Sunday, June 29, 2008

First Hand Bayanihan

On 1998, my mom decided to throw my rebelious ass in Iloilo (where my dad is). My parents has been separated since who knows when. I was culture shocked on my first few months but as months passed by, I've learned to love the place. Learning life and meeting different personalities made me who I am today.

At one point in my life, I thought that the word Bayanihan only existed in textbooks, post cards and art galleries. Thanks to mi pancho, on March 2002 this photo jumped out from its frame so that I could experience it first hand.

We asked not less than 100 people to help us with the relocation. They had to carry on their shoulders this not ordinary bamboo house. Typically a bamboo house would have bamboo posts and nipa roofs but this one is made of coco lumber and metal roofs. These people had to walk on a half kilometer unven dry rice fields. Their pay: 1 long bottle of rhum each, a sumptuous dinner ( if I am remember it right, Pork with Langka was served that night) and of course, THE EXPERIENCE.

It was amazing to know that the family I stayed with in Iloilo when this happened still kept the photos.

"Bayanihan - Pronounced like "buy-uh-nee-hun," bayanihan is a Filipino word derived from the word bayan meaning town, nation, or community in general. "Bayanihan" literally means, "being a bayan," and is thus used to refer to a spirit of communal unity and cooperation.
Although bayanihan can manifest itself in many forms, it is probably most clearly and impressively displayed in the old tradition of neighbors helping a relocating family by getting enough volunteers to carry the whole house, and literally moving it to its new location. They do this by placing long bamboo poles length-wise and cross-wise under the house (traditional Filipino houses were built on stilts), and then carrying the house using this bamboo frame. It takes a fairly large number of people -- often 20 or more -- working together to carry the entire house. All this is done in a happy and festive mood. At the end of the day, the moving family expresses their gratitude by hosting a small fiesta for everyone. "
This is one of the reasons why I love Iloilo so much!

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