Monday, November 10, 2008


The Subano Buklog is a celebration usually held after a good harvest of mountain rice and sturdy mountain corns (they call "tinigeb" that lasts in their barns until the next cropping without being eaten by weevils.) The festivities last for days. Preparation begins with the building of stage-like flatforms mostly of bamboo materials and logs of young trees where their dances are performed and their prayers are said. The pounding and winnowing of red aromatic rice to be cooked and served in the celebration is also a part of the preparation. The rice is pounded on giant mortars by three pounders each with pestles alternating in pounding the rice. Each mortar loads around three gantas, old grains measure, equivalent to around 10 kilos. Winnowing is done on a nigo, an oblong tray made of thin bamboo (rimmed around with a pair of rattan slats) to separate the grain from the chaff. Animals such as pigs domesticated and wild and goats to be butchered on the occasion are brought to the buklog site freely donated by neighboring tribes. Drinks they call "pangasi," stored in giant china jars aged by burying for years underground are likewise donated by neighboring tribes aside from the celebrating tribe's own pangasi. It is a kind of wine fermented from cassava. Two tastes are available in the buklog. One sweeter for women and another one stronger for men. In the entire duration of the buklog celebration the wines remain in the antique giant chinas the Subanos call bahandi meaning treasure.. It's drank without decanting into bamboo tumblers but strawed with a bamboo pipe of the bagakay variety. The celebration includes chewing of betel and areca, chanting of ginarongs accompanied with gongs, usually in lewd language to draw laughter. In some Subano buklog the celebration culminates with the chanting of gumans that chanting is done in stages and last for two days up to a week. But the Subano buklog like traditions and practices of other indigenous peoples, is in danger of becoming a thing of the Subanos' past the present and succeeding generations have no way anymore of knowing what it is except in blogs like this. The chinas they store their pangasi are all gone now, sold as a result of hardship to antique collectors at prices almost a give away because the Subanos don't know the value these antique giant chinas. And the Subanos donot own anymore the lands they use to till to grow their rice and corn necessary to carry on up to these days the Subano buklog.

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