My mother’s hometown is a traditional Chinese village called “Bai Cun” which means “white village” located in Yun Cheng city, Shanxi province, north China. While the difference between Tubod Mar and big cities like Hong Kong can be obvious, I would like to compare it with Bai Cun as a small and typical village in north China. Some comparison between the whole Bohol Island and Yun Cheng city will also be discussed.
Firstly, the geographical location of Bai Cun is in Fen river valley, mainly consisting of plain. The climate of this area is monsoon climate of medium latitudes, under which the main crop is wheat and corn. Same as here in Tubod Mar, the economy of Bai Cun largely rely on agriculture. Except the cereal crop for self-consuming, income of peasants mainly comes from commercial crops like fruit trees and vegetables in green houses especially during winter. The climate and soil condition is suitable for fruits like apples, peaches, and grapes, which will flow into the nearby cities in different seasons. On the other hand, the staple food is rice here in Tubod Mar. Also the whole area of Bohol Island is blessed with coconuts, which can be used as raw material for numerous feature products like calamay and coconut oil.
When it comes to tourism, Bohol Island has many advantages. Sea views, waterfalls, mountain sites like chocolate hills and feature animals like Tarsiidae, as well as the exotic culture are all attractive for people around the world. While Bohol Island is famous for its natural scenery and biodiversity, Yun Cheng mainly attracts people for its abundant historic heritage and profound cultural connotation. Yun Cheng is one of the places that Chinese culture originated, tracing back to 5,000 years ago in the age of Yellow Emperor, referring to many traditional Chinese mythology and also official history records.
In terms of daily life, transportation tools like bicycle and motorcycle are widely applied in Bai Cun thanks to the flat topography. And now around 30% of households have their own automobile due to the improvement of life standard and other reasons like the value toward marriage which will be discussed later. Here in Jagna, tricycle are mainly used, while in upper Tubod Mar, due to the hilly landscape, people either walk or ride motorcycles. There are more entertainment activities here including basketball matches, singing Karaoke, night chatting with music instruments and parties during festivals. The relationship between neighbors are closer as well. In Bai Cun, people are more conservative, and they do not sing and dance much. Instead, the villagers usually play card games or Chinese chess by the road. And the village committee will invite troupes to perform traditional opera during festivals. Also computer games are popular among young people just as anywhere around the world.
For the culture part, frankly speaking l think the spirit world of people here in Tubod Mar are more content. Another fact to mention is that most villagers of Bai Cun do not have religion, which is common in most parts of China due to many historical reasons. Another cultural issue I would like to mention is the tradition and value towards marriage and family. In Bai Cun and most part of north China, it has been parents’ duty to help their sons get married. The parents of bridegroom are responsible to prepare the betrothal gifts which is a big amount of money (more than 50,000 RMB now) for the bride, which can be regarded as the “market price” for brides actually. In recent years, a house and even an automobile are also required by more and more brides. As one of the side effects of one-child policy, the girls of marriageable age are less than boys so that any social issues arises, including the higher and higher betrothal gift price which may cause some poor family unable to get their sons married. One feature in this aspect Tubod Mar is that people emphasize the importance of large family. The tradition is new couples should live with the older generation.
At last, if there are foreigners showing up in Bai Cun, I believe people are more likely to be shy and conservative than to be open and friendly as shown here in Tubod Mar. But it doesn’t mean the outsiders are not welcomed. The villagers just show their kindness and plainness in a different way.