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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Ponhik to Magdiwata

Ponhik sa Magdiwata
Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros
July 7, 2004 visit www.thefreeman.com too and find me there

SAN FRANCISCO,AGUSAN DEL SUR --- The towering mountain ranges shielding the municipality of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, from devastating typhoons are believed to have been the homes of enchanted beings – Magbabaja, maker of the world; Inojow, good spirit of the skies; Manandada-oy, killer and bad spirit; Sogojon, god of hunting and fishing; Agkoy, indecent spirit; Makahansay, wasteful spirit; Higadanon, spirit of the rivers and lakes; Tagbosow, spirit living in forest and trees; Sognodan, spirit of the dead; Manibuyan, spirit that takes off the spirit of the dead; Ibobosok, god of harvest; and the legendary hunter-giant Magdiwata.
Magdiwata is god to the Manobos - our tribal brothers prominent in their colorful necklaces and wristbands of white symbolizing purity, red for courage, yellow for royalty and black for the unfathomable wonders of the wilderness.

Magdiwata blessed the wilderness of San Francisco with so much promise for every passionate climber. It became a trail museum during the 2nd Ponhik to Magdiwata Climb organized by the San Francisco Mountaineers Club in time for the Naliyagan Festival celebrated from June 12 to 17 at the Government Center of Prosperidad, the provincial capital of Agusan del Sur.

I’d never been so challenged in all my life in completing the Ponhik (Manobo for “climb”), otherwise known as the 2nd Datu Lipus Macapandong Climb, Caving Adventure and Agusan Marshland Trip which all transpired in three days. I was with my team and other eager beaver-climbers from San Francisco, Butuan City, Mati City, and Digos City – participants who are equally passionate about the great outdoors, discovering and rediscovering about the ways of nature, learning and relearning indigenous knowledge systems that direct man to live in harmony with his environment; vital lessons we had imbibed with the help of our guide, Jeffrey Octaviano, Municipal Tourism Officer Juancho Vicente and Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer Samuel Dandan with communications group, Karancho, among many others.

The San Francisco Mountaineers Club deemed it best to host fellow mountaineers, finding the potential of mountaineering as a popular sport to help in the promotion of Agusan del Sur as an eco-tourism and research destination in the southern part of the Caraga Region in Mindanao.

Mystical Mt. Magdiwata stands 633 meters high, or approximately 2,126 feet, with moderate to difficult climbing trails, which I consider every regular mountaineers’ heaven. The Ponhik to Magdiwata experience, our tribute to the mighty hunter-god, may be considered a mobile method of imbibing the beauty of the great outdoors, using for visual materials seven major falls, the Bees’ Haven trail, and Nature’s Sandayong all set in a forest replete with varied endemic species of both fauna and flora, like the century-old bagrass trees considered the region’s “sequoias”.

Ponhik to Magdiwata provided a deeper understanding of our brother Agusanons’ culture and history, as well as a literal immersion into Mighty Magdiwata’s belly that began in Cave City in barangay Bitan-agan.

This to the lumads is the Aningaw Cave (Manobo for “echo”). It is here I discovered how bats nurture their young through natural incubators that parent bats carved on cave ceilings. These incubators resemble those of inverted pestles.

The second cave we visited was the Sinking Cave, obviously because it is vertical. Beto, as it is popularly called, required the rope dangles. It is generally a dry cave.

The third and last cave of literally a hundred is located in barangay Lucac. It is named in memory of Datu Anawa Kalipay or Faustino España, Sr. He died sometime in 1999 reportedly leaving behind a corpse that had not undergone decomposition. Its other name is Inepan Cave (Manobo for “subterranean”). To the lumads, this is a place for rituals of the baylan (priest). The cave is about 800 meters from the main entrance to the exit with the main chamber unexplored as river flows out of its mouth.©

For comments, reactions, suggestions, and contributions crank up my addy: pinay_mangatkatay@yahoo.com. Climbing rules! Do also check on our foundation for corporal works of mercy. www.thefreeman.com PUBLIC SERVICE section. your donation could go a long, long, long way to assist sick children. please help us reach out to them.

11/16/2006 05:45:00 PM | Anonymous juancho vicente said....   

tnx.we have new exciting sites for you.
You're welcome. safmoc club.