By: Jenny Sd
writers from Philipines
In a small town in Benguet, almost 300 kilometers away from Manila, the capital, is a place of grandeur and greenery. The rolling hills are highlighted with crops and beautiful flowers, while the rivers that flow accommodate children, splashing in delight and fun. But while the place runs in peace and hard work, everyone else can be seen working in the farms and rice paddies. And if observed, it seems that everyone is in only one area today. Don’t be surprised. Locally, it’s called bayanihan. To the world, it’s community cooperation.
Bayanihan has been a big part of the Philippine culture, in fact, it can be traced in pre-colonial times when the communities are called balangays (now, baranggays) and are being lead by datus. These clusters of people help each other do one’s job after another’s. Hence, they don’t really face problems and work issues individually; it’s more of a group work.
Basically, bayanihan is helping a neighbor move or transfer their nipa hut (home made of grass) to another area of the community. The men carry the hut with a man in every pole. Although today, it is not strictly about moving a home only. Our days also saw an extension of this good cause, and it is applied to agriculture and personal relations.
In some areas of the Philippines, the farmers set a schedule comes harvest time. They all crowd to the farm of one of their neighbors and they help him harvest his crops, free of charge. Labor is not a problem, since they will also be payed—maybe not monetarily, but when it is also their time to harvest crops, everyone joins to help him too. The people harvested for should provide the lunch and snacks though.
The bayanihan in the Philippines is not only to help their neighbors and to have a good community involvement. If you look at it, it’s already a culture, and the good thing about it is it doesn’t fade. It may take forms, but will never fade.
You can see her blog here: The Strawbery Princess