A renowned Karay-a lexicographer and ethnographer who happens to be a retired Brig. Gen. and author of the book, “Karay-a Rice Tradition Revisited” raised a theory about the possible rise of the taramnan of the Iraynon-Bukidnon. Gen. Vicente C. Pangantihon has this to say about the rice terraces:
“I had seen the terraced mountains slopes of Antique in the late 90’s, but I can’t pinpoint the exact location hence I requested the Provincial Agriculturist to look for them, take pictures and send me copies. I intend to use the pictures as cover to my books, “Karay-a Rice Tradition Revisited”. This was not done, hence I asked my children to design a cover for my book. I totally agree with the comments Alex delos Santos. Foremost, let us go back to history. Antique has narrow coastal plains. Our ancestors had to go the mountains for the following reasons:
- They will be nearer to their source of livelihood. They were there on the hunting and gathering stage. They learned that they need not go places to hunt or to gather if they plant and domesticate the youngs of animals and birds they capture. That was when they started cleaning the mountains slopes for planting. To arrest erosion, they terraced the mountain slopes. It should be borne in mind that the early terraced slopes had root crops as cultigens not Rice. When the Austronesians speakers arrived, Rice was introduced as cultigen.
- Our indigenous ancestors particularly Bukidnons prefer to live in the mountains than in the lowland (payo) because of piracy then rampant. The favorite target for kidnapping were the Bukidnon women because they are bisay (beautiful), slender (katitiya), fair complexion and some are even white. The captured young women were sold to the nobles of the Sri Vijaya and the Majapahit maritime empires as concubines of the nobles. Some were even taken as wives.
- When the Spaniards arrived, our ancestors valued their freedom, hence they continued living in the hinterlands. They were host to the mondos y cimarrones (wild cats and wild horses) the freedom fighter of Panay. Many of them joined in raiding Spanish settlements.
The relative isolation of the Bukidnon made them tread a diverse cultural path. Thanks to them for preserving our cultural heritage.Tourism will do them injustice.
A perfect example is Boracay. The Atis of Boracay were displaced from what was once there ancestral land. The Bukidnons will become victims of greed. The terraced mountains slopes may now be called rice terraces because they are now planted with rice. How about the other terraces in almost all towns of Antique? The mini terraces continue to be planted with root crops, the staple food of our ancestors.”