by Alex Baluyut, Panglantaw Mindanao

 

Along the mountainous boundary between Bukidnon province and Cagayan de Oro City, a Higaonon community in Sitio Tigahon holds a vigil months after typhoon “Sendong” brought heavy rains in the area. The deluge sent river waters breaching its banks, rampaging into the port cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. It was catastrophic.

 

On a full moon in March 2012, Datu Fidel Bisoy, a Higaonon tribal leader, leads the vigil with other tribal leaders from afar attending. The rites of sacrifice and healing amid dances, chants and ethnic tunes fill the full moon sky, culminating in the morning ritual to pacify spirits and to implore for a halt to the destruction of forests and mountains to stop another “Sendong” from happening.

 

Noted Filipino photojournalist Alex Baluyut was there during that full moon vigil, a prelude to Pamumulakaw, a ritual to appease the water spirits of the Cagayan River. [PM]