Lagti: a Bukidnon thanksgiving ritual

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/08 July) – Lagti, or lagon, is a ritual of thanksgiving for harvest among members of the Bukidnon tribe where the palagbasuk, or farmer, together with a baylan or shaman, shares his produce with the community and the spirits. It is part of the cultural practices of kagbasukan or agriculture.

The preparations include seven chickens and seven eggs, although in most cases, the farmer can only afford three chickens, which is acceptable, if only for the purpose of sharing.

The farmer offers the chickens and eggs to the following spirits: Pangawan, to cleanse everyone of all sins before Magbabaya (Supreme Being) and the spirits; Spirit of the salsalan (blacksmith shop) where working tools are made; Pamulahon hu Kagbasukan (plants in the farm); Talabugta (spirit of the land); Taghipanaw (spirits who happen to pass by during the ritual); Ginugud ha ma-iling hu kalag (souls of ancestors); and Tumanod, Alambitun, Tagulambong daw mga abyan ha tagsandigan (helper spirits).

Other offerings made by the farmer include pieces of white, black and red cloth, assorted coins, biscuits, candies and drinks.

The ritual begins with the farmer selecting seven hills of corn and putting these outside the cornfield, at least 1.5 meters away from the last row of plants, while communing with the spirits through prayer. The uprooted plants are the share given to the agka-ayat, or envious spirits, so that they will not harm the crops.

Afterwards, the farmer brings home enough aglagunan (farm produce to be offered during the ritual) and seven pieces of salusad-ang, which he will hang for future use as igtugpali.

Salusad-ang is corn ear harvested with its stalk and cover or skin intact. Its grains eventually serve as igtugpali, or the first seeds buried in the ground in the next planting season.

Once the young corn is brought to the farmer’s home, it is grated and chicken blood is poured on the salusad-ang before it is hung. The person grating the corn is not allowed to talk until he finishes scraping seven corncobs. These seven pieces are then cooked into baki (or binaki) and offered outside to spirits that may want to partake of it, together with a little portion of the uncooked grated corn with chicken blood.

Moreover, one chicken egg and a little baki are cooked directly on the embers and offered to spirits called bata ha tagbaya hu kagnas, or children who guard the plants against infestations. If time permits, however, seven pieces of baki and two chicken eggs are cooked in the ash and offered instead to these child spirits. But one of the seven pieces of baki and one of the two eggs should be cooked until they are charred. Three pieces of baki are hanged in the kitchen, and the remaining three pieces and one egg are to be eaten by the children in the family or the adults if there are no children.

The rest of the grated corn is then cooked without an accompanying ritual except for a prayer which is uttered before the participants in the ritual may do the panampulot (partaking of food together with the spirits).

There are instances wherein spirits ask for a share or are promised to be given it during a lagti. Their share is offered separately, but it is usually a baki. Sometimes, though, spirits ask for a separate chicken. (Dominador D. Decano/for MindaNews)