Bukidnon: 15-minute rendezvous with Ver Overview


A 15-minute rendezvous with Ver Overview

Ver Overview seems like just is one of those stopovers along the Davao-Davao highway. Located at Kipolot, Barangay Palaopao, Quezon, Ver Overview and Nature Park renders a panoramic vista of the expansive rolling hills, plains, and valleys of Bukidnon—and a 15-minute stop gave that lasting impression of the Bukidnon’s majestic charm.

Exploring the area in such a limited pee break is such a challenging yet exciting task. Wasting no time, I immediately grabbed my camera bag and went downhill to see what it has to offer—and I was not disappointed with what I saw.

Indeed, seeing the vast valleys and mountain ranges all over Bukidnon offered a natural high. The cold breeze in mid-afternoon and the sun starting its descent gave that wonderful sense of freedom and tranquillity.

But it is not just a highway stop.

More than just a viewpoint to Bukidnon’s charm and beauty, it also offers a valuable cultural experience. Adorned by the works of the Davao-based and eminent artist, Kublai Millan, the park also features sculptures of indigenous peoples purposefully arranged in tableaus and positioned in many parts of the park. I would say it was a remarkable fusion of architecture, nature, and culture.

A 15-minute rendezvous with Ver Overview

However, it would prove useless coming to this place without knowing exactly what these sculptures meant. Knowing Kublai’s affinity to indigenous art or the rendition of anything indigenous, I thought that there must be some meaning to it. So three years later, when I decided to blog about it, I tried to research on this one.

First, I learned that the sculptures pay homage to the seven (7) major tribes inhabiting Bukidnon that include:
  • Matigsalugs (people along the Salug River)
  • Bukidnons (people from the lowlands),
  • Tigwahanuns (people along the Tigwa river),
  • Umayamnuns (the inhabitants along the Umayam river amidst the Pantaran mountains),
  • Talaandigs (people from Talakag, Songco, Kibangay, and Basak),
  • Higaonons (people who come from Agusan), and the
  • Manobos (people whose spread has been noted to be great in Kalilangan, Pangantucan, Kitaotao, Kibawe, Kadingilan, Don Carlos and Quezon).
It is interesting to know that most of the tribes are associated with a certain ecosystem. This brings me to a reflection that destroying an ecosystem or pulling them out of their communities would be tantamount to killing or uprooting their culture, traditions, and heritage.

Their rich cultural heritage is being celebrated through the annual Kaamulan Festival, which I have learned the first time when I was covering the Aliwan Fiesta in Manila. Bukidnon’s website describes the festival as:
Kaamulan” is from the Binukid word “amul” which means “to gather”. It is a gathering of Bukidnon tribal people for a purpose. It can mean a datu-ship ritual, a wedding ceremony, a thanksgiving festival during harvest time, a peace pact, or all of these put together.”
Kaamulan Festival starts every second half of February to March 10. March 10 is the culminating day which marks the anniversary of the founding of Bukidnon as a province in 1917.

It was not enough to know that they are the tribes of Bukidnon. Further, into my research, I came to know better what these sculptures were doing:

This figure greeted me as I stepped onto the stairway down to the viewpoint. A boy is playing agong. Agong is used as a gong during gatherings to call the attention of the tribe members. It is also used for ethnic dancing. It is made up of copper and usually has a shape like a hat. It is played by beating it with a wooden stick.


A 15-minute rendezvous with Ver Overview


It appears that there are two women pounding rice. Later, I learned that it is also associated with an ethnic dance called bubudsil, which is an ethnic dance using a wooden pole simulating the pounding of the rice harvest.

A 15-minute rendezvous with Ver Overview

I thought that perhaps, this sculpture of a girl was playing a mouth instrument. Indeed, it is called kubing, which is a thin slat of bamboo with a small hole in the middle that gives a variation of various tones. The vibration is initiated by blowing wind using the mouth.

A 15-minute rendezvous with Ver Overview

What is more interesting is the tableau that features a bangkakaw. Bangkakaw is a percussion instrument made of wood. It is played during festivities to thank Magbabaya through dancing and paddling it with a long wooden stick.


A 15-minute rendezvous with Ver Overview


I already know how a kubing and agong sounds like, but I never heard the sound of bangkakaw.  A Youtube video was helpful and it only proves that it has an interesting ethnic sound that only seasoned players and with a knowledge of indigenous rhythm can make:



YouTube video courtesy of Staramae

A 15-minute rendezvous with Ver Overview

That explains why this group of men is above the men and women playing bangkakaw because they appear to be praying and praising their Magbabaya (God).

A 15-minute rendezvous with Ver Overview

Putting all these information together, it must have been a Kaamulan festival in art form!

Interesting, isn’t it? I wish all other view decks are like Ver Overview, which features not only the natural beauty of the place but it’s culture, tradition, and heritage, as well.

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Note: Most of the information on indigenous knowledge in this article was taken from Bukidnon Official Website, and further qualified these based on the experience and some cultural exposure.  The author further researched on how the indigenous musical instruments look like and associated the photos he took with the description provided on the website. If the author missed out something or needs to be corrected on the indigenous knowledge presented, please feel free to comment or send him an email.

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See more photos: Ver Overview




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Admin/Author

Aside from my day job, I love photography and storytelling. Going places--be it a cliche destination or the far side of the road--stoke and free my soul. I dig deeper into the people’s psyche, culture and ethnicity, and heritage. I love to observe how they thrive and build social institutions, preserve their culture and traditions.

5 comments :

Earl (Suroy Pilipinas) said...

Thanks for featuring my home province in your blog Sir Ding! Awesome photos as always!

Gladys | ByahengBarok.com said...

great photos of the statues. i only went straight to the monastery of transfiguration in bukidnon while i was there. i should have stayed longer and enjoyed more of bukidnon

Ding | The Pinoy Explorer said...

@Earl, this is part of my series of a few posts on Bukidnon! Thanks!

@Gladys, Bukidnon is a place for me to discover and explore yet. passing through lang din ako dito. Salamat!

Bonzenti said...

Ding,

I admired this post Ding. Thanks for featuring one of the tourist's sites here in Bukidnon bro. :-). Cant wait to have some post like this one once I will revisit the place for a blog post.

Ding | The Pinoy Explorer said...

Bonz, welcome! I am awed by Bukidnon. I hope to visit this more in the future...

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