B. Agriculture

Root crops were the subsistence food of the people in the past and which were raised in the swiddens. With the introduction of rice farming practices expanded from dry agriculture to wet-rice. Aside from swiddens, paddies had to be constructed along areas where water was accessible.

1. Agricultural cycle

Swidden Agriculture/ Kaingin

Land preparation starts before the rainy season. Land selected for this type of farming is first cleaned by cutting branches of trees and grass. After a week when the brush is dry, the latter is gathered in the center of the field and burned. If the fire spreads, the community is mobilized to help stop the fire (shep-shep). One who causes fire through negligence is penalized.

Planting starts after the first heavy rain. With the use of a pointed wooden rod, root crops like gabi, kamote and ginger are planted. Palay is also planted as a main crop and surrounded by other vegetable crops, creating a diversified field. The farmer visits the swidden to clear it of weeds.

The swidden or uma is cultivated for an average of four years and then left to fallow for about six years to allow the soil to regenerate.

When one burns his swidden, he informs his neighbor or the whole community to avoid burning of houses and to alert the people so they are prepared to help in case of wildfire. The former also clears his boundary and puts the cut grass and brush in piles inside his swidden. Clearing the boundaries is called gasidan. A related term is daik or the cleared area or fire line around the field.

Wet- rice agriculture

In areas where water is available, rice paddies are constructed. These are usually located along the rivers or below mountain springs. Bamboo pipes (taroy) are used to bring water to the paddies. Irrigation canals (adaan or payas) were also constructed.

Before the rainy season, water is coursed to the paddy , after which the land is plowed. The paddies are immersed in water for a month to facilitate the decaying of weeds and grasses which serve as fertilizer and soil conditioner. The rice seedlings which have earlier been planted in a smaller field, are harvested and planted in the prepared paddies. This activity is done by women who also visit the paddies after a few months and remove the weeds. The men see to it that water continues to flow into the fields by cleaning the canals and making sure that the water is not diverted.

Apart from the water immersion method, another practice is for the plowed field to get dry in order that the weeds and seeds will dry up or decay. These also serve as fertilizers. Due to impatience and competition, farmers seldom practice this now. This practice is called kulada.

The practice of building stone or mud walls around paddies to prevent erosion is called kabiti. Canals or drainage systems are built to channel excess water from their fields to prevent destruction of plants and rice fields during the rainy season.

The rice variety planted in the first cropping which starts in January is the kintuman. The second crop planted in July and harvested in December is the sarujaw.

Rain-fed agriculture

Traditionally, the people in Tuba planted upland rice on land irrigated only during the rainy season. The land is loosened with the use of a carabao and plow after which rice grains are dropped into holes made by driving a wooden stick into the ground. Usually, the man walks ahead and makes the holes, followed by the woman who drops a few grains into a hole and covers it with soil using her foot. The field is visited by the man to keep birds from eating the grain. To scare the birds, he can put a scarecrow in the field or tie plastic strips on a string which he can hang on long sticks or poles placed around the field. The sap of a particular plant is rubbed on a pole and stuck on the ground in the field. The sticky sap serves as glue to catch birds and other pests touching it.

The months of June and July are the time for planting rain-fed lands. Planting must be done at this time to avoid pests. Farmers believe that when one plants in August, plants will be infested with many various pests. If sowing is done earlier, the plants will have already drown big and resistant to pests by the time August comes.

Harvesting is done in the months of September, October and November. These are believed to be tame or calm months when there is less rain and more sunny weather.

Tools consist of the bolo, ax and plow made of hard wood. Bamboo tubes are filled with seeds and dropped on the ground in swidden and rain-fed fields. The rakem is the iron tool with a wooden handle used for harvesting.

Other Beliefs and practices

Lumit is a form of thanksgiving celebration for the farmer who has just finished planting or harvesting. The farmer butchers an animal or makes traditional rice cakes and calls his neighbors to partake in the celebration. The people believe it is just proper to celebrate so that their planting or harvesting can result in prosperity.

People before were observant about the occurrence of the full moon. They believed that the best time to start their work or any task was on the first occurrence of the full moom because this brings good luck and prosperity. This applies to planting, building a house, setting out on a journey or starting a project. This is still practiced by some residents.