Monday, August 17, 2015

The traditional practices, knowledge and skills of the Blaans on planting upland rice

 By Iner Toguin, Sulong Tribu Program Community Development Officer

A Blaan tribal elder ritualist Molan Lagalkan, 65 year old, together with the tribal women and upland land rice growers in Barangay Kihan, Malapatan made a ritual before the planting of upland rice. Lagalkan started by placing a half sack of upland rice on top of small altar made of sapling called by the blaan “Tnê”.

“Tnê” is a blaan belief performs prior to planting for protection of pesticides and insecticides in the field. In the course of the ritual, one of the members of the team will choose among themselves a person to lead
the group. They have representatives from women and leaders. They started walking eight 8 times around the “Tnê” the men will perform the digging or “todak” in the Blaan terminology while the women will do the planting. They form a single circle and mark a point where they started planting the seeds, and stop at the same point when they’ve finished counting. Through this ritual, they will never get tired but instead rejuvenated while planting, said Lagalkan.

After fixing the Tnê” and planting the field, the famers will plant root crops in the surroundings like, camote, gabi, onion, lemon grass and sugarcane, after which a good harvest and abundant blessings is expected. 

Many of the students of Farmers Field School (FFS) are upland rice growers in Kihan, Malapatan. The classes were held every Thursday for four (4) months conducted by the Agriculture Technician from the Office of Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG) in partnership with the Municipal Agriculturist Office (OMAG).
This said FFS training is part of the activity of the Sulong Tribu Program under IP Resource Development and Management of the Provincial Governor’s Office.

Jonathan C. Duhaylungsod, went to the place and had observed personally the ritual. He assured the students in Bisayan dialect, “Dili namo tandogon ang inyuhang nahibal-an na tradisyunal nga pagtanom sa inyuhang upland rice, kun dili amoa lang dugangan inyuhang nahibal-an ug motabang , gamit ang ubang teknolohiya kung unsaon pagpugong sa mga peste nga nagaatake diha sa inyuhang mga kaumahan”. (We will not disturb your existing traditional practices, knowledge and skills regarding your mode of planting instead we will help you provide modern technology to control the influx of insecticides in your farm) 

Barangay Kagawad Renato Salway added, there are 45 varieties of upland rice planted by the Blaan to the different Sitios of Barangay Kihan and they preserved it until today.

Photo credits: Iner Toguin 

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