By Perseus Echeminada
MALAYBALAY, Bukidnon — A survey team of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) has reported finding a “crystal cave” inside an ancestral domain claim of a Higa-onon tribal clan in Impasugong town.
The report, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily Tribune, called the cave located in the Cacao mountain range as “sayaw (sparrow) cave” because they were met by hundreds of sparrows when they arrived in the area.
“The team came across a cave beneath a huge quartz-like stone where we were met by hundreds of sparrows dwelling in it,” the report said.
Also found in the area, which is considered enchanted by the natives, was a huge block of stone, five stories high, with ancient engraving of a giant handprint.
According the tribal epic “Olaging,” the huge stone was called binitbit as it was “thrown’ by Agyo to the river to ward off an enemy. Agyo is the legendary giant hero of the Higa-onon.
The report also mentioned a bowl-like stone 3 meters wide and 2 meters deep, believed to be an engraving of Agyo’s “scrotum.”
Also noted was the presence of kilala herbs near an ancient altar of worship where offerings were laid down during rituals.
The ancestral domain claim covers an ancient settlement – among the last towns that the Spaniards occupied during their last years of colonization in the Philippines in 1877.
These natives were the first Higa-onon tribesmen to be baptized as Christians in Northern Mindanao.
The NCIP, which is under the Office of the President, has also approved the delineation survey of the ancestral claims of at least three Higa-on clans and validation of the claims.
After a series of deliberations, tribal claimants are expecting their ancestral domain title to be released next year.