I still have not adjusted to the slow pace of life here in Lake Sebu since arriving last Tuesday. Time moves so slow when you just have the entire day to head to small baranggay to seek out musicians or music instruments makers.
The slowness of time though cannot hide the quick pace in which modernization is coming. On arriving, the first thing that greeted me as I alighted from the van I took in Koronadal were the new bamboo structures lining both sides of the road near SIKAT. Oyog, my T’boli informant, and whose house is near a row of thatch houses of a restaurant being built, tells me there is now a sealed road to Tasiman where Ma Fil, the hegalong player lives.
Already, I am afraid of the costs of the Bisayanization of Lake Sebu. I am all for sealed roads and new structures only if they bring development to the T’boli first and foremost and not an increase in lowland excursions.
In the meantime, I have been getting all the data I need to finally write my master’s thesis on the t’nonggong. So far so good. I’ve met and spoken with different instrument makers and musicians including those related or have known the “legends” like Bendaly and Ganlal. I would not have known them if it weren’t for my excellent guide and informant, Umag, who himself is acknowledged as the best t’nonggong player and is also the son of Genlal.