Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lakbay Lahi sa Cavinti, Laguna 1

* the seal of the municipality of Cavinti, Laguna

If there was anything which ‘revolutionized’ my perspective on the way I do this ‘Back Trails’ activity (that is, visiting places, digging into their history, and hunting old houses), it was my participation in the activity called “Labay Lahi.” The said research trip was organized by a department in the school where I am currently affiliated.

Our trip to the town of Cavinti, Laguna was not different from the other travels I have done before. But the great shift in the way I gathered information came in the form of interviews. And I mean sustained interviews. I have never done interviews in that extent: laying down some tentative questions, then after getting answers, I would make some follow-up questions and details would come flowing out of the people.

* Trailer Pransis with new friends (from left):
Sister Gloria Quilapio, Merlie Perez,
and Baldomera ‘Bading’ Flores-Duma

I may not have formal training (yet) on social researches (or on local history for that matter) but I think a basic principle that I learned is you have to treat the people you interview with respect. And one has to show keen interest to know and understand what the people know. With that, a certain connection is built and you will walk away feeling that you have been given information more than you needed in the first place.

Such realizations did not come in late. I still consider myself novice in the craft of travelling and history digging and they will definitely help improve my data gathering methods.

* view of a river from Cavinti Bridge;
notice that the man in yellow was looking up to us

The Quiet Town of Cavinti

The town of Cavinti is nestled in the mountainous part of eastern Laguna, close to the Sierra Madre mountain ranges. It is approximately 100 kilometers from Manila as the 100-km-marker is found close to the town proper. I can describe it as a quiet town but it is more of a sleepy town really. The morning we arrived the town proper is relatively quiet but I observed it all throughout the afternoon. There are occasional trucks and other vehicles passing by but they did not disturb the general serenity of the town proper. More than anything else, I daresay that this town is ideal for a reclusive getaway or a quite permanent life.

* the streets in Cavinti town proper:
(left) a side road leading to Magsaysay Drive;
(right) Rizal Street

The Origins of the Name Cavinti

Although I have already read some accounts regarding the origins of the name ‘Cavinti’ on the internet, it is better to share here the details as relayed to me by a native of Cavinti.

Aetas used to live on the area of what is now Cavinti, said Ms. Baldomera Flores-Duma. And one of the wedding rites of these early dwellers was for the male to chase the women. The one a male will get by the leg/s shall be his wife. It was a pretty easy way to win a woman at first glance. In the chase a shout is cried: “Kapit sa binti, kapit sa binti!” which, obviously, was shortened to become ‘Cavinti.’

The church in Cavinti is related to the founding of the town. I shall share about this on the next the blog post.

No comments:

Post a Comment