One of the things that my group really enjoyed during the trip was our research topic on how culture, history and religion affects conservation efforts in Bohol. It gave us the opportunity to find out interesting stuff from people’s perception, and it definitely gave us creeps when we listened to the stories some of them told us. So hilarious to see the entire group getting all creeped out during our group meetings at night when we updated each other with the stories we heard in the day. We would then end our meeting and go to bed or move off somewhere else where there’s more light and less shadows.
Remember the story of the tree spirit that I told you guys about on the day of our presentation? Here’s another one for you…
On the night that some of us went to see the fireflies at the Abatan River, I had the opportunity to have a short conversation with the tour guide. She told us that fireflies are indicators of a clean environment. As I probed further on this, it turned out that they feel it is important to protect the trees in the river and hence the fireflies because they believe there are fairies (a.k.a. good spirits) that live amongst the fireflies. Those of you who went on that tour would have noticed the incense that all of us walked past when we first entered the compound and when we got onto the boat. Contrary to popular beliefs amongst us, this incense was not for keeping mosquitoes away from us. In fact, it was meant to keep away the spirits from human beings. Now now, do you feel a little chill sent down your spine?
It seems like the locals believe that there are spirits in many places in Bohol. Even after we got back to Singapore, we found out in our research that there are more of such beliefs in other things that we didn’t hear about when we were there.
Hmm… guess what we can all do now is to hope that we haven’t got any one of it back in Singapore with us!
— on behalf of the Bo!holanos