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.

Listen to Nanay Ludy’s podcast here. Or read the transcript.

Language: English and Filipino
File size: 13.0 MB
Length: 00:18:58

4 Responses to Longing for the old Bukidnon



March 29th, 2007 at 1:37 am


I am listening this podcast from my office in Guelph Ontario Canada. Far from the place I will always call HOME… Bukidnon. Growing up in Kalasungay then later on in Halapitan, Kaamulan was the term for “Wedding”. I still remember eating on banana bark as plates. It was simple then, no TV’s. In the evening, my mother use to tell us “NANANGON”, Story Telling…I still repeat those stories to my son here in Canada.
Most probably those “Lumbayaw rice that she missed comes from my father. We call that TINANUK. It does give a sweet smelling aroma. We use to traverse the Pulangui River loaded with this rice to be traded in Valencia or Bagontaas. Yes, times have changed. We still communicate in Binukid with my sisters in California and Montreal. Nanay Lude most likely knows our family… the Bantug’s in Kalasungay and San Fernando Bukidnon.


addie bantug

March 29th, 2007 at 7:24 am

Longing for the Old Bukidnon…

I remember Bukidnon in simplier times. There was a time when we could catch a lot of fresh fish in Sawaga. Nobody steals our bamboo nets which we call Bo-o. Fetching water was from a spring near the school. Never heard of e-coli nor membrane water treatment ( now am a consultant on this ). We used to carry water throgh a bamboo container called Sakuro. In the evening we used to listened to mother’s NANANGON… story telling. Those stories are still vivid that I passed them on to my son here in Canada. Then Serenading was common those years.
Nany Lude must have bought those Lumbayaw Rice from my father. We call that rice TINANUK… We used to convoy on bamboo rafts along Pulangui River loaded with these rice for Valencia or Mailag.Father being musically talented composed a lot of songs during those years… such as “Carry me Back to Dear Bukidnon, Maria Elena in Visayan version, The Halapitan Trails, Song about Kalagangan, a place near the border of Davao Norte and Bukidnon. We still reminished those wonderful times in Bukidnon. We still communicate in BINUKID with my sisters in California and Montreal. Nanay Lude… we are the children of Victoriano and Concepcion Bantug of Kalasungay and San Fernando.



May 13th, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Yes Nong Adie our roots should be traced for one generation to another.


danny cimagala

October 31st, 2012 at 2:28 am

Kalasungay, kanak ha-banuwa ( Kalasungay my home). Wish to be home

Comment Form