Working inside the forest, is not an easy job at all as what many think it is. My job is actually co-enjoyed by those who are fond of environmental protection and conservation
San Miguel, Surigao del Sur is feared by many due to the belief that the forest is home to many of the leftist in the northeastern side of Mindanao. Challenging to say, this was the venue of my previous project.
A Job You'd Surely 'Love'?
A Job You'd Surely 'Love'?
|Looking for something|
The jump-off of the actual site is actually 15 km starting from Brgy. Magroyong along the national road. At first, there were no paved roads, so walking through a muddy trail was the only mean to reach my target place.
And from there I have to scout part by part the 5000 hectares of a secondary forest land. Fortunately, I had some stints of mountain climbing prior to the acceptance of my luck in Mindanao.
Though most of the time we have an ample supply of food and water but there were cases that we got short with our supplies and got stranded in an unknown location due to heavy rains. With the unexpected circumstances, we usually rely on any available forest food that can be found in the surroundings.
|My local research assistants from a manobo tribe|
On a 3-day work in the forest, again, we got a little short with our food supply, and we have no choice but to use our instinct in looking for something edible in the forest and my favorite was the “pechay na ligaw” but unfortunately it wasn’t around during that time.
Survival of the Fittest!
I saw one of the Manobos busy removing fibers from a decaying palm tree. Until he announced a happy discovery and showed me a handful of COCOONS!
One by one he opened the cocoons and this
wiggling yellow pupa appeared. He said we would be able to survive the day by eating this creepy creature they locally called abatud or batud. WHATTTTT!???? Hearing those words shocked me and can’t believe that I shall be consuming
something that I haven’t heard of before and mind you … RAW and ALIVE!
|Cocoon recovered from a decaying palm tree|
Left with no other options, I washed it with water and faced the bottom part inside my mouth and I started to juice out the yellow creamy squirting content and swallow it immediately without touching my taste buds. I said YUCK at first. But since I was hungry, I took another and at this time, my tongue can’t help avoid the substance and surprisingly the taste wasn't so bad. It tastes like milk people! So I got hooked and looked for more until our hunger was satisfied to survive the night.
And I confess!
Until now, my heart is still longing to do it again. One thing for sure, if ever I get lost in the forest and got short with food supply again, I already have a favorite item on the menu of things we can find inside the forest. I just hope that this experience of mine can still be enjoyed by the youth of the next generations especially the indigenous people of Surigao del Sur.
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