Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Eskaya's "sinarliston"
catches tourists fancy

TAGBILARAN CITY, August 25 (PIA)-- Way up in the mountain fastness of Duero, Bohol live a tribe with a quaint way of life, some old writing, queer sounding words and, an American dance?

The Eskaya, a tribe which historians claim to have a range of origins: from both old and authentic to a possible hoax reconstruction of a pre colonial society, thrives in the mountain boundaries of Biabas in Guindulman, Taytay in Duero, Lundag in Pilar, Cantaub in Sierra Bullones and Tambongan ang Cadapdapan in Candijay. 

And, as to their long cherished tradition, the "sinasliston" is something that gives them off. 

Established formally in the early 1920 by their leader Mariano Datahan, the Eskaya community own a unique cultural heritage, use a distinct language and literature, and perform traditional practices that date way back from Spanish to pre-Spanish times, a reason enough to baffle historians.

For this, the indigenous group has been controversial and anthropologists who see and study their ways of life and their language own different educated opinions. 

Some historians claim that the group may not be as old, they could be descendants of the Francisco Dagohoy rebellion, others trace back their reckoning to the original indigenous settlers of Bohol who hailed from Sumatra in the 7th century A.D. 

To those who studied Eskaya oral traditions and literature, they would put the tribe as Semitic proto-Christian, considering their writing's affinity to the Greeks or Hebrews, which even puts an older date to the tribe.

With that in mind, an ecotourism assessment team, which came to the community in Taytay Duero, had the surprise of their lives when they find a hardly seen American dance being practiced and passed on to generations of Eskayans. 

"It is distinctly American," nationally acclaimed tour guide Tess Mapute commented upon seeing the dance. 

While the Eskaya call it "sinarliston," dance experts would call it Charleston, a dance that originated from the docks of Charleston in South Carolina. 

According to wikipedia, Charleston steps start off with a simple twisting of the feet, to rhythm in a lazy sort of way and then graduated into fast kicking step, kicking the feet, both forward and backward and later done with a tap.

The Eskaya Sinarliston however shows a bit of improvisation and the costume is never the American it is the saguran and hinabol. 

As to how it came assimilated into the Eskaya culture, is still another baffling issue that will roil historians in so long a time. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

What’s SUP? Stand-Up
Paddling a hit in Loboc 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, August 12 (PIA) –What’s Up? so they ask. Stand-Up Paddling, is what’s SUP. 

From a far, you might think the paddlers are standing in the water, with nothing under their feet. But a closer look would tell you, a new craze has taken Loboc River, and these are a new kind of tourists in for a new river adventure. 

Already famed for the flatboat-pushed floating restaurants, the single outriggers and occasional motor boats, Loboc is now seeing a new silent river transport: wood or inflatable boards with paddlers standing up.

This is Stand Up Paddle, the newest and most environmentally pleasant river experience offered from SUP Tours at the river side in barangay Villadolid, Loboc. 

And just that, the jade green lushness of the Loboc River is now, also a home to the hippest river experience in stand-up paddling (SUP). 

An outdoor activity which created ripples among aqua sports enthusiasts, SUP demands specific gears and equipment, as well as adept concentration, balance and endurance from the athlete.

“It is a perfect complement to the eco-cultural tourism vision for Bohol,” observes a tourism product development officer in Bohol upon seeing the least environmental impacts of the activity.

SUP involves the use of a wooden board or inflatable shaped board with keels, a long paddle and a paddler who may sit but generally stands while maneuvering the board in alternating paddles from his left and right sides to steer the board.

The speed largely depends on the paddling, explains Troy, a lean and mean SUP guide, who continuously dishes out instructions and what not tos, as one starts to take on the board. 

For the sailor’s protection, the board is affixed to the paddler via a telephone wire cable which is also attached to the boat. This is so that even if the paddler loses his balance and falls off, he can still have the board as a live buoy and so he can easily mount again. 

The ride usually starts form a platform while the board is placed alongside, in the water. 

“Mounting,” Troy instructs, “is done by kneeling on to the board, making sure you occupy the center-most part to afford you the right balance and distributes your body weight evenly.” 

“Then I would gently push you off and as soon as the board glides, you need to slowly get up, one feet at a time, and then start easy slow paddles,” the guide adds. 

A pre-ride briefing also tells paddler tourists how to adjust the long paddles enough to approximate each heights and the paddle dip. The guide also instructs everyone the tricks in steering the boards as well as backing. 

If you happen to fall off, all you need to do is grab the handhold on the center of the board with one hand, and grab the far edge using the other hand, he said. 

From that position, you hoist your body over the board, keep the balance and then proceed to kneel and then progress to a standing position using the paddle, he told the tourists.

The good thing about SUP is that it affords tourists access to the often impenetrable areas of the river which had outrigger boats making access limited. 

Besides, SUP glides silently in the river and allows the paddler a calm quality time with the self, listen to the sounds of the forest and commune with nature, said Cristopher Boncales, a land-based tourist guide. 

Cruising the river using the SUP board also demands a kind of fit physique, a strong concentration, a quick adaptation to balance and the endurance to perform paddling for hours, he noted. 

Now making ripples in Loboc and in Abatan, SUPcan be had at a steeper price, but the experience paddling in the river makes the effort worth the while and the money. 

Loboc SUP is now included in the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s Ecotourism-Bohol Project and is now on the verge of formally opening SUP to local and international tourists. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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