Bantay means to watch/guard over in Bisayan/Philippine languages.
Bantayan island sits along the waters of Tañon Strait, middle of the Visayan Sea, the heart of the Philippine archipelago.
The unique Bantayanon language (@pulong_bantayanon) is a hybrid mix of multiple Bisayan & Pilipino languages: Hiligaynon, Sugbuanon, Waray, Tagalog, Masbateño, & some words that are just uniquely our own, from lumad (native) mananagat (fisherfolk) community
Of its linguistic fluidity & geographic location, Spanish colonizers used it as a strategic missionary training spot, before sending priests to other islands. Beachfront coral limestone ‘kota’ (Sanskrit for ‘fortress’) points to the island’s heritage as a protective ‘watchtower’ of the Visayan seas. Documented in early accounts for its pearl trading & coral reef riches, nowadays, it is a well-known ‘paradise’ tourism destination experiencing the impact of climate change & globalization.
Whatever space timeline we’re on – Bantayan is, was & always will be a central space for diverse peoples, animals, plants, ideas & forces across the Visayas, Philippines, Maharlika, Pacific & Kalibutan (World) to gather together.
An honor to long-term build the vision of @bababisaya – connecting global diaspora and local roots – from this island that our ancestors called home (@kalamispiritarts)!
Blessed to be in the local community of environmental activists that exemplify the “guardians” nga nagbantay Bantayan (see comments)! As our island goes from 100% to 4% protected wilderness status (read ‘Bantayan Island Wilderness Act’) w/ House Bill 4951, & our once dirt roads become fully concrete, paving the way for expanded tourism (a casino is already in construction), it’s important to steward models of cultural exchange with equity, sustainable tourism, ecological/cultural heritage & local/global community organizing.
Dreaming of future gatherings that bring people together through language, culture & ecology… Excited to share upcoming @bababisaya activations in Bantayan and beyond!
You may want to read: