Skip to main content

Corpulent People - BWO

"Try to spot that beautiful perfect cone," pilots of the Spanish galleons used to caution novice steersmen.

"That is Mayon Volcano. A little to the left as we sail in from the open sea is the Embocadero ["mouth"] between Samar and Sorsogon. Direct the boat through, then turn right to sail north to Cavite and Manila."

That used to be the directive for first-time navigators from Mexico. Of course, it did not always help. Once in 1576, the pilot could not find the perfect cone, for storm clouds had covered it. And mistaking the northern tip of Catanduanes Island for Cabo del Espiritu Santo at the mouth of the Embocadero in northern Samar, the galleon San Jeronimo ran aground. The natives massacred and ate all the hapless passengers and crew, except one who had lived in the Visayas, and knew the local dialect.

In 1588, the natives of Catanduanes had not yet received the Gospel message. There were not enough missionaries, although the island had already been divided into four encomiendas.

An encomendero reported that the people were "corpulent"; today we would perhaps say strong and healthy. Tattooed like the Visayans, the men wore only a loin cloth, while the women dressed like the Visayans, were "virile." They tilled and planted their crops, fished with nets they had woven.

Unprotected from the frequent typhoons blowing in from the Pacific, the island was rich in wax and honey, and there was gold in the rivers. The biggest of these was Catandungan, whence came the island’s name. The first Spaniards there counted about 2,000 households along its banks, most of whom earned their keep by building ships.

These boats never ceased to amaze observers. Built like the cargo ships of Belgium, they were ordinarily big, had no decks, no nails (the people had no iron), not even futtocks, or curving cross-beams that served as ribs on which the side planks were firmly tied. Inside this big vessel were smaller boats, which in turn contained even smaller boats, and so on. From the outside it looked like an ordinarily big boat, but once it reached ports, like Marinduque, Cebu, or Batangas, the smaller boats were lifted out and sold one by one. A missionary once reported that the big boat, with its smaller craft coming out, resembled a mother hen hatching her chicks.

Have the people of Catanduanes today preserved their traditional culture, and are still "corpulent"? There must have been enough food, otherwise, they would not be as healthy as when first discovered. And where is the gold that people placer-mined from the rivers? Does the island still boast thick forests for boat-building?

Except for the cannibalism that victimized the Spaniards shipwrecked in 1576, early Spanish documents seldom mention tribal fighting in the island. But outsiders, like Moros from the south attacked. But one hardly comes across stories of a datu fighting another datu. Peaceful coexistences characterized the islanders of Catanduanes.

One prays they remain that way.

Opinion
Posted on 09:02 PM, July 11, 2010
Roots -- By José S. Arcilla S.J.
Source: Business World Online

Popular posts from this blog

Pantomina Lyrics And Music

Pantomina is Spanish for pantomime, movements imitating the courtship movements of the rooster and the hen. Ang mga babaye
Kung mayo pa nin agom
Maugay nin aga maugay nin hapon
Alagad kung sinda igua na nin agom
Maugay Octobre, Disyembreng sunudon. Ica palan, Nenang ang pinagsasabi
Magayon na burac sa lugar na ini
Magayon ang tindog malinig ang pisngi
Arin pa daw ang puso ang dai mawili. Can ica sadit pa sadit pa man aco
Si satuyang cawat magkudot-kudotan
Kinudot mo aco kinudot ta ca man
Sabi mo sa saco luhayluhaya man. Ang mga lalake
Hudyan sisaboot
Ang pinagsasabing ngarang pagcamoot
Kundi ang babayeng iyo minahilod
Akong minahiling can mga pangguyod.

Philippine Mining Act of 1995

With the recent issue of magnetite ore mining overwhemingly opposed by residents in the town of Bagamanoc and recently moved the mining site off the coast of Panganiban (Payo), I am compelled to post this Mining Act to serve as reference. "Republic Act No. 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (“Act”) is the governing law that regulates mineral resources development in the country. One of the primary objectives of this act is to revitalize the ailing Philippine mining industry by providing fiscal reforms and incentives and maintaining a viable inventory of mineral reserves to sustain the industry through the infusion of fresh capital through direct investments to finance mineral exploration and/or development activities. The original implementing rules and regulations of the Act was prepared in 1995, and was revised in 1996 under DENR Administrative Order 96 – 40, the revised implementing rules and regulations (RIRR). Collectively, the Act and its RIRR take into considerat…

Catanduanes Remains Top Abaca-Producing Province - BM

Abaca-fiber production in the country’s top abaca-producing province from January to May 2009 went up by 22 percent to 8,646.32 metric tons (MT), said the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA). FIDA noted that in January to May 2008, abaca farmers in Catanduanes produced 7,084.23 MT. The attached agency of the Department of Agriculture said a total of 16,231 farmers were involved in abaca production in the province in 2008. FIDA said the island province of Catanduanes is renowned as the “abaca capital of the Philippines.” The province is now the top producer of abaca fiber, has the largest area planted to abaca and has the biggest number of abaca farmer-producers in the Philippines. Joining Catanduanes as the country’s top 10 abaca-producing provinces are Southern Leyte, Leyte, Davao Oriental, Northern Samar, Davao del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Samar, Sulu and Sorsogon. FIDA said the province also adjusted its production for the year due to the projected slowdown in demand for…

The Batalay Shrine

The site of the first cross in Catanduanes, believed to have been constructed over the grave of the shipwrecked Fr. Diego de Herrera of the Augustinian order in 1576, who died in the barangay of Batalay. A well believed to have water with healing powers can be found in this shrine. From the town proper of Bato, it would take only 15 minutes to reach this place. Reading the online historical accounts about the fate of Fray Diego de Herrera and Espiritu Santo crew, I found some interesting yet inconclusive accounts as to what really happened. "Located at the Southeastern coast of Catanduanes is a reef called Nagumbuaya Point which is linked by traditional with the place where a Galleon Espiritu Santo taken by Fray Diego de Herrera and nine other companies which embarked from Mexico suffered shipwreck on April 25, 1576 on their way to Cebu because of the negligence of the pilot of the ship and bad weather." - wikipedia In October last year, the Historical and Nautical Archa…

Churches in Catanduanes

Catanduanes is composed of 11 municipalities, but there are 18 parishes distributed island wide. There are 3 parishes in the capital town Virac, 3 in Viga, 3 in Bato and 2 in San Andres. Although radical architectural changes have been made in many of the centuries old churches. From baroque to contemporary architecture and basic structural changes from coral stones to cement. Still many of the old practices and traditions are revered and observed up to this day. Happy Easter! Vicariate of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Vicar Forane: Rt. Rev. Msgr. Jose B. Molina, PA, VG Virac Cathedral (F-1755), Virac 4800 Catanduanes Population: 42,045; Catholics: 41,204 Titular: Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, December 8 Parish Priest: Rev. Msgr. Jose B. Molina, PA, VG Parochial Vicars: Fr. Allan Martin Basilio, Fr. Joseph Saratan, Fr. Pascual Macuja (Retired, In Residence), Fr. Sid Jose Sanchez, Fr. Paul I. Isorena Cabugao (F-1911), Bato 4801 Catanduanes Population: 9,288; Catholics…