Monday, June 9, 2014

Pythons Used for Sea Navigation

Mindanao Sultan Jamal ul-Kiram (seated at center), with his counselors.
Also shown US Army officers and some visiting Muslims
Photo taken c. 1899-1901

Mr. Jose Bulang and I have had several conversations about his ancestors. He lives in the Philippines, but his ancestors came there from the west.

His father was a traditional healer, a role that passed from father to son. The gift of healing (charism?) had been passed through the male line for many generations. It extended to natural phenomena such as rain and waves.

Jose told me a story about his childhood. His family had a small farm. One day, after a period of dry weather, his father took him to the corn field. They circle the field 7 times and then went home. Later that day it rained, but only on the Bulang farm and the crop was saved.

However, not long after that locusts came. Mr. Bulang explains, "But I remember we not harvested more than enough because locust and other pest have feasted on that farm. After several years when I am older I asked my father what happened and why? And he said "the created feasted on what God provided."

Jose's father had a reputation as a man of prayer. The fishermen came to the house and insisted that he go with them on their fishing expeditions, though he was not a fisherman. Mr. Bulang explains, "There were about 7-10 in the fishing boats which would take about 15 days before it come back to General Santos city. The fishermen would come to the house to fetch my father and sometimes my mama would say "Why are you bringing Kulas then you are not letting him fish? And the fishermen would say, "because if there are big waves he will pray for us and the sea become calm."

Bulang clans are found in many parts of the world. According to Jose Bulang his ancestors were known as "travelers." Bulang are among the original inhabitants of Yunnan in China. Yunnan can also be Yon or Y-On (as in Biblical On on the Nile) or Y-Ainu. There the Bulang live in huts, often on pillars, in the humid mountain forests. A rite of passage to signal readiness for marriage among the Chinese Bulang involves dying their teeth.

Here is another fascinating story told by Mr. Bulang.

My father told me that according to story as told him by his father, his first ancestor who arrive at Dauis, Panglao, Bohol was a big man long haired who has a big python pet who he used to play in the sea when he is taking a bath. My father would say that such python is useful in sea travel because the python when place in the forward side of the boat will always direct his nostril towards the winds and can detect approaching typhon or water turbulence by being itself being restless, this my father said is according to that man. And also the snake eat only once and only during full moon that it is useful when navigating for a long period and no star can be seen as guide. This made me realize, I do not know if it is correct, that the travelers that time used this NAHASH, or Ahas in Philippine dialect, as travel instruments in the river or on the seas;

That said ancestor, according to my cousin Fausto Bulang when I started interviewing and building the house of Bulang as a genealogy, claimed that his family owned Panglao Island. This is highly impossible according to my cousin, but maybe true if that ancestor descended from Shri Vijaya empire which is believe to be ruled by a Suryavanshi, which empire used to have what is now called the Visayas group of Island of the Philippines as part of its territory.

My friend Historian, wrote that Bool Kingdom of what is now Bohol was already recognized by Mecca, Saudi Arabia as a kind of Bishopric with Shariff Para as the Muslim missionary circa 1550 AD. He had written about ESKAYA, Ophir in relation to Bohol. His topic about Eskaya and Ophir can be read when Googled.

There are many things coming back to my memory as I read about your blog relative to what my fathers in the past have told me and I experience myself.

Thank you, Madame Linsley. I am not claiming anything, I just wish to be enlightened of some questions lingering in my mind about the origin of my family.

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