CULTURES change, and there is hardly anything anybody can do about it. As people move around, interact with others, and learn new things, their ways and norms evolve, and who is to say if it is for the better or worse? But for those who come earlier, the old is just always better, it seems. They pine for what used to be.
In Bukidnon, 78-year-old ethnographer Ludy Opeña cannot help but be melancholy when describing the place where she was born. “During harvest time,” she recalls of the time she was young, “you will see Manobos coming to Malaybalay to trade their sweet-smelling lumbayaw rice. Now you will see them only on Christmas time, when they come to beg.”
Often called a “highland paradise,” Bukidnon in the heart of Mindanao is the source of the region’s major rivers and watersheds. It is home to the indigenous cultures of the Bukidnon, Manobo, Talaandig, Higaonon, Umayamnon, Matigsalog, and Tigwahanon.
Nanay Ludy has lived in Malaybalay almost her life. There was a time, she recalls, “when you can pile sacks and sacks of palay or corn along the highway and nobody will steal it.” Today, Nanay Ludy notes with equal parts of sadness and humor, her great-grandchildren are growing up in a place where if one dares pile palay on the road, “in ten minutes it will get lost.”
Still, there is absolutely nowhere else she would rather be.
Nanay Ludy’s podcast on Bukidnon then and now begins our special series of interviews with “oldtimers” that will run through April. The series complements our stories on local governments that started in January and that are meant to be part of our pre-election coverage. We hope that by featuring people who have lived most of their lives in one place we will be able to get some sense of how far our towns and cities have gone through the decades. We also hope the podcasts will show just how much local leaders have been able to help communities few of us even know exist, but which many people consider home.
Language: English and Filipino
File size: 13.0 MB