Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bila-Bila and Romeo Lumawig of Boac

"Bila-bila Festival"! At last in the historic capital town of Boac through the efforts of a returning new leader, Mayor Roberto J. Madla, the populace, with every good reason, appears determined now not to be outdone by the neighboring towns in the field of street-dancing festivals.

After a lull that lasted for some six years, the Boakenos made its mark loud and clear this time, filling the town center with deafening sound and bright colors in December.

And why not?

It was really somebody from Boac who, in the early 60s fancied the island's numerous species of butterflies as a hobby. He, with proddings from his father, who hailed from Bagtingon, developed a new body of knowledge focusing on those winged fluttering creatures found all over the island-province.

Now, we know of an enormous diversity of endemic butterfly species and their host plants (one for every species), that may have surpassed studies made by naturalists and entemologists in the past.

The work of Romeo Lumawig of Cawit has today given birth to a unique industry where live butterflies are cultured under controlled conditions to produce pupae.

If I remember correctly, he was mentioned in a page in the Guinness Book of World Records about two decades ago as the first one to have developed this culture of breeding countless butterflies in captivity.

Such great contribution that did not merely rely on catching butterflies in the wild that could have meant depletion of these fanciful creatures of joy from Mother Nature.

It's about butterfly farming!

(Photo of Romeo Lumawig taken in the early 70s)


Now, it appears that anything that has to do with butterflies outside of Marinduque in this country could be traced to Lumawig's daughter, Beth, who married a French entomologist and carried on her father's legacy.

Foremost of this was, the very first butterfly house in the Philippines established at the Lung Center Compund in Q.C., later on transferred to Manila Seedling Bank, you must have seen it in the movies, then within the premises of the Quezon Memorial Circle.

Later, other facilities with the touch of Beth rose at the La Mesa Ecopark, Paradiso in Mendez, Cavite, up to Burnham Park for the Panagbenga Festival and at the Baguio Convention Center. She'd go to Aklan to introduce butterfly breeding that ended in a butterfly house rising at the Malay Tree House there and find her hands full conducting seminars here, there and everywhere.

She cuurently maintains the butterfly garden at the Forest Adventure Park at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, a 4 hectare-facility that includes an Arthropod Museum.

But back to her late father, Romeo Lumawig. MSC professor Panchito Labay has thoroughly documented Lumawig's experiences, bodies of knowledge, practices and values in relation to interactions with nature, culture and economics as a fellow in International Development Studies, Wegenigen University, The Netherlands.

Watching the happy faces in the street-festival I couldn't stop thinking of all of them so great "papillon" fans.

(Photos of "Bila-Bila Festival 2010" above.)

Susong Dalaga Hill

Susong Dalaga Hill
Susong Dalaga Hill from Bagtasan isthmus

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