BULA: A VIEW OF THE PAST THROUGH THE BAMBOO TRAIL

The town of Bula, received its name from the ancient people of the riverine district of Bicol who located its settlement on a trail thickly planted to bamboo. Although bamboos were ubiquitous, their towering presence in Bula must have been so conspicuous which earned for this plant the singular privilege of being the distinctive landmark and the perpetual basis for the toponym of the locality

Among the Filipinos, the bamboo conjures the image of majestic heights and towering greatness, but also resilient submission even to unwelcome changes. Hence, to most people, the bamboo represents the admirable character of a pliant, adjustable, and docile person, who accepts the buffeting of life without rancour and with resignation. This character epitomized by bamboo was similarly embodied by those of the residents of Bula.

While such values are credited by some for the gentle. peaceful and amiable disposition of the people of Bula, they are also blamed by others for their pronounced developmental inertia. As reflected in the historical records, the residents of Bula showed the tendency to be contented with whatever blessings they have, and thus lack the daring, aggressive or ambitious spirit to venture to larger and challenging enterprises, be it in commercial, political, and even professional pursuits. This is not an indictment but a historical diagnosis which could enable the residents to examine the patterns of their cultural response in relation to opportunities and challenges.

Nevertheless, this book neither pretends to provide the definitive history of Bula nor claims to blaze an original scholarly trail. This book is the first to synthesize available materials to produce a panoramic view of this historic town of Bula. Using available works on the province as its starting point, this study vigorously pursued research in various archival holdings both in the Philippine National Archives and the Spanish archives such as the Archivo Franciscano Ibero-Oriental and the Biblioteca Nacional, and Museo Naval, all in Madrid, and the Archivo General de Indias in Seville.