Pilan lang yátâng sísimbul, ibat kng makapabúsal? Dápot dumúgang alî ya, nung alî mû kng Aláya.
Bunduk Aláya, the home of the Kapampángan Sun God and War God Ápûng Sínukûan, has become the most visible and potent symbol of Kapampángan spiritual and cultural identity. Throughout history, the 1,125 meter mountain has been a sanctuary for rebels, poets and mystics alike. Being the only visible point of land in the midst of an ocean of sea and rice fields, Bunduk Aláya has always served as a reference point for travelers, farmers and fishermen. To this day, many Kapampángans reckon directions simply as paraláya (going towards Aláya) and paróba (going away from Aláya).
Farmers and fisherman have long equate the mountain’s visibility with Ápûng Sinukûan’s protection and guidance. Many of them still look up to the mountain every morning to divine the outcome of the entire day or to simply forecast the weather. Carry an umbrella if you see a cloud-covered Bunduk Aláya they say, for it will surely rain. If the mountain is totally invisible however, cancel any important undertaking for the outcome will surely be unfavourable they say.
But for many of us Kapampángans who have been away for so long, the mere sight of this majestic mountain while riding home along the South Express Way often stirs up from the very depths of our being an overwhelming flood of emotions. The mere sight of Bunduk Aláya tells us that we have finally come home!
Author: Michael Raymon Tayag-Manaloto Pangilinan (Siuálâ ding Meángûbié)