The pre-Hispanic Bikols associates the word “orag”with sex. And the sexual urge. It is neither a dirty word, a word to shun, nor a word not fit for polite crowds. Way back then, sex was regarded as just one of those human needs and, like hunger for food, it should be satisfied in the course of human affairs..
The attitude towards sex was much simpler then, until the Spaniards came along and Puritan values were imposed by them upon bikol society. We get a glimpse of how the old bikols regard sex in the sexual practices they had .
They naturally enjoyed sex in an uninhibited way,. As ethnographer William Henry Scott said, the bikol women thoroughly enjoyed sex with male partners who were wearing “sacra” and disdained those who did not wear them during intercourse.
Now for those who are no longer familiar with this term (sacra’, syn.: ‘tikala’), this word still survives in bikol vocabulary to mean “a ring around handles of bolos or knives”- made of metal or rattan (‘binaklaw’)) This prevents the handle to split apart during heavy blows of the sharp instrument. One can immediately see the apt symbolism in applying it to a sexual gadget.
(One also recalls those “little rings” made of “goat’s eye” with hairs intact being sold in Ongpin. For those who are mischievous in sex play, this “hairy ring” tiokles a female sex partner no end )
The Spanish Franciscans immediately sensed the pre-eminent role of the “oragon” in old bikol society, that of the “hiyangta’”, “maginoo” and “dato’” who were of the highest social status because they earned their titles for being brave in wars and were allowed to wear tattoos on their faces and had the distinct privilege to own as many concubines they wanted, a harem, in fact, for their sole delectation.. They were the real “oragon” of pre-Hispanic times.
Thru religious brainwashing, the Spanish friars drummed upon the bikol people of the sinfulness of being “maorag”. One comes across the admonition in the bible, thus: “Dai magpakalalaw sa dalnak nin kaoragan.”.
But the word “orag” or “oragon” has expanded to so many meanings and contexts..
Its primal meaning associated with sex to denote “virility, lust, sexual prowess, masculinity” thereafter got linked to the concepts of ‘bravery, foolhardiness, fortitude, rashness, impudence, recklessness, temerity, venturesomeness, boldness, audacity, courage, intrepidity, rudeness, sauciness, insolence, and related patterns of behavior.
Now, “oragon” has morphed many times over. You find variants of the word of varying degrees of application and nuances:
Orag-oragon, one who swaggers and shows off
Naoorag, one who is extremely irritated
Inoragan, one who gets his come-uppance; or one who is beaten black and blue
Nagoorag-orag, appearing bold and impudent; one who is flip-flopping; also to mean ‘not functioning properly’
Oragan, to beat up a person
Oragan!, an expression of disbelief
Inooragan, subject to intense vexation, or intense urge or feeling
Naorag, got put off, get pissed off
Maorag ka?, to mean,”will you take my dare?”
Maynoragan ka pa!, meaning “you be damned!”
Payngorag. Plentiful, in great abundance
Oragi, an order to beat up or maul a person
The word “nangingirag” (< kirag, to be in heat) is obviously a cognate of “orag”, the former also strongly denoting an urge for sex. And the word “orog” is distanly related but the meaning takes on a more neutral tone not related to sex but sharing the same intensity.
Aside from these various contextual applications, we have variants in expressing the sense of the word: orati’, orastig, oyagon, orastigon,
It may be noted that the Tagalog word “astig” was borrowed from the Bikol word “orastig,” which is clearly a mutation from the word “oragon”. The Diksynaryo-Tesauro of Jose Villa Panganiban (ed. 1973) did not enter this as a Tagalog word for then it was a slangy word drawn from a nonTagalog source. This goes to show that a language borrows from any source for its own fullness of expression and convenience.
The term “oragon” is gradually taking on a dignified meaning and we now hear of oragonrepublic, oragon award, oragon (oragonon) magazine, and lately, I saw a commercial billboard along Elias Angeles here in Naga City carrying the name “Orastigon- the Bikol Republic.” But I am sure it is not selling a quick fix on sex!