Where Have All The Dragonflies Gone?

During my childhood, my playmates and I used to sing this when one of us tried to catch a dragonfly:

Tutubing bungayngay,

Huwag kang papahuli

Sa mahaba ang kamay.

Huhulihin ka ng patay

Sa ilalim ng tulay.

In English it means:

Beautiful and agile dragonfly,

Don’t you dare be caught

By such long arms.

Or a corpse will catch you

Right under the bridge.

I just tried to rephrase the song in English, but it’s not the correct translation – I actually don’t know what ‘bungayngay’ means and I’m not even sure if it’s a Filipino/Tagalog word. I wonder why I didn’t bother to ask our elders (who taught us the song) what it means. Thinking about it now, I realized that the song is basically a warning for the dragonflies; because once they’ve been caught, they will surely suffer and die. Because what we did during that time if we caught a one was play with it. We used to tie a string on it’s tail and turn it into a small kite or we would tear its’ wings in halves so it wouldn’t fly high. Yes, we were bad… but we were kids, and those days it doesn’t seem to matter because there were thousands of dragonflies flying around.

Usually, during this time of the year, hundreds of dragonflies flocked the rice fields – whether it’s planted or empty. But a lot of rice fields now are turned into a residential villages or a factory. Now, only a few can be seen and it seems children rarely notice them at all. My nephew sometimes bring home one and whenever he did I always told him to let it be and set it free.

29 thoughts on “Where Have All The Dragonflies Gone?

  1. Very pretty pictures. I must say I never hurt any dragonflies as a child? I could not even think of pulling off their wings, how horrible for them 😦 I hope they are finding new homes. It is sad, mankind builds building after building tearing down lands and forests in hopes of finding new homes for it’s own, however in the process of destroying Mother Natures friends abode without the realization of the importance all insects have on the world.

  2. Thank you again for your beautiful pictures. Dragonflies are one of my talismans, so I see them everywhere I go. I am very fortunate. I love the way you zoom in on their little faces and you can see their shimmering tiny bug souls. It makes one feel so close to them and so much a part of all nature and all the world.

  3. Dragonflies were backyard pests in my native Texas. I’ve seen three in San Diego in my eighteen years here. Of course, now I miss dragonflies so I enjoy seeing them in blog posts like yours. Thanks for making my evening. I’m sure this will rank at the top of my favorite blog posts in my camping trip here this evening.

  4. Pingback: A Rare Morning Find. « the unbearable lightness of being me.

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