The last “secluded maiden” or “binukot” of the Caballero family from the Panay Bukidnon tribe in Calinog, Iloilo has died at the age of 74.
Rosita Silva Guillermo Caballero passed away last July 23 after suffering from a gallbladder rupture.
Rosita’s daughters, Elizabeth and Regine, said she was strict but they did not regret having her as their mother because she was caring and loving.
Rosita was chosen as a “binukot” by her parents because she was the fairest and the most loved daughter among her six siblings.
Binukot is the practice of keeping a child away from the public eye at a young age, wherein she is not allowed to work.
With this upbringing, a binukot is the primary source and keeper of the community’s history and oral epics known as suguidanon.
Unlike other “binukot” who were bought in exchange for marriage, Rosita was courted for 10 years by Leopoldo Caballero, also from the Panay Bukidnon tribe.
The couple had nine children.
The family will preserve the traditions and culture of their tribe amidst Rosita’s death through a school for living traditions taught by her husband’s brother, Frederico Caballero, a national awardee of the Gawad ng Manlilikha ng Bayan.
Caballero's death came just a few weeks before the country celebrates the National Indigenous People's Day on August 9.