Farmers use ‘trumpets’ to call workers
By Yolanda Sotelo
SAN NICOLAS – When planting of second crop of palay is nearing, sounds of “trumpet” reverberate at dawn in the villages of this agricultural town in eastern Pangasinan.
The “trumpet,” fashioned from a cow’s horn, signals the start of repairing the communal irrigation sytem (CIS), specifically the embankments which usually get ruined by heavy rains, and to redirect water from the river into the irrigation canals.
Sounding the trumpet may be strange in the day of modern technology, but it still is being used in this eastern agricultural town of Pangasinan, municipal agricultural officer Reynaldo Dotimas said.
The farmers belonging to a “tanggal” or communal irrigation system, get ready to go to work when they hear the trumpet blaring, and then they “march” to the area that needs repair, accompanied by the beats of a makeshift drum called “tambor.”
The town celebrated the 24th Farmers Day on Monday marked by a float competition, with 34 “bahay kubos”adorned with assorted vegetables, palay and corn plants and rootcrops, and ornamental plants. An authentic feel of farmlife was provided by farm animals like chickens and ducks in coops, and goats.
The 34 bahay kubos were atop trailers of kuliglig, an improvised vehicle pulled by diesel- or gasoline- powered tractor. They were paraded around the town which winded at the plaza for judging.
The sounding of the trumpet also marked the celebration which honors the farmers which comprise a big number, or at least 85 percent, of the town residents, Dotimas said.
The trumpets are actually blared thrice – in the morning and in the afternoon of a day before the actual work day, and at dawn of the actual work day.
The trumpets, which can be heard as far as two kilometers, are also sounded to call the farmers to lunch on the work day. “There are codes, or number of blares, for the annoucement of work and for lunch,” Dotimas said.
There are 63 tanggal (irrigator groups) in the town, each with 50-300 members.
When an CIS needs repair, the member of that group are the once who do the job which usually is finished in a day. A farmer who is not able to report pays a “penalty” that is equivalent to the daily wage.
The town has 5,000 hectares of agricultural land, 3,500 of which is planted to palay while the rest are planted to vegetables. Almost the entire agricultural land are irrigated and only 50 hectares are rainfed.
“Eighty five percent of the residents are farmers,” Dotimas said.
While the town produces grains and vegetables, it is becoming known for string beans and grows mostly the negro star variety that can be as long as a meter.
The town produces around 27 tons of string beans each year which are sold in Balintawak, Quezon City.
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