Tuesday, 25 November 2014

by Don Gurrea, This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

Editor’s Note:  Mr. Gurrea, Area Coordinator for Western Mindanao of Kalinawa Art Foundation, a private foundation based in Manila aimed for the preservation and promotion of indigenous visual fine arts in the Philippines, is the Founding President of the Zamboanga del Norte Federation of Visual Artists, Inc.
The Buklogan structure
Subanen communities all over ZaNorte province gathered last April 16 to 20, 2007 in Mandih, Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte to partake in the biggest ever Buklog Festival.  Considered as the most significant of all Subanen religious rituals, Buklog is a sacred gathering held in a specific community at least once in seven years. In Mandih, the last Buklog celebration was in 1999 at the residence of Datu Agdino B. Andus.

The Buklog is a major conglomeration of several other rituals such as PENGAMU, a thanksgiving rite for fulfilled wishes; SAMAYA, for the recovery of ill health; and PELENTU, a sacred ceremony for the spirits of the dead.  The Buklog is also a culmination of other rituals performed within the year. Among these equally solemn traditions are the PELIS, a ritual commencing agricultural tasks in the field; BAKTI, a beautiful ceremony of bringing home young rice grain and made into Lebek (popularly known as Pinipig), as an anticipation for a bountiful harvest; PESINGKU, the thanksgiving rite for good harvest and where baptism rituals (Kenubata) are occasionally concurred; GAMPANG, a major thanksgiving ritual for good health, harmonious living, peace and order, is also done to prevent the coming of evil as symbolized by encircling a line around a specific area.

The Buklog proper is the grand ceremony preceded by extensive consultations among the tribal (Datu/Timuay/Bai) and religious (Balyan) leaders from different Subanen communities. A tribal convention participated in by concerned Subanen members is also necessary for the final decision on dates and venue of the festival.

The construction of a BUKLOGAN is based on the metaphysics of the number eight (8), regarded by Subanens as the most significant number to convey stability, security and strength. The different parts of the entire structural set up are also systematically arranged in octaves.    The ideal Buklogan has eight main posts made of hard round timber and has an eight-feet equidistance in between posts, covering a total ground area of 256 square feet. With the height of 16 feet, the flooring lattice support is made up of 32 pliable round sticks with eight pieces laid equidistant in between posts.  This year's grand Buklog Festival in Mandih was made possible through the support of the Provincial Government under Governor Rolando E. Yebes. Every Subanen (and even non-Subanen for that matter) can only wish for a sustainability of this significant religious-cultural tradition in the future.

The newly enthroned Timuay Labi Cong. Cesar G. Jalosjos of the 3rd District, Timuay Labi Gov. Rolando E. Yebes, and Bai Marivic Samios Uy Carpitanos
Along with the Buklog ceremonies, all 52 barangays in Sindangan were allocated one booth each to accommodate barangay representatives, items and goods for the five-day Agro-Industial Trade Fair.  Outreach Program Missions, dance and song contests, and other entertainments were likewise conducted together with other minor traditional rituals.  The culminating night was highlighted by the coronation of Governor Rolando E. Yebes and Congressman Cesar G. Jalosjos as "Timuay  Labi" (Mayor) and Mrs. Marivic Samios Uy Carpitanos as "Bai" (Princess).  Datu Agdino B. Andus, who is the Provincial Subanen Tribal Chieftain based in Mandih, conferred the royal titles to the three dignitaries whose bloodlines can be traced back to BENUT, TAUD and AMENDANG, the great Patriarchs of the earliest Subanen settlers in pre-Hispanic Zamboanga peninsula.

Provincial Accountant Bai Marivic Carpitanos, who is also the president of the Subanen Federated Clan expressed the significance of the Buklog Festival as a big boost to all Subanen communities. For Bai Marivic, it is an upliftment of the rich Subanen culture and tradition being threatened by culturally biased modernization and an equally lack of educational mechanism towards a positive socio-cultural awareness.

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