BUKIDNON VIEWS: I LOVE SATURDAYS: Rain, rain, don’t go away!

BUKIDNON VIEWS

I LOVE SATURDAYS: Rain, rain, don’t go away!

By Loreta Sol Dinlayan

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/17 January) The sun here has not been generous since yesterday morning; instead the continuous rain invades our convenience for outdoor activities. Today, January 14, 2012, the rains mechanically prompted us to check the Sawaga River and the Kalawaig River aside from the weather advisories provided by the mass media.

This is an effect of the traumatic experience we witnessed among the Sendong victims. My friends in Cagayan de Oro cannot sleep every time it rains at night.

I attended a ritual Panendan Ta Sakub (sakub is a spring or water source) this morning along Kapitan Juan Street in this city. Part of the ritual is a customary proclamation of Sakub as a historical landmark and sacred site of the indigenous peoples of Malaybalay.

My mother, who was born in 1926, used to fetch water from this spring during her childhood. It is just a few meters away from her parents’ house. I am convinced how many residents were served by that spring for it is located adjacent to the old Malaybalay market (the Freedom Park’s location now is where the old market was erected).

Thus, the spring served as a place where people met and shared their daily stories. Its sanctity lies in its utility and fidelity in providing water for the people belonging to all walks of life, up to now.

Reclaiming this significant landmark leads us to reclaim a more essential aspect of life like values and insights.

A mere landmark like Bukidnon’s Mt. Kitanglad or Ifugaos’ Rice Terraces is founded with values, beliefs and philosophies of people who recognized its significance. The tribal datus who spearheaded the ritual this morning are accountable to rally people in reclaiming the lost values in our community, for instance the value of reciprocating the faithfulness of that Sakub in providing us water.

The Golden Rule is not exclusively operating between humans. It also bridges man and nature. Maybe this is one of the missing links we failed to reclaim. We saw from our bare eyes effect through the experience of the Sendong victims.

Reclaiming a landmark is just the first step to a more serious reclamation.

Rains nowadays, may it be heavy or light, becomes the subject of fear by many.

The children’s rhyme ‘rain, rain go away’ is now the by-lines of the adult, not for reserving the day for a play but reserving a life for safety. Indeed, the people’s language has changed as climate changed.

As I said, we are missing something which needs to be reclaimed. We are missing an insight about rain; about water. Water is obedient to its natural course as it is obedient to its purpose. Though how heavy a rain is, it’s never destructive to humans for it will just flow freely in its paths: to the streams, to the rivers and its paths end to the sea.

Water does not invade the territory of the bipeds. Water is wise which knows its path. There might be detours towards the roots of trees to maintain its dialogue with the flora but this does not disturb its designed purpose. Instead, it nourishes man’s source of food, herbs and shade.

Water is friendly. Rainy days are not supposed to be subject for fear. The Sendong phenomenon clarifies how humans blocked the water’s course with irresponsible handling of wastes. A mere plastic-filled canal affords to spill water in the streets. A canal and a river have no difference in how humans treat them. The worst scene in Cagayan de Oro is the blocking of water canals with garbage and with houses.
Also, hundreds of logs from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) disturbed the river’s tranquility. This is an intrusion to water’s territory. Can we blame the water for washing away the abodes? Intrusion is disrespect. Intrusion has its own due. We received our due. Respecting nature is a lost value even among Bukidnons. This is worthy to be reclaimed.

Rains would never be displaced because its fluidity describes its obedience to its Creator. At times, Pulangi River, like any other rivers, roars with its sounding current when heavy rain comes.

Rivers are made to roar to produce energy. Rivers are confined to its nature and not even the intelligent man can go against this nature otherwise man would be overcome. Mountains and heights are provided when ‘roaring times’ and ‘rising times’ visit the rivers and seas; and no wonder Noah’s ark was positioned on a mountain. Isn’t Bukidnon a mountain? In times of heavy rains there would be thousands of water detours if we keep the exact description of this province – with forests, old and grand. Mining and dam-making are good but not where forests are. If we missed this insight, we will reclaim it the soonest.

As a cultural heritage, the Sakub is proclaimed as a sacred water source. By principle, nothing under the sun has its innate sacredness. There’s only One who has it. Only the Creator has it. But anything can be transformed into sacred when it becomes the subject of respect. The just proclaimed Sakub’s sanctity, despite of known Datus and Baes’ presence, depends on how people in Malaybalay respects such spring. It takes for the local officials and concerned citizens’ collaboration in keeping the area clean and green. Thus, that place was reclaimed so is the accountability.

If my mother has her portion from that Sakub, I also have mine. I remember those childhood days when my cousins and I used to fetch water from that spring, traversing the descending slippery steps just to fill in plastic containers with water for drink. The brood of naked kids would then enjoy the Sawaga River, except me. I never learned to swim then until now. This is what I need to reclaim, perhaps!
(Bukidnon Views is the opinion section of Bukidnon News. Loreta Sol L.
Dinlayan is currently the in-charge of the Ethno-cultural Museum of
Bukidnon State University, where she teaches social science and other subjects. She is the daughter of Datu Bagangbangan. I Love Saturdays is her column for Bukidnon News. She can be reached through angaray_bsc@yahoo.com.)

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