National Geographic : 1977 Mar
cloud bank. "We get about 130 inches of rain a year," he said. "We can grow a thousand cubic feet of wood per hectare in 15 years. We have more than 300 species of trees, and seven of them are our most valuable varieties of Philippine mahogany." Driving through large tracts of reforested land, Arsenio pointed out the healthy young trees coming up. Then we headed farther into the mountains to see log ging operations. Finally we reached an area of virgin timber and climbed down a steep slope until we came on a young hard-hatted logger working at the buttressed base of a big tree. We stood well out of the way with the bull bucker, or fore man, while the logger drove his chain saw into the beef-red trunk. The saw bit through quickly; a hundred feet above, the tree's crown began to sway, and I heard the wood fibers cracking and popping as the tree start ed to fall. "Aryadong kahoy," cried the bull bucker in a high, drawn-out singsong, and the tree thundered down. Superstitious? Maybe Yes, Maybe No I asked the bull bucker about the call he had given, and he explained that it was to warn the men of the falling tree, and also to warn the forest spirits. The forest spirits? "Yes, according to our parents, spirits live in the forest. They have the power to make a man die or suffer. So we call out, and if the spirits do not get out of the way, it's no one's fault." "Do you really believe that?" I asked. The bull bucker grinned. "Myself, I do not say that I believe, and I also do not say that I do not believe. I stay neutral."