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PIA Press Release
2008/08/29

Bugwas Story: Abundance of water, abundance of harvest

By Atty. Ray Rene T. Buac

Siquijor (29 August) -- Long time ago, when God created the universe, San Juan town was one of the luckiest. He did not only shower beauty and love to San Juanians, but He also implanted a living reminder of His generosity, the Springs of San Juan. From the mountains of Napo down to Cansayang's Canghunog-hunog, the springs sprouted giving His people abundant supply of water.

Through these springs of water life is easy and harvest is great. Of all the Springs that blows up water it's the Capilay Spring that gives a lot of power for it gathers all the energy of the underground water and blows it up as one full force of water. Capilay Spring is found at the heart of San Juan giving the town an awesome beauty and lush vegetation.

It is this spring that binds its people into one and gives one the mark of a true San Juanian. Through this landmark, San Juan become known to others and San Juan captures the hearts of many to stay and live here forever. It is the magic of the spring that holds and protects San Juan and his people against all the negative energy that strikes the town.

The people began to be aware of how gifted they were and they began to rejoice by going to church and praise God together. They do household chores together like fetching water, washing clothes or simply going to the spring to share their fresh catch, fresh crops from the fields or hear news around. Farming and fishing are done by men while women and their children wait along the ashore to share food and water to everyone. The wonders of these springs influence the peoples' character and gradually molded their culture and identity.

BUGWAS as a strong force of water that comes underground is a reflection of the character of the town people being strong amidst challenges, hardworking, friendly caring and loving. And for us long as the springs of San Juan continue to blow and flow, His people will always be reminded that hard work brings good harvest. BUGWAS is a celebration of good, abundant harvest.


The making of Bugwas

The making of "Bugwas" or how "Bugwas" came about: this is the story.

This narrative is a simple as it is short. To attempt to capture the spirit of the times, in the brainstorming, in the planning, in the implementation, in the practice, and all the others in between, would not only be in adequate; it would be downright futile.

Who are we? Or what are we? The semantics are not important. What is important to us, the people of San Juan, is finding our identity, as a community, as a people. The search for our identity, for something, or for some ways that would identify as the people has, for all time in the past, eluded us but has always engaged our minds for quite many years now. At times we are hopeful and at other times, desperate. What could it be? Will be able to discover it? Deep inside our being, we know it is there, not only waiting but also longing to be found.

Then the people of San Juan became lucky or simply made the correct choice. They found someone who has the vision with the courage to match. The Honorable Mayor Edwin M. Quimno is that someone. His determination to have a symbol of identity from San Juan and its people was, or rather is, the wake-up call. He believed, it is his conviction, that success in this enterprise does not come unbidden. Hard and purposeful work is the family name of success.

He decided: the time is now

The first step he took was to re-organize the San Juan Tourism Council. This he did on January 5, 2006. In the MTC (Municipal Tourism Council), Mayor Quimno pooled people who are not necessarily the brightest and the wisest there is out definitely a hard working, dedicated and inspired team. They are people who shared his vision, people who have faith in his leadership; and people who, like him, have the unshakable belief that the proverbial "needle in the haystack" could be found.

The people referred to are: The Mayor as Chairman, Mayor Edwin M. Quimno, Atty. Ray Rene T. Buac, Mrs. Ma. Arlene R. Mack as Vice Vice- Chairmen, and all the members of MTC. The first meeting of the Municipal Tourism Council for this purpose took place on February 16, 2006. In that meeting the members of the Municipal Tourism Council learned that hard work, dedication and inspiration, vision, faith and belief, virtues that they all have, were not enough. Virtues, they had somehow they were short on ideas. The discussion was open. There were no rules, no format, no plan and no direction.

But the members of the Municipal Tourism Council have a goal and they had the determination not to quit. As the discussion ebbed and flowed, floated and turned, an idea crystallized; resource persons are needed to conceptualized a symbol of identity. These resource persons have talents and are recognized in the field of culture and the arts. They are Mr. Melchor Cenas, Mrs. Arlene M. Buhian, Mr. Jeric Barlaan, Mr. Dennis S. Patun-og, Mrs. Letty Y. Mamhot, Mr. Daladier "Dally S. Samson, Hon. Alberto V. Ocay and Vice Mayor Glicerio Q. Andog. These resource persons were given a free rein.

There were no limitations imposed other than that the concept must reveal and portray the people of San Juan: who they are, their pride, dignity and honor, their way of life and love, and their hopes and dreams.

The resource persons were given three weeks and after the third week they presented several specific concepts. There were as many specific concepts as there were resource persons. For all their talents, they have an added virtue, open-mindedness. They welcome each other's idea.

The resource persons and the members of the Municipal Tourism Council put all these ideas together, discussed all the length, and out of the bottom of the pot came a basic concept: San Juan is blessed with abundance of water, water that is the source of life and other bounties that support life, water that is also the source of pride and honor, water wherein the life and love of San Juanians evolve and revolve. This concept will be demonstrated and performed by way of human body movements. This was on May 17, 2006, the day "BUGWAS" was conceived, it was not called "BUGWAS" then. The appellation "BUGWAS" came later. But that was still part of the story.

The first ever "BUGWAS" is to be shown on the occasion of the annual town fiesta. It has to be presented to the Fiesta Directorate for approval and it has to be identified by an appellation, a name.

The Fiesta Directorate was called to a meeting on June 6, 2006. That will be presented on the occasion of the annual town fiesta was approved without much discussions. The name, however, came through a wringer. The discussion took much time. The discussion was at times light and lively, at other times hostile and sarcastic. The suggested names ranged from simple to the complex, from wise and sound to the absurd and silly. Some suggested named were utterly funny and some were merely irrational.

But the Members of the Fiesta Directorate came through it all, happy and satisfied with "BUGWAS".

Five contingents were formed, three coming from the fifteen barangays, one from DepEd and the Municipal Government. The contingent received an equal amount of subsidy from the Local Government Unit, the rest of the funding is their own.

Since the day of its concept of this day, there were conflicts and animosities, some hard words were exchanged, and others suffered wounded feelings. But humility, perseverance and determination will come assuage the pain and everything will be forgiven and be forgotten. The people of San Juan are above their differences. The pregnancy was not easy but the people of San Juan has a healthy baby of their identity waiting to be born.

To the people of San Juan: This is the day, this is the time and the hour has come.

Let "BUGWAS" be born. (PIA) [top]

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