City government vows support to publish Malaybalay history book

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/16 August)  The City Government of Malaybalay will support the publication of a proposed book on Malaybalay’s history written by renowned ethnographer Ludivina Opeña, said Honolo C. Cruzin, City Tourism and Investment Officer.

Cruzin said Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri has “expressed his full support for the publication” of the book.

Opeña has written portions of the book even before it was officially proposed four years ago.

The City Tourism Board appealed to the City Council and to Mayor Zubiri, to support the publication project.

The 84-year old writer, also a researcher and author of different cultural articles, said the book will endeavor to correct historical misinformation. She described her manuscripts as “records the true history of Malaybalay, the establishment of the Bukidnon ethnic identity, and ethnographic data for instructional purposes.”

She said there is misinformation even on the origin of the name of Malaybalay. Some sources said it is derived from “walay balay,“ a Cebuano phrase meaning “”no houses” in the area before.

Opeña cited three reasons to correct what she called “historical injustice,” including inconsistency of the “dates”.

In her recent audience with the board, Opeña told the council that March 22 is not the founding of Malaybalay but the conduct of referendum in the year 1998, favoring the cityhood of Malaybalay from a first class municipality.


She said if indeed the “no house” derivation is true, then the locals, who spoke Binukid, should have said “huda balay“ or “Hura balay.“

Opeña stressed that prior to the coming of the Spaniards, Malaybalay was already being governed and protected by ancestral datus (tribal leaders) headed by Datu Mansikyabo who called the place “Salobsob” or “Salebseb” , which means a spring whose waters came from the underground water source.

The Spaniards established “Oroquita del Interior” in the event they called “Ereccion del Pueblo” in June 15, 1877.

Opeña served as the tourism consultant of the Provincial Governor’s Office from 1975 to 1985. She was part of the group who pioneered organizing the “Kaamulan “ at the town level on April 14, 1974.

The proposed launching of the book was scheduled on October 28, 2012 as part of the celebration of the IP Month.

Opeña said she is hopeful that the initiative will bring back the sense of gratefulness of the people of Malaybalay and awaken them to be more proud to love and protect Malaybalay, especially in today’s “crisis and petty crimes”  (Erlow Talatala/Bukidnon News)