I LOVE SATURDAY SERIES: Bakbak for lunch

By Loreta Sol Dinlayan

Malaybalay City – (Bukidnon News Dispatch / January 7, 2012) My mother served paksiw na bakbak for lunch. Bakbak is a native frog, one of the food specialties of Bukidnons,  usually harvested from rice paddy fields during rainy season.

I usually get a bag of it at P70 or P80. While savoring the meaty viand my mother goes through her stories about her parents during pre-war. Her family lived once in Sinakuruhan, known today as Kilometro Sais, where they enjoyed abundant supply of bakbak, pa-it, tambilolo, pantak and halu-an from the Malas River.

The water became my mother’s playground (she swims well) where she and her grandfather used to have a good catch for their lunch or dinner. Their table would always have linutlot, a delicacy of small fishes cooked inside a young bamboo tube. Food supply from the water was available all throughout the year; and they heard nothing about ecological imbalance, unlike today.


Paralleled with Chief Justice Renato Corona’s January 16, 2012 trial, the province of Bukidnon seems to be on trial also in relation to its environmental commitment. The recent Sendong phenomenon in Cagayan de Oro City put the province in front stage to answer allegations from the critics who blame heavy water outpouring coming from the mountains of Bukidnon as the cause of flooding. This may be the major cause of such catastrophe, displacing thousands of families not only in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City but also few municipalities in Bukidnon like Libona and Baungon.


Bukidnon’s environmental status is assured by its distinct culture, depending on how broad is our grasp of Bukidnon culture. It is in the name of culture that the planned Pulangi V dam’s construction in Manobos’ area could not commence. Also, it is in accordance to cultural beliefs that the designed national highway connecting Bukidnon and Agusan has to be re-routed to respect the Bukidnon-Higaonon Buhita clans’ decisions to disallow the passage of a highway in their ancestral domain to seclude sacred grounds. The Pantaron range, one of the few remaining virgin forests in Mindanao, is the main recipient of benefits from this decision. The Mount Kitanglad, a famous landmark in the province, is loaded with cultural beliefs and this pushed the idea of protecting and preserving the area. Culture, with its innate sympathy to environment, is a preservative ingredient to our environmental treasures.

As a major water-supplier to watersheds in Mindanao, Bukidnon has the badge to spearhead environmental concerns to protect the island and its most challenging task is to manage mining and logging activities or any processes that threatens our environmental status. What happened to Valencia City days after December 16, 2011 is a call to ponder twice, confronting the effect of environmental abuse right before our eyes.


Sendong phenomenon led to the formation of synergies among all sectors to lend a hand and commodities to the victims though we know that these are just palliatives to the problem; and not really the solution. The framing up of a long-term roadmap for facing future natural calamities is a call for planners and developers who have cultural-environmental conscience.


Once an individual is born, a new consumer of environmental supply is automatically enlisted. This logic is taken cared by the indigenous peoples by planting a tree each time there’s a human birth in order to maintain the ecological equilibrium. Such planted tree stands as a sort of ‘payment’ for a new occupancy and consumption in the land. This, a very simple practice extracted from a cognitive cultural map, is affordable to all and I would say to all people of Bukidnon.


Our cultural consciousness dictates that we humans are not supreme over nature though nature is obliged to meet human’s basic needs. Nature, like rivers, mountains or forests, is co-equal with man. They are neighbors whose respect is due. They are partners whose portion is due. This is what Bukidnon culture says.


Thus, our most intelligent weapon in this environmental trial is culture. If Renato Corona has his good picks of law technocrats for his court trial, we also have advocates and experts on culture and environment for this ecological trial. Culture and Environment are a duo with a purpose. Culture is a way of life.


Environment is a source of life. Culture nurtures environment; and environment enhances culture. It is from these imperatives I got the confidence to say that Bukidnon is blessed to have a kind of culture attached to environment. With the National Greening Program of P-Noy supported by Gov. Alex P. Calingasan, we are assured of winning in this environmental trial faced by the province.


I finished the lunch (with bakbak) praying that more rains would come next month to assure me a good supply of bakbak for the Museum Days at Bukidnon State University. Our loyal suppliers are the hardworking women, also loaded with assorted vegetables, from Barangay Can-ayan who are also our December carolers and May visitors. (Loreta Sol Dinlayan for Bukidnon News)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: