Map of BOHOL
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The people of Bohol are the descendants of this last group of immigrants. They were called the pintados By the Spaniards because of their practice of tattooing their whole bodies.
The tattooing was done by pricking the skin with a sharp-pointed instrument wherever needed according to the design followed, and then applying certain black powders or soot on the bleeding surface, after which the figures became indelible.
Early Boholanos were warlike and had made plenty of trouble in past years. “Boholanos are the most warlike and valiant among the Indians”. Boholanos have a natural aptitude in the use of arms. Boholanos were described as the “active and industrious, diligent and laborious.
The people lived in barangays of different sizes ranging from fifty to seven thousand inhabitants, who were ruled by chiefs called datus, two of whom, Sikatuna and Sigala, became known to history because of the blood compact which they performed with Legazpi in 1565. Each barangay was independent, and then datu ruled with the help of the elders of the community. When the datu wanted a new law to be enacted, he called the elders to a meeting and consulted them on the proposed law, and if they agreed, he would have the new law announced to the people by the village crier. The datu led the men of the barangay in war.
This procedure in lawmaking would seem to show that our ancestors had some basic notions of the democratic process by following the practice of group deliberation and consensus. This practice, together with the fairly even distribution of property in the province, would seem to explain, at least in part, the democratic ways of the Boholanos in their dealings with one another.
The natives of Bohol had the same system of writing as the Pintados of the other islands of the Visayas. In fact, they spoke one and the same language.
“The natives throughout the Islands (and this must include the Boholanos) can write excellently with certain characters, almost like the Greeks or Arabic. These characters are fifteen in all. There are vowels, which are used as are our five. The consonants number twelve, and each and all of them combine with certain dots or commas and so signify whatever one wishes to write, as fluently and easily as is done with our Spanish alphabet. The method of writing was on bamboo, but is now on paper, commencing the lines at the right and running to the left, in the Arabic fashion. Almost all the natives, both men and women, write in this language. There are very few who do not write excellently and correctly”. That is according to Morga.
The Boholano people, also called Bol-anon, refer to the people who live in the island province of Bohol. The Bol-anons are known to be sweet and very hospitable.
They open their doors to guests, give their warmest welcome gestures, prepare their finest chinawares never used on ordinary days, and serve for-guest-only food. They are generally friendly and they love conversations, but some of them are too shy to initiate a chat with a tourist. Boholanos are very family-oriented. They value solidarity and togetherness, like going to church together during Sundays. They are also very industrious and peace-loving.
They are adventurous and pioneering. Their pioneering spirit, their love of adventure, and the desire to look for greener pasture have led many Boholanos to migrate to other provinces. But wherever they may have gone, the Boholanos never forget the land of Sikatuna, Tamblot, and Dagohoy. They are intense home lovers. They are very proud of where they came from. The community life in Bohol is well-knit. Everybody in the community knows everyone else and is desirous of helping. They have a close family ties. These people have made trademark in the world.
The most important occupation of the people of Bohol today is farming.
The Boholano is typically a son of the soil and is fondly attached to it. Almost every family has its own parcel of land to live on and cultivate. Rice and corn and coconuts are the most important crops. The first two constitute the staple food of the people. But since these cereals are not produced in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of the population, the people grow camotes, ubi, gabi, and cassava as supplementary food crops.
Another important industry is fishing.
Fortunately, Bohol is surrounded by seas which abound in fish. From, time beyond recall, the people along the coast has been dependent upon the resources of the sea for their livelihood. Using nets, traps, corrals, and hook and line they have been able to catch enough fish to supply their needs and to sell.
In the shallow waters, there is a wide variety of shellfish, which can gather for food. In the swamps and marshes, some of which have recently been converted into fishponds for growing bangus, are crabs and shrimps. Edible seaweeds are also found in various places.
Many people are engaged in various household industries in order to supplement the family income. Women are engaged in weaving. Some people are engaged in the lumbering industry. People in Bohol find a suitable living for their own comfort.
In a country comprising of several thousands of islands like the Philippines where people are isolated in a small group of ethnic people thereby causing the development of so many dialects in different intonations and accents, superstitious beliefs and practices that are handed down from generation to generation. Bohol is one of the island provinces to have developed a culture of its own.
The Boholanos are known to be thrifty, law-abiding, hospitable, religious and humble people. They are also famous traders and sea-farers. They have always been portrayed in a way that sometimes they abhor. In spite of these portrayals they remain modest and undisturbed. Boholanos are very hospitable which is sometimes overdone just to impress and satisfy for the convenience of the visitor. Imagine Boholanos will eat “ginamos“, salted fish so that visitors
eat chicken, scrambled eggs and meat to let the visitor feel like home and comfortable, a Boholano host is willing to sleep in the kitchen so the visitor can sleep in bedroom with beddings of finest linen and matress and the host is content sleeping on the floor with buri mat and “saguran” as the blanket.
During fiesta and holding of parties like birthday, baptismal and graduation of children, they are willing to go into debt just to entertain their visitors. Boholanos are sometimes looked down by non-Boholanos in exaggerating the use of “j” in speaking the local dialect in their own intonation and accent. But to them, the intonation and the accent should not be considered a defect; it is a trademark of the twang the native tongue. Every town, province or even country for that matter has its own intonation and accent in speaking their own language and that the Boholanos are proud that they have their own, a symbol and identification that they are real Boholanos. So they have nothing to fear for being despised. Instead they have to preserved it.
The month of May is a fiesta fever. No day passes without being celebrated elsewhere in Bohol town or barangay. It has been inculcated in the minds of Boholanos. Wherever they are, be it in Manila, Mindanao, Cebu, and abroad, they do not fail to go home to attend the fiesta celebration and for family reunion. It becomes a part of Boholanos religiosity and hospitality that every family regardless of financial status prepares a fattened pig every year for the entertainment of relatives and friends, from nearby towns and even strangers.
The Boholano are very rich in its culture that until this time it is still preserved. And Boholanos are very proud of this.
Bohol and Its People by C.Putong
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