Monday, September 22, 2008

56th Anniversary of Bansalan, Davao del Sur!



This year's 56th anniversary of Bansalan, Davao del Sur -- called Bansaulog (from the words "Bansalan" and "saulog," the Visayan term for celebration) -- was colorful, more unique, lively, and weeklong.

"Unlike the past celebrations, we are celebrating our town anniversary this year for one week," said Edwin Reyes, the town mayor. "Before, we only commemorate the celebration on the town's anniversary."

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"Bansalan, Padayon sa Pinasahi nga Pag-uswag" was the theme of the celebration.

"Our town is fast developing but we have to move further to fully develop," said Reyes, the youngest mayor of the town ever and a businessman. "I am hoping that by 2010, we will have improved economically."

Bansalan used to be a barrio of the municipality of Santa Cruz. When Digos (now the province's capital) became a town itself, Bansalan was part of it. The town lies 22 kilometers west of Digos.

On June 6, 1952, Bansalan was separated from Digos and under Executive Order 506 became a town itself. (In 1957, Matan-ao was created out of the territory of Bansalan. Ten years later, Magsaysay followed suit.) The Bagobos were the town's aborigines.

But it was not until Apolonio Ilagan, a captain in the Philippine Constabulary, that the town celebrated its anniversary. On September 18, 1952, Ilagan assumed office the town's first mayor.

How did the town get its name? Richard Ortiz, writing for the municipal comprehensive plan, recounted: "Datu Mandu, the adventurous tribal chieftain whose exploits were the first to have been recorded in the local historical data, established along the banks of the Miral River a village that grew so rapidly during his time. His successor, Datu Tumanas, relocated the settlement of his people to the nearby carambulig (a wide patch of cogonal meadows, where cultivation of crops and domestication of animals were started)."

"It was Datu Tumanas who named the place Dansalan, after valiant Datu Dansalan who ruled the tribe some decades past and whose valor and chivalry were legends that came to be passed on by word-of-mouth through generations."

But how Dansalan became Bansalan is an interesting story in itself. When Americans came to resettlement area, they asked the natives what the name of the place. They replied, "Dansalan."

Ortiz surmised: "The initial plosive consonant must have been misheard by the Caucasians for they used the term 'Bansalan,' and the name stuck from then on."

However, the Provincial Tourism Development Plan has a different version: "Bansalan got its name from the one simple farmer named Bansalan who one day dug the earth in search of potable water to quench his thirst. Fortunately, he dug a spring that didn't only satisfy his thirst but also his other companions. Rain widened the spring and the constant erosion of soil led to its formation into a creek, and later into a river. Bansalan did not live long. His companions, who were recipients of Bansalan's labor, named the river after him."

As part of this year's celebration, Bansalan celebrated the event with street dancing called "Sayo tut dalan." "Street dancing here is much better than in Digos," said a spectator.

According to Geraldine Batal, the municipal tourism officer, the first winner in the high school level (Category B) was Marber National High School, a grand slam since it had won the top prize for three consecutive years.

The three other contenders settled for runner-ups: Nazareth High School, second; Don Pedro Arches Memorial High School, third; and Holy Cross College of Bansalan, fourth.

In the elementary level (Category A), there were six contenders. The best among them was Bansalan Central Elementary School. The runners were the elementary schools of New Clarin, Dolo, Villa-Doneza, Marber, and Kinuskusan.

Part of its unique celebration was the launching of its "one barangay, one product." And the town has chosen coconut as its pride. "Coconut has several uses and we found out that we can make several products out of it," said Julian Albores, the municipal agricultural officer.

Source: Henrylito Tacio/Sunstar Davao

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