’s paper in the Province of Sultan Kudarat, Ambay Ampang was one of my respondents, she was thought to be the last Manobo woman who had kept a set of this ‘sigkil’, it’s these iron rings Manobo women adorn their body particularly their necks, their wrist and their ankles, the rings served a number of purpose – one, it’s a sign that a woman belongs to a well-off family in their tribe, second, it’s an accessory signifying beauty, third, it’s an element for their security as those rings would produce a tingling sound whenever someone stronger would try to coerce women in their tribe.
At the course of my stay in the mountains of Ezperanza in Sultan Kudarat, I learned more than what I wanted to know, their anguish towards their government, their unattended health conditions, education, etc. – during that time Ambay was repeatedly telling me she can’t see well, she has one of these eye conditions prevalent among aged women and she wanted to see a healer to have the cataract removed – there were actually a lot of them suffering from same eye problems. Had I been a doctor I could have called a line during that time and selflessly offered my services, those were one of the moments that I was blaming myself that I can’t do much for them with what I have at hand. These people actually don’t ask too much, nor Ambay Ampang asked for blepharoplasty, nothing of that grand, they just want unpretentious attention telling these guys in the government – that hey! We’re part of this government, please mind us too.
Lately, I heard this sad news Ambay Ampang succumbed to meet her creator without even seeing what a doctor looks like, just me thinking that indeed this world still exist at an extreme continuum - extremely advanced and dying without even knowing one.