C. Forest and Watershed Management and Protection

The protection of the forests and watersheds are integral to the culture of the community. Their belief of the existence of the unseen or spirits “egma-sas” that resides in the forest prevents them from doing destructive activities in the forest and the watershed. Some terms for the “egma-sas” are “Bagbagisen” and “Ampasit”. The orders and rules set by the elders are well respected and observed.

There are no written ordinances governing them but the fear of punishment by nature and the spirits that exist in the forests and watersheds is the main factor for their discipline.

Before conducting any activity, a “mad-mad” (prayer) is said. Example – Before cutting trees, a “mad-mad” is said to ask permission and give time for the spirit to leave.

Trees are thoroughly protected especially those that are believed to be source of water (Tebbel and Sabdang). Trees can be gathered for lumber and used for house construction. The dried branches are allowed to be gathered for firewood. Some of the practices are the following:

  • Purong” leaves of “sapsap” is formed into a knot (esek-got), a sign that would indicate no trespassing. These are seen at the entrance of the restricted areas like for instance the protected forests and water sources.

This is also believed to be of a great help in guarding the farm from the destructive rats.

In some other cases, “purong” is placed around the house or rice fields, water source after a caño ceremony has done as a sign that the owners are having “Ngilin” (a two to three days’ rest of the concerned family to let the purpose of the ceremony effective). Nobody is allowed to enter the premises where the purong is placed.

  • Singal” little cross structure to be placed beside things that are prohibited example; trees that are prohibited to be cut.
  • “Tengshal” a manner of gathering fire woods by removing the branches of the matured trees and let it dry.

There are techniques applied by the IPs in gathering fauna. They hunt with the use of “apad”, “kati”, “da-bong”, “katig”, “solo”, “Kelteb”. These are made out of rope. Bolo ”pana” and “ pika” are used in hunting wild animals.

Hunting activity is usually done during “bu-kas” (rainy season) when the alumit, balete and other trees bear fruits.