Monday, January 23, 2012

Ube-tter believe it and
other uber ube rituals 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, January 20, 2012, (PIA) -- If you ever wonder what an empty coconut shell hoisted on a stick on all corners of an ubi patch is doing, count yourself one of the many people baffled by such a scene.

But if you ask the ritual experts, they would surely tell you the eyes of the coconut shell, like crude parabolic antennas, keep watch over your patch and protects it from anyone intent on spoiling your good harvest.

Funny? Don't ever show that to an ubi farmer, lest he be insulted.

They would do it as an envious neighbor may bury in the ubi patch half a coconut or a fiddle crab and it’s all it takes to lose an entire harvest, beliefs here state.

Rituals and strange beliefs surrounding the ubi lend to it an enormous vacuum, which ascribe to the yam variety the mystical foreboding most Boholanos connect to this ethno-religious crop.

Revered to the point of bordering the sacred, ubis in Bohol are kissed, cajoled and given its due respect in makeshift altars befitting the sacred as the rootcrop has accordingly fed generations when droughts destroy rice and corn harvests.

Coming in the form of kinampay, baligonhon, kabus-ok, iniling, binanag and 9 other local names with hardly any huge difference for each other, ubi still ranks among the major things that unite

Once, two militaimen were locked on to the death in a fight in Mindanao and even the threat of their commanding officer untangled the two, But when an elder, out of frustration rolled an ubi near them, both stopped, picked the ubi and kissed it, a common tale would bare.

You plant ubi facing the sun always, says Ricardo Guiritan, a master teacher at Panglao Central Elementary School and town ubi-production coordinator.

He offers no explanation to that, but Boholanos gathered around him listening as he details the strange rituals involving the crop prudently refrain from probing. Here, probing about the irrational reverence to the crop is still considered rude.

Ubi, or the yam species which is commonly identified by its purple variety called kinampay and baligonhon is scientifically named dioscorea alata, Guiritan said specifically putting the stress in the dios, perhaps to reinforce his thesis that the root-crop is indeed a gift from the gods.

In the hinterlands of Bohol, it’s common to hear stories of only naked women endowed with the biggest frontal bumpers performing the “palihi,” the ceremonial planting of the first ubi sitt (seedling) in a moonlit night.

Stories bare that a certain incantation is recited as the first sitt is fed into the waiting mound (hutok), intoned to make sure that the crop grows as big as the woman’s breast and crack like it is down there.

Palihi, also entails putting up the antidote (sumpa) for a rotten harvest.

It includes an assemblage of a broken earthen pot, bendita sa lukay (palms blessed on Palm Sunday), pitogo leaves and remnants of lit candles from the local church. These are placed in the middle of the field where ubi is planted.

asked why, nobody can rightfully satisfy one's curiousity.

It's like emptying the whole ocean into a whole ina sandy beach, somebody said in allegory of Saint Augustine seeking to fathom the msytery of the trinity.

But, did i tell you, Saint Augustine is the patron keeper of Pangalo, where the most ubis in Bohol are accordingly grown?

Rituals, perhaps a healthy marriage between pagan offering practices to Christian thanksgiving occupy the ubi farmers hierarchy of priorities here, non-adherence to these preset beliefs could spell the difference between a weighty harvest or a poorly filled bamboo basket (bukag).

You do not put ubi harvests in a sack, or carried on top of your head, says Guiritan, who has been holding demonstration classes for ubi all over Bohol.

Reverence to this wonder crop ubi allows parents to do outrageous things too, he said.

When a child drops an ube he is carrying, he receives a spanking, the ubi gets a kiss.
 “You lose nothing if you follow them,” Guiritan said attempting to convince a small group of people mildly amused while listening to him recount the rituals associated with planting and transporting the ubi.

Guiritan, who has been planting the 13 species of ubi in his patch at home shared that kinampay and baligonhon command a good price and are more that worth the six months of wait for the money to start coming in. 

Funny you would say.

But, for Boholanos taught never to poke fun at the yam which shares the name of God and a heart for leaves, a speck of wisdom rests in better toeing the line and believing rather than being sorry. (30)

Ubay opens high caliber
Basketball tournament

Asserting itself as a town to get to when it comes to top caliber sports, Ubay, through its Sports Commission, in cooperation with key local officials bring in competitive caging to national standards.

Louie Bernales, Ubay Sports Commisioner said the activity is just part of the many come ons that build up to the major evet: the feast day of the Holy Child celebrated here January 27, Friday.

This year’s town fiesta well-wishers are in for a treat of high class basketball, some players are said to be Philippine Basketball Association aspirants, information reaching Sunday Post said.

Local officials hope bringing in high caliber sports talents elevate local competitions to a new high by its open basketball tournament as its fiesta sensation.

District Congressman Erico Aumentado, Ubay Mayor Eutiquio Bernales, second District Gerardo Garcia and Vice Mayor Constantino Reyes pooled resources to bring in competing teams from as far as Cebu and national league players, all to make the Santo Nino festivities merrier.

Ubay, a town now slowly emerging as the major force to reckon with in competitive sports is also getting the attention of other sports enthusiasts who look up to model aces in different sports disciplines.

Other than basketball, the town also opened up lawn and table tennis tournaments to raise the fiesta festivities, said Virgie Dupa, information officer.

This year’s participating teams pool in top caliber cagers including Team Cargo (Cebu), Akira Sinandigan (M-Lhuillier), CPG Gerry Garcia composed of Philippine Basketball Association Aspirants League players and La Petra Beach Resort (Bohol Selection).

Opened last January 19, the round robin elimination round was set to complete its competitions yesterday, sources from Ubay said.

On its first night of hardcourt encounter, team Akira frustrated Team Cargo with a 96-93 win at the fourth canto.

In its second game, Team Gerry Garcia succombed to La Petra Beach Resort, 122-125 after two overtimes, Virgie Dupa, Ubay Information Officer said. 

Set to meet still after a single round robin match, the hostilities inside the covered court is still up for boiling matches after the opening jitters, said Ubay Administraor Atty Dexter Bernales.

Atty Bernales, who also is the Ubay Sports Commission executive Director bared that ongoing lawn tennis and table tennis were also matches not to miss.

Since the 19th, Ramon Magsaysay Sports Complex in the town has been the venue of the sports hostilities, where observers have seen motivated teams.

And who would not, when the champion team would get as much as P100,000 plus trophy in a week-long tournament, organizers said.

Championship games would be on the big day, January 27, 2012.

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