by Bob Gabuna
NUNAVUT – I was “absent” for quite a long while in column writing. The reason is not I turned lethargic in writing; rather, I do not have anymore the material when I was away for five years in pursuit of engaging in corporate agriculture in the old homeland. My waking hours were spent conferring with farmers and local government units to venture in commercial production of root crops for feeds, food, and fuel use. Simultaneously, I lobbied the mass cultivation to adopt it as a national policy with the decision makers in the government by creating a special agency complemented with trained staff and corresponding budget.
The night before the observance of Halloween, I was visited with a strange dream. In my reverie, the face of Linda Natividad-Cantiveros appeared. I woke up and wondered what the dream meant. Then it came to mind, the date is Undas—-the day when the living traditionally visit the earthly resting place of those who went ahead.
My memories was further quickened that the month before Linda took her last breath, she sent me an eMail encouraging to continue my column writing for the Filipino Journal. I did promise to find time to submit my contribution. I was stumped, the electronic correspondence I received in January 2008, was the last eMail I will received from my late Editor-in-Chief. Life is fragile.
If you read my item this far, I trust, you have noticed my byline is Nunavut. Yes, I am referring to the Territory of Nunavut. My new home is the Arctic—-the last frontier of the globe. I first visited the Territory in August 2009. But three months later I enplaned back to Manila to wind up what I initiated, and turned over the farming activities to my farm operator and industry colleague. My business principal, a Venture Capitalist, built a distillery plant in Negros that processes cassava chips as feedstock into wine.
After five years of devoted time propagating the commercial breeding of root crops as an industry to address poverty alleviation of the marginalized Filipino farmers, the Department of Agriculture created the Cassava Program, and the Philippine Tapioca Board was subsequently formed. Counting among others as members are San Miguel Corp., Ginebra San Miguel, Eastern Petroleum, Philippine Starch, Philippine Root Crop Centre, Land Bank, Heindrich Agri Corp., BlueSky Industries, landowners, traders, millers, Cooperatives, and other stakeholders interested in the cassava development.
Eventually rejoining my wife in Nunavut this Summer, I immersed in studying the culture, tradition, history of the land, and the Inuit people, and their Inuktitut language. To my pleasant surprise, the Filipino race and the Inuit have glaring similarities in their way of life. Moreover, I find it uncanny that even the spoken language and its resonance is not completely strange to a Filipino ear.
Given the archaeological fact that the original settlers of the Arctic came from Mongolia and reached the expanse of the North Pole via land bridges, it is not startling to discern the strong similarity of their way of life with inhabitants from Asia. Owing to constraint, however, of space I’ll tackle in the next issue the Inuit lifestyle before the people of the land were incorporated into the Dominion of Canada.
About the Author: Bob started writing for the Journal since 1988. His column was temporarily disrupted when he spent five years in the Philippines to promote the cultivation of cassava in large scale to meet the domestic demand and the export market.