Anthropologist wants Bukidnon's historical landmarks identified, marked

The 80-year old anthropologist-educator Ludivina Opeña says the place, called Migkubol or Panglimasa, was a native ceremonial site until the entry of the Americans in the late 1890s.   

The site was venue for the cultural “limas” or to kill entirely a group of incestuous couples by clubbing them to death with a pestle. The couples were made to squat facing each other as they were covered with earth.

She identified the place as a talangdanan or a place of ceremonial value, sacred and must be treated with respect and caution.

“By desecrating it, a curse may fall on the desecrators like lingering sickness in the family, crop devastation, and death of domestic animals or devastation by natural calamities or fire,” she added.

Opena is pushing for the identification and marking of Migkubol and at least four other historical and cultural sites of Bukidnon.

This is one of the recommendations in the post-Kaamulan Festival evaluation, Opena told members of Kanoy Bukidnon, a forum of young professionals for dialogue and peace in the community.

For her, landmarks and material culture structures are evidence to prove a group’s claim.   As part of ancestral history and beginnings, she said they are important in the process of maintaining stability in peace and order.    

Opeña is writing a book in coordination with the Malaybalay Historical Institute on the history of Malaybalay City and the early Bukidnon province from manuscripts written earlier.  

Opeña said there is a need to recapture the provincial history of Bukidnon. “Let us make the past live again as a reminder to this restless generation that history repeats itself,” Opeña told MindaNews.

Opeña has taught at the Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro and worked in the provincial government of Bukidnon.

She said she wants to share her knowledge of Bukidnon history from years of research and fieldwork.  

In a story telling session on the history of the Kaamulan Festival, Opeña lamented the absence of a historical landmark to show to visitors.  

She said another historical place is the Ondoran Hills, which is in the area called MADE Farm.  

“Ondoran” comes from the word “Ondod” which means “retreat.”

On the hill are piles of stones, she said, which stand as graveyard markers for the bodies of the “Maranao marauders” who attacked Bukidnon in ancient times.

She said the pile of stones is a “mute testimony” to the tribal intrusion and oppression of the Maranaos in Bukidnon.  

Opeña also included the Spring of Guyod-guyora in the present day Bangcud village. The spring flows from a pit where stories said was the grave of a brave bagani (warrior) and his beautiful sister during the time of attacks
by the Moro.

She has included Mt. Capistrano, a popular Holy Week destination, as among the landmarks in the Basakan district of the city.

She said the peak got its name in the Filipino-American War circa 1901 when Gen. Nicolas Capistrano surrendered to the United States army.

Before the surrender, the mountain was called Mt. Panasihon, Binukid for “full of limestone”.

She said the peak is a monument to the end of the Filipino revolution against the US government when it took over the Philippine Islands by virtue of the Treaty of Paris.

She said the mountain must be identified and marked officially and must be declared a protected area.

She also cited the Casisang concentration camp during the Second World War. She said the camp housed 189 enlisted men who were tortured to death, and made to dig their own grave at the foot of a big Balete tree near Kiocab and Laguitas. 

She said looking back to history is important to the lives of people today.

“A generation that does not look back at its past is like the wind which passes by, rustling the leaves of trees and blades of grasses but leaving nothing to prove its passage,” she said. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)