Backpacker’s storied change: The Bukidnon experience

A humble Bukidnon native lady selling her bracelets and anklets to tourists and backpackers

Over the weekend, I went to Davao City with friends in my civic organization called the JCI Philippines and having chanced, upon our return home, to stop-over in Quezon, in Bukidnon; I was greeted with a graceful tribeswoman who sells her hand-made anklets and bracelets made of locally-sourced materials. I was just absorbing everything, from crisp air, to peaceful scenery and to kind-hearted people.

Even on a private vehicle, we were asked by sanitary inspectors to alight from our van to walk through a sanetized water pit and that made me a changed person of sort. I came across an experience that is perhaps, humbling an experience worthy sharing on my travel blog. I say it was humbling because previously, when backpacking locally, I usually do not buy locally crafted wares being sold by the locals. 

Locally produced household decorations for sale at the bus stop in Bukidnon

Locally made products of Bukidnon

At first, the tribeswoman who approached me talked to me in the vernacular which is obviously used for trading purposes only. Nothing fanciful, I gave her an obligatory smile and took photos around the surrounding stalls that sells locally produce products and souvenirs.

As she was circling me always as I took photos of the time I was standing on the same road she was, she explained to me that what she is selling me is a locally-made anklet to protect me from the long walks and hikes as well as trekking. Bukidnon tribes are used to hiking and walking that they needed some medicinal anklet to avoid varicose veins and this is what she is selling me. For just Php10 each (roughly around $25cents), I listened intently and decided to buy myself one anklet. She graciously offers me to place it around my right ankle and I felt honoured and humbled.

From necklaces to bracelets made of locally-sourced materials, it is sold at the bus stop in Bukidnon

Native purses for sale in Bukidnon

I am honored and privileged to be treated warmly by the Bukidnon lady who placed the anklet on my right ankle

The experience I had on that sunny Sunday afternoon in Bukidnon immensely changed me to a better traveller and a backpacker too. Needlessly, as long as it is permissible on your budget, get yourself something to remind you on your travels on the road. Bukidnon’s traditional wares are made of materials sourced from the earth, so one gets an extension of their lifestyle and culture.  In this particular instance, I bought mine with a wishful heart and a humbled one. I clearly understood that the local tribeswoman is selling me economically but I am buying something more than utility but sheer humbling experience. I truly believe that my experience has provided me the opportunity to share my humanity with her and her own humanity with mine. That gesture in which she ceremoniously tied the anklet on my right foot defines me my own humanity, forever anchored on their tradition and rich culture.

A local boy dreaming and I understand his present may be bleak due to poverty but his future is promising due to sustained tourism

Categories: ABC's and Lessons of Backpacking, Backpacker's Corner, Bukidnon | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Backpacker’s storied change: The Bukidnon experience

  1. This post touched my heart. I promise to do the same whenever I travel:)

  2. There are lots of locally made products during the Kaamulan Festival every march of the year. Nice one doc. ….

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