Latest Stories


Seeking forgiveness from the gods


MANDAYA “balyan” Masandak Sikat, one of the balyans who performed the ritual. Photo by GERMELINA LACORTE

NEW BATAAN, Compostela Valley—The haunting melody of the kudlong echoed through the former site of Barangay Andap as people, mostly lumad from five ancestral clusters of the town, marked the 40th day of Typhoon “Pablo,” seeking to reconcile with nature.

In a Mansaka-Mandaya ritual that lasted for over an hour, the balyans (lumad priests and priestesses) danced and chanted around a tree, propped up in the midst of what looked like a wide riverbed covered by huge boulders.

It is all that remains of the site of the village of Andap, which had been completely washed away by rampaging waters from the mountains at the height of Pablo.

“We call on the spirit who sent the floods not to send it again because so many lives have been lost,” said balyan Masandak Sikat in Mandaya, as top officials unveiled the walls bearing the names of people who died and went missing.

“It is clear from the message of the abian (spirit) that we have done wrong (nakasala jud ta),” said Mansaka leader Bernardo Limikid. “Those boulders you see here,” he said, referring to the boulders that carved out a new river course over where the village of Andap once stood, “they came from Dakurang Banwa, a sacred place for the lumad.”

He said the abuses committed against the environment and the abandonment of the lumad of their own ways to embrace other faiths are wrong. “We have stopped respecting the environment, we have stopped performing rituals,” said Limikid.

In a tent put up on the ground where a former barangay hall stood, government officials and lumad leaders also performed the tagpud bol’la, (ritual of reconciliation), considered a higher form of ritual among indigenous peoples, where those who had done wrong admit their mistakes and commit never to do them again.

By cutting a bundle of rattan stalks, those who took part in the ritual vowed to cut off their old ways and and start all over again.

Speaking before the crowd, Compostela Valley Gov. Arturo Uy admitted being part of the destruction that was wrought on the village.

“We were part of the destruction, we fell short in protecting the environment. We admit our shortcomings, some of these shortcomings may not be during our time, they may have been done during the time of our ancestors,” he said as he “promised to protect the environment.”

He said the province’s pre-evacuation plan has not anticipated the full impact of the typhoon.

“We were told that the typhoon was not even Signal No. 3, but Signal No. 5, a rare phenomenon, according to the Department of Science and Technology,” he said.

“Our pre-evacuation planning fell short because we have never experienced typhoons before, not even Signal No. 3,” he said. “This is a very big lesson for us.”

Uy urged people not to dwell on the past and to move forward. “Let us move forward, New Bataan will rise again,” he said.

“Let’s stay unified,” he said, “I promise you, no one would be left behind.”

New Bataan Mayor Lorenzo Balbin said except for Sitios Panag and Pagsilaan, the entire Andap village has been hurt most by the typhoon.

He also pointed to a Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) geohazard map identifying the whole area as a danger zone. But Balbin said that workers are de-silting the old riverbed to direct the course of the water back to the old river and to construct more protection dikes.

Balbin urged people to start planting so that after six months they will have something to eat, since relief coming from the World Food Programme (WFP) shall have stopped by then.

“Let’s rebuild it to what it was before,” he said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Balyan , disaster , Indigenous people , lumad , Mansaka-Mandaya , rites , Typhoon Pablo

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Ex-PBA player Bryan Gahol dies in road mishap


  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Sandigan junks Marcos family claim to Paoay property
  • Sports

  • Caguioa blasts ‘no heart, soft’ Ginebra on Twitter
  • San Mig Coffee grinds out win over Alaska to force decider
  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • Marketplace