Bol-anon 'ko Nyor

'Bol-anon 'ko nyor' is not just a hackneyed phrase. It has a legend to tell arising from an actual incident that happened in Davao City.

It was at a time when Davao was just a frontier town of about 70,000 residents. It had only 27 policemen who did not carry firearms on duty except nightsticks and a whistle. In the absence of telephone, the police response on emergencies was very slow.

Every time word was passed around warning the neighborhood of a juramentado loose in the community, people scampered for safety in their homes. A juramentado in those days was a Moro fanatic brainwashed by their religious leaders to kill Chris-tians whom they regarded as enemy of Islam.

One day a Bol-anon peddler selling varied merchandises was talking to a woman by the road-side in the coastal village of Piapi trying to convince her to buy some of his wares when a fellow came running by, yelling - juramentado! juramentado! The woman suddenly turned her back on the peddler and ran in fear to the nearby store where the storekeeper was just about to bolt his shop for safety.

Left alone in wonderment as to what the hysteria was all about, the Bol-anon peddler just gathered his merchandise and was about to go when he saw a man naked to his waist with only a piece of white clothe covering his loin strutting towards him menacingly brandishing a barong, a specially-made bolo that could par in sharpness with the blade of an Arabian scimitar. The peddler calmly put down his merchandise and took out his 'ulisi'.

An ulisi is a thinly carved baton two feet long and two inches in width made of seasoned palm wood hardened by long exposure to the heat of fire. Bol-anon peddlers traveling on foot from house to house equip themselves with it to ward off fierce dogs on the way. But it is also a lethal weapon that can smash a man's skull.

During those ancient times Bol-anon traders were trained in martial arts on Filipino-style fencing so-called doce pares to be able to defend themselves against hostile elements as they engage in trade with the people in other regions. Most of the ambulant peddlers trading with the natives in Davao were natives of Bohol who came to this region in huge sailboats called pharao mostly in the months of October or November when the north wind Amihan favored their course sailing south and sailed back to Bohol in the month of May when the southwesterly wind Habagat begun to blow favoring their course back to their native province in time for their annual fiesta.

True enough as expected the juramentado attacked the Bol-anon merchant. The peddler reared to avoid the hacking blade of the barong and with a swift funny movement of his hand landed a crushing blow of his ulisi on the head of his assailant throwing his adversary off-balance followed by a quick smashing backstroke of his baton on the forearm of the Moro fanatic divesting him of his weapon. The juramentado fell on the ground in a heap dazed, his arm broken, head bleeding.

Just as when the Bol-anon trader was about to deliver the coup de grace on his crippled adversary when a policeman came running towards him frantically blowing his whistle followed by a jubilant crowd of people now feeling secured that a policeman had come to protect them. The peddler calmly put down his ulisi as a curious crowd began to swell around him.

The policeman just stood incredulously staring wide-eyed at the crippled Moro fanatic helplessly sitting on the ground cradling his broken arm grimacing in pain. Never before had a Moro juramentado been captured alive. The kind of fanatics would rather face the nuzzle of the gun and die fighting the enemy than being taken alive and thrown to prison suffering in jail with Christian offenders.

"Who are you?" The policeman demanded, accosting the peddler.

"Bol-anon 'ko Nyor," the peddler replied addressing the policeman Senior and humbly introducing himself a native of Bohol without mentioning his name.

Without saying further, the Bol-anon trader lifted his bundle of merchandises and melted into the crowd of people milling around the captured Moro fanatic.

That's the legend of Bol-anon 'ko Nyor.

Source: Mindanao Daily Mirror

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