3. Transfer of Ownership

Traditionally, if one will sell his/her Tawid, s/he must ask the members of the family before offering it outside the family and clan members for either mortgage or sale. However, old folks always advice members of the family during or outside the Tontongan not to sell such inherited land, but merely to mortgage (“Salda”) so that ownership will not be transferred. This is primarily due to the sentimental value and not the market value of the land. If a land was to be sold, it should be offered to relatives as part of reverence to the ancestors who have nurtured the land as well as for easier reclaim when the vendor has enough money to take back the sold real property.

There are various kinds of arrangement in selling the Tawid. One may either “Sell with Right to Repurchase” or “Mortgage with automatic Deed of Sale” or “Mortgage without automatic Deed of Sale.” What usually happens is that even the Tawid had been sold, the offspring of the one who sold will have the first option to purchase back the land, subject to the mutual agreement of parties, e.g., the price.

Land may be passed to another person outside the family. An example is the practice of exchanging a parcel of land for animals to be butchered as part of the indigenous healing ritual when somebody gets sick or dies. A part of the belief system is that offering animals may appease ancestral spirits. When the ritual has to be performed but the family could not provide, the land was bartered for the needed animals. In the present times, just a mere pig cannot be equivalent and therefore be exchanged for a considerable land area.

Ironically, though the land was staked, fostered and passed from generation to generation, generally, there is no document of ownership of the land. One reason is the Buguias is still a watershed area and in some part, a National Park Reservation. Another is the law that disallows ownership of a land whose slope is more than 18%. This virtually made the people squatters in their own domain.