Itinerant Bol-anon

You have heard about the enterprising Bol-anon. There is another equally famous trait Bol-anons are known for; oftentimes, it goes together with their being enterprising. Bol-anons are known for being itinerant. Mention any place in the Philippines, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao, and chances are you will find us there. Where usually? In the town markets doing business selling just about anything.

Let me cite my father’s family as an example of showing both traits of an itinerant and enterprising Bol-anon. He said the Sisicans are originally from the coastal town of Baclayon, Bohol. His father who is an artisanal fisherman is locally famous for his expertise in catching the iito (marine catfish). My grandfather has relatives who are also fishermen who have migrated and settled in the towns of Toboso and Calatrava, Negros Oriental. Some relatives have settled in Davao City and neighbouring towns as well.

I was once a team member in a UP project on municipal development in Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental. During the pre-project workshop I was surprised when approached by one of the barangay secretaries who introduced himself as a Sisican whose origin is from the neighbouring barangay of Guiwanon in Baclayon.

Although not closely related to them, imagine my amazement and deep appreciation to their wonderful hospitality when I went to their barangay the next day during one of the assessment workshops we held. Several of them greeted me when I arrived and obviously quite thrilled to find a relative. We exchange few stories about each other’s side of the clan.

After the workshop, as we are readying ourselves back to our quarters in Poblacion my relative (barangay secretary) came up to me and gave me a chicken as a gift. I was thrilled and thanked him profusely for it! Not to be outdone, however, was another team member who is from Dauis, Bohol. He, too, have relatives in Lopez Jaena to which he already knew. But he was still greatly surprised to be given a goat as present!

Going back to my family, one of my uncles was an astute businessman. It was he who started a successful business that led to their family partly relocating in Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur. The whole family was involved which eventually led to some of them permanently settling there. My father used to live there for awhile. There he met my mother and four of us older siblings were born in the city.

I still have lots of close relatives in Pagadian and nearby towns. In fact, my older brother is living in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay after marrying a local lass. They have two young children. Itinerant that we are, my generation have gone international. Some of us are working and living in Europe, USA, Middle East and South Korea.

I always thought that a major reason why the Bol-anon emigrates is economic. Yes, Bohol is idyllically beautiful but it does not really provide a lot of economic opportunities during my father’s time. In my case, I was convinced that if I want to make it in life it has to be outside of Bohol. I went to university in Cebu and then worked for several years in Metro Manila, parts of Mindanao and Palawan. And now I am in the United Kingdom still trying to make it in life. Still, I long for the day I will go back to Bohol and contribute to its development starting by just living there. But that will not be soon, I suspect.

(Note: This blogpost first appeared in Bohol On My Mind blog on 7 March 2008.)


  1. This is a wonderful blog, very informative and interesting, high caliber! Nindot jamo, nalingaw jud ko ug basa, gimingaw na hinoon ko. I´m from Guindulman and presently residing in Germany. thanks and God bless!

  2. Thanks Anonymous! Comments like yours make it worthwhile to blog. Paningkamotan jud naho nga maka-post ko ug daghan pa unja makahatag ug kahibaw-an ug kalingawan ninjong mga tigbasa.

  3. I have been to Bohol around 6 years ago. I must say, Bohol is one of the best places in the Philippines. I was awed by the beauty of Hinagdanan cave. Soaking in the beautiful waters in Panglao is simply amazing. The beautiful Chocolate hills is simply breathtaking. Lovely blog. Thanks for sharing and God bless.



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